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good morning friends how are you doing today my name is alex I’m one of the pastors here someone called me out the other day they were like you stopped introducing yourself what happened I don’t know I just forgot um I thought by now it was just I’d done enough work but apparently not so my name’s alex I’m one of the pastors here we are in a series called riptide uh what does that mean uh it’s an image of what it is to stand in the ocean maybe you’ve done that maybe you’ve stood like ankle deep and you felt that undertow that thing that kind of pulls you into it that’s a picture of what I would say this Jesus story becomes like post easter Jesus has died he’s risen again but nobody knows it’s changed everything and yet individually it’s changed nothing because his earliest followers are still in a place where they they still think he’s dead and what we get to do is we get to watch as this very brilliant Jesus pulls them back into this big story that has changed everything we get to look at the ways that we are like them they they have a bunch of doubts but a bunch of fears bunch of insecurities all of these different elements that make us or weaknesses of being human perhaps is a good way of saying it and Jesus deals with all of them pulls them in to this grand narrative so if you have a text you’d like to open with me luke 24 luke is one of the biographies of Jesus life one of the gospels if you’re kind of new to this church thing this bible thing verse 13 is where we will start 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 he asked them what are you discussing together as you walk along they stood still their faces down cast one of them named cleopas asked him are you the only one visiting jerusalem who does not know these the things that have happened there these last days what things he asked Jesus kind of playing coy with him a little bit he kind of knows what happened about Jesus of nazareth they replied he was a prophet powerful in word and deed before God and all the people the chief priests our rulers handed them over him over to be sentenced to death and they crucified him but we had hoped he was the one who was going to redeem israel and what is more it is the third day since all this took place in addition some of our women amazed us they went to the tomb early this morning they didn’t find his body they came and told us that they had seen a vision of angels who said he was alive then some of our companions went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said but they did not see Jesus he said to them how foolish you are how slow to believe all that the prophets have spoken did not the messiah have to suffer all these things then enter his glory and beginning with moses and all the prophets he explained to them what was said in all the scriptures concerning himself as they approached the village to which they were going Jesus continued on as if he were going farther but they urged him strongly stay with us for it is nearly evening the day is almost over so we went in to stay with them when he was at the table with them he broke took bread gave thanks broke it and began to give it to them then their eyes were opened and they recognized him and he disappeared from their sight 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 they got up and returned at once to jerusalem where they found the eleven and those with them assembled together saying it is true the lord has risen and has appeared to simon when the two told what had happened on the way and how Jesus was recognized by them when he broke bread God would you speak to us here as a community of people as individuals that need to hear from you people who come in with all sorts of stories in all sorts of places as we come to this thing that we call table communion breaking of bread eucharist mass God would you remind us that this is about your presence and that’s something that we need very deeply wherever we are God in this week as we often pray would you comfort the afflicted would you afflict the comfortable and would you teach us what it is to live in your way with your heart amen so here we go luke chapter 23 verse 13 onwards let me start you with a question have you ever taken the wrong direction are you someone that follows directions well are you someone that gets lost easily are you someone that would confess to getting lost easily are you someone that your husband or wife would say no they take the wrong directions repeatedly they don’t listen to simple instructions I’m guessing most of us at different points have taken a wrong direction even if it’s just because of not listening I had what I might call a superpower back in another life uh when I used to work with students I was known for one thing well I was known for some things but but one thing I’m going to talk about right now is I was known for paying zero attention to road traffic signals whatsoever I would just flat out ignore them now here’s the great thing about emigrating to a different country when you move to a different country you get to like forever blame everything that you do wrong on not having grown up in the country that you’re now living in it’s a wonderful get out for almost everything so these red things with the white down here I don’t really know what they are I just kind of just breeze through them because we don’t really use them in england we have all the traffic islands and everything and so these things I would just ignore them but but perhaps worse still the one above it the one-way sign I used to ignore that one as well I just wasn’t looking for them and detroit as a road system is based on you have one road that goes one way and then a block higher you’ll have a road that goes the other way and so on so forth maybe there’s something that exists similar in denver as well and so I would regularly turn the wrong way onto one way streets and to be honest nothing ever really went wrong like I’m just unsurprised after all this time I would take these wrong directions all the time and somehow it would all seem to work out if not good at least neutral I guess I got to where I wanted to go quicker so maybe that was it was good in and of itself I repeatedly went the wrong direction and it turned out just neutral with a 15-seater passenger bus full of sometimes more than 15 teenagers uh I won’t own to a just being 15. I would take the wrong direction repeatedly over and over again sometimes taking the wrong direction leads you to a good place this is a play this is a picture of pelican lake in all minnesota a beautiful place laura’s family have a lake house up there we’ll go in the summer and the only reason we go here is that many many years ago someone said to her grandfather you really need to take your family on vacation to pelican lake in minnesota it’s going to change your life and so listening to his dentist as you should always listen to your dentist he went and he said I’m going to take my family there turns out some mischievous person named multiple lakes pelican lake in minnesota so he went to the wrong one and then has gone there every year for the last 40 or so years in this case a wrong direction led to just joy happy accident all of those different things and then sometimes a wrong direction leads to disastrous results the writer dallas willard begins his book the divine conspiracy with a story of a jet pilot who on seeing a mountain range goes to pull the plane up to avoid it and crashes straight into the ground the pilot was flying upside down and had become confused enough that they didn’t know what direction they were now heading in in that case it leads to disastrous results right wrong directions can be good can be bad can be neutral they happen life happens around us but how many of you have ever taken a wrong direction on purpose how many have just said just I’m just intentionally gonna go the wrong way maybe this is like the introvert’s way of getting out of parties like if I get lost I don’t have to go I can stay in my car everything will be great but it’s rare I think to go the wrong direction just completely and intentionally on purpose and yet that is what I would suggest these first followers are doing let’s begin again luke chapter 11 verse 13 now that same day two of them will go into a village called emmaus about seven miles from jerusalem let us remind ourselves this is resurrection sunday this is the day that everything happens the day that the worldwide story changes forever and this day this day when the other disciples are waiting around to see what happened this day two of them are getting out of town two of them are leaving two of them are on their way to this tiny little town called emmaus that was about seven miles from jerusalem this is not the 21st century we’re talking about here people did not go on leisure walks of seven miles or so that just wasn’t part of their culture and yet these two are at a point where they say no we’re leaving what’s significant about emmaus nothing is significant about emmaus that’s the point looking back historically we don’t even know where emmaus was some people say maybe seven miles some people say 10 some people say 15 this town is so insignificant nothing will ever happen there again and yet two of them are leaving jerusalem to go to emmaus they’re leaving jerusalem to go to emmaus to put this in some context for you some first century context what’s significant about jerusalem everything is significant about jerusalem everything happens in jerusalem when God does something he does it in jerusalem the temple the center of their faith it’s in jerusalem jerusalem is central to everything that is where God works and now they’re leaving now they’re like what we’re getting out of jerusalem for some reason even think about the stories about Jesus we read today you’ve got these four gospels matthew mark luke and john they are all centered around Jesus movement towards jerusalem the the gospels are interesting biographies are sometimes called them biographies just to help us kind of get a sense of of what they are in essence but but most biographies don’t spend half of the time talking about the week somebody died they spend most of the time talking about the person’s life and yet these stories seem to think everything is so significant about Jesus death that they spend all of their time and energy there and it’s all centered around what Jesus does and where he does it these incredible events have happened in jerusalem Jesus has died and everything is paused and now these two disciples now they’re leaving why are they leaving I would suggest they’re leaving for multiple practical reasons they’re leaving perhaps because they’re scared they’re leaving because the story doesn’t look the way that they want the story to look anymore I would suggest that there’s a load of good reasons we could pull out for leaving jerusalem but let’s kind of tap into their story a little bit and just see if there’s anything in the text that kind of shed some light on this verse 13 and 14 now that same day two of them were going to the village court of mass about seven miles from jerusalem they were talking with each other about everything that had happened Jesus has died that is their constant conversation they are going back over the events that have led up to that perhaps they’re unpacking some of what they hoped would happen on this great weekend when Jesus ends up in jerusalem on passover this special jewish day all of the hopes that went along with that there reiterating just where the story has gone and then beautifully in the way that luke writes Jesus turns up in the midst of their conversation 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 why would they expect him to be there they’re leaving the place where God works they’re leaving the place where everything happens they’re going in the wrong direction why would God turn up when you’re actively going in the wrong direction this guard apparently does exactly that he asked them what are you discussing together as you walk along and they stood still their faces down cast these are not two people that are waiting to experience good news these are not two people that are expecting to hear stories of resurrection these are two people that have evaluated the story I’ve said the story isn’t where it’s supposed to be and are now leaving the place where most of the story happened they stood still their faces down cast they are miserable and I love it love it when the bible brings humor into the midst of the story because Jesus is going to say something to them and it just yeah it makes me chuckle 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 this language the only one visiting jerusalem they suggest that Jesus is a foreigner an outsider an alien all of the things I talk to about living in a different country they’re like are you an outsider you you don’t fit in around here you seem to have missed everything important that is going on there’s this delicious irony that the writer is very well aware of they’re kind of making fun of Jesus or almost questioning his intelligence he doesn’t know what’s going on in the story and yet they are the ones that are walking alongside Jesus and they have no clue that it’s Jesus they are talking to Jesus is the only one in the story that knows what’s happening they are clueless and they are suggesting that he is clueless a little bit of first century humor there for you what things he asked about Jesus of nazareth they replied he was a prophet powerful in the word and deed before God and all the people these are people that still believe that Jesus fits into the old ways of doing things the jewish community waited time and time again for a prophet to come up he would say something to stir the people up and then society would fix itself for a while and then it would regularly become broken again they still expect that Jesus might work in this way he was powerful in word and deed and what was he going to do what were we hoping for the chief priests and our rulers handed him over to be sentenced to death and they crucified him but we had hoped that he was the one who was going to redeem israel now if you’re a church person the word redeem might seem familiar we might use it to talk about being forgiven of sins Jesus death and resurrection but most commonly in this culture what did it mean right now what did it mean to redeem israel men he was the one that was going to fix the big problem maybe you’ve used that language yourself maybe you’ve looked back and said ah remember when this country used to be the way it used to be remember like 50 years ago things looked like they should 30 years ago things looked like they should 10 years ago things look like they should we use that language all the time right we long to go back to a different time and place we reflect on those things I I would regularly take trips out to a place in romania and I would engage with this community out there and I would look and say there’s something so beautiful about the way that this is operating it feels so good and I would reflect on how much I longed for society to look like that again I’m not making a comment or a value statement on that I’m not saying it’s good or bad I’m just observing that we do that and they do it too wouldn’t it be great if this nation used to be what it was wouldn’t it be great if someone came in and fixed that we had expected or hoped that he was the one that was going to redeem israel we had thought Jesus might make the nation look like the nation should look again and he didn’t he didn’t the expectation failed it wasn’t what we’d hoped it would be this is a group of people that are disappointed they are grief-stricken yes their leader is dead but but most of all they’re disappointed that the leader didn’t live up to their expectations it’s nothing’s going to change now Jesus his work did nothing and then they start to reveal a little bit of the big conversation you’d almost think they would mention this beforehand but no they are filling in this outsider this stranger with some details about the crucifixion in addition some of our women amazed us that word amazed is a little bit fascinating it’s this greek word existing yes amazed is a good translation but but you might say more more accurately to put out of standing to knock somebody off their feet if you’re asking a question related to this word you might say something like am I going out of my mind these women have now come to us with a story that has started to make us question some things we’re kind of a little taken aback by everything that is happening here but still still the whole sort of tone of the conversation is it’s it’s disappointed they came and told us that they’d seen visions of angels who said he was alive then some of our companions went to the tomb and found it just as the woman said but but they did not see Jesus just like the language of we kind of came to the conclusion they they might be a little bit crazy maybe that maybe they’ve lost their minds there’s something strange going on here yes but but it’s not what we hope for really their words aren’t the most important thing about this whole passage the most important thing it’s their actions they didn’t stay they weren’t hopeful they left in the midst of this tragedy Jesus has died and now the only sort of pathway for them is we gotta leave think about those of you who joined us last week mary magdalene this other story she she lingers yes she’s broken-hearted yes she’s had this experience this encounter with Jesus that has changed everything yes all that’s at risk now that he’s dead but she’s still she still still stays in the heart of the action still stays and hopes but not clear person and not his companion they they go that song that we sang this is my story this is my song that would be not that would not be true of these two right now to them it’s not their story anymore to them they’ve kind of given up on that they are leaving the story they’re getting as far away from it as they can their actions pro they remind me of my favorite stage direction in shakespeare now now why you get shakespeare two weeks in a row there is no pattern but you do there’s this beautiful stage direction in the play a winter’s tale it just says this exit actor pursued by a bear and so every school boy in england that gets to read this play has drawn pictures of just what this looks like to have a bunch of actors fleeing the stage as a bear for susan they apparently didn’t get an american education where you told don’t run from bears right they’re always faster than you but they didn’t so you get these delightful little like sketches of exit pursued by a bear you get the beautiful silhouette version of just the guy who’s getting out of town because I just love pop culture of all kinds also throwing there’s this delightful moment in the movie paddington 2 where hugh grant is chasing poor little paddington down a train and paddington’s about to fall off the end of the train and hugh grant looks at him and he says exit bear pursued by an actor little twist on the whole thing right there and I think I was the only person that laughed the first time and the second time and the third and fourth and fifth time I’ve seen it an embarrassing amount of times and still laughed regularly it’s a picture of what it is to experience a story a tale that has come into trauma that is now broken and to leave in shakespeare it’s a device that allows the character antigonus to go and then he’ll be killed by the bear because again if you’re out there you don’t run from bears uh the whole they’re more scared of you are than than you than you are of them or whatever is not true they they will just chase you and do what they did to antigonus it allows antigonus to die and the hero not to get his hands dirty it’s just a literary function but it is a picture of what it is to experience a struggle in a story and say we’ve got to get off stage we have to go we have to get out of here that is what comes to mind for me when I see these two characters leaving this story in jerusalem there is a story that has become broken and they say no we got to get out of there why emmaus for no reason other than it’s not jerusalem we just have to go they they are leaving a story they believe to be broken think about what they’ve experienced this week think about all of the things they might say about the story they are experiencing Jesus is dead that in itself is enough of a reason to leave we followed this leader we believed he might redeem israel the roman problem we have romans all over our streets he’s not going to do anything about that now he’s now dead there are too many of those romans to think about fighting oh emmaus emmaus is much safer nothing ever happens in emmaus we can just go there maybe there is somebody else maybe another messiah figure will come maybe someone who will actually deal with the roman problem maybe they’ll appear out of somewhere maybe they’ll appear in emmaus even though it seems unlikely finally it was a good story it was a good story while it lasted we followed Jesus and all of these things will happen that seemed like something we could get involved in but now I don’t see this story working anymore now it’s time to go have you been where they are now you probably haven’t been in jerusalem heading to emmaus but I would suspect like me you’ve got moments in your life experience where there’s been times where the story or a part of it has seemed broken enough where you said I really need to get out of here there are too many bears in this story right now I really need to get moving I really need to find something new this story at this point seems broken enough that there seems to be no good solution my mind just can’t figure out a way that this can be okay anymore it doesn’t have to be the whole story but maybe just an element of it a particular thing that makes you think I don’t know if I can keep doing this when I was in detroit there was a pastor of a church that was growing rapidly and they had two services that were just packed with people they were talking about a third service just so many great things happening but he talks about his experience in between those two services where he shut himself in a broom closet and sat contemplating this question if I start driving now how far away will I be before people realize I’m not here for the second service if I just leave now everything seemed to be good but to him this story was just so hard so difficult he just started to say if I just start driving like 20 miles 30 miles you see what you guys can do to people just to warn you just you know I just I haven’t found myself in a broom closet yet but you never know there are moments where we have a story where we say how how far can I get away from it I was reading this book the other day called you are not your own and it starts to sketch out everything in the author’s mind that he sees as wrong with the world currently and he starts to get you into a place of just wow what do I do with this book so I turned to laura in the midst of it and I said do you want to just homestead do you want to buy a piece of like property because that’s easy we’ll just grow crops and sustain a family and all of those different things everything will be just a breeze and then the author in this beautiful moment says right now I’ve probably got you in a place where you’re like we should just homestead and I was like he caught me um there was these times in life where we experienced just what what do I do with this place in the story it feels like it would be easier just to get out just to exit I even drew you a guy gave you a picture of apparently I wanted to homestead and get about 40 years old I would just be happy just easy everything’s easy when you home stead we have moments in our stories where we just wonder what we do with it it just it just feels a little broken like where do we go from here maybe we don’t ask the same questions or make the same statements that these first followers of Jesus did but there’s probably other ones that we do make we might say something like this this situation whatever it is this is beyond fixing this business this marriage this family this society this could be anything I can’t keep doing this I feel so depleted I’m running I’m empty there is no energy anymore I just can’t sustain can’t sustain they whoever they are business partner husband wife kids family members teammates they will never change and then this last one this last one is the one that gets me over and over again I just need a fresh start you know sometimes you have that feeling if you could just blank slate everything if you could just go back to the oh wow I’d do it differently this time but everything everything would be fine whatever the reason is we feel this way about different elements of our story and maybe if you’re honest you feel this way about the Jesus story in general maybe you look at the church and say I just don’t know if this thing works anymore you see all of the different ways that the church has impacted society in ways that might be negative you say why am I still committing myself to this story it just feels hopeless whatever you might say whatever I might say to put it into the language of shakespeare really what we’re saying is there are too many bears in this story the story is too broken the story is too fractured and it just seems easier just to get out it just seems easier to go to homesteading and we end up where these disciples are on the day of resurrection not waiting to see if the story changes they are just they’re getting out of town and they’re heading to emmaus why emmaus just because it’s safe just because it’s not jerusalem we’ve just got to we’ve just got to get out of there and in moments when I feel like that I have to ask myself some questions first question I have to ask myself is this I have to ask myself is the story broken not is the story uncomfortable not is the story what I want it to be right now but I have to ask is it broken is the problem with the story and this is just a test case there is the problem maybe with me in the midst of that story other stories you definitely need to leave definitely there are stories abusive relationships different things that we could conjure up that would say you’ve got to get out of that thing there are ways that we are fully able to hope for a different story to believe that God can change narratives absolutely but there’s definitely times I would suggest where we have moments where we say I’d just like to get out of this part of this thing I’d just like to move into something new and I’d like it to happen quickly there’s definitely times where I say that and sometimes sometimes it’s not the story sometimes it’s me because this is a confession right this is this is me being able to say this is me being able to be honest this there’s times where where I have a tendency to make myself the center of the story when I use language like the story is broken when when I pick an element of life and say yeah this isn’t working as it’s supposed to work what I really mean is not that it’s not functioning as a whole I mean it’s not feeling good to me right now it’s not functioning the way that alex would have it be alex is the center of the world right and it just it just I want this to adapt I want this to change or I want to blank slate this thing I want to fix it it’s interesting that when Jesus conjured up his faith his way that what it was to look uh to live life in in his way and with his heart this is one of the things he said this is luke chapter nine this is just after some of his followers have started to realize that he is who he said he was this started to twig there’s a light bulb moment Jesus strictly warned them not to tell this to anyone the son of man must suffer many things he said he must be rejected by the elders chief priests and scribes and he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life then Jesus said to all of them if anyone wants to come after me he must deny himself take up his cross daily and follow me unpopularly Jesus said this as the jerusalem landscape was littered with roman crosses with people that had been crucified on them in the midst of something that was a sign of roman oppression about everything everything about the way you know we’ve talked about the world shouldn’t work this way we should fix it we should go back to the old way it’s littered with these crosses and Jesus is pointing to things of execution and saying if you want to follow me it looks like those guys on those things it’s just a horrible way to start a faith unless you mean it right it’s just a horrible sort of invitation somewhere someone once said that we have made this incredible shift this this shift that we can only make with our 21st century minds we have taken a faith that began with a founder who said this if anyone wants to come after me he must take up his cross and we’ve somehow turned it into Jesus said come to me and everything in your life will be wonderful and it’s like the antithesis right so if you’re listening for the first time if you’re on video at home wherever I’m sorry for the deeply unpopular truth that Jesus said uncomfortable things like this there is a huge part of me that would like to magic it away and say Jesus this isn’t how we build a large community of faith this isn’t how we build religion this is not good marketing like you can’t instagram that in a way that is compelling and yet he chose to say it sometimes what I have to ask myself is when I have a story that I feel is broken when I feel like there’s too many bears and I’m getting out of the story for a good reason it just needs to change the problem if I’m honest is this it’s not the bears it’s the crosses it’s what it takes it’s the sacrifice that it takes to live in the story sometimes if I’m honest that that part is the problem henry now and said this this is what Jesus means when he asks you to take up your cross he encourages you to recognize and embrace your unique suffering and to trust that your way to salvation lies therein taking up your cross means first of all befriending your wounds and letting them reveal to you your own truth he encourages you to recognize and embrace your unique suffering and to trust that your way to salvation lies therein he doesn’t say get out of it he says recognize that I might be working in it and that again just deeply uncomfortable deeply counterintuitive to what we would believe in the 21st century another writer jenny allen said this when the enemy invites us to taste the fruit of self-importance and be like God we can choose instead to take up a cross and follow Jesus knowing that our identity is anchored in him alone I would love to know what he’s going through the mind of cleopas and his friend as they just get out of town but what I would suggest is it seems like the story can’t be fixed it seems like this is a self-preservation thing and while I haven’t got their exact experience I know that for me so often my movements my decisions it’s a self-preservation thing it’s about me as the center but something else as well I have a tendency to function as though Jesus isn’t present in the story there’s this other weird 21st century invention it’s fascinating you might call it functional atheism now I’m not suggesting every single one of us in this room don’t really believe in God we may even say things like one day everything will be good there’s this story that’s still to develop but what we definitely seem to have a tendency towards is this we say all of those things we believe those things but the moment life gets difficult and it doesn’t fit what we want or expect we actually really don’t believe some of the things that we say we do we say Jesus is present when life is good and yet in those moments we we don’t when it gets difficult when it comes down to it if we’re honest it’s this weird tendency that I think that we have and I do this all the time too I have a tendency to make myself the center of the story and have a tendency to function as though Jesus isn’t present and isn’t that fascinating isn’t that what cleopas and his friend do fleeing from jerusalem this place where everything happens to emmaus this town that nothing happens they are incredibly joined on this journey the God who does everything in jerusalem has left jerusalem is journeying with them as they go in the wrong direction and they don’t even know it they’re not even aware that he’s there and that my friends is me to a t when I am in that mood I don’t even know he’s there I am oblivious to everything he might be doing and I love the way that Jesus brings them around to his point of view in the story he said to them how foolish you are and how slow to believe all that the prophets have spoken did not the messiah have to suffer these things and then enter his glory and beginning with moses and all the prophets he explained to them what was said in all the scriptures concerning himself as they approached the village to which they were going Jesus continued on as if he were going farther 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 and then this is the moment of reveal the moment where the big secret of the story which has been almost a microcosm of everything about Jesus story people have constantly missed who he is constantly been uncertain about what he’s doing and need their eyes opened when he was with them at the table he took bread gave thanks broke it and began to give it to them now a couple of fun little if you’re if you’re like into bible nerding as I unashamedly am there’s a couple of fun little illusions going on here one Jesus has done this before this is a kind of a look back at the the feeding of the five thousand he’s taken bread he shared it with everyone and that’s the moment where his first followers start to say oh he might be something more he might be doing something special we may have found the guy the messiah the person who’s going to change everything so it’s definitely a little throwback to that but then just below then their eyes were opened seems like luke is talking about genesis chapter three and that story adam and eve eat a piece of fruit and it says their eyes were opened and they saw both good and evil or they knew both good and evil in this moment their eyes are opened and they see Jesus and the new story that he has created so a fun couple of little things going on there but really really it seems the center the main illusion that’s been made here is back to a table where Jesus gathered with his earliest followers and broke bread and handed it to each of them now these two probably weren’t there at that moment but a pattern will be for this church in the future will be to consistently gather around a table to take two very common things bread and wine and to hand them around and say somewhere in this moment Jesus is present in a particular way just like he is for them in this moment their eyes were opened and they recognized him he disappeared from their sight in a moment of fleeing the story in a moment of saying we’ve just cut to get out in a moment of self-preservation in a moment of leaving the place that God is working to head to a place where God never works these people experience the God of the universe who it seems chases after them captures them and pulls them back into his story all of this happens around a table just like this for the rest of his book luke will constantly talk about how these earliest followers gathered and broke bread together they gathered and broke bread together they gathered and broke bread together they constantly came back to this table to remember Jesus and to experience his presence and so what we get to do as a community in the midst of stories that some of us would like to run away from it mr stories that this seems a safe space from that we don’t want to go back to we get to come to a table and we get to experience the God of the universe who is present with us in the most likely unlikely of places it doesn’t seem when you read the rest of the bible that God ever spends time in emmaus but he does here just for them so we’re going to come to the table and I’d like you in this space to just bring whatever stories you have good bad broken difficult scary whatever they look like

they return to the story Jesus meets with them at a table and something about that experience gives them the courage to return back to jerusalem now what awaits them in jerusalem is not easy it’s difficult most of Jesus earliest followers were killed for their faith they went and shared it all over the place and most of them died some through the same mechanism that Jesus died they don’t go back to ease they don’t go back to comfort but they do go back knowing his presence were not our hearts burning with us while he talked with us on the road and opened the scriptures to us they got up and returned at once to jerusalem if the journey to emmaus was strange why would they go why would they just suddenly pick up and leave the journey back to jerusalem is even more unusual it’s now night time nobody’s traveling on roads in this era at this time and yet there they are stumbling through the dark headed back to a story that they now believe in in new ways a story that is still difficult but they now know that Jesus is present with them in when you come to this table when you bring your story the only thing right now that I suggest you need to know is is Jesus present with me in this story don’t need to know whether it’s a story to leave don’t need to know whether it’s a story to run back do you just simply need to say Jesus I need you to be present with me and one of the greatest joys of pastoring a community is this I don’t know every single story in the room how could I but I do know some of them and I do know for some of you you are living in the midst of a story that you say I don’t want this story this doesn’t feel like it should it could be a family thing a work thing a health thing a spiritual thing one of the joys of pastoring a community is not that you have to go through those stories but it’s to see what it is to see a group of people who can stand in the midst of those stories walk towards a table that is 2 000 years old and say God I believe you are present here in a particular way and even though everything inside of me would love to run away from this story I’m gonna be here with you believe you will make yourself present and believe that might give me everything I need to live out this story in the way that you would in this world right now let’s pray

Jesus we don’t pick the stories we live in except we choose your story we choose to believe that when you came died and rose again that that changed everything that this is a story about everything that covers everything when elements of our story get funky when they get out of whack oh definitely there’s times we want to leave definitely there’s times where we want to say I didn’t sign up for this definitely there’s times where we say God would you just fix it

and sometimes incredibly you do sometimes we look at a story and you change it we can look back at times where you have moved and it has everything has looked different because you did something spectacular and then there’s other times where we said no God you haven’t changed the story but seems like you’re changing me in the midst of that story

maybe that’s what it means to pick a backross and follow you to trust that in the midst of those stories you are still present thank you for the way that you walked with these first followers you left the place where everything happened and you walked to a town where nothing happens they took the wrong direction and you were still there present and they didn’t know it God sometimes we just need a moment where we do know it and we know a forgetful people will probably leave and forget some of what we experience but in this moment as we come to your table this 2 000 year old table as we break bread and we drink wine

would you make yourself present to us would you comfort those of us that are afflicted and for those of us that are just a little bit too comfortable would you afflict us and wake us up the things that you’ve done before God would you do again would we see if we pray we would see miracles change that the story would fix would heal but we also realize that a greatest miracle is just to experience you in fresh ways and so for wherever we are in our journey where whether we’ve never stepped into any kind of faith and this isn’t the most attractive sounding faith right now to pick up a cross

God I pray that you would have us give us the courage to do that

on the night that he was betrayed Jesus gathered with his earliest followers he took bread and handed it to each of them said this is my body broken for you and then he took a cup and handed it to each of them said this is my blood shed for the sins of the world whenever you gather together do this in remembrance of me

in the midst of the worst part of his story

Jesus did the same thing that we’re doing right now

I’m going to invite you as aaron plays to come and take the elements back to your seat take some time to contemplate take some time to bring your story to guardian all of the ways that it is broken

and recognize that the need is met through the broken bread take that bread when you are ready and then together we’ll take the cup as a community of people following Jesus together in this space God as we come to this table please let us experience your presence in all the ways we need it your comfort and your goodness

amen

if you would like prayer before you take the elements there’s a group of people here that would love to pray for you if you’d like to wait till after the service you can do that too but perhaps in this space you just need someone who will stand alongside you and look for God’s presence with you

walking around these walls I thought by now they’d fall

but you never failed me waiting for change to come knowing the battles won

but you still stands great is your faithfulness faithfulness

still in your hands this is my confidence never fill

the

again

keep me within your sing your praise again

great is your faithfulness faithfulness I’m still in your hands this is my confidence you never fail promise still stands great is your faithfulness faithfulness

this is

you stay true you stay stable

even when the story changes

you stay true you stay stable even when the story changes

so Jesus we as your followers believe that when you died and rose again you changed everything about the way the world works

in this community we have all sorts of individual stories in all sorts of places

as we take the bread and cut together

we remind ourselves that following you includes picking up a cross but not every story will always look as we want it to that some of them will be hard and difficult God would you give us the wisdom to know when to leave a story

and when to stay in the midst of it and allow you to change us in it

but in this moment we also remind ourselves the one day where you promise this is this that you will wipe away every tear that you will bring this great grand story where it needs to go that we can never be the center of it but we can be transformed by it that you are constantly bringing new things out of old things we thank you Jesus for what your body and blood mean

and at this moment if you haven’t taken the bread feel free to take that and together we take this cup and we remember Jesus blood shed for us not the revolution his followers hoped for but definitely the revolution that they needed thank you Jesus for your presence with us at this table we may forget this moment but give us the strength to live out the story you have for each of us and to live into your great story let’s take the cup together friends

let’s sing this last song

oh

I

I see

I see you do it again thank you Jesus amen I’m going to invite you to grab a seat for just a second we’re going to invite a bunch of people that are disappearing off to guatemala in just a few weeks and we’re just going to talk about that for a little bit and so ethan tell us what’s going on man yeah so is this on oh it is wrong uh in july of this year uh we’re going to guatemala this is the team minus one person she’s sick um but why don’t we start by introducing ourselves real quick I’m kelsey I’m joe I’m zach I’m garrett I’m caleb I’m ashton and I’m brianna and the last person is gianna but she’s sick today uh so kelsey can you tell us what we’re going to be doing in guatemala in july yeah so we are leaving to guatemala july 6th to the 14th and we’re going to be working with an orphanage called eagle’s nest we’re going to be working with the students the kids there just coming alongside them hanging out them playing with them but we’re also going to be blessing the orphanage by doing small tasks like painting really anything around there that we can do to bless them and be the hands and feet of Jesus and joe has been on a trip like this before uh so joe uh on your last trip tell us what you got out of the last trip and then why you want to go on another one yeah so I was on the um the trip to mexico in 2019 with cell students and it was not only meaningful to the people there in mexico and like beneficial to like their community but is also very beneficial to everybody that was on the trip and I feel like we all grew in our faith a lot and we got to see some different cultures and uh yeah it was definitely very cool to be like the working hand and lastly zach has never been on a trip like this so we want to ask him uh why do you want to go on this trip and what do you want to get out of it um since I’ve never been on a trip to another country um I think it’s going to give me an opportunity to like grow my faith and especially implement it and onto the kids at the orphanage and help them learn about God maybe and just grow their faith and also would love to learn about their culture and just how they live their normal lives

awesome so to go on this trip obviously we have to raise a little bit of money our goal is 14 000 so there’s a number of ways you guys can help us out uh the first one is if you go to south’s website today there’s like on the drop down giving menu there’s a special option specifically for the guatemala trip so you can select that and give money specifically to this trip these guys some of them will also be waiting out in the lobby if you want them to come to your house and do yard work or housework or any kind of work they have young strong muscles ready for some manual labor so you can sign up to have them come and they can help you you can help us it all works together so yeah like I said our goal is fourteen thousand dollars if you wanna help us out that’d be awesome to help us go on the trip we also are going to do a couple fundraisers we have a talent show coming up in june which we’ll tell you more about that in the future but just to put these on your radar now uh ways you can help our trip so alex wants to pray for us because he’s a charismatic guy I love it I just felt prayer was fitting in a church so and I’ve been assured they are all good at yard work so some of you who want to know that you know if they take care of your yard and some of you have seen your yards and you need all the help you can get so it doesn’t even matter if they’re good or not but just uh we’re so uh excited to see what you guys uh hear what you guys experience uh thank you for taking this awesome step of faith um and for those of you that uh just yeah would like to pray with me why don’t you stand uh and just we’re gonna raise our hands towards them so

let’s take a moment Jesus thank you for the step of faith that each of these followers of you are taken

God thank you that they’re going not to fix everything but to partner with people that are involved every day in this beautiful country God I pray that you would go before them alongside them and behind them that you provide for all of their needs I pray that they would be involved in wonderful things but most of all I pray that they would come back transformed too transformed by new experiences of you so God we pray that you would bless them keep them safe give them wisdom and use them as you would have them be used amen thank you friends thank you for being on stage twice two services bravo

and for the rest of us uh I pray that you would go with the presence of Jesus into the story that you’re living in may you see the story changed as it needs to be changed and may have the strength to live in it to bear the cross that you called to bear in this season may you know Jesus presence with you in that go in peace amen