Easter 3A – April 23 (Additional Resources)

Third Sunday of Easter | April 23, 2023
Acts 2:14a, 36-41, Psalm 116:1-4, 12-19, 1 Peter 1:17-23, Luke 24:13-35

While You Walk

Passing of the Peace [Greet one another with “Peace be with you” in the language of your choice.]

If your congregation is more comfortable with non-contact gestures, consider offering “Peace be with you” accompanied by a Shin (Hebrew letter ש) hand gesture. You may even say “Shalom” (שָׁלוֹם) which begins with the Hebrew letter Shin. (Shekhinah שְׁכִינָה “presence of God” and Shaddai שַׁדַּי “God Almighty”, also begin with Shin.) This hand gesture has been used by Kohanim (Jewish priests) to accompany a blessing at the end of communal prayer services.

For more responsive signs of peace in other languages see Appendix.

Call to Worship (based on Luke 24:13-35)
Contextualize the Call to Worship below to include items familiar to your congregation. Fill-in the blanks based on the directions below.
The Call to Worship below is divided into leader, reader and people. If possible, it is recommended that the reader be someone who speaks at least one other language other than English. However, it may be read by just leader if it is too difficult provide printed or projected words to your worshippers at home.]

Leader: Jesus is with you while you walk from Jerusalem to Emmaus,
Reader: Jesus is with us while we walk from (1) to (2) .
People: We journey with Jesus on the road.
Reader: Jesus travels with us on (3) .
Leader: And yet we could not recognize Jesus
People: until we broke bread together,
Reader: until we shared some (4) and (4) .
Leader: At once, our eyes are opened and we say:
People: Oh! Our hearts were burning for that familiar voice!
Reader: (5)! We had a gut feeling when were talking story!
Leader: Christ is risen!
People: Christ is risen, indeed!
Reader: [(non-English) Christ is risen, indeed! (See Appendix)]
Leader: Praise God!
All: Alleluia!

Fill-in the blanks above with words fitting these descriptions:

  1. The large city in your area: _
  2. A smaller city/town about 7-10 miles away from city above: _
  3. A road or highway connecting those two cities: __
  4. Two popular church potlucks dishes: ,
  5. Non-English exclamations of surprise: , , … [Examples: Ay!, えー (Ehh?),うわー(uwaa), 우와 (u-wa), 哇! (wa!), Hō! ¡Caramba!, tafefe, oka, etc.]

Family Time (Children’s Sermon): “That Takes Me Back” (based on Luke 24:13-35)
Talk about your favorite food from an earlier part of your life. Describe what is in that dish and what it tastes like. If possible show a picture of it, or even better, prepare some of that dish for your congregation to see (and for your broadcast crew to sample). Somehow when you eat that food, you may remember times of loved one (spouse, parent, grandparent, aunt/uncle, etc.) preparing that food for you. Describe how your loved one served the food and how it reminds to of that loved one.

Pastor Mitchell’s sample introduction: My brothers and I remembered how one of our Chinese grandmothers (We called her Apo.) would often make fried rice for us to eat after school: hot oil in the pan, cooked rice, raw scrabbled egg right into the rice while it cooks, Vienna sausage cut into slices, diced lam si (salted dried olives), fresh chives from the yard, Hawaiian salt. She timed it perfectly so it would still be warm when we got home from school and could eat it while watching our favorite children’s show on TV, The Checkers & Pogo Show.

Many years later, as a missionary in Thailand, the school cafeteria sometimes made fried rice as the dish of the day. The workers wondered why I came back for second and third servings. That’s when I realized, it reminded me of my dear grandmother, Apo. Isn’t it funny how certain foods can trigger memories of a cherished time or person?

[Then continue with this or a similar message:]
Today’s Bible lesson tells an amazing story about a day when Jesus walked and talked with some of his disciples, but they didn’t even recognize him until he started to eat with them.

A few days after Jesus was crucified and risen from the grave, two of his disciples were walking on a road toward a town called Emmaus. They felt very sad as they talked about what had happened to Jesus. Suddenly, Jesus joined the disciples and walked along with them, but they did not recognize him.
(Why didn’t they recognize him? Were they all wearing facemasks like the ones we all have to wear when we walk in public places? No, I don’t think so. Not at that time. They must have just been too sad.)
“You look very serious. What are you talking about?” Jesus asked them.
One of them answered, “You must be the only person in Jerusalem who doesn’t know what has happened the past few days.” They told them about how Jesus had been crucified and buried, but when some women went to visit his tomb, it was empty. “We have heard that he is alive, but we have not seen him.”

When they arrived in Emmaus, the disciples invited Jesus to stay with them since it was too late in the day to travel further. So Jesus stayed with them and when they sat down to eat, Jesus took the bread and blessed it, broke it, and gave it to them. Suddenly, they recognized that the stranger was Jesus. (They must have remembered how he ate with them this way a few days earlier.) Then just as quickly as they recognized him, Jesus disappeared. They were so happy and excited to have seen Jesus that they ran back to Jerusalem to tell the others.

Imagine how sharing food or a meal together can open your eyes to remember important people in your life! Even today, churches still recognize Jesus in the breaking of bread. We call it “Holy Communion” or “the Lord’s Supper.” We share taste of bread and remember how Jesus gave himself to his disciples. We share a sip (of wine or grape juice) from a cup to remember God’s promises and forgiveness. And even when we cannot celebrate Communion together in the same room with our church family, we can celebrate our oneness in Jesus when we gather as church online or electronically. Even then, Holy Communion takes us back to when Jesus shared cherished meals with his disciples as it becomes an important reminder of God’s deep love for all of us.

Dear God, thank you for sharing your precious child Jesus with us. Open our eyes, we want to see Jesus! In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.

Pastoral Prayer (Luke 24:29-31, Psalm 116:3, 15, UCC Statement of Faith)
Gracious God, we come before you in the name of Jesus Christ, our crucified and risen Savior, the one who walks with us, talks with us, eats with us. We have broken bread together; we have shared the same pot of rice; one taro root has fed us all.

As we emerge from this global pandemic, we give thanks for people who have ceased referring to it as “Chinese Virus”. We give you praise for voices that actively work against racism. We pray also for your guidance and compassion for those who hold on to misinformation against and point fingers at their neighbors. Give us all courage in the struggle for justice and peace as we welcome the stranger into conversation while we walk along our mutual journey.

We also keep close to our hearts so many lives that have been lost to gun violence. We know that the death of your faithful ones is precious in your sight. Embolden us seekers of peace, as was Jesus who even at the time of his arrest commanded his disciples to lay down their weapons. May all who seek the peace of Christ do the same.

Blessing and honor, glory and power be unto you. Amen.

Prayer of Confession (Acts 2:36-37; Luke 24:18-27)
Merciful God, look at our hearts. The words of prophets and apostles cut us to the heart, for we too have crucified Jesus. Even when Christ shows up as a stranger in our walk, like the apostles, we too sigh and say, “Don’t you know anything?” Then, we often wish they would go back to where they came from as we “faithsplain” to them the way things work or what everyone from around here already knows. Yet, our hearts burn even while Jesus walks with us and we are blind to Christ’s presence. Your prophets have shown us our guilt, ignorance, and arrogance and we look at one another and ask, “What should we do?” Can you forgive us, God?

Assurance of Forgiveness (Acts 2:38-41; 1 Peter 1:23)
Let us remember how Peter said, “Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ so that your sins may be forgiven; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” You have been born anew through the living and enduring word of God. This promise is for you, for your children, and for all who are far away, everyone whom our God calls. Welcome this message, remembering your baptism: rejoice knowing that you are added to the number of believers.

Call to Offering (Psalm 116:1,12,14)
Servants of God, God has loosed our bonds. What can we offer to the One who has heard our cries and has saved us? What shall we return to God for all his bounty to us? Our gifts serve as vows to serve God, in the presence of all God’s people and everywhere around the world.

Prayer of Dedication (1 Peter 1:18-19; Psalm 116:17-18)
Gracious God, through the precious lamb who is our Christ, you have redeemed us beyond the perishable silver and gold we now present to you. We pay our vows of devotion, offering you these sacrifices of thanksgiving. Amen.

Benediction (Luke 24:13-35)
Fellow walkers along the way,
As we continue our journeys,
Be aware of the risen Christ in the ones who were once strangers,
While you walk, while you eat, while you live, while you breathe,
To testify to the living Christ among us all.

Possible/Suggested music selections
Praise to God TNCH 5
Golden Breaks the Dawn TNCH 470
De colores TNCH 402
Help Us Accept Each Other TNCH 388
Enter the Realm of God TNCH 615

Come to the Banquet Sing! 8
When I Was Baptized Sing! 53
Taste and See Sing! 86
We Are All God’s Chosen People Sing! 115
Children of God Sing! 195

Appendix: Multi-lingual Responsive Worship Greetings

Paschal Greeting (Easter Acclamation)
Ua ala hou ka Haku. The Lord is risen!
Ua ala no ‘o ia. He is risen indeed!

Sign of Peace
Aloha ‘oukou. Peace be with you.
Me ‘oe pu. And also with you.

Aloha i kekahi i kekahi. Love one another. (John 13:34)
Aloha i kekahi i kekahi me ka na‘au ma‘ema‘e. Love one another deeply from the heart. (1 Peter 1:22)

Paschal Greeting (Easter Acclamation)
キリストは復活なさった。(Kirisuto wa fukkatsu nasatta.) Christ is risen.

実に、彼は復活なさった。 (Jitsuni kare wa fukkatsu nasatta.) Indeed, he is risen.

Sign of Peace
平安があなたにあるように。 (Heian ga anata ni aruyouni.) Peace be with you.

そしてあなたと共に。 (Soshite anata to tomoni.) And also with you.

互いに愛し合いなさい。 (Tagaini aishiai nasai.) Love one another. (John 13:34)

互いに心から深く愛し合いなさい。(Tagaini kokorokara fukaku aishiainasai.)
Love one another deeply from the heart. (1 Peter 1:22)

Paschal Greeting (Easter Acclamation)
예수님이 부활 하셨다! (Yea-sue-nim-ee boo-hwal ha-shut-da!) Christ is risen!

그는 실제로 일어났습니다! (Keu-neun shill-jee-roh ill-raw-nat-sup-nee-da!) He is risen indeed!

Sign of Peace
에게 평화가 있을지어다. (Ae-kae pyung-hwa-ka ee-sool-jee-aw-da.) Peace be with you.

너와도. (Naw-wha-do.) And also with you.

서로 사랑하라. (Saw-roh sa-rang-ha-rah.) Love one another.

마음에서 깊이 서로 사랑하십시오. (Ma-eum-ae-saw kee-pee saw-roh sa-rang-ha-ship-see-oh.)
Love one another deeply from the heart. (1 Peter 1:22)

Paschal Greeting
An anij jerkakbije! The Lord is risen!
Rej ba iroj elukkun jekakbije! He is risen indeed!

Sign of Peace
Aenoman nan kom. Peace be with you. (John 20:26)
Bar einwot kwe. And also with you.

Iakwe im iakwe ro jet. Love one another. (John 13:34)
Iakwe im iakwe ro jet kin aolepen burwom. Love one another deeply from the heart. (1 Peter 1:22)

Paschal Greeting (Easter Acclamation)
Ua toe tu le Ali’i! The Lord is risen! (Luke 24:34)
E moni ua toe tu! He is risen indeed!

Sign of Peace
Ia outou manuia! Peace be with you. (John 20:26)
Ia fa’apea ia te oe! And also with you.

Ia outou fealofani! Love one another. (John 13:34)
Ia matua fealofani ai outou ma le loto naunau! Love one another deeply from the heart. (1 Peter 1:22)

Paschal Greeting (Easter Acclamation)
¡Cristo ha resucitado! Christ is risen! (Luke 24:34)
¡En verdad ha resucitado! He is risen indeed!

Sign of Peace
La paz sea con ustedes. Peace be with you. (John 20:26)
Y tambien contigo. And also with you.

Aménse los unos a los otros. Love one another. (John 13:34)
Aménse los unos a los otros ardientemente y de corazón puro.
Love one another deeply from the heart. (1 Peter 1:22)

Paschal Greeting (Easter Acclamation)
Si Cristo ay nabuhay! Christ is risen!
Si Cristo ay nabuhay na tunay! He is risen indeed!

Sign of Peace
Kapayapaan ay sumainyo. Peace be with you.
Gayon din sa inyo. And also with you.

Mag-ibigan sa isat-isa. Love one another. (John 13:34)
Magka-ibigan sa isat-isa sa kaibuturan na puso. Love one another deeply from the heart. (1 Peter 1:22)

Need help with pronunciation? Ask a native speaker of those languages or try cut and paste phrases into Google Translate.

While You Walk: Service Prayers for the Third Sunday of Easter Year A was written and revised by the Rev. Mitchell Young, pastor of Montebello Plymouth Congregational Church, UCC in Montebello, CA with acknowledgements to Junko Ashida, Roland and Josie Faustino, Pastor Randon Jello, Rev. Hyo-Jung Kim, Kahu Kenneth Makuakane, Rev. Sepulona Tanuvasa, Rev. Teogenes Tawagon, Rev. Dr. Felix Villanueva, Nitaya and Natasha Young. Explore how God is still speaking in Montebello at www.montebelloucc.org