Here is a Service of the Word Suitable for use at Home.
May our gift of love in worship be offered in the name of the God whose best name is Love, in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
Let us keep silence.
Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.
The collect for purity
Almighty God, to whom all hearts are open, all desires known, and from whom no secrets are hidden: cleanse the thoughts of our hearts by the inspiration of your Holy Spirit, that we may perfectly love you, and worthily magnify your holy name; through Christ our Lord. Amen.
Confession and absolution.
God is love and we are God’s children. There is no room for fear in love. We love because God loved us first.
God our Father, we confess to you and to our fellow members in the Body of Christ that we have sinned in thought, word and deed, and in what we have failed to do. We are truly sorry. Forgive us our sins, and deliver us from the power of evil, for the sake of your Son who died for us, Jesus Christ, our Lord.
May God, who is both power and love, forgive us and free us from our sins, heal and strengthen us by the Holy Spirit, and raise us to new life in Christ our Lord. Amen.
O God, who, in the death and resurrection of your Son, have raised up this fallen world: may we and all your people, whom you have saved from the gates of everlasting death, rejoice in your eternal presence; through Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, world without end. Amen.
Alpha and Omega, our beginning and our end,
you break through the locks of gated communities
and hardened hearts:
accept our doubts,
heal our desire for certainty
and, by your Spirit’s gentle touch,
make us a people forgiven and forgiving;
through Jesus Christ, the Giver of Peace.
Lord God almighty, come and dispel the darkness from our hearts, that in the radiance of your brightness we may know you, the only unfading light, glorious in all eternity. Amen.
Liturgy of the Word
The First Reading: Acts 2:14a, 36–41
But Peter, standing with the eleven, raised his voice and addressed them: ‘Men of Judea and all who live in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and listen to what I say. Therefore let the entire house of Israel know with certainty that God has made him both Lord and Messiah, this Jesus whom you crucified.’
Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and to the other apostles, ‘Brothers, what should we do?’ Peter 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. For the promise is for you, for your children, and for all who are far away, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to him.’ And he testified with many other arguments and exhorted them, saying, ‘Save yourselves from this corrupt generation.’ So those who welcomed his message were baptized, and that day about three thousand persons were added.
For the word of the Lord.
Thanks be to God.
An unfolding of Psalm 48
A reading from the Gospel according to Luke.
Glory to Christ our Saviour.
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.
Give thanks for the glorious gospel of the Lord.
Praise to Christ our Lord.
Profession of Faith
We believe in one God, the Father, the almighty,
maker of heaven and earth,
of all that is, seen and unseen.
We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ, the only Son of God,
eternally begotten of the Father,
God from God, Light from Light,
true God from true God,
begotten, not made, of one substance with the Father.
Through him all things were made.
For us men and for our salvation
he came down from heaven;
by the power of the Holy Spirit
he became incarnate of the Virgin Mary, and was made man.
For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate;
he suffered death and was buried.
On the third day he rose again in accordance with the Scriptures;
he ascended into heaven
and is seated at the right hand of the Father.
He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead,
and his kingdom will have no end.
We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life,
who proceeds from the Father.
With the Father and the Son, he is worshipped and glorified.
He has spoken through the Prophets.
We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church.
We acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins.
We look for the resurrection of the dead,
and the life of the world to come. Amen.
Prayers of Intercession
be with those who
need you this day
Those who are suffering
and wild fires,
sufferingin every way.
be with those who
seek you this day
Those who cry
of heart-soul longing
be with those who
do not know You
Those who are lost
or, reject your love
or doubt you
or cannot feel your
ever present spirit.
who loves us as
and friend –
gift us with love
like a parent
the one we had,
the one we wish we had
the one we might hope to be
the ones we find
in unlikely people
guiding us through difficult times
and rejoicing in our gladness,
with love that never ends
be with us,
live in us.
A reflection for a time of widespread grieving— Jan Richardson from The Cure for Sorrow:
A Book of Blessings for Times of Grief
Then their eyes were opened, and they recognized him.
Following so close on the heels of Easter Sunday, this week held what would have been my seventh wedding anniversary with Gary. As the anniversary approached (part of the ghost calendar that I recently wrote about on my author page on Facebook), I found myself thinking about the blessings that wove through our wedding day. There were blessings spoken during the ceremony, blessings offered at the reception, blessings embedded in the very fact of being enfolded by a lifetime’s worth of family and friends who had gathered to bless us as we began to make our married life together.
On this anniversary, it came to me with particular clarity that a blessing does not end. This is part of the fundamental nature of a blessing: the energy and the grace of it cannot dissipate or disappear. The form of a blessing might change with changing circumstances, but it cannot be destroyed. The essence of a blessing endures. It lives in the community that mediated the blessing and continues to hold it in memory and celebration; it lives in the hope that persists; it lives most of all in the love that called forth the blessing in the first place—the love that is, as the Song of Songs tells us, as strong as death. (Stronger, I would say.)
When we experience horrendous, life-altering loss, it can seem that the blessing we had known has indeed disappeared. When a person who had embodied that blessing and borne that blessing in our lives is no longer physically present, it can become difficult to believe that the blessing is still present, is still active, is still in force. Part of the invitation of grief is to keep our eyes and our hearts open to how the blessing persists, how it still wants to be known in our lives, and how it wants to help us live still when our lives have fallen apart.
In this week’s gospel lection, we witness the enduring power of a blessing. Walking the road to Emmaus with the risen Christ, Cleopas and his companion feel the burning of the blessing in their hearts. Not until they sit down at the Emmaus table with Jesus, hear him speak words of blessing, and see him break the bread, does recognition begin to dawn.
Then their eyes were opened, Luke tells us. They recognize, they see, they know the truth of the One before them: that the Christ who came as Love made flesh, as blessing embodied, will continue to live in the love that is stronger than death.
Blessing That Does Not End
From the moment
it first laid eyes
this blessing loved you.
from the start.
It cannot explain how.
It just knows
that the first time
it sat down beside you,
it entered into a conversation
that had already been going on
Believe this conversation
has not stopped.
Believe this love
the love that crossed
an impossible distance
to reach you,
to find you,
to take your face
into its hands
and bless you.
does not end—
that the gesture,
Believe this love
that it still
takes your face
into its hands,
that it presses
its forehead to yours
as it speaks to you
in undying words,
that it has never ceased
to gather your heart
into its heart.
Believe this blessing
Believe it goes with you
Believe it knows you
With the risen life of Christ within you,
go in the peace of Christ. Alleluia, alleluia.
Thanks be to God. Alleluia, alleluia!