Mother Vivian Shelby – Third Sunday of Easter, April 23, 2023

In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

So we have moved from the Gospel of John, now to the Gospel of Luke. So if you notice some little differences in the story from what we’ve been reading, that is why.

So, these two disciples are going to Emmaus, and we don’t know why. But it seems that the disciples have been a little fractured since the crucifixion. Some of them are here, some of them are there. They all tend to gather back but they are a bit splintered.

And that is where the Gospel finds us this morning with two disciples walking along the road having this intense conversation about what has happened. Trying to make sense of everything. And then this man appears. Asks them what they’re talking about. And they tell him the whole story, fascinated by the fact that he evidently is not aware of what has happened.

Now, they still don’t understand. They do not recognize Jesus is still in this liminal state of resurrected but not ascended, having a body but being able to do things like walk through doors. So they invite him to stay with them. And then he does what he did at the last supper. He takes the bread, he blesses the bread, he breaks the bread and gives it to them. And suddenly, they recognize that this man they have been traveling with for seven miles is Jesus. Risen. Resurrected. And then poof! He’s gone. Vanishes. Disappears. Wow. I can’t even imagine what that must be like.

They’re splintered. They’re in Emmaus. And what do they do? It’s the middle of the night. And they go back to Jerusalem. So what Jesus has just done is regather. Regather the disciples back into one place. He is saying, “For the church, for the mission to go forward, we need to be together in the mission.”

Now, what’s the other thing he does on the road? He interprets all of the scriptures that they know, which would have been the Torah. And shows all of the threads to them from the Hebrew Bible and how it describes everything that just happened.

So what Jesus is doing is, he’s saying, “Look, in order to proceed, to teach people, to bring them to God and to Christ, you have to be in unity as a community. And you have to study the scriptures so you can explain it to them. 

 So he’s teaching them, as always, how to be disciples, now that he is going away.

They have to come together in unity. And they have to study the scriptures. In a new way, right? He’s just taught them a new interpretation.

So what can we learn from that? Well, any time in our lives, in your life, that you’ve ever wanted to learn something, have you not sought out an expert. A person that knows more than you to be your teacher. Whether it’s at college or you’re in an organization and you want to move up and learn more, you find that person that has that knowledge and that’s a good teacher and will teach you. 

And what is the other thing that we use? Books. Textbooks. Manuals. Things that have been written down. This is how we learn. How we’re educated. We go to school.

Well, if we would do that to gain knowledge and expertise and experience in order to do our job, should we not also do that for the most important relationship in our lives? For our relationship with God, our relationship with Jesus Christ, and the one thing, the only thing that will bring us eternal life. Salvation. Redemption. Grace.

So I charge you this morning, no matter how long you’ve been a Christian, no matter how long you’ve been an Episcopalian, there is something you can learn from scripture. It is called the Living Word. It speaks to us individually and in the Episcopal Church. You don’t need a priest for that. You each have your own individual relationship with Jesus and the scriptures can speak directly to you.

That’s why I love to teach. Because in that room is so much wisdom. And people are connected to God and their community. And the wisdom just pours out and I learn so much. We learn together as a group, united in Bible study.

So, think about that this week. I’m sure God is going to put an opportunity in front of you to do that. In a small group. We have so many offerings here at church

Jesus is trying to gather us as he did those first disciples. He’s trying to say, “Live in unity. Get past your differences. And study the word.”

God can do amazing things for each and every one of us if we stay connected to each other and to him and to the scripture. Amen.

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