April 23, 2023 – Third Sunday of Easter
A livestream of this service will take place on our YouTube channel on Sunday, April 23, at 11:00 AM Eastern Daylight Time. A video recording of the live stream will be available on our YouTube channel from 6:00 PM EDT on Sunday, April 23.
Call to Worship
One: We have come from many places, following different roads.
All: We come hungering for greater understanding.
One: We have come to hear the wisdom of Scripture.
All: We come seeking companions in the faith.
One: We have come to discover the One revealed in the breaking of the bread.
All: We come to grow as disciples of Christ.
One: Come, let us worship God, made known in Christ Jesus.
Lighting of the Christ Candle
This is the Christ Candle. We light the candle to help us remember that Jesus Christ, the light of the world, is with us in every place and every time.
“At the dawning of salvation” (Book of Praise 1997, Hymn 248). Words by Jock Curle. Music (tune: “Nettleton”) American folk melody. Harmony by John W. Wilson. Words copyright ©1979 Josef Weinberger Ltd. Music public domain. Harmony copyright © 1983 Hope Publishing co.; used by permission of One License, license number 722141-A.
Prayers of Approach and Confession, & Lord’s Prayer (sins)
Loving God, As we join together in worship, open our eyes to new opportunities to express our love for you, and share your love in the lives we touch; for we are your people and we praise God in your holy name.
Week by week we open our lives before you, acknowledging ways we sometimes lose track of you. We are driven and feel busy so we let other things come before you in our lives. Changes upend us and we don’t know where to turn. Forgive us when we forget that you are with us day by day. Renew us in your love, we pray.
Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name.
Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us.
Save us from the time of trial and deliver us from evil.
For the kingdom, the power and the glory are yours now and forever.
Declaration of Pardon
On the Emmaus road, Jesus met friends who were discouraged and distracted by his death. Yet when he spoke God’s word to them, their hearts burned within them. Hear God’s word of forgiveness today. May the fire of God’s love warm your hearts with God’s promise of peace and new life.
Thanks be to God!
One: The Peace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with you all.
All: And also with you.
Guildwood Senior Choir presents
“Amazing Grace”. Words by English Anglican clergyman and poet John Newton (1725–1807). Complex music origin; see link in title for more details. This arrangement by American composer Jay Althouse (1951–). Words and music public domain. Arrangement copyright © 1993 Alfred Publishing Co., Inc.; used by permission of One License, license number 722141-A.
Fun with the young at heart (children’s story)
The Life and Work of the Church (Announcements)
“To show by touch and word” (Book of Praise 1997, Hymn 763). Words (1975) by Anglo-Dutch clergyman Fred Kaan (1929–2009). Music (1974; tune “Lodwick”) by Canadian composer Ron Klusmeier (1946–). Words copyright © 1975 Hope Publishing Co.; used by permission of One License, license number 722141-A. Music copyright © 1974 Ron Klusmeier, administered by Hope Publishing Co.; used by permission of One License, license number 722141-A.
Luke 24: 13–35 <– this links to on-line text of the NRSV bible
13 Now on that same day two of them were going to a village called Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem, 14 and talking with each other about all these things that had happened. 15 While they were talking and discussing, Jesus himself came near and went with them, 16 but their eyes were kept from recognizing him. 17 And he said to them, “What are you discussing with each other while you walk along?” They stood still, looking sad. 18 Then one of them, whose name was Cleopas, answered him, “Are you the only stranger in Jerusalem who does not know the things that have taken place there in these days?” 19 He asked them, “What things?” They replied, “The things about Jesus of Nazareth, who was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people, 20 and how our chief priests and leaders handed him over to be condemned to death and crucified him. 21 But we had hoped that he was the one to redeem Israel. Yes, and besides all this, it is now the third day since these things took place. 22 Moreover, some women of our group astounded us. They were at the tomb early this morning, 23 and when they did not find his body there they came back and told us that they had indeed seen a vision of angels who said that he was alive. 24 Some of those who were with us went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said, but they did not see him.” 25 Then he said to them, “Oh, how foolish you are and how slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have declared! 26 Was it not necessary that the Messiah should suffer these things and then enter into his glory?” 27 Then beginning with Moses and all the prophets, he interpreted to them the things about himself in all the scriptures.
28 As they came near the village to which they were going, he walked ahead as if he were going on. 29 But they urged him strongly, saying, “Stay with us, because it is almost evening and the day is now nearly over.” So he went in to stay with them. 30 When he was at the table with them, he took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them. 31 Then their eyes were opened, and they recognized him, and he vanished from their sight. 32 They said to each other, “Were not our hearts burning within us while he was talking to us on the road, while he was opening the scriptures to us?” 33 That same hour they got up and returned to Jerusalem, and they found the eleven and their companions gathered together. 34 They were saying, “The Lord has risen indeed, and he has appeared to Simon!” 35 Then they told what had happened on the road and how he had been made known to them in the breaking of the bread.
The scripture reading is followed by:
One: The Word of God.
People: Thanks be to God.
It is important for us to remember in the gospel of Luke the risen Christ comes to Cleopas and another unknown disciple, before showing himself to the famous chosen 12 disciples. Some suggest that another disciple was Cleopas’ wife, Mary, but we don’t know for sure. These two followers are completely unknown to us, we don’t know who they are, where they are from, how much time they spent with Jesus or how much they are involved with the other disciples. Yet in the gospel of Luke, the Risen Christ comes to these two unknown disciples before anyone else.
The gospel of Luke invites us to pay attention to what these two unknown followers were doing. I am going to read those verses one more time, “Now on that same day two of them were going to a village called Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem, and talking with each other about all these things that had happened. While they were talking and discussing, Jesus himself came near and went with them, but their eyes were kept from recognizing him.”
First, they left Jerusalem, and they were traveling toward Emmaus. Second, they were talking and discussing about what they just heard and saw….
Leaving Jerusalem could mean that they were ready to move on from Jerusalem which rejected Jesus, it could mean they were ready to put everything behind and go on with their life. It could mean they could no longer do nothing, perhaps they were tired of being helpless, tired of being afraid, tired of being sad, tired of being angry, tired of being stuck in Jerusalem…and were searching for something new, a new meaning, a new identity, and a new purpose…. Or perhaps it could mean they were running away from Jerusalem, but the way they discussed about the things about Jesus with one another suggests to me that they were not running away….
And as they were travelling from Jerusalem to Emmaus, they discussed and questioned each other trying to understand what they had saw, heard and experienced in Jerusalem.
According to the gospel of Luke, that is when Jesus Christ appears to them.
That is when the risen Christ appears to them. And this is how the risen Christ appears to them, I am going to read Luke 24:17, “And he said to them, “What are you discussing with each other while you walk along?” According to the scriptures we read today, the risen Christ comes to them with the question, “What are you discussing with each other?” “What things?” Perhaps the gospel of Luke suggests to us that Jesus continues to come to us with this question. “What is in your heart today?” “What are the questions and thoughts you carry in your hearts?” “What is lingering in your heart today? What are you pondering today?”
Jesus invites us to hear the question of the spirit and the question of our hearts…..
Yes, it is important we pay attention to the stock market and it is important we pay attention to the world around us, what is happening in Ottawa, Washington and Toronto. Yes, it is good to pay attention to what is happening to the Leafs, the Raptors and the Blue Jays. Yes, it is important we pay attention to people we meet, but it is also important that we listen to our soul and ask ourselves. “What is in your hearts today?” “What is Jesus doing in this very moment?”
Yet, that is not where the story ends. Finding what is in our hearts is enough. The gospel of Luke invites us to take one more step. It invites us to allow what is in our hearts to discover the risen Christ in our hearts. It invites us to go beyond finding our questions and thoughts in our hearts….
I am going to read verse 15 and 16, “While they were talking and discussing, Jesus himself came near and went with them, 16 but their eyes were kept from recognizing him.”
Isn’t it funny their questions, their conversations, and their discussions about Jesus invited Jesus to them, yet I wonder if their questions and discussions also blinded their eyes from recognizing Jesus who was walking along with them…….Our thoughts, our theology, our questions, our discussion and our knowledge may invite Jesus to our hearts, yet they can also blind our eyes from recognizing and hearing Jesus. Don’t you love the Bible, it is full of life, truth, symbols, twists and questions. That is why I love reading the Bible.
I would like to read Luke 24:29–31, « But they urged him strongly, saying, “Stay with us, because it is almost evening and the day is now nearly over.” So he went in to stay with them. 30 When he was at the table with them, he took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them. 31 Then their eyes were opened, and they recognized him, and he vanished from their sight. » These two unknown disciples finally recognized the risen Christ, when he sat at the table with them, breaking, blessing, and sharing bread.
Discussing, questioning, arguing, analyzing, and discussing who Jesus was helped them to come near Jesus, but that wasn’t enough. It was when they allowed Jesus to sit on the table with them, when Jesus took bread, blessed it, broke it and gave it to them… Sitting on the table with Jesus, Jesus taking bread, blessing it and breaking it means Jesus become the host of our life.
I believe it means the gospel of Luke teaches us about the transformation of our relationship with Jesus. I don’t think the story we read today is just about eating the physical food on the same table but allowing Jesus to engage with us as Christ. The transformation of our faith and heart begins when we allow Jesus to lead us. It means we start following Jesus. So long, we have been our own god, so long we were in the center of our life, we were good at controlling, owning and possessing our life, we don’t truly know the joy of accepting, embracing and living the gift of life God has given to us. Once again following Jesus does not suggest we become passive with our lives or becoming fatalist, but following Jesus means remembering we are not alone. We are not the only ones who are making the decision we are making.
We remind everyone that we must continue to pay our bills; in the absence of being present at Sunday worship, you may sign up for pre-authorized remittance (PAR), donate online, or drop off your offering envelope in the mailbox at the church. Do not leave a cash donation unattended in the mailbox; instead, please call the office (416.261.4037) to ensure someone will be there to receive it. The building will be checked daily for mail and phone messages. If you are not comfortable leaving an envelope, you are welcome to contact the office (once again, 416.261.4037) and someone will pick up your offering.
Dedication of our Gifts
“Praise God from whom all blessings flow” (Book of Praise 1997, Hymn 306) Based on the tune “Old 100th” with words (1989) by English hymnwriter Brian A. Wren (1936–). Words copyright © 1989 Hope Publishing Co.; used by permission of One License, license number 722141-A. Music public domain.
Praise God from whom all blessings flow;
praise God all creatures high and low;
praise God in Jesus fully known,
Creator Word and Spirit One.
Prayer of dedication
Generous God, you bless us with life, purpose, and opportunities to serve in the world you love. We offer you our gifts in Christ’s name, not seeking greater gain, but desiring to enrich life around us with your love. Amen.
Prayers of Thanksgiving and Hope
God our Maker, You have walked the Emmaus Road with your faithful people in many generations, people facing challenge and uncertainty, people seeking your purpose and promise. Thank you for your faithfulness to us in all situations. Walk with us and with those for whom we pray this day, that your grace and mercy may sustain our faith and hope.
We pray for children and young people who must think about the future in these uncertain times. Give them hope rooted in the knowledge that their lives matter to you. Show them how to make a difference in the world, whatever threats and challenges they face as they grow.
We pray for those for whom age or experience, illness or disability create barriers to full participation in your world. Give each one a sense of dignity and purpose. Show them where their gifts are needed and how much they matter to you.
We pray for communities challenged by forces beyond their control: economic uncertainty, environmental stress, natural disaster, political strife. Give courage to those facing these crises day by day, and wisdom to those who lead others through them, so that wellbeing may be restored and hope for the future prevail.
We pray for our congregation, for our life together and our future in mission. That future feels so challenging. It is hard to read the signs of our times and respond wisely. Sustain our fellowship and give us courage to take new paths, so that you will find us faithful on our journey into that future. We pray for the wellbeing of those lives linked to ours who bring us both joy and heartache because they matter so much to us and to you:
God our Maker, hear our prayers, spoken and unspoken, and use us in ways we may not yet even imagine to respond to others with the love and mercy we see in Jesus Christ. Amen.
“Come to us, beloved Stranger” (Book of Praise 1997, Hymn 262). Words (1993) by American hymnwriter Edith Sinclair Downing (1922–2016). Music (tune: “Beach Spring”) attributed to American singing master Benjamin Franklin White (1800–1879), from the tunebook “The Sacred Harp” (published 1844) that he compiled. Harmony by GCPC music director Rachelle Risling. Words copyright © 1993 Edith Sinclair Downing, published by Selah Publishing; used by permission of One License, license number 722141-A. Music public domain. Harmony copyright © Rachelle Risling; used by permission.
Changing the Light
Now, it is time to change the light. The light that was in one place can now be in every place and every time going with you wherever you go.
May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ (the risen Christ), the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, be with you always. AMEN.
“Go in Peace”. Words and music (1982; tune “Ocean Park”) by Barber L. Waters Kenneth E. White. Words and music copyright © 1982 Barber L. Waters Kenneth E. White; used by permission.
Copyright © 2023 Guildwood Community Presbyterian Church
Last updated 2023-04-24 21:30 – Added GCPC Choir presents info; added Sermon text; updated Choral Amen.