Due to copyright limitations, we are unable to print the words to many of the songs.  However, our musicians have chosen music to fit the scriptures.  We invite you to look up the words in your worship book and ponder them.  If you do not have a worship book, ponder the words to one of your favourite hymns and listen for God’s voice. Those who have internet may find the songs on YouTube. QUOTE OF THE WEEK As many have learned and later taught, you don’t realize Jesus is all you need until Jesus is all you have. – Tim Keller BEFORE WE WORSHIP, WE REFLECT… Talking about things on the way can be an effective strategy. Parents often discover that having important talks with their children in the car on the way to another place can be very effective. Kids are trapped. They can be silent, but you can at least be heard. At the same time, driving a carpool can be an incredibly informative experience. Younger children don’t seem to understand that what they say in the back seat can be heard in the driver’s seat. Like the disciples on the way to Emmaus, we live our lives on the way, often in cars. What a wonderful opportunity to use this “wasted time” to talk about important things and maybe discover what is important to the ones we love. LAND ACKNOWLEDGEMENT  We acknowledge we gather and worship on Treaty 1 Territory, the original lands of Anishinaabeg, Cree, Oji-Cree, Dakota, and Dene peoples, and on the homeland of the Métis Nation. Help us to use our gifts, our knowledge, our skills, our positions in society, and our strength in Christ, as a community of faith, to support our indigenous neighbours. Give us humility and the wisdom to know when and how to follow their lead in seeking solutions, and in making positive changes. Open our hearts, our minds, and our spirits to new possibilities when the steps our Indigenous leaders and neighbours wish to take may be uncomfortable or unfamiliar. We pray for our Indigenous neighbours. We ask that you will help us to let our Indigenous neighbours know that we honour them, we want to live together with them in harmony, and we share their hope for a blessed future together, for growth in mutual understanding and respect, for healing, for justice, and for reconciliation. We pray for all our relations. Amen. CALL TO WORSHIP written by Thom Shuman Where shattered hearts are made whole, where wounded souls are healed, where life is stronger than death: there, the stone has been rolled away. Where the lonely become our friends, where a stranger is welcomed home, where hope is stronger than despair, there, we find Jesus walking. Where closed wallets are opened, where the anxious find serenity, where love is stronger than hate: there, Jesus is opening our eyes. The stone has been rolled away!  Jesus is our companion on the journey!  Our eyes are opened to the needs of others! Alleluia! Christ is risen!  Alleluia! Christ is with us! CHILDREN’S SONG:  VU 352  Lord Of The Dance CENTERING PRAYER O God, we pray that we may never forsake the means of grace that you have granted to us.  Keep us true to the way of prayer, the reading of scripture and to the practice of gathering in your name and of welcoming both friends and strangers into our homes and our hearts.   We pray that as Christ appeared on the road to Emmaus so he might appear to us, and through us to others.  Amen. MINUTE FOR MISSION:  Real-Time Relief Really Makes a World of Difference: Thivan Hoang’s Work First there was the pandemic. Then Russia invaded Ukraine, causing a global energy crisis and worldwide food shortages. These in turn worsened an already precarious food security situation for many communities. According to UN OCHA, “the largest global food crisis in modern history is unfolding.”* At a time when it feels like there’s a new crisis confronting us each and every day, it’s reassuring to know that Mission & Service partners provide real-time relief around the world on a daily basis. Program Coordinator for Sustainable Development and Humanitarian Response at The United Church of Canada, Thivan Hoang, reminds us, “There is no ‘us’ and ‘them.’ We are one community.” The United Church is an integral part of a multinational network of partners and ecumenical relationships in over 120 countries. That means whenever there’s an emergency, Mission & Service is there to help. In 2020, a major explosion ripped through Beirut, killing 200 people and injuring 7,000 more.** Thanks to generous gifts to Mission & Service, we were able to support partners to respond quickly, providing critically important tools that helped to free people who were trapped under the rubble. And as the city recovers, Mission & Service partners continue to assist in rebuilding schools, homes, and other infrastructure. Although Mission & Service has recently focused on COVID-19 relief, there’s another looming catastrophe that requires our immediate attention. “Without a doubt, climate change worries me the most,” Hoang says. “We’re seeing increases of droughts, floods, and severe storms that have destroyed crops and agricultural land.” The more we support Mission & Service, the better we can respond to climate calamities. “People who contribute the least to greenhouse gases are often the most impacted by climate change,” Hoang explains. Your gifts have made―and will continue to make―huge differences around the world. Wherever an emergency strikes, thanks to you, Mission & Service is there to help. A more detailed video, A Deeper Look: Real-Time Relief Really Makes a World of Difference, is available on YouTube. *“At a Glance,” in Global Humanitarian Overview 2023 (29 Nov. 2022). **UN OHCHR, “UN experts call for international investigation into 2020 Beirut explosion,” (3 August 2022). CHILDREN’S CHAT      Have you ever tried to read the directions on a small bottle of pills?  The print is so tiny, I don’t think an ant could read it!! On my phone I have a magnifying app.  In order to read the directions on that bottle, I must put the bottle on its side on a flat surface, turn on the app and then adjust how far I hold my phone from the bottle so I can read the tiny print.  It takes a bit of work, yet I am able to read how to take the medication. Jesus was walking with two of his disciples after he was resurrected by God.  Jesus must have looked different somehow because the disciples did not recognize him – until… They had supper. It wasn’t until Jesus tore the bread for the meal that the disciples suddenly saw Jesus for who he was.  It was if that piece of bread was the magnifying app and they saw Jesus clearly!  Suddenly, what was unclear became sharply clear!  Jesus blessed, tore and shared the bread and blessed and shared the wine at the meal with his disciples on the night he was arrested.  When Jesus blessed and broke the bread for their supper, that action made everything clear. Sometimes in life, life doesn’t make sense.  It is as if we are trying to read the tiny print on a small pill bottle!  Then, we pray, or we share our feelings with someone, and something they say or do, or something that happens in our life suddenly makes everything that had us confused, make sense!  It can take a little work to figure things out.  In the end, thinks make sense, and we feel more relaxed.      It is important to keep talking to Jesus, our parents, friends, pastor, to make sure that we stay focused on God’s love, forgiveness, and guidance.  Life is not fun when things are not clear and we feel lost.  Taking the time to examine a situation closely, getting help, and trusting the Holy Spirit to guide will help us to see Jesus in other people, and to help us love everyone. PRAYER FOR ILLUMINATION God of Wonder and of unexpected delight, as we celebrate Christ’s risen presence among us today we pray that you would open to us the scripture’s message.  Talk to us as we journey along life’s way, meet us as we fellowship with one another, and so move in us that we may claim all your promises as our own.  Open our eyes and quicken our hearts, we ask it in Jesus’ name.  Amen


First Reading: Acts 2:14a, 36-41

Today’s reading is the conclusion of Peter’s sermon preached following the giving of the Holy Spirit to the apostles on the day of Pentecost. The center of his preaching is the bold declaration that God has made the crucified Jesus both Lord and Christ. 14aPeter, standing with the eleven, raised his voice and addressed , 36“Therefore let the entire house of Israel know with certainty that God has made him both Lord and Messiah, this Jesus whom you crucified.” 37Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and to the other apostles, “Brothers, what should we do?” 38Peter said to them, “Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ so that your sins may be forgiven; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39For the promise is for you, for your children, and for all who are far away, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to him.” 40And he testified with many other arguments and exhorted them, saying, “Save yourselves from this corrupt generation.” 41So those who welcomed his message were baptized, and that day about three thousand persons were added. Psalm 116:1-4, 12-19 1I love the Lord, who has heard my voice, and listened to my supplication, 2for the Lord has given ear to me whenever I called. 3The cords of death entangled me; the anguish of the grave came upon me; I came to grief and sorrow. 4Then I called upon the name of the Lord:  “O Lord, I pray you, save my life.”  12How shall I repay the Lord for all the good things God has done for me? 13I will lift the cup of salvation and call on the name of the Lord. 14I will fulfill my vows to the Lord in the presence of | all God’s people. 15Precious in your sight, O Lord, is the death of your servants. 16O Lord, truly I am your servant; I am your servant, the child of your handmaid; you have freed me from my bonds. 17I will offer you the sacrifice of thanksgiving and call upon the name of the Lord.  18I will fulfill my vows to the Lord in the presence of all God’s people, 19in the courts of the Lord’s house, in the midst of you, O Jerusalem. Hallelujah!  Second Reading: 1 Peter 1:17-23 The imagery of exile is used to help the readers of this letter understand that they are strangers in a strange land. Christians no longer belong to this age. Through the death of Christ we belong to God, so that our focus, faith, and hope are no longer on such things as silver or gold. 17If you invoke as Father the one who judges all people impartially according to their deeds, live in reverent fear during the time of your exile. 18You know that you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your ancestors, not with perishable things like silver or gold, 19but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without defect or blemish. 20He was destined before the foundation of the world, but was revealed at the end of the ages for your sake. 21Through him you have come to trust in God, who raised him from the dead and gave him glory, so that your faith and hope are set on God. 22Now that you have purified your souls by your obedience to the truth so that you have genuine mutual love, love one another deeply from the heart. 23You have been born anew, not of perishable but of imperishable seed, through the living and enduring word of God. Gospel: Luke 24:13-35 The colorful story of Jesus’ appearance to two disciples on the road to Emmaus answers the question of how Jesus is to be recognized among us. Here, he is revealed through the scriptures and in the breaking of bread. 13Now on that same day  two  were going to a village called Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem, 14and talking with each other about all these things that had happened. 15While they were talking and discussing, Jesus himself came near and went with them, 16but their eyes were kept from recognizing him. 17And he said to them, “What are you discussing with each other while you walk along?” They stood still, looking sad. 18Then 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?” 19He 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, 20and how our chief priests and leaders handed him over to be condemned to death and crucified him. 21But 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. 22Moreover, some women of our group astounded us. They were at the tomb early this morning, 23and 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. 24Some 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.” 25Then he said to them, “Oh, how foolish you are, and how slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have declared! 26Was it not necessary that the Messiah should suffer these things and then enter into his glory?” 27Then beginning with Moses and all the prophets, he interpreted to them the things about himself in all the scriptures. 28As they came near the village to which they were going, he walked ahead as if he were going on. 29But 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. 30When he was at the table with them, he took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them. 31Then their eyes were opened, and they recognized him; and he vanished from their sight. 32They 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?” 33That same hour they got up and returned to Jerusalem; and they found the eleven and their companions gathered together. 34They were saying, “The Lord has risen indeed, and he has appeared to Simon!” 35Then they told what had happened on the road, and how he had been made known to them in the breaking of the bread. HYMN:  ELW 374  Day Of Arising SERMON – (thank you, Dave Maginley!) Punch line:  n.  1)  A sentence, statement or phrase in a joke, play or humorous story that drives home an unexpected point.  2)  a twist at the end of a narrative which entirely changes one’s perspective.  EXAMPLE:  Two guys walk into a bar.  You would have thought the second one would have seen it. I like jokes because they force me to see things in a different way, and they make me laugh.  My problem is that I sometimes can’t remember the punch line when I need it.  The situation will arise at a party, or some other function, when I’ll come to the end of my story and … I have forgotten the punch line.  This is very frustrating, especially when I am not telling it to be funny but to make a serious point, for jokes also comment on our condition and humanity. These are the kind of jokes Jesus tells; stories and parables that hit you from the blind side and reveal a truth seldom seen.  In our gospel text, Jesus delivers the punch line.  He took the bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them.  Then their eyes were opened and they recognized Jesus.  In the ordinary stuff of life, the two disciples finally clued in that Jesus was present.  And suddenly, all that Jesus had told them made sense.  In the ordinary stuff of life, God’s grace was revealed.  This is what the gospel is.  It is God’s grace that comes to us, often unexpectedly, in the daily functions of life. I find the gospel to be like water, which I strive to keep within my grasp.  It keeps…slipping through my fingers.  I think, “If only I could keep the gospel in my grasp, before my eyes, on my tongue, then I could always live by it.” But such is my misunderstanding of the gospel of Christ, and the misunderstanding of the two disciples on the road to Emmaus.  It is also the misunderstanding of many people today.  We forget that we are swimming in an ocean into which we dip our hands.  We are immersed in the gospel, lifted up in a sea called the resurrection and the life.  This elusive message, which we strive to keep within our grasp, hold on to so tightly, actually has us in its grasp.  We try to live it, when we are already living in it. It is so easy for this contemporary heresy to continue.  Our common mistake is to define a Christian as one who follows the 10 commandments or who memorizes scripture.  As one who does certain things, or worse still, who does not do certain things.  We think we have some say or influence on whether we are counted among the saints, whether we can effect our salvation, whether we make it to the resurrection to stand with our peers and think, “I wasn’t such a bad Christian after all.”  So, in order to make it, we try to keep the message in our hands, before our eyes, and on our tongues, try to be perfect in our faith.  We are so caught up in keeping hold of the gospel, that our senses are blinded to the fact that the gospel comes to us through others, in the ordinary, imperfect stuff and people of life.  Often, we see the gospel so neatly and beautifully wrapped, and believe that in order to have it, all we have to do is…. But then God joins us in our daily walk, and has this wonderful joke to tell.  To be made a child of God has nothing to with anything we can do.  The point is, there is absolutely nothing we can do to be made children of God!  To be a Christian is to be named so by God, not ourselves.  To be a Christian is to be resurrected already!  It is to recognize the gospel of Christ in the ordinary stuff of life, and realize that Christ is present in this moment.  It is as if Christ says to us, “My gift to you is far too big to hold in your hands, for it is you whom I hold in mine.”  The Lutheran church states the punch line this way:  “You are justified by grace through faith.”  Surprise!  We can stop struggling!  We can stop working so hard to be righteous, because nothing we do will get us any closer to God anyway!  It is God, through Christ, who makes us righteous.  This is the punch line which can change our lives. Imagine you are an invisible bystander as this scene unfolds.  You see the two disciples walking along in sadness and confusion.  What will we do now?  Jesus is dead.  All is lost.  “No, no!”  you shout, “Jesus isn’t dead!  Look, here he comes now!” Yet still the two cannot see.  They speak of angels and empty tombs, but still cannot comprehend the punch line!  And you shout, “Listen to what Jesus is saying!  He is explaining scripture to you!  He is telling you why things had to be the way they were!  Can’t you understand?!”  But still the two do not see or understand.  It is only in the ordinary stuff of life, the breaking of bread, that their eyes are opened.  And you say, “Finally!  It’s about time you guys clued in!  What took you so long?!”  Funny, I ask that question about a lot of people.  I can see that Christ is present, why can’t they?  I have a sense of humor.  I can see and hear the punch line, why can’t they? Like the disciples on the road to Emmaus, we get so caught up in life, so worried about how things will work out, fear that God has abandoned us, that we cannot see who walks with us.  We cannot believe in angels and empty tombs.  It takes the ordinary stuff of life, and community, such as the breaking of bread, before we can see Christ with us.  Yet sadly, some people cannot even comprehend the punch line in the forgiveness offered them in the Eucharist. Perhaps, rather than working so hard at holding on to the gospel, which was meant to be shared, we need to work on our sense of humor, or at least the ability to be able to hear the punch line.  The gospel truly is funny.  It enters into people’s lives in the strangest places and situations.  Just when we think God would never be caught in this place or that place, or with these people or those sinners  —  surprise!  That is where grace is most needed and Christ is present in the ordinary stuff of life.  And guess what?  Like it or not, God will use you, in the most unexpected places, to deliver the punch line.  You will take the ordinary stuff of life – bread, wine, water, touch, hugs, tears, laughter, love, compassion – and God will bless it, and you will share it, and their eyes will be opened, and they will hear and see the punch line; that Christ is present with them, in you.  Amen. HYMN:  MV 162  Christ, Within Us Hidden PRAYERS OF INTERCESSION United in the hope and joy of the resurrection, let us pray for the church, the world, and all in need. Ever-present God, you make yourself known in the breaking of the bread and in the bonds of community. Reveal yourself to us in the faces of all we meet. Strengthened by your body and blood, let us boldly live out your good news. Hear us, O God. Your mercy is great. As we know you in the breaking of the bread, we know you in the grains of the field and the flowing waters. Care for the earth you lovingly create. Strengthen those who safeguard threatened land and water. Hear us, O God. Your mercy is great. You are the authority to whom we dedicate our lives. Help us keep the needs of those most vulnerable at the forefront of our community. Move us to care for any who are disregarded or oppressed. Hear us, O God. Your mercy is great. Mothering God, you feed and comfort those who hunger. Open the hearts of those who horde resources and lead them to share your abundance. We pray for anyone hungering for your comforting presence this day. Hear us, O God. Your mercy is great. You pour out your love on those who are oppressed. Support and comfort anyone who is marginalized by gender or sexuality and those whose stories are not believed. Form this community to listen faithfully and speak honestly in our ministry together. Hear us, O God. Your mercy is great. We remember with thanksgiving all your beloved saints. As you have raised them to eternal life, abide with us in your promise of resurrection. Hear us, O God. Your mercy is great. Rejoicing in the victory of Christ’s resurrection, we lift our prayers and praise to you, almighty and eternal God; through Jesus Christ, our risen Lord. Amen. THE LORD’S PRAYER SENDING SONG:  VU 371  Open My Eyes That I May See BENEDICTION Christ is Risen and He goes before us, into this world of fear and pain. He has called us to bring the Good News of healing and hope, of redemption. Go in peace, and feel the presence of the Risen Lord with you, now and forever. AMEN.    

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