Sunday, April 5, 2015

To the end of the journey and beyond - a sunrise service for Easter

To the end of the journey … and beyond!

A sunrise service on top of Cleeve Hill

A pathway to follow.  A long walk ahead.  And nothing to do but talk about everything that’s happened in the last few days.  What would it be like if Jesus entered into the conversation?
The first part of our walk
Luke                That same day two of them were walking to the village of Emmaus, about seven miles out of Jerusalem. They were deep in conversation, going over all these things that had happened. In the middle of their talk and questions, Jesus came up and walked along with them. But they were not able to recognize who he was.
Jesus               “What’s this you’re discussing so intently as you walk along?”
Luke                They just stood there, long-faced, like they had lost their best friend.
Cleopas           “Are you the only one in Jerusalem who hasn’t heard what’s happened during the last few days?”
Jesus               “What has happened?”
Cleopas           “The things that happened to Jesus the Nazarene. He was a man of God, a prophet, dynamic in work and word, blessed by both God and all the people. Then our high priests and leaders betrayed him, got him sentenced to death, and crucified him.
Friend              And we had our hopes up that he was the One, the One about to deliver Israel. And it is now the third day since it happened. But now some of our women have completely confused us.
Cleopas           Early this morning they were at the tomb and couldn’t find his body. They came back with the story that they had seen a vision of angels who said he was alive. Some of our friends went off to the tomb to check and found it empty just as the women said, but they didn’t see Jesus.”
Back to that moment at the tomb …
Luke                At the crack of dawn on Sunday, the women came to the tomb carrying the burial spices they had prepared.
Mary Mag        We found the entrance stone rolled back from the tomb, so we walked in. But once inside, we couldn’t find the body of the Master Jesus.
Joanna             We were puzzled, wondering what to make of this. Then, out of nowhere it seemed, two men, light cascading over them, stood there.
James’ mother            We were awestruck and bowed down in worship.
Man 1              “Why are you looking for the Living One in a cemetery? He is not here, but raised up.
Man 2              Remember how he told you when you were still back in Galilee that he had to be handed over to sinners, be killed on a cross, and in three days rise up?”
Mary Mag        Then we remembered Jesus’ words.

Lord, I lift Your name on high,
Lord, I love to sing Your praises,
I'm so glad You're in my life,
I'm so glad You came to save us.
You came from heaven to earth
To show the way,
From the earth to the cross,
My debt to pay,
From the cross to the grave,
From the grave to the sky,
Lord, I lift Your name on high.
Rick Founds CCl 3540

Joanna             So we left the tomb and broke the news of all this to the Eleven and the rest.
James’ Mary   We kept telling these things to the apostles, but the apostles didn’t believe a word of it
Mary Mag        They thought we were making it all up.  But Peter jumped to his feet and ran to the tomb.
Peter   I stooped to look in and saw a few grave clothes, that’s all.
Mary Mag        He walked away puzzled, shaking his head.
We return to continue our walk
Luke                Jesus had been listening to their story intently.  Then he spoke … and this is what he said
Jesus               “So thick-headed! So slow-hearted! Why can’t you simply believe all that the prophets said? Don’t you see that these things had to happen, that the Messiah had to suffer and only then enter into his glory?”
Luke                Then Jesus started at the beginning, with the Books of Moses, and went on through all the Prophets, pointing out everything in the Scriptures that referred to him.

To the top of the hill in sight of the town
Luke                They came to the edge of the village where they were headed. He acted as if he were going on but they pressed him:
Cleopas           “Stay and have supper with us. It’s nearly evening; the day is done.”
Luke                So Jesus went in with them. And this is what happened: He sat down at the table with them. Taking the bread, he blessed and broke and gave it to them. At that moment, open-eyed, wide-eyed, they recognized him. And then he disappeared.
Back and forth they talked.
Friend              “Didn’t we feel on fire as he chatted with us on the road, as he opened up the Scriptures for us?”
Leader             This is the Good News!                               The grave is empty, Christ is risen!
Hallelujah, Christ is risen indeed!
Leader             This is the Good News                                       – the light shines in the darkness and the darkness can never put it out!  Christ is risen!
Hallelujah, Christ is risen indeed!
Leader:            This is the Good News                                             – once we were no people, now we are God’s people.  Christ is risen!
Hallelujah, Christ is risen indeed!
Led like a lamb to the slaughter
In silence and shame,
There on Your back You carried a world
Of violence and pain.
Bleeding, dying, bleeding, dying.
You're alive, You're alive,
            You have risen, Alleluia!
            And the power and the glory is given,
                        Alleluia, Jesus, to You.

At break of dawn, poor Mary,
Still weeping she came,
When through her grief she heard Your voice
Now speaking her name.
Mary, Master, Mary, Master!

At the right hand of the Father
Now seated on high
You have begun Your eternal reign
Of justice and joy.
Glory, glory, glory, glory. 
Graham Kendrick (born 1950) ccl 3540
Luke                They didn’t waste a minute. They were up and on their way back to Jerusalem. They found the Eleven and their friends gathered together, talking away:
Peter               “It’s really happened! The Master has been raised up—I have seen him!”
Luke                Then the two went over everything that happened on the road and how they recognized him when he broke the bread.
While they were saying all this, Jesus appeared to them
Jesus               “Peace be with you.”
Jesus               Today and tomorrow
All                    Today and tomorrow
Jesus               Lo, I am with you always
All                    When we try to do your will
Jesus               I am with you always
All                    When we go                                        where we do not know
Jesus               I am with you always
All                    When we meet one                                    we do not recognize
Jesus               I am with you always
All                    Where faith ends                                                and doubt begins
Jesus               I am with you always
All                    Today and Tomorrow
                        Today and Tomorrow
                        You are with us always
                        To the end of the journey
                        To the end of the world
                        And beyond to eternity.

Thine be the glory, risen conquering Son;
endless is the victory thou o'er death hast won.
Angels in bright raiment rolled the stone away,
kept the folded grave clothes where thy body lay.
Thine be the glory, risen conquering Son:
Endless is the victory, thou o'er death hast won.

Lo! Jesus meets us, risen from the tomb;
lovingly he greets us, scatters fear and gloom.
Let his church with gladness, hymns of triumph sing;
for her Lord now liveth, death hath lost its sting.

No more we doubt thee, glorious prince of life!
Life is nought without thee; aid us in our strife;
make us more than conquerors,
       through thy deathless love:
Bring us safe through Jordan to thy home above.
Edmund L Budry (1854-1932), tr Richard B Hoyle (1875-1939) CCL3540

A pathway to follow.  Not quite such a long walk ahead.  Let’s realise the risen Jesus is with us on the journey wherever that journey takes us.  When the going’s easy, and when the going’s tough, let’s bring him into the conversation!
The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ
The love of God and
The fellowship of the Holy Spirit
Be with us all evermore, Amen.

From Luke 24 in the Message and Stages on the Way

Wild Goose Worship Group

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