Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his saints. (Ps. 116:5)
=== Our friend, Shanna, died and went to Heaven today ===
Tonight’s service was muted because of Shanna’s death. We sang and we prayed. We recited and we communed. We confessed and were reassured.
Tonight’s sermon by Pastor Sattler was based on the story of The Road to Emmaus, Luke 24:13-35. It tells the story of later on Easter day, around 5:00 pm, when two disciples were walking to the town of Emmaus. One is named Cleopas and the other is unnamed. You might just insert your own there and imagine what the first Easter felt like to Jesus’s followers. They knew about Mary and her story of the empty tomb. This was verified by Peter and John shortly after. Cleopas and (you) were told that something big was going to happen on the third day but nobody expected a bodily resurrection. I’m not certain that resurrection was a main construct of the Jewish faith. It is mentioned in the story of The Valley of Dry Bones in Ezekiel 37:1-14 but I’m not sure if it parallels Christian doctrine or is in skew of it. As they continue their walk they are joined by a fellow journeyman who asks them what they are talking about. They are surprised that this fellow hasn’t heard of all the happenings in Jerusalem the past week. They tell of their friend, Jesus, great in word and deed, who was hailed a conquering hero just last Sunday and in the matter of a week is scorned, beaten, flayed and crucified. When the disciples reach an inn at the end of the day they urge their fellow traveller to stay and eat with them. As the stranger breaks bread and praises God, he becomes known to them as Jesus, alive just like them, then disappears from their sight. They rush back to Jerusalem to tell the others what they have seen.
Let’s talk about walks. There are different types of walks we take. The most obvious walk we do is to travel from here to there. It is usually longer than what we do at work, school or around the house. It’s something we do to get out of the house to get fresh air or even walk off a bit of dinner. We can do it by ourselves or with a spouse, a friend, or a dog. We can plug headphones in and listen to music or podcasts. If you are a Christian, no matter how short or long your walk, Jesus is with you whether you think about Him or not. Jesus is not a pushy God. He is there with you and for you but he won’t force Himself on you. If you want to talk to or about Him, fine, He’ll be with you. If you want to talk nasty and derisive to somebody on the trail, He’ll be there just the same with you. He knows you have the heart of a miserable sinner but He forgave that long ago. This isn’t to say He will keep you protected from the consequences of your actions but He will be with you as you endure them.
Here is a well known picture of Jesus. You’ve probably seen it in a pastor’s office or in a Christian’s home. It shows Jesus knocking on a door, presumably wanting to enter and tell the owners about Himself. There are many variations of this picture and in almost everyone of them there is no doorknob. This is to suggest that Jesus is always making Himself aware to you but unless you let Him in (accept Him) you’ll always be separated from Him and the gifts of grace and salvation He offers.
Another type of walk Christians talk about is a ‘walk with Jesus’. This is meant to be a long term relationship. You can compare this to a long friendship you have had with someone or a long marriage. I have been married to Susan for 32 years. It’s a long time if I stop and think about it but I rarely do. I enjoy my time with her. We have arguments, discussions, meetings of the minds , silly jokes, and often times think or say the same thing simultaneously. The important part of our walk is communication. We talk to each other thus we know a lot about each other. The walk with Jesus is similar to this. If you talk and pray to Jesus, He will listen and respond to you in a way you will understand, if you are willing to listen. You can help this process along by doing several things.
Read the Bible. You will come across verses that will ‘speak to you’, words of God that touch your heart. Pay attention to those verses. Maybe there will be a comment at the bottom of the page to help you understand it.
Go to church. The Holy Spirit is present in church when three or more are gathered to worship. Attend with an open heart.
Be involved. Be with other Christians as they do mission work for others. It can be as simple as collecting clothes or canned food. Don’t be concerned that you’ll be asked to go overseas to live in a thatch hut to spread the Gospel to unbelievers. That rarely happens.
Join a Bible study. It’s more fun and to learn about Jesus with a group of like minded people. If you join a Lutheran group, it’s a law they have to serve dessert.
Your walk with God, the longer it is, will help make His Word known to you. You will learn to discern what others say and know if what they say is of God or not. This will help you when it is time to make important decisions in your life.