Inspired by Scripture

Author: 
Rev'd Heather
Date: 
Sunday, April 26, 2020 - 9:30am

Third Sunday of Easter – Inspired by Scripture 


Collect

 Risen Christ,

you filled your disciples with boldness and fresh hope:

strengthen us to proclaim your risen life

and fill us with your peace,

to the glory of God the Father.

 

Readings

Acts 2:14a, 36-41

Luke 24:13-35

 

Reflection 

As touched upon in our reflection last week, the death of Jesus was an event that turned the lives of the disciples upside down. The one who they had come to love and to recognise as the Messiah had suddenly been killed and was gone. It was less than a week from triumphant entry in Jerusalem – everything had been going so well – and now he was dead. 

When events happen that turn our lives upside down, we will often try to find ways to process what is happening in the midst of our bewilderment. That is just what the two disciples were doing on their walk to Emmaus. Bewildered, they were walking and talking, trying to process all that had happened in the past 3 days. Wondering why Jesus had died? Wondering what Mary Magdalene, Joanna, and Mary, the mother of James, had really experienced at the empty tomb? Wondering what it all meant? Wandering what their future looked like now Jesus was no longer with them? 

Then in the midst of all this bewilderment and disbelief Jesus shows up. Just as he had to the women in the garden, earlier that morning. And he asks to hear all their confused ramblings. Their confused ramblings about their disappointment that their hope has disappeared, that the one who they trusted appears to have gone completely. He listens. 

And having listened to them, to their bewilderment, Jesus begins to open the scriptures to them. To read back into the scriptures (what we know as the Old Testament) all the signs that point to him, to his suffering and rising again. He relates his story to the stories of those who had gone before him; to Moses and the words of the prophets. Jesus opens their eyes to understand the scriptures, and opens their eyes to find meaning in their current situation. And finally they become aware of his presence in the breaking of the bread. 

So much of our life as a Christian community is shaped around breaking bread together, and recognising God’s presence with us as we do, that we may find ourselves longing for it in this Easter season. I, for one, am longing for the day when we gather to break bread together again. Yet today’s Gospel reading reminds us of the hope that Jesus also brings us through the scriptures. He causes their hearts to burn within them – to warm with love – as He reveals himself in the scriptures and restores their hope.

When we read the Scriptures through the lens that Christ offers, we can see the many ways in which God is at work in the world and his people over the centuries, and how these stories point to Christ. How through the history, literature, prophesy, poetry and comedy the texts point beyond themselves to God, and invite us to come to know God and explore what it means for us to be part of God’s people. 

The scripture that we have read together at Morning Prayer this week has come from the book of Exodus in the Old Testament and St Paul’s letter to the Colossians in the New Testament. As we hear the story of Moses leading the Israelites through the desert this week, we were encouraged by the story of God providing manna for his people to eat each day – a reminder that God offers to provide our daily bread, even in difficult times. In Colossians we have heard words of encouragement as to how live the Christian life – some of which I shared in our weekly email – to clothe ourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, meekness and patience. And finally, our New Testament reading this morning, from the Acts of the Apostles, that Mae read, reminds us of that first Pentecost and the outpouring of God’s Holy Spirit upon us in our baptism. 

The Scriptures are full of stories of God’s people wrestling with how to live, and how to live out their faith, often in challenging circumstances. The Scriptures too inspire us to look beyond ourselves, to see our story as a continuation of the story of God’s people, and help to point us towards God. And so this Eastertide – these next few weeks, I encourage us all to continue to read the scriptures, whether that be at Morning Prayer or throughout the day, and pray that God will continue to reveal Godself to us, and to sustain us through all that we face. 

Amen.