Sunrise service, 2018 – “The Road to Emmaus”

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Title Sermon Date Liturgical Scripture
Easter Sunday, 2019 April 21, 2019 Easter Sunday John 20:1-18
Good Friday, 2019 April 19, 2019 Good Friday John 18:1-19:42
Maundy Thursday, April 18, 2019 April 18, 2019 Maundy Thursday John 13:1-17, 31b-35
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Ash Wednesday, March 6, 2019 March 6, 2019 Ash Wednesday Isaiah 58:1-12
Last Epiphany, March 3, 2019 – Rev. Mark Jefferson March 3, 2019 Last Epiphany, Year C Luke 9:28-36, [37-43a]
Seventh Sunday after the Epiphany, Year C February 24, 2019 Seventh Sunday after Epiphany, Year C Genesis 45:3-11, 15; 1 Corinthians 15:35-38, 42-50; Luke 6:27-38
Sixth Sunday after the Epiphany, Year C – “Be a Blessing” February 17, 2019 Sixth Sunday after Epiphany, Year C 2019 I Corinthians 15:12-20, Luke 6:17-26
Fifth Sunday after the Epiphany, Year C February 10, 2019 Fifth Sunday after the Epiphany, Year C Luke 5:1-11
Fourth Sunday after the Epiphany, Year C February 3, 2019 Fourth Sunday after the Epiphany, Year C Jeremiah 1:4-10, Psalm 71:1-6, 1 Corinthians 13:1-13, Luke 4:21-30


Sunrise service, 2018 – “The Road to Emmaus”

Sermon Date:April 1, 2018

Scripture: Luke 24:13-35

Liturgy Calendar: Easter

"The Road to Emmaus” – Tiffany (1912)

PDF Version

Good morning.  My heart is on fire with gratitude for the privilege of sharing with you today the story known as the road to Emmaus, one of my favorite resurrection stories. 

The Road to Emmaus story may seem like an odd choice for a sunrise service, because it takes place, not early in the morning at the empty tomb, but later on the day of the resurrection, on a road along which two downcast disciples are traveling with a stranger they have allowed to join them. 

Here’s why I chose this story for this morning. 

Every year we come together here on Easter morning, and watch the sunrise, and praise God for raising Jesus from the dead, and opening for us the way to heaven. 

Our joy is great!

But the afternoon comes, and we go back home to life as we left it. 

And back home it’s easy to forget the miracle of this resurrection.

The hurts, disappointments, the misunderstandings, the anger, frustrations, or even just the indifference that we left behind long enough to gather here this morning—these things are waiting to pull us back into a sad and downcast state.

We lose the joy of the morning or tuck it away in the pages of scripture, forgotten until next year, when we gather once more on this riverbank. 

So this story of the two disciples on the road to Emmaus is instructive.    

Something profoundly disappointing and disturbing has happened and they distance themselves by leaving Jerusalem.  They walk away, leaving it all behind.  But they haven’t really left it behind, because what has happened is all that they can talk about. 

Enter the stranger.

Here’s the transformative lifegiving part of this resurrection story.  These two disappointed disciples, in spite of their confusion and their sadness, make space for the stranger and welcome him in. 

So often we dismiss the strangers or even the acquaintances that God sends to journey along the way with us.  We don’t trust strangers, and we tend to avoid meaningful conversations with strangers. We don’t usually listen to strangers. We warn our children not to be around strangers.   And we probably wouldn’t offer a stranger or even a casual acquaintance the hospitality of a place to stay and something to eat because evening has fallen. 

But this story reminds us that hospitality toward the stranger can result in life shaking and life changing revelations. 

For these two disciples, the life shaking revelation is that Jesus is alive and has chosen to journey along with them! 

When they figure this out, everything changes!   

They reverse direction! 

Instead of heading away from Jerusalem, they rush back to tell the others that they have seen the Lord.

This morning, Jesus is in our midst as we worship him together.  We know that when we gather around the breakfast table in a few minutes, our risen Lord will be in our midst.  And so we give thanks and praise!

But may we be reminded this morning that when the music has ended, when the last prayer is said, when the bulletins are recycled, when the chairs we are sitting on are gathered up and hauled away, when the table has been cleared, when we’ve shouted the last alleluia and when we have gone our separate ways, that God does not want us to treat one another as strangers or just casual acquaintances until this time next year when we gather to worship again. 

God has given us the gift of one another. 

So let’s make this the year of hospitality in Port Royal, the year to pay attention to one another, to listen to one another, to be intentional about walking the Way together, and to invite one another in to sit down together, and break bread together, to worship together, and to work together for God’s glory in this community—together.     

Because when we offer hospitality to one another and accept hospitality from each other, we will find that our Risen Lord is present in our midst, and that in his company and the company of one another, our hearts will truly burn with joy.

And we will want to hurry home and to tell anyone who will listen,

We have seen the Lord! 



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