Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Abide in Jesus Eastertide: The Road Back from Emmaus to Jerusalem

The Road to Emmaus by Daniel Bonnell reveals how Jesus pursues us through any circumstance and storm of life.

The unknown Christ came up beside the two disciples on the road. It is worth recalling that throughout the ensuing conversation He remains unrecognized. The moment of recognition, the epiphany, is still to come. Once that revelation has been given then the disciples recall how their hearts had burned within them during the conversation on the road. But this is remembered in retrospect; throughout the journey itself Christ remains hidden, unknown, incognito.

Our experiences of being alone, abandoned and without Christ, may not actually correspond to reality. This is in no way to trivialize or diminish the pain or feelings of loss and loneliness, but the fact that Christ is not recognized does not mean that He is absent. Indeed, we might suggest that for the two walkers in our story, Christ was in fact more intimately and wonderfully present than He had ever been before; had they ever previously known such a conversation with Jesus as this one? So then, even in the darkest and most despairing moments of our pilgrimage we are not alone; Christ walks beside us even when we mistake Him for a stranger who comes, uninvited, out of nowhere.

But there is also a great challenge here: the risen Christ not only accompanies the despairing walkers, but He is now the unpredictable Christ. He cannot be restricted and contained; He comes and goes and in the power of a risen life does His gracious work in human lives in mysterious ways that are often unseen and unrecognized. This suggests that to understand the resurrection merely as a doctrine to be believed is to strip it of its glory; Christ is alive and in the world, on the open roads where people travel and discuss their disappointments, doing His revealing, healing work in ways that are surprising and mysterious. We may not set limits on when, or where, or how He makes His presence known; rather, we can expect to be continually surprised by the sudden, unanticipated ways in which He comes alongside humble people who seek for the Kingdom while confessing their need of grace and fresh understanding.

+ David Smith, Moving Towards Emmaus: Hope in a Time of Uncertainty

A child kicks his legs rhythmically through excess, not absence, of life. Because children have abounding vitality, because they are in spirit fierce and free, therefore they want things repeated and unchanged. They always say, "Do it again" … For grown-up people are not strong enough to exult in monotony. But perhaps God is strong enough to exult in monotony. It is possible that God says every morning, "Do it again" to the sun; and every evening, "Do it again" to the moon. It may not be automatic necessity that makes all daisies alike; it may be that God makes every daisy separately, but has never got tired of making them. It may be that He has the eternal appetite of infancy; for we have sinned and grown old, and our Father is younger than we. The repetition in Nature may not be a mere recurrence; it may be a theatrical encore.

+ G.K. Chesterton, Orthodoxy

Bible Passages | Luke 19:10; Luke 24:36-49

Eucharist | Thanking God for Communion with Christ and His Church

Jesus’ Prayer for His Disciples
Matthew 6:9-13

Our Father in heaven, 
May Your name be kept holy.
May Your Kingdom come.
May Your will be done
On earth as it is in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread
And forgive us our sins
As we have forgiven those
Who sin against us.
And don’t let us
Yield to temptation,
But rescue us
From the evil one.
(For Yours is the Kingdom,
The power and the glory forever. Amen.)

In Tenderness He Sought Me
By W. Spencer Walton
1894 A.D.

In tenderness He sought me 
Weary and sick with sin.
And on His shoulders brought me
Back to His fold again.
While angels in His presence sang,
Until the courts of heaven rang!

Oh, the love that sought me!
Oh, the blood that bought me!
Oh the grace that brought me
To the fold of God!
Grace that brought me
To the fold of God!

He died for me while I was sinning, 
Needy and poor and blind.
He whispered to assure me,
"I've found thee; thou art Mine."
I never heard a sweeter voice,
It made my aching heart rejoice!

Upon His grace I'll daily ponder
And sing anew His praise.
With all adoring wonder,
His blessings I retrace.
It seems as if eternal days,
Are far too short to sing His praise!

Come Behold the Wondrous Mystery
By Matt Papa, Matt Boswell, 
and Michael Bleecker
2013 A.D.

Come behold the wondrous mystery
In the dawning of the King.
He the theme of heaven’s praises,
Robed in frail humanity.
In our longing, in our darkness,
Now the light of life has come!
Look to Christ, who condescended,
Took on flesh to ransom us.

Come behold the wondrous mystery
He the perfect Son of Man.
In His living, in His suffering,
Never trace nor stain of sin.
See the true and better Adam
Come to save the hell-bound man!
Christ the great and sure fulfillment

Of the law; in Him we stand.

Come behold the wondrous mystery
Christ the Lord upon the tree,
In the stead of ruined sinners
Hangs the Lamb in victory.
See the price of our redemption!
See the Father’s plan unfold!
Bringing many sons to glory,
Grace unmeasured, love untold!

Come behold the wondrous mystery
Slain by death the God of life.
But no grave could e’er restrain Him.
Praise the Lord; He is alive!
What a foretaste of deliverance!
How unwavering our hope!
Christ in power resurrected

As we will be when He comes!

No Longer Slaves
By Bethel Music
2015 A.D.

You unravel me with a melody,
You surround me with a song
Of deliverance from my enemies
'Til all my fears are gone.

Now I'm no longer a slave to fear.
I am a child of God.
No, I'm no longer a slave to fear.
I am a child of God.

From my mothers womb,
You have chosen me.
Love has called my name.
I've been born again into Your family,
Your blood flows through my veins.

Woah, Woah ...

You split the sea
So I could walk right through it!
My fears were drowned 
In perfect love!
You rescued me
so I can stand and sing
"I am a child of God!"

The Anthem
By Todd Delaney
Original by Planetshakers
2013 A.D.

You have won the victory!
You have won it all for me!

Death could not hold You down!
You are the risen King
Seated in majesty,
You are the risen King!

By His stripes we are healed,
By His nail-pierced hands we're free.
By His blood, we're washed clean,
Now we have the victory.

The power of sin is broken,
Jesus overcame it all.
He has won our freedom,
Jesus has won it all.
By Vertical Church Band
2013 A.D.

When the ground beneath my feet gives way,
And I hear the sound of crashing waves,
All my world is washing out to sea.
I'm hidden safe in the God who never moves,
Holding fast to the promise of the truth
That You are holding tighter still to me.

The Rock won't move and His word is strong,
The Rock won't move and His love can't be undone!
The Rock won't move and His word is strong,
The Rock won't move and His love can't be undone,
The Rock of our Salvation!

My hope is in the promise of Your blood,
My support within the raging flood,
Even in the tempest, I can sing!
I'm hidden safe in the God who never moves,
Holding fast to the promise of Your truth
That You are holding tighter still to me!

Woah, Woah, Woah, the Rock of our salvation!

On Christ the Solid Rock we stand,
All other ground is sinking sand,
The Rock won't movethe Rock won't move!
When darkness seems to hide His face,
We rest on His unchanging grace,
The Rock won't movethe Rock won't move!

Christ Is Risen
By Matt Maher
2009 A.D.

Let no one caught in sin remain
Inside the lie of inward shame,
But fix our eyes upon the cross
And run to Him who showed great love
And bled for us.
Freely, You've bled for us.

Christ is risen from the dead,
Trampling over death by death!

Come awake, come awake,
Come and rise up from the grave!
Christ is risen from the dead,
We are one with Him again!
Come awake, come awake,
Come and rise up from the grave!

Beneath the weight of all our sin,
You bowed to none but heaven's will.
No scheme of hell, no scoffer's crown,
No burden great can hold You down.
In strength You reign,
Forever let Your Church proclaim!

O death, where is your sting?
O hell, where is your victory?
O Church, come stand in the light,
The glory of God has defeated the night!
O death, where is your sting?
O hell, where is your victory?
O Church, come stand in the light,
Our God is not dead!
He's alive! He's alive!

390 A.D.

I believe in God, 
the Father almighty,

Maker of heaven and earth,
and in Jesus Christ,
His only Son, our Lord,

who was conceived by the Holy Spirit
born of the virgin Mary.

suffered under Pontius Pilate, 

was crucified, dead, and buried;

He descended to hell.

The third day He rose again!

He ascended to heaven

and is seated at the right hand
of God the Father almighty.

From there He shall come
to judge the living and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Spirit,

the holy catholic* Church,

the communion of saints,

the forgiveness of sins, 

the resurrection of the body,

and the life everlasting. Amen.

*Catholic stands for Jesus' Church
"according to the whole,"
across time, cultures, and nations,
that He established
and continues to build by His
grace, truth, and resurrection power.

Eastertide: 50 Days of Joy

In the Christian Calendar, Eastertide is a season that lasts 50 days (10 more than Lent)! These 50 days are celebrated as a single joyful feast from Easter Sunday to Pentecost Sunday. It’s a time to remember that Jesus wasn’t in a rush to ascend, but that He spent time appearing to His disciples and preparing them for Pentecost. This is an extended time, then, to joyfully celebrate the resurrection; here are a few suggestions on how to cultivate a feast of joy in this season:

Dwell in the resurrection. Take a few minutes throughout the day to remember: Jesus is alive. Ask God to help you live in the reality of the Risen One.

Be intentional with your praise to God. Every day, tell God about how awesome He is. He is faithful, good, wise, our Provider, merciful, just, etc.

Cultivate thanksgiving. Start a routine of thanking God for what He gave you in the day, and share what comes to mind with someone else.

Ask God to restore the joy of His salvation. If you’re more like me, where you see the cup as half empty, you can ask for God to "Restore to me the joy of Your salvation” (Psalm 51:12).

Ask God for the joy of seeing others receive His salvation. Jesus says “there is joy before the angels of God over one sinner who repents” (Luke 15:10).

Praise the good you see in others and thank them. Ask God to help you see others as He sees you.

Smile. There’s legitimate science proving that smiles increase joy, even if you’re not feeling it; ask God to make His face to shine upon you and through you.

Enjoy what you love. Whether that’s hiking, eating ice cream, or listening to your favorite tunes, thank God for the good gifts of His creation.

These are just some suggestions. The goal in Eastertide is not to generally become just happier people, but to become rooted and overflowing in the miraculous joy God offers us in the Good News that Jesus is alive, conquering sin and death for us. And we want that joy to flow out of us into others just like God's joy flows out of Him into us.

+ Alistair Sterne, St. Peter’s Fireside


May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God the Father, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all. + 2 Corinthians 13:14

Next post: Abide in Jesus Eastertide: Rebel Joy is Received in Blessing, Ascending, and Rejoicing

+ Sully

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