Trinity United Church
July 4, 2021
“Connection not Perfection”
Today we are led in worship by Rev Betty Anne Dempsey, who has recently returned to our congregation. We thank her for her ministry. To see a video of the ZOOM worship, please click here.
Prelude: Gather Us In MV 7 played by David Rogers
Gather us in, Ground us in You, Gather us in, Ground us in You, Gather us in, Ground us in You, Ground us, Ground us, in You…
Welcome to Trinity United Church in Port Coquitlam, British Columbia on this lovely summer Sunday! I am Betty Anne Dempsey, and Feeling privileged to be leading worship in Rev. David’s absence.
Our Theme this morning is our journey with God and each other as we look at the post-Easter story of the Road to Emmaus.
We acknowledge and respect the Kwikwetlem peoples on whose traditional territory our Trinity United Church stands…and we work and live in hope of right relationship and reconciliation.
God of Extravagant Welcome, like flickering candles on a table, the soul of each person illuminates the heart of our gathered community, and the radiance of the whole, we recognize your presence, filled with the Spirit of your Love. May we reflect your gracious love to all! May it be so…
Holy One, Loving Mystery, you call us together to reflect on your word, and our life in the world. Be with us now as we sing and pray…worshipping with joy and gladness, as we open ourselves to your presence and deeper understanding of your way.
Today, we ask you to once again meet us on the Road to Emmaus, guiding us and renewing our strength as we continue this journey with you and each other. Open our eyes to see your presence around us! Open our hearts that we may receive your peace and love…and empower us to pass on to others the grace you share with us so freely! We ask as we sing Make a Joyful Noise!
May it be so…and Amen.
Hymn: Make a Joyful Noise VU 820 CLICK HERE
Scripture: Luke 24: 13-35
The Road to Emmaus-a post Easter story
13 Now that same day two of them were going to a village called Emmaus, about seven miles[a] from Jerusalem. 14 They were talking with each other about everything that had happened. 15 As they talked and discussed these things with each other, Jesus himself came up and walked along with them; 16 but they were kept from recognizing him.
17 He asked them, “What are you discussing together as you walk along?”
They stood still, their faces downcast. 18 One of them, named Cleopas, asked him, “Are you the only one visiting Jerusalem who does not know the things that have happened there in these days?”
19 “What things?” he asked.
“About Jesus of Nazareth,” they replied. “He was a prophet, powerful in word and deed before God and all the people. 20 The chief priests and our rulers handed him over to be sentenced to death, and they crucified him; 21 but we had hoped that he was the one who was going to redeem Israel. And what is more, it is the third day since all this took place. 22 In addition, some of our women amazed us. They went to the tomb early this morning 23 but didn’t find his body. They came and told us that they had seen a vision of angels, who said he was alive. 24 Then some of our companions went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said, but they did not see Jesus.”
25 He said to them, “How foolish you are, and how slow to believe all that the prophets have spoken! 26 Did not the Messiah have to suffer these things and then enter his glory?” 27 And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself.
28 As they approached the village to which they were going, Jesus continued on as if he were going farther. 29 But they urged him strongly, “Stay with us, for it is nearly evening; the day is almost over.” So he went in to stay with them.
30 When he was at the table with them, he took bread, gave thanks, broke it and began to give it to them. 31 Then their eyes were opened and they recognized him, and he disappeared from their sight. 32 They asked each other, “Were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?”
33 They got up and returned at once to Jerusalem. There they found the Eleven and those with them, assembled together 34 and saying, “It is true! The Lord has risen and has appeared to Simon.” 35 Then the two told what had happened on the way, and how Jesus was recognized by them when he broke the bread
Scripture is the living stories passed on from generation to generation…These stories are wisdom for our journey…Amen
Message: “Journeying Together”
In the scripture read by Jen this morning, a follower of Jesus of Nazareth named Cleopas, also identified as Simon, and another unnamed traveler leave Jerusalem for the town of Emmaus on the day of Jesus' resurrection. ... They tell about Jesus' trial, crucifixion, and burial.
It is an evolution of awareness of the two disciples, from despair over Christ's death to faith in his resurrection.
It is also much more than that! It is a story of connection…and caring for one another…and compassion…and seeing Jesus in the eyes of those who walk with us!
I invite you to listen to this story-
A Journey together…an interpretation of scripture by Vinita Hampton Wright
It’s a long walk home from Jerusalem, but you’re glad for the exertion. The physical work of walking might ease, just slightly, the harder work that’s going on inside you today.
It is the work of grief. You lost a friend just a few days ago. Not only a friend, but your leader, your beloved teacher. And he didn’t simply die; he was executed in the most torturous, shameful way. You’ve seen a lot in your lifetime, but the memories of Jesus’ ordeal are forever branded into your memory. You close your eyes and see blood; you go to sleep but dream about someone suspended, gasping for air.
At least your friend is with you—both of you followed the teacher, with equal conviction and enthusiasm. So…you bear your grief together now. As you walk and talk through the long, rainy afternoon, you encourage better memories—of all that the teacher said, of the people you know whom Jesus healed. You can’t seem to stop talking, although several times one or both of you must stop talking because you must cry for a while.
The stranger joins you while you are still several miles from home. Within moments, it’s clear that this person has no idea what has been going on in Jerusalem. With great heaviness and some annoyance, you fill in the barest details for him. All you have to say is “crucifixion” and anyone in Roman territories knows exactly what you’re talking about.
But the stranger engages in the conversation with great energy. He must be some kind of teacher, because he launches into an explanation of how Jesus’ fate is actually a good thing and the proper fulfillment of what was predicted long ago. This is fascinating—you and your friend are all ears. Before you know it, you’ve arrived at your home and it’s getting dark.
You invite the stranger to have supper with you and spend the night, rather than risk injury or other misfortune while on the road at night alone. Also…you want to hear more of what he has to say. He graciously accepts your offer.
The first thing you do upon entering the house is prepare the evening meal. The three of you sit down to eat. Then the stranger takes the bread and blesses it. You feel a strange energy move through you and hover in the room.
Where have you heard this sort of blessing before?
The stranger hands each of you a piece of the bread. You take it, and memory washes over you—of a hillside with thousands of hungry people.
Of a few loaves and fishes being transformed in an instant to miraculous abundance.
Suddenly, it is clear who this man is, eating at your table. You look into his face.
What do you see? What is his expression? What do you feel? What do you know in the truth of your heart?
Your friend has barely gotten the words out—“Why, it’s the Lord!”—when the stranger vanishes.
The room still feels strangely warm, and there are waves of that energy, like lightning sparking all over the room. You and your friend stare at one another, and finally you say, “Weren’t our hearts on fire when he explained the Scriptures? Didn’t we know something even then—we just couldn’t identify it?”
You finish your meal—what a healing pleasure to eat the blessed bread! But then you look at each other and know what you must do. You head back to Jerusalem. You have to tell Jesus’ other followers who are still there in the city.
What would your conversation be like on the way back?
What thoughts keep running through your mind as you journey together?
As the Emmaus story unfolds it moves from catechesis (kada keses) (religious education or preparation) to Eucharist-our sacrament of communion to mission. It is a promising paradigm or model for the process of reweaving the present array of parish ministries into an integrated pastoral practice.
On my journey, I have been away from this loving and connected congregation for 12 years… I have served a congregation in Victoria… I have laughed, and cried, and walked with many in my ministry. I have experience deep spiritual grief as well as incredible peace and joy with those with whom I connected. I have also seen Jesus in their eyes as they allowed themselves to be vulnerable! I have become aware of the sacredness of each moment, whether filled with grief, anger and desperation, or peace-filled contentment. I am grateful for the opportunity to serve…and be served!
I was invited last week to stop by Trinity to see the how our wonderful Food Bank has evolved over the years! I affirm those who worked long hard hours at from the very start-connecting with those on the margins, and each other as they nurtured spirits…and bellies! This work is the essence of “communion to mission”-integrating mission with spiritual practice!
Zoom Worship has been a regular “spiritual practice” for many over the last months, and although there has not been “normal face-to-face” conversation or hugs, the connection has been intentional, with extensive telephone calls and lengthy emails.
When I gave my notice of retirement at St. Aidan’s and reconnected with Trinity, I was thoroughly welcomed, as I have seen Trinity folks do for many besides me! As I watched the beginning of that first service and saw “Welcome Home” as the camera entered the sanctuary, my heart did indeed feel “welcomed home!”
Thank you to all for the warm, loving welcome I have received! My journey continues as I find my way as a caring, loving, broken friend, who is willing to walk along side of you all, just as I have seen you walk with each other!
As Dr. Bonnie lifts restrictions, we will once again be meeting face-to-face, and hopefully in small groups, to again deeply connect with each other on this journey!
I received a PoCo-opoly” game as a house-warming gift when I returned to PoCo a few weeks ago! The invitation is out - let’s be on this journey together… let’s connect!!
This Walk to Emmaus is a post Easter story. It is a story of a journey of faith…it is a story that is each of our stories-sharing, caring, walking with, loving each other and the world around us! And so we live...and work…and journey together saying, “Here I am, Lord-Send Me!”
May it be so…Amen
Hymn: I, The Lord of sea and Sky (Here I Am, Lord) VU 509 CLICK HERE
Your offering: your financial gifts, your gifts of time and skill are what make our ministry possible. If you are not already on Pre-Authorized Remittance, we invite you to participate in our ministry by making a financial gift, either by sending a cheque to the church office, or by clicking the “online giving” on our website.
We have been gifted with much, and so we give…
Loving God, we welcome you into this place. We welcome you into our homes, into our lives, into our hearts, asking that you would make your presence known to us both today and throughout the coming week.
We thank you, Creator, for another day of life, for this beautiful summer day, for the promise of a miraculous, persistent, “won’t-abandon-us-no-matter what” enduring hope, despite the chaos, the disorder, the challenges we face.
Gracious God, we humbly offer prayers of support to the many suffering and hurting in our world;
For the lonely and heartbroken, we pray for your comfort and your peace.
For the sick and the tired, we pray for your grace and your strength.
For the persecuted and defenseless, we pray for your stamina and your justice.
For the confused and the disoriented, we pray for your wisdom and guidance.
Gracious God we need you to sustain us, to revive us, to hold us, to reorient us, to call us to your marvelous service in love of neighbor and in bringing about your kindom which knows no sickness, no suffering, no delusion, no injustice, no end.
Patient God, in this troubling time of pandemic and uncertainty, we ask that you would teach us to listen.
Teach us to listen to those far from us– the whisper of the hopeless, the plea of the forgotten, the cry of the anguished.
Teach us to listen, O God, to ourselves. Help us to be less afraid to trust the voice inside.
Teach us to listen, Holy Spirit, for your voice — in busyness and in boredom, in certainty and doubt, in noise and in silence.
Guide us as we draw our circle wider, to accommodate and care for all who are in need of us.
Holy One, Loving God, stay with us on this journey, that we may share our stories and hold tightly to each other as we walk in the way that Jesus taught us, we pray…
Hymn: Draw the Circle Wide MV145 CLICK HERE
May you feel the peace of God
on your journey
May you always feel the love and joy of God
warming your heart and bringing you light.
May you remember the wisdom of God giving you strength
in your times of challenge.
May the grace of God flow from you to the world you meet.
May it be so…Amen
Postlude: Draw the Circle Wide performed by David Rogers