Scugog Island United Church
Happy Mother's Day
May 8th 2022 Fourth Sunday of Easter Luke 24: 13-35
Lighting The Christ Candle
Hymn- VU 222 “Come, Let Us Sing”
Call to Worship
Gracious and Loving God, in this season of new life,
We gather in worship,
Aware of the beauty of the world still unfolding.
As we worship today, we would hear again your call
To live with respect in creation
and to love and serve others.
Breathe your Holy Spirit into us as we encounter you in music, Bible reading, prayer and preaching, in the bread broken and cup poured.
May we experience anew your life-giving presence,
that we might be renewed, restored, and equipped
to by your people, following Jesus in the Way. Amen.
Farewell Service: Rev. Ned’s final service with Scugog Island United Church will be on June 5th.
Next Communion Service: June 5th
Copyright notice: Prayers from Celebrate God’s Presence: A Book of Services for The United Church of Canada Copyright © 2000 The United Church Publishing House.
Jean Law, Elsie Nicholson, Terry Petroff, John and Diane Findlay, Nancy and Don Scarrow, Debbie McIntyre, John Black, Nellie Van Dyke, Tim Pelyk, Bob Currie, Derrek Linton, Sharen Bobbie, Ed and Jane Williams, and Tammy Callahan.
Prayer of Confession
You asked for my hands, that you might use them for your purpose.
I gave them for a moment,
then withdrew them for the work was hard.
You asked for my mouth, to speak out against injustice.
I gave you a whisper,
that I might not be accused.
You asked for my eyes, to see the pain of poverty.
I closed them, for I did not want to see.
You asked for my life, that you might work through me.
I gave a small part,
that I might not get too involved.
O God, forgive me for my calculated efforts to serve you, only when it is convenient for me to do so, only in those places where it is safe to do so, and only with those who make it easy to do so.
O God, forgive me, renew me,
send me out as a useable instrument,
that I might take seriously
the meaning of your cross.
Words of Forgiveness
As the sun melts the ice in spring, as blossoms burst forth on dry branches- so God’s warmth heals and transforms the deadness and brokenness within us. In Christ we are a forgiven people! Thanks be to God.
Hymn VU 556 “Would You Bless Our Homes and Families”
Prayer of Illumination
Eternal God, in the reading of the scripture, may your Word be heard; in the meditations of our hearts, may your Word be known; and in the faithfulness of our lives, may your Word be shown. Amen.
Scripture: Luke 24:13-35
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. And he said to them, “What are you discussing with each other while you walk along?” They stood still, looking sad. 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?” 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, and how our chief priests and leaders handed him over to be condemned to death and crucified him. 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. Moreover, some women of our group astounded us. They were at the tomb early this morning, 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. 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.” Then he said to them, “Oh, how foolish you are and how slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have declared! Was it not necessary that the Messiah should suffer these things and then enter into his glory?” Then beginning with Moses and all the prophets, he interpreted to them the things about himself in all the scriptures.
As they came near the village to which they were going, he walked ahead as if he were going on. 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. When he was at the table with them, he took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them. Then their eyes were opened, and they recognized him, and he vanished from their sight. 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?” That same hour they got up and returned to Jerusalem, and they found the eleven and their companions gathered together. They were saying, “The Lord has risen indeed, and he has appeared to Simon!” Then they told what had happened on the road and how he had been made known to them in the breaking of the bread.
Today is a day where we celebrate motherhood. It is a day where we can honour and remember the mothers who have made their journey into God’s presence. It is a day where we can show our appreciation for the mothers in our lives who are still with us. I’d like to also acknowledge that this is also a day that can be painful for many people. Those who did not know their mothers or had a negative relationship with their mother or mothers who are estranged from their child. Those who may not fit the traditional definition of motherhood might struggle with this day. This can be a hard day for those who wanted to be a mother and were not able to be. And so we acknowledge this tension between the joys and pains of this day. We lift up all the complicated feelings that Mother’s Day can evoke and we offer it all to God. We offer all the celebration and the concerns to God and we trust that God will be present with every person today responding to their unique needs.
When we are born, we come into this world that has a lot of problems. Though we didn’t cause the world’s problems, we do get drawn into them. As babies we don’t have a say in the matter, we are shaped by the events and the people in our lives. As children we become inquisitive about the world, asking questions of everything. I think my daughter asks me “why?” about a hundred thousand times every day. It doesn’t matter how good I think my answer is, whatever I say always seems to raise more questions than it answers. As we grow and learn more about the world we live in, we start to see the problems of the world and how we can either be part of the problem or part of the solution. There is a quote from the United Church of Canada’s theological statement, “A Song of Faith” that expresses this well.
Before conscious thought or action on our part,
we are born into the brokenness of this world.
Before conscious thought or action on our part,
we are surrounded by God’s redeeming love.
As I said before, we didn’t cause the world’s problems, but we are born into them. At the same time we are surrounded by God’s love. We experience glimpses of God’s love in the people around us, such as our mothers who we are completely depended upon for our survival.
There was a mother riding on the bus with her daughter. One of the other passengers noticed the little girl and her mother sitting quietly, each reading a book. That passenger said to the mother, “wow your child is so well behaved. What did you say to teach her to act like that?” The mother responded, “It wasn’t something I said, at this age kids follow the example of what they see.” Follow the example.
Words are important. As someone who studies the words of the bible, offers words of prayer, and speaks the words of the sermon each Sunday I know that words have power. Words can stick with a person in a positive or negative way. Words can inspire, change perspectives, and bring people together. And sometimes words just are not enough. Sometimes what is needed most is an example to follow.
I remember at a funeral I was presiding, the daughter of the deceased woman stood up to offer her eulogy and she read a poem. Her mother had always loved poetry. The poem she read was, “Sermons We See” by Edgar Guest. The first line of the poem is “I’d rather see a sermon than hear one any day; I’d rather one should walk with me than merely tell the way.” It is a beautiful poem. It was a little bit awkward that after the reading of this poem which ends by repeating “I’d rather see a sermon than to hear one, any day.” I stood up for the next part of the service which of course was the sermon. [Maybe if they had given me a head’s up I could have adapted my sermon to be an interpretive dance?] It was fitting though. Because their mother was also someone who saw the power of words- she was a lover of poetry and a writer herself, but what her children remembered most about her was the example she gave to them of how to live well. It wasn’t just that she told them to be kind to others, but that they saw how she was kind to others. It wasn’t just that she told them how to make good choices, but that her example modeled to them the difference between good and bad decisions. It wasn’t just that she told them faith and church were important, it was that she modeled for them what a difference having faith made in her life. I think we can all relate to this. Our mothers may have told us many important things, but from our first days it was the example our mothers modeled for us that helped us learn and grow as people. We’ve all had role models who taught us many important things. We likely can remember words of wisdom that we treasure to this day. But more than the words, it is the example of how the person lived that stays with us.
In the gospel passage read today, we have an example of when words alone wouldn’t have been enough. As the disciples left Jerusalem grieving Jesus’ death and the death of all the hopes that they had in him, Jesus began walking with them. The text tells us that they didn’t realize it was Jesus. As they walked Jesus explained the scriptures to them. He helped them understand, how what they were going through in their time had been part of God’s work. He interpreted the scriptures to help them to see a clear path from Moses and all the prophets to Jesus. Jesus’ words have an impact on them. When these disciples talk about it later they say, “were not our hearts burning within us while he was talking to us on the road, while he was opening the scriptures to us?” But the words alone were not enough. It was only when Jesus broke the bread with them that they were able to really see him and understand what he was saying.
What Jesus taught them showed a clear line of God’s action in history. Jesus taught them about how God had been active in the people and events of the past: bringing freedom to the Hebrews through Moses, calling to the people and guiding them through the voice of the prophets, and in bringing people together in the life and work of Jesus. But this is not where the story of God’s work was to end. Jesus showed them the line through history that connected their past to the present moment, but it was for what came next that Jesus had been preparing them for. Jesus had predicted his death many times. He had told them that they would receive the Holy Spirit to continue guiding them. He told them these things because God’s story would continue in them. Jesus had been preparing his followers for the time when they would need to move forward without him being there to physically lead them. They had heard his words, but they were often confused by what he had said to them. It was only in resurrection moments like these, where they truly saw him that they could understand his message. Having seen him they were able to consider his words in a new light and eagerly set out to follow the example he had set for them.
We make similar journeys in our lives. Our mothers and mother figures in our lives taught us with their words, they showed us an example to live by and helped us in so many different ways for the time when we need to make our own way and be an example for others to follow. I’m sure that we all had moments where we didn’t understand the lesson we were being taught. Maybe at the time it didn’t make sense to us, but looking back we can appreciate it. Growing up my mom would be very diligent in ensuring my siblings and I got our schoolwork done. At some point in my life I did realize that this wasn’t because she really enjoyed doing the homework with us, actually there were countless other things she would have preferred to do, but she wanted us to appreciate the value of hard work and fulfilling commitments. Looking back it is clear, but at the time I am sure my siblings and I felt that she was doing it to torture us.
In the breaking of bread they were able to recognize Jesus. As we come to the table for communion may our eyes be opened to the presence of Christ in our midst. May we become more aware of how we are surrounded by God’s redeeming love. The communion meal is one we share with the people of God of every time and place. At this table we share the feast with the people who have joined that great communion of saints in life after death. Let us remember how they showed us in their words and actions a reflection of the unconditional love of God. And as we are filled by the gifts of God, may the Spirit help us to set a good example for all who follow us. Thanks be to God.
Hymn: VU 480 “Let Us Break Bread Together”
Christ is Risen!
He is risen indeed!
Lift up your hearts.
We lift them up to the Lord.
Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.
It is right to give our thanks and praise.
Blessed are you, gracious God, Creator of light, Giver of all life, Source of love. With your breath, you formed all that we are and all that is beyond us’ the heavens tell your glory. Through fear-filled days and aching nights when the powers of death have done their worst, your love has never deserted us. Even when we turn away from you, you are with us; your presence never fails us, and your gifts of hope and new life transform us. We praise you for Jesus Christ, risen to life, eternal as your love. With the women at the tomb, we raise the strain of gladness. Hallelujah! Life is stronger than death! The day of resurrection has come, scattering fear and gloom, and so we rejoice with all your people of every time and place.
… Let us join together in the song of creation:
Holy, holy, holy Lord, God of power and might, Heaven and earth are full of your glory. Hosanna in the highest. Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord. Hosanna in the highest.
As we gather at this table, we remember that on the night before he died, Jesus had supper with his friends. He took a loaf of bread, and gave it to them, saying: “Take, eat/ This is my body, given for you. Each time you do this, remember me.” Then, he took a cup, and after giving thanks, passed it to his friends, saying: “Drink. This cup is the promise of God, made in my blood. Each time you drink from this cup, remember me.”
Eternal God, we unite in this covenant of faith, as we break bread and share the cup, giving thanks for your love in Jesus, the Christ. We spread your table with these gifts of the earth and of our labour. We present to you our very lives, committed to your service on behalf of all people.
… This we remember; this we believe:
Christ has died.
Christ is risen.
Christ will come again.
By these signs of bread and the cup, we recognize the longings of all our hearts for a time when all humanity will be one family- when justice and compassion will be the way we live according to the One we seek. Holy Spirit, hover over our lives, uniting us in these signs and strengthening us to live the resurrected life of Christ in the world.
Help us to love as Christ loved. Knowing our own weakness, may we stand with all who stumble. Sharing in his suffering, may we remember all who suffer. Held in his love, may we embrace all whom the world denies. Rejoicing in his forgiveness, may we forgive all who sin against us.
We praise you, eternal God, through Christ your Word made flesh, and in the power of your life-giving Spirit, now and forever.
Let the people of God say, “Amen”.
The Lord’s Prayer
Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name, thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, the power, and the glory forever and ever. Amen.
Sharing the Bread and Cup
Prayer After Communion
Gracious God, may your gifts of love transform and enliven us that we may live lives of thanksgiving. May your presence among us provoke such longing for your realm, that we will never be satisfied until the whole earth knows your justice, your peace, and your love. In Christ’s name, we pray.
Loving God, Mother of us all, may these gifts, given gratefully, be brought to life through the power of your creative Spirit. Multiply and use them to bring the word and the touch of Jesus to your people in this place and throughout the world. Amen.
The grace of Christ attend you, the love of God surround you, the Holy-Spirit keep you. Now and forever. Amen.
Go Now in Peace