Message From the Pastor

Month of February 2021

The Easter Story Continues

“Now that same day two of them were going to a village called Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem. They were talking with each other about everything that had happened. As they talked and discussed these things with each other, Jesus Himself came up and walked along with them; but they were kept from recognizing Him.” — Luke 24:13-16

I love the story of the two men on the road to Emmaus in Luke 24, as Jesus talks and walks beside them in the days after His resurrection. His presence was so real, but at first they did not know who He was. Jesus asks them, “What are you discussing together as you walk along?” (Luke 24:17) They answer with sadness, questioning how anyone could not know about the events in Jerusalem. They explain to the “unknown stranger” that they know of Jesus by His reputation: “He was a prophet, powerful in word and deed before God and all the people.” (Luke 24:19b) They continue talking to their walking companion of their expectation of Jesus: “We had hoped that He was the one who was going to redeem Israel.” (Luke 24:21a) And finally they express their frustration over the news that His tomb was open but He was missing. Is this how we relate to Jesus? We know of His reputation, but He isn’t what we expected, and we become frustrated when He doesn’t “do” what we want.Jesus seeks the companionship of the two men on the road to Emmaus, just as He seeks ours. And what happens next? He challenges their scholarship, at the point of Scripture. “And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, He explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning Himself.” (Luke 24:27) They wanted a Messiah, and Jesus reaches into their knowledge and understanding of the Old Testament to prove He is the One. They hear from Christ Himself that He had to suffer and die before entering His glory—something they did not yet grasp. But the story doesn’t end there, because there is no understanding on their part of who Jesus really is—no relationship. They invite Him to sit down and dine with them. Jesus takes the bread, gives thanks, and then breaks it before He gives it to them with His nail-scarred hands. “Then their eyes were opened and they recognized Him, and He disappeared from their sight.” (Luke 24:30) In spending time with Him, hearing truth from Him as He taught from Scripture, and being given the broken bread—they recognize Him. They admit to having their hearts burn within them during this experience on the road—and they return to Jerusalem proclaiming “It is true! The Lord has risen.”(Luke 24:34) Jesus wants to make Himself known—just as He did with these two men in the gospel of Luke. And we can come to know Him by spending time with Him, by studying truth in Scripture, and by knowing it is the Holy Spirit who will open our eyes to the brokenness of His body on the cross, so that, we can have fullness of life.Is your heart downcast? Do you not sense the presence of Christ where you are right now? Spending time in Scriptures, spending time in worship and prayer—that’s how you get to know the Lord. Go ahead—begin the journey on the road. . . . . .with Jesus beside you. You will never be the same. “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!”— 2 Corinthians 5:17

 

Ash Wednesday is known as a day of repentance when Christians confess their sins. The ashes represent a person's grief and mourning for their sins. Ash Wednesday is the start of the Lenten Season, which represents the forty days Christians believe Jesus Christ withdrew into the desert wilderness. It's a season marked by fasting and typically giving up a bad habit. It is a reflective season of decluttering our heart, mind, body, spirit and soul in order to receive the best that God has for us. We pour out our ungodly ways to receive the Godly goodness we need to witness to others. The Lenten season ends on the Saturday before Easter, which falls on April 4th this year.

 

This year we will have a time for people to receive ashes from 7-8 a.m. We won't try to replace the Ash Wednesday service with this. We will have a morning Ash Wednesday service at 10 a.m. I was thinking about the timing of an evening service since we go directly home and wash the ashes off. I want the mark of the ash cross on our foreheads to be a witness sign for others to see. This is a way for us to witness to the community or at school when we are asked about why we have a cross on our forehead. The drive- thru prayer and receiving of the ashes is for people who basically can't get to their church service due to work or school. But just think of the opportunities for us to be a witness at school or work by either receiving ashes between 7-8 or at 10 a.m. In wearing the ashes, we bear the cross of Christ because he bore the full extent of the cross for us.

 

 
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