An Emmaus Evening in the company of Phil
Our Emmaus evening services are very special to those of us who can make them. When life returns to some semblance of normality, we will engage in an Emmaus walk one Sunday afternoon/evening. For now, the below liturgy to share at home might prove helpful. Once again, you may choose to share this liturgy at 7pm when many from our churches are praying together. Feel free to make this your own, perhaps including more silence or appropriate hymns. John Henson and Michael Howells have offered some of theirs which are available our Facebook pages whilst Ray recommends ‘Now the green blade riseth’, saying, “I love especially the last verse, that sees resurrection in our own life experience.”
You will need some bread and a cup of wine/juice and are invited to read the whole script and say aloud the words in bold italics.
Introduction and Call to Worship
Where shattered hearts are made whole, where wounded souls are healed,
where life is stronger than death: there, the stone has been rolled away.
Where the lonely become our friends, where a stranger is welcomed home,
where hope is stronger than despair, there, we find Jesus walking.
Where closed wallets are opened, where the anxious find serenity,
where love is stronger than hate: there, Jesus is opening our eyes.
The stone has been rolled away! Jesus is our companion on the journey!
Our eyes are opened to the needs of others!
…so let us all proclaim together:
Alleluia! God is good. Alleluia! The tomb is empty. Alleluia! Love abounds.
Reading and reflection
Easter is not an event that has occurred, it’s an adventure that has begun; not a place that we have visited but a path on which we stand; a story not complete, but unfolding characters still breathing, future days still teeming with the promise of new life not just for you and me but for all people, in all places.
Easter is the season of wild hope; of dangerous intent; of potent promise…so let us journey onward with the risen Christ, hearing some words from the gospel according to Luke…
Reading: Luke 24:13-35
Tonight we continue the journey, walking the path with two who travelled a dusty road wrapped in confusion and despair; two who shared the company of a stranger voicing their pain, airing their fears, awakening fresh hope. Tonight we re-enter the story with expectation that Christ will also reveal himself to us in sights and sounds, in words and symbols, in bread and wine.
If you are able to go for a walk outside – in your garden or around your neighbourhood – do so and look out for signs of new life and resurrection joy as you do so.
If you cannot, you might want to want to play a piece of music – such as Karl Jenkin’s ‘Benedictus’ – and imagine yourself into the story. I wonder where you have met the risen Christ in your life?
Prayers of intercession
Give yourselves a few minutes – out loud or in silence – to offer your own prayers to God – perhaps saying, ‘sorry’, ‘help me’ or ‘hold me’. Do please include prayers for those suffering from Covid 19 – the patients and NHS staff, the keyworkers and unemployed, the lonely and the overcrowded… End by saying The Lord’s Prayer.
At Easter time age old promises prove true; long held hopes become real and we can begin to believe that God’s will might be done on earth as it is in heaven. So with Cleopas and his companion, with the disciples in Jerusalem and all those who have walked and talked on the way we say:
Jesus we invite you to this table
Stay with us, for it is almost evening and the day is nearly over.
At Easter time the space between heaven and earth grows thin.
Yesterday, today and tomorrow are one; age old promises prove true,
Long held hopes become real and we can finally believe
That God’s will might be done on earth as it is in heaven.
Tonight, once again, we pause to celebrate and remember in the company of the one who names us and loves us, risen and present. One who invites strangers to be neighbours and enemies to be friends around tables of grace. So if you know hunger or thirst for a deeper faith, for a better life, for a fairer world know that you Jesus welcomes you to the table.
Once again, we remember the stories that Jesus’ friends tell.
stories of bread broken and shared, feeding a multitude,
stories of being gathered together, the powerful and the poor, around tables,
stories of unlikely guests revealing the face of the sacred.
One story tells us that on a night when people were celebrating the goodness of God many years before, Jesus gathered in an upper room with his friends. Sitting at a meal table – with plates and cups, conversations and jokes, friendship and betrayal – Christ said, this is my body, this is my blood.
Another story tells us that he broke bread again a few days later, this time on a roadside, not with knowing friends but with those who thought him a stranger. Just as he had done before, he offered welcome, he spoke of love, he transformed some ordinary food and drink into a feast to be had with God.
On these occasions, Jesus gave thanks to God, the source of all life and so tonight, we do the same…
Prayers of thanks
Think back over the past day – and of the message of today. Offer thanks to God for the many blessings of our lives – for the Creator’s care; Christ’s rising from the grace; the Sprit’s presence with you now.
Christ has died. Christ has risen. Christ will come again. Thanks be to God! Amen.
(Break the bread and share the meal.)
Christ’s food in our souls; our food shared like his.
Christ’s life in our hands; our lives shaped by his.
Christ’s love in our hearts; our love warmed through his.
Christ’s peace on our path; our path following his.
Love is come again. May we walk in the light of that love all the days of our life. And so let us end this day in the knowledge that we join with friends near and far by blessing one another with the words of the grace. May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ