Online Devotion for the Second Sunday after Easter

St. Giles’ Cathedral
Online Devotion for the Second Sunday after Easter
Sunday April 26th 2020

Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

1 Corinthians 1: 3

Let us worship God.

The lesson is written in the gospel according to St. Luke in the 24th chapter.

13Now on that same day two of them were going to a village called Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem, 14and talking with each other about all these things that had happened. 15While they were talking and discussing, Jesus himself came near and went with them, 16but their eyes were kept from recognizing him. 17And he said to them, “What are you discussing with each other while you walk along?” They stood still, looking sad. 18Then 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?” 19He 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,20and how our chief priests and leaders handed him over to be condemned to death and crucified him. 21But 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. 22Moreover, some women of our group astounded us. They were at the tomb early this morning, 23and 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. 24Some 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.” 25Then he said to them, “Oh, how foolish you are, and how slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have declared! 26Was it not necessary that the Messiah should suffer these things and then enter into his glory?” 27Then beginning with Moses and all the prophets, he interpreted to them the things about himself in all the scriptures. 28As they came near the village to which they were going, he walked ahead as if he were going on. 29But 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. 30When he was at the table with them, he took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them. 31Then their eyes were opened, and they recognized him; and he vanished from their sight.

The Word of the Lord; thanks be to God.

Hymn: We have a gospel to proclaim

We have a gospel to proclaim,
good news for all throughout the earth;
the gospel of a Saviour’s name:
we sing his glory, tell his worth.

Tell of his birth at Bethlehem
not in a royal house or hall
but in a stable dark and dim,
the Word made flesh, a light for all.

Tell of his death at Calvary,
hated by those he came to save,
in lonely suffering on the Cross;
for all he loved his life he gave.

Tell of that glorious Easter morn:
empty the tomb, for he was free.
He broke the power of death and hell
that we might share his victory.

Tell of his reign at God’s right hand,
by all creation glorified.
He sends his Spirit on his Church
to live for him, the Lamb who died.

Now we rejoice to name him King:
Jesus is Lord of all the earth.
This gospel-message we proclaim:
we sing his glory, tell his worth.

Text: Edward Joseph Burns b.1938
Tune: Walton (Fulda) CH4 363
Sacred Melodies 1815 William Gardiner 1770-1853


Reflection

Holy Communion is such a central part of the worship life of St. Giles’ and it is one of the experiences I am missing most in this lockdown season.

Each Sunday when I give the invitation to Communion I use these words:

When our risen Lord was at table with his disciples
he took the bread and blessed and broke it,
and gave it to them.
Then their eyes were opened and they recognised him.

Of course, it references our gospel story for today.

New Testament scholar, Sarah Henley, writes this in a commentary on the story of the Road to Emmaus. “In feeding others at the right time and in receiving the bread broken for us in thanksgiving we are given Jesus.”  And then she says this, “Stop talking, stop everything and pay attention as you reach out to receive what is blessed.  A glimpse of the Lord may propel you to new confidence, new hope, even a new way of remembering.”

I want us to think about what Sarah Henley said about a new way of remembering, so that when we remember at the table we’re not only thinking back to the story of Jesus’ ministry and life and death and resurrection. But rather we engage in an act in which remembering is the opposite of dismembering.  That we are bringing back together not just memories but our unity with other Christians.  We are re-membering; and in doing that we are called;  we are called to go out and live as the body of Christ.  That’s one of the mysteries about what we do when we celebrate the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper.  That we are both given that which represents the body and blood of Christ and we are called to be that body in the world.

It is at the end of the story of the Road to Emmaus when Jesus takes the bread and breaks it that Cleopas and his companion finally recognize Jesus.  In a beautiful book called This Sunrise of Wonder, the former dean of Westminster Abbey, Michael Mayne speaks about the centrality of the Eucharist, Holy Communion, the Lord’s Supper in a testimony of his own life.  He says this, “These four actions of offering, thanking, breaking, and sharing together show the pattern of what self-giving love means.”  “And,” he says, “are the only definition of God that we need to know.”

Let us look forward to the day when once again we break bread together.
Amen

Anthem
Holy is the true light

Holy is the true light, and passing wonderful,
lending radiance to them that endured in the heat of the conflict:
from Christ they inherit a home of unfading splendour,
wherein they rejoice with gladness evermore. Alleluia

Text: Words from the Salisbury Diurnal by Dr G.H.Palmer
Music: William H Harris 1883-1973

Prayer
Let us pray.

Lord Jesus stay with us.
Be our companion on the way.
Kindle our hearts and awaken love
that we may know you as you are revealed
in scripture and the breaking of bread.
Grant this for the sake of your love.

Strengthen our unity with all our
brothers and sisters in the human family
as we endure forced separation.

And as we feel the winter fade and spring emerge,
as trees flower and plants rise from the ground,
instill in us hope for the future,
as we pray for our world’s deliverance
from the pandemic.

Through Jesus Christ our Lord, we pray;

Amen.

The Benediction
Be of good courage, render no-one evil for evil,
but hold fast to the good;
and the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ,
the love of God,
and the Communion of the Holy Spirit
be with you
and all whom you love
this day and for ever.

(Amen)

Organ Voluntary
Louis-Nicolas Clérambault  Caprice sur les grands jeux (Suite du Deuxième Ton)

Hymn and Anthem recorded remotely by members of the Choir of St Giles’ Cathedral in lockdown, April 2020.
CCL Licence No 980930
Streaming Licence 57837