Friday, May 2, 2014

Bishop's Note: Collect for the Third Sunday in Easter

 Bishop Eric Menees

O God, whose blessed Son did manifest himself to his disciples in the breaking of bread: Open, we pray thee, the eyes of our faith, that we may behold him in all his redeeming work; through the same thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

On this third Sunday of Easter, we continue to walk with the disciples as the resurrected Jesus reveals himself to two travelers along the road. Today's gospel is from the 24th chapter of Luke and is the story of the Road to Emmaus, where Jesus revealed himself to Cleopas and the other disciple (I'd like to think Cleopas is going home with his wife, as she's mentioned in John 19:25 as being with Mary at the cross). As they walk along and discuss the events of the past days with Jesus, whom they do not yet recognize, their hearts burn within them. They finally invite Jesus to stay for a simple meal, an

As a 13 year old boy, my friend invited me to church with him. This was a new experience for me, as I had never been part of a church and certainly didn't have a relationship with God the Father - let alone his only begotten son. Unfortunately, neither he nor another friend showed up that day, and before I could leave the ushers had corralled me and sat me down with them in the back of the church. This was my very first time in church, so everything was new and quite strange. Mostly, I could make sense of what was going on until the celebration of Holy Eucharist. They were talking about eating the flesh and drinking the blood of a man who was - so far as I understood then - 2000 years dead. I wanted no part of that, but the ushers were very insistent - to the point of grabbing my elbow and leading me to the altar. (Certainly not something I recommend.) Imagine my relief when the priest came to me and placed a round piece of...cardboard? cracker? my hand.  Then the chalice bearer came by, and I was equally relieved to look into the chalice and see and smell only wine.

I reluctantly received the bread and the wine, the body and the blood of Jesus, and I have to say that I felt something that I'd never experienced before. It was a warm feeling that spread throughout my body, and it was much more than port wine on an empty stomach. It was like a warm embrace, and I oddly felt the urge to cry, but I held back. To my surprise, the priest (Fr. Bob) noticed me and came back and knelt in front of me. He looked me in the eyes and said, "Welcome Home."

Like Cleopas and "the other disciple," I had my eyes opened to the presence of Jesus in my life in the breaking of the bread. The following week I gave my life to Christ on a youth group trip to Tijuana, Mexico. I was baptized a couple of months later, and was confirmed a few months after that. Because a friend invited me to church to sit with Jesus and to break bread, my life was change and transformed by the love of Christ. 

This Sunday, who can you invite to join you at the table of The Lord? Alleluia Christ is Risen!  The Lord is Risen Indeed. Alleluia

Note: These articles are written by Bishop Menees for the Diocese of San Joaquin. I have posted them on Soundings with his permission for a wider audience. This is also the case for his "Why I am an Anglican" series. Dale+

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