Worship Connection: April 23, 2023

March 27th, 2020

Third Sunday of Easter

Color: White
Scripture Readings: Acts 2:14a, 36-41; Psalm 116:1-4, 12-19; 1 Peter 1:17-23; Luke 24:13-35

Call to Worship #1

L: Come, out of the darkness of doubt
P: We come seeking the Light
L: Open your hearts to receive God’s healing love.
P: Lord, help us to see you and to feel your loving presence. AMEN.

Call to Worship #2

L: Welcome! It’s wonderful to greet you in the name of Jesus.
P: Thank you! We are glad to be here.
L: Today we will speak of a special trip Jesus took.
P: We are eager to hear about this.
L: Ah, but it isn’t only about Jesus, it’s also about us!
P: Lord, make us ready for this journey with Jesus. AMEN

Call to Worship #3

[Using a single bongo drum or box drum, and following a calypso rhythm, use the following song as directed. Song: “He Came Down”, FWS p. 2085. Begin procession of singers from the back of the worship area to the front. They might want to twirl around and dance as they sing this. The song should be memorized]

L: Come! Celebrate! The Lord came down to us!
P: Why did he come?
Choir [singing the verses of the suggested song as they process up the aisle/aisles]
P: He came for us?
L: Absolutely, just for each and every one of you. Get ready for the journey of a lifetime with Jesus.

Gathering Prayer

Lord, thank you for bringing each one of us here today. Open our hearts to hear your words and our spirits to dare to journey with you. AMEN.

Opening Prayer

Gracious God, you have given yourself to us in the person of Jesus. We have his example of loving ministry as a guide for our lives. We stand as people forgiven and reconciled to you. Be with us this day. Remind us that you are always near. Guide our lives. For we ask this in Jesus’ name. AMEN.

Prayer of Confession

Sometimes our hearts ache within us, O Lord. Like those travelers on the Emmaus road, we feel the deep sadness about losing Jesus. Our sadness finds its roots in many things and we feel as though we cannot escape it.It becomes part and parcel of our conversations. Deep within, our spirits long for release and we silently cry. Forgive us when we close our eyes to your presence. Heal our brokenness. Bind up our wounds. Place us on the path of healing and help us to be people who will bring compassionate caring to others, for we ask these things In Jesus’ name. AMEN

Words of Assurance

Dear friends, let your hearts be healed. God is here with you, righr now and walks with you into the world. Do not fear! Peace be with you all. AMEN.

Morning Prayer

Sometimes our faith life is like a journey in which we have four flat tires, no change for the thruway, and children crying “Are we there yet?”. We just try to get through it. Be with us on these journeys. Bring us hope and comfort. Remind us that we will be “OK”, that God is walking with us. This week so many things have happened in our lives. Some of these things have been wonderful and cause our hearts to rejoice; other things have torn at our spirits seeking to bring us down. Lift us up, Lord. Open our eyes to you. Help us to see your presence in all your world. Give us courage and strength for all the journeys ahead so that even flat tires and fussing children will not deter us from our destination. Amen.


Prayer of Dedication

Lord, I ask your blessing on these gifts and on these people. Please be with them, give them courage. Use these gifts to help others as you have healed and helped us, for we ask this in Jesus’ name. AMEN.

Benediction/Sending Forth

It’s time to go, friends! Set your foot on the path of service and reconciliation. Look for the many ways in which God has blessed your journey. Go in confidence that Christ walks with you, each step of the way. AMEN.

Children’s Time

[Have the children gather at the front of the sanctuary. A leader will take them around the sanctuary. Make sure that they travel down every aisle and when they come back to the front they will be joined by another who will lead them up the aisle again.]

Pastor: Good morning! Today we are going to do a little “acting”. Your leader will take you around the sanctuary and eventually you will come back here. This is important so listen carefully. You are the actors and when you go around the sanctuary the first time you will walk as though you are very sad, something bad has happened. Let me see your “sad faces”! Good. When you come back here you will have another leader but this time you will be very happy. You can yelll “Hooray! Or Yippee” some sound that lets us all know how happy you are. You will come back to the front of the church and sit down here with me. OK? Are you ready? Leader, lead your very sad people around the sanctuary.

[When the children return the Pastor reminds them of the great happiness they are feeling]

Pastor: Well, sit down here. You must be tired. You just helped us to see what it might have been like when some of Jesus’ friends were leaving Jerusalem and heading for a little town called Emmaus. They were very sad. Jesus had died! It was awful! They talked about it a lot as they walked along. Suddenly they were joined by someone who was interested in what they had to say and they asked him if he would stay with them at a local inn, as it was already getting dark outside. He did and he had supper with them. Then he took a small loaf of bread and blessed it and broke it, giving each of them some bread and they realized that it was Jesus, who had broken bread with them only a few days before. They were so excited they rushed back to Jerusalem to tell the other disciples of their meeting w ith Jesus. What an amazing thing it was to encounter Jesus. Did you know that you can encounter Jesus every day. Sometimes Jesus’ love shines through other people who are loving and kind; other times we see the wonder of Jesus in our whole world. Everywhere you go, Jesus will be with ykou, loving and guiding your steps. Get ready for your amazing trip with our Lord. You will be in for quite the adventure and surprises!

Altar Art for this Sunday

Equipment and Props: White cloth to cover whole altar; burlap to place under center cross and down the altar onto the floor; 3’ tall wooden cross, six hymnals; two taper candles [placed on the left side of the altar] and one pillar candle [placed on the right side of the altar]; ivy or other potted plant to set on each side of the cross as background; large green leafy plant to be placed on the floor by the puddled burlap, ten sets of “footprints” coming down the burlap, moving away from the cross, two “walkers” footprints will be three sets of right and left feet. They will appearing to walk side by side, the third walker, representing Jesus, will be entering the path from the right side as you face the altar, so the beginning footprint set will be somewhat behind the others and off to the side, the remaining three sets will be part of the group. Do not place the footprint sets too closely together, it will confuse people.

Scripture as Script: {Portions of Psalm 116}

[This scripture is interwoven with the song “I Will Call Upon the Lord” FWS #2002. The song should be sung joyfully – do not drag the tempo! I used the singer’s edition of The Faith We Sing]

Reader: I love the Lord because God hears my requests for mercy. I will call upon the Lord as long as I live because God listens closely to me
Soloist: singing only the first stanza of the song – do not sing the Refrain at this point}
Reader: I’ll offer a sacrifice of thanksgiving to you, O Lord, and I will call upon your name.
Duet: Original soloist singing first line and the second person singing the second line, but not the Refrain at this time}
Reader: I’ll keep the promises I made to the Lord in the presence of God’s people.
Quartet: two people singing the top line of the song, and two voices singing the bottom line. This time the Refrain will be added

Message Movers

It is so easy to pass this scripture about the Emmaus walk off, relegating it to the shelf of “Nice Stories about Jesus”. We let it go and gather dust for another year when we take it out and talk about it a little. But this story does not impact us. Perhaps we, like the disciples on the Emmaus road, are too caught up in the horrors of the day, the fears and disappointments. We trudge along, looking down at the dirt and seeing that as the sum of our lives. Our hope is gone, we don’t know what to do. Every once in a while someone comes into our lives and gives us a glimpse of the great good news of God’s love through Jesus Christ. But still we trudge. Jesus would refer to us as “foolish people” , just as he did with those travelers on the Emmaus road. If they knew Jesus so well from traveling with him, why were they having trouble believing in the resurrection appearance reported by the women?

One possible response to this query is that to believe is really difficult. It’s easier to focus on the dirt and darkness than on the light and hope. We do this far too often in our own lives. Christ is present with us, at all times, in the lives of others, in the love that is shown, in the reconciliation that comes from hearts warmed and healed. John Wesley, the founder of Methodism, once said that he “felt his heart strangely warmed”. We would like that. Right now they are cold and frightened. Do we dare to believe in the power of God’s love through Christ? Good question.

The other response is the possibility of entertaining the idea that things might work out and that we are called to reach out to others. Those Emmaus disciples reached out to Jesus, still a stranger to them, and invited him to eat with them and stay the night in the local inn, as it was already getting dark. They offered welcome to this stranger – might we do the same. He stayed with them and, in the breaking of bread, they suddenly recognized him. Look around you. Go ahead. Right now. It’s OK to turn around in church. Do you see Jesus? He’s here. Right Now, near you perhaps. Would you reach out the hand of welcome to him or would you politely nod and turn back front? Your choice. What do you think Jesus is hoping you would do?

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