3rd Sunday of Easter

St. Johannes Lutheran Church
April 26, 2020

Kyrie eleison, on our world and on our way. Kyrie eleison, every day!

from Setting 4 of the Lutheran Liturgy

PRELUDE:    Shine, Jesus Shine!

3rd Sunday of EASTER LITURGY


Welcome to this St. Johannes Lutheran Church celebration of the Third Sunday of Easter coming to you via video streaming from Facebook or Our Website! 
We are so glad you are joining us for this special service and if you are not already a member of St. Johannes we invite you to join us for worship in our beautiful sanctuary at 48 Hasell Street in Charleston, South Carolina once we allowed to gather again for Sunday Services.
I am Pastor Rich Donoughue, and am currently serving as the interim pastor for St. Johannes.  Please feel free to call the church office if you have any pastoral needs. Although our church administrator, Amy Biafano, is working from her home, she is monitoring our calls.  You are  also welcome to call me directly. 
I am leading this service from my home in Summerville. Please see the birth announcement at the end of the printed service. 
You may also watch the video version of the service by logging into our website and choosing "Services."  Then select Third Sunday of Easter where you will be treated to wonderful music by our amazingly talented organist-Sean Holleran and a special treat this week as he is joined by Dr. Sarah Cederhorn, violinist. The uplifting music continues to usher in the Easter season!



The Holy Spirit calls us together as the people of God.

All may make the sign of the cross, the sign marked at baptism.
P:  Alleluia! Christ is risen.
C  Christ is risen indeed. Alleluia!
P:  Joined to Christ in the waters of baptism,
C: we are raised with him to new life.
P:  Let us give thanks for the gift of baptism.
Water may be poured into the bowl as we offer our thanks to God.
P:  We give you thanks, O God, for in the beginning you created us in your image and planted us in a well-watered garden. In the desert you promised pools of water for the parched, and you gave us water from the rock. When we did not know the way, you sent the Good Shepherd to lead us to still waters. At the cross, you watered us from Jesus’ wounded side, and on this day, you shower us again with the water of life. 
We praise you for your salvation through water, for the water in this bowl, and for all water everywhere. Bathe us in your forgiveness, grace, and love. Satisfy the thirsty, and give us the life only you can give. To you be given honor and praise through Jesus Christ our Lord in the unity of the Holy Spirit, now and forever.
C: Amen.
P:  The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all.  
C: And also with you.
CANTICLE OF PRAISE Page 149  This Is The Feast Of Victory

P: The Lord be with you.  
C: And also with you.
P:  Let us pray.
O God, your Son makes himself known to all his disciples in the breaking of bread. Open the eyes of our faith, that we may see him in his redeeming work, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

C: Amen.

God speaks to us in scripture reading, preaching, and song.


FIRST LESSON Acts 2:14a, 36-41

14aPeter, standing with the eleven, raised his voice and addressed [the crowd], 36“Therefore let the entire house of Israel know with certainty that God has made him both Lord and Messiah, this Jesus whom you crucified.”
  37Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and to the other apostles, “Brothers, what should we do?” 38Peter said to them, “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. 39For the promise is for you, for your children, and for all who are far away, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to him.” 40And he testified with many other arguments and exhorted them, saying, “Save yourselves from this corrupt generation.” 41So those who welcomed his message were baptized, and that day about three thousand persons were added.

Psalm 116:1-4; 12-19 (Spoken in Unison)
1I love the Lord, who has  heard my voice,
  and listened to my  supplication,
2for the Lord has given  ear to me
  whenever I called.
3The cords of death entangled me; the anguish of the grave  came upon me;
  I came to  grief and sorrow.
4Then I called upon the name  of the Lord:
  “O Lord, I pray you,  save my life.” 
12How shall I re-pay the Lord
  for all the good things God has  done for me?
13I will lift the cup of salvation
  and call on the name of the Lord.
14I will fulfill my vows to the Lord
  in the presence of all God’s people.
15Precious in your sight, O Lord,
  is the death of your servants.
16O Lord, truly I am your servant;
  I am your servant, the child of your handmaid; you have freed me from my bonds.
17I will offer you the sacrifice of thanksgiving
  and call upon the name of the Lord. 
18I will fulfill my vows to the Lord
  in the presence of all God’s people,
19in the courts of  the Lord‘s house,
  in the midst of you, O Jerusalem.  Hallelujah! 

SECOND LESSON 1 Peter 1:17-23
P: A reading from First Peter.
17If you invoke as Father the one who judges all people impartially according to their deeds, live in reverent fear during the time of your exile. 18You know that you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your ancestors, not with perishable things like silver or gold, 19but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without defect or blemish. 20He was destined before the foundation of the world, but was revealed at the end of the ages for your sake. 21Through him you have come to trust in God, who raised him from the dead and gave him glory, so that your faith and hope are set on God.
  22Now that you have purified your souls by your obedience to the truth so that you have genuine mutual love, love one another deeply from the heart. 23You have been born anew, not of perishable but of imperishable seed, through the living and enduring word of God.                                              
P:  The word of the Lord.                     C: Thanks be to God!

GOSPEL Luke 24: 13-35

P: The holy gospel according to St. John the 20th chapter.

C: Glory to you, O Lord!

13Now on that same day [when Jesus had appeared to Mary Magdalene,] two [disciples] were going to a village called Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem, 14and talking with each other about all these things that had happened. 15While they were talking and discussing, Jesus himself came near and went with them, 16but their eyes were kept from recognizing him. 17And he said to them, “What are you discussing with each other while you walk along?” They stood still, looking sad. 18Then one of them, whose name was Cleopas, answered him, “Are you the only stranger in Jerusalem who does not know the things that have taken place there in these days?” 19He asked them, “What things?” They replied, “The things about Jesus of Nazareth, who was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people, 20and how our chief priests and leaders handed him over to be condemned to death and crucified him. 21But we had hoped that he was the one to redeem Israel. Yes, and besides all this, it is now the third day since these things took place. 22Moreover, some women of our group astounded us. They were at the tomb early this morning, 23and when they did not find his body there, they came back and told us that they had indeed seen a vision of angels who said that he was alive. 24Some of those who were with us went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said; but they did not see him.” 25Then he said to them, “Oh, how foolish you are, and how slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have declared! 26Was it not necessary that the Messiah should suffer these things and then enter into his glory?” 27Then beginning with Moses and all the prophets, he interpreted to them the things about himself in all the scriptures.
  28As they came near the village to which they were going, he walked ahead as if he were going on. 29But they urged him strongly, saying, “Stay with us, because it is almost evening and the day is now nearly over.” So he went in to stay with them. 30When he was at the table with them, he took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them. 31Then their eyes were opened, and they recognized him; and he vanished from their sight. 32They said to each other, “Were not our hearts burning within us while he was talking to us on the road, while he was opening the scriptures to us?” 33That same hour they got up and returned to Jerusalem; and they found the eleven and their companions gathered together. 34They were saying, “The Lord has risen indeed, and he has appeared to Simon!” 35Then they told what had happened on the road, and how he had been made known to them in the breaking of the bread.

P: The Gospel of the Lord.
C: Praise to you O Christ!

SERMON                                                                           by Pastor Rich                             
Silence for reflection follows the sermon.
You come down the front stoop and turn right. You walk to the corner and turn left onto Fairview Ave and you pass under the el. At the street’s end you carefully cross Forest Avenue. There is no light there yet. You walk down 67th Avenue one block. As it zigs right then left at 60th St you have arrived at Emmaus. That was my Sunday walk; my Saturday confirmation walk; my Friday youth group walk; my Wednesday released time walk. The walk to Emmaus - Emmaus Evangelical Lutheran Church, Ridgewood, NY. In many ways life is a daily walk to Emmaus.
Today we walk with 2 disciples – Cleopas and the other guy (maybe a woman – it doesn’t say) – back home to Emmaus. A seven mile walk from Jerusalem. But it might as well have been a million miles. It was a million miles from where they thought they would be at that time. Engaged in conversation about what happened,  Jesus, somehow unrecognizable, meets them on the road. And the reason they left the disciples back in Jerusalem on that Easter Day becomes apparent.
“We had hoped”
Those words can suck the air out of you, as if a powerful fist to your gut had been struck. They could recite to Jesus all that had taken place, even news of the empty tomb. But hope was now lost. Their hearts broken by the crucifixion death of the one they hoped would redeem Israel, their Messiah.
In these days there are lots of wishes that have been smashed. We wish we could worship in the same space together. We wish we could taste bread and wine of the Eucharist. We wish this distancing from family and friends would be over and the virus would be under control or a vaccine would reduce or eliminate its effect. In our own home we wish our great granddaughter could spend the week with us. And she wishes she could play with her friends. It breaks your heart to know that some cannot be with their dying loved ones or postpone funerals until it is safe. It breaks your heart.
I suspect you know what a broken heart feels like. Most of us do. Cancer returns; the addiction is not beaten; a child dies; a pregnancy never happens; your beloved dies; the betrayal of a lover; your child walked away; the job never materialized; the congregation disappointed you; the family hurt you. Even a child has that same feeling when Santa doesn’t bring the longed for gift and place it under the tree on Christmas morning. And in every example there is a hope lost. Some dream we held is gone. Our hearts are broken, and we are blind to anything that could change to make things better or give us a new insight, until someone or something brings a new vision or a new direction.
For Cleopas and the other disciple it was the stranger on the road – Jesus.
The one they thought they lost was walking with them and they didn’t know it. He discussed the teachings of the Old Testament. Opened up the scriptures which they knew well. He connected all the dots about God’s Messiah. He showed them what the true picture of the Messiah would really look like. Not their understanding, but a new understanding of what God was ready to do for them through the Messiah Jesus.
Still blind to what they had been told, not by the women from the tomb or the disciples who also went to the tomb to find Jesus, but did not. They ask the stranger to stay, since evening was almost upon them. And at the dinner table when he broke the bread for them again, as he had done at the last supper, they were no longer blind. But now they could see Jesus, their risen Lord.
In the darkness of the night, they went back those seven miles to Jerusalem. And found the disciples and their companions as they had left them. The disciples reported Jesus appearance. And Cleopas and the other disciple told their story of Jesus and opened Scripture and broken bread.
Throughout much of Lent and now through Easter I have so missed our time together at worship in the nave of St. Johannes.  I have missed sharing with you the body and blood of our crucified and risen Lord in the sacrament of Holy Communion. My heart breaks that Pastor Steve could not be with you except through our videos as he takes leave from serving you and me. But the gospel today reminds us of the places to go with our broken hearts.
That place is with Jesus. Jesus who joins us on our road. He does not come when we are in Jerusalem. He does not come when we have made it safely home. He comes when our hearts are broken and we are trying to figure out what comes next. There is a hint of heresy in one of the newer hymns that I enjoy
          “I want Jesus to walk with me”
A hint of heresy because this Gospel story assures us that Jesus is already walking with us amidst our broken hearts, broken dreams or broken lives. The Father did not wait to send the Son to redeem us. “While we were still sinners” St paul echoes in the letter to the Romans. God has always known what we need to be restored and reunited. We need Jesus at our side and in our hearts. But Jesus needs no invitation. He walks with us already bringing us forgiveness, grace and mercy; bringing us renewed hope and a new direction for our lives:  Lives that can again be lived fully and richly, though perhaps differently because of what we have experienced.
Separated as we are by this virus and the safe-distancing we need to follow, we still have a powerful tool to keep us aware of God’s presence with us. What Jesus gave to the Emmaus road disciples was an awareness of all that God had done for them in the Scriptures and through God’s Messiah, God’s Son, our Lord. We have those same scriptures, plus the entire New Testament witness to God’s continued work through Jesus and the further gift of the Holy Spirit. More than ever we need to spend time in those scriptures: reading, meditating, praying and maybe even singing. More than ever we need to share the gift of our faith and life by our compassionate care for others.
Do you remember what Cleopas and the other disciple did once they realized who had been with them and what the Scriptures had been trying to tell them? They went back to Jerusalem to tell the gathered community whose hearts had been broken as well. How will you take that message of God’s presence and renewing power to others? With whom will you share today what God has done for you?
Much of my faith journey has been shaped by music. I started singing in the church choirs at Emmaus when I was in 4th grade. And throughout the years I have sung in a city-wide chorus, college choir and in congregations where I have served. When I hear a section of Scripture read, I often recall the words and melodies of hymns and anthems that I have experienced over the years. But this Gospel shared a new image for me.
My grandmother lived with us until she died. She could not move well and rarely attended church. But as a young child (I was about 11 when she died) when we returned from church on Sunday she would ask us to tell us what Gospel lesson had been read and to sing for her any of the hymns we sang that Sunday. So my road back from Emmaus included sharing and singing the story of God’s love and mercy in the joys and heart breaks of life.
What is your story to tell or sing today? With whom will you share your Emmaus road journey with Jesus.

HYMN OF THE DAY: ELW #384 That Easter Day with joy was bright

Hymn is below the service.

P: Using the words of the Nicene Creed, let us declare our faith:
We believe in one God,
the Father, the Almighty,
maker of heaven and earth,
of all that is, seen and unseen.
We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ,
the only Son of God,
eternally begotten of the Father,
God from God, Light from Light,
true God from true God,
begotten, not made,
of one Being with the Father;
through him all things were made.
For us and for our salvation
he came down from heaven,
was incarnate of the Holy Spirit and the virgin Mary
and became truly human.
For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate;
he suffered death and was buried.
On the third day he rose again
in accordance with the scriptures;
he ascended into heaven
and is seated at the right hand of the Father.
He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead,
and his kingdom will have no end.
We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life,
who proceeds from the Father and the Son,*
who with the Father and the Son is worshiped and glorified,
who has spoken through the prophets.
We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic church.
We acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins.
We look for the resurrection of the dead,
and the life of the world to come. Amen.

P: Uplifted by the promised hope of healing and resurrection, we join the people of God in all times and places in praying for the church, the world, and all who are in need.
A brief silence.
For those whose hearts are fervent with love for your gospel, that they are empowered to tell the story of your love in their lives and to show hospitality in response to this love. Lord, in your mercy,
C: hear our prayer.
For the diverse natural world: for jungles, prairies, forests, valleys, mountains, and for all the wild and endangered animals who call these spaces home, that they are nurtured and protected. Lord, in your mercy,
C:hear our prayer.
For broken systems we have inherited and that we continue to perpetuate, forgive us. Restrain the nations from fighting over limited resources. Redeem us from the cycles of scarcity and violence. Lord, in your mercy,
C: hear our prayer.
For all who call upon your healing name, give rest. Stay with us, and walk with all those who are hungry, friendless, despairing, and desiring healing in body and spirit.  We pray especially this morning for Marcy Floyd, Connie Morgan, Betty Budds, Charles Long III, Anne Foster, Marie Mood, Barbara Lyerly, John Fowlkes, Mary Sweat, Elmore Marlow, Ted Bowers, Bob Oswald, Bill Cornwell, Marilyn Stehmeier, Harry Klutz, and Pooh Kanapaux and those we now lift up to you in our hearts, or with our lips…. Lord, in your mercy,
C:  hear our prayer.
For the faith forming ministries of this church. For those preparing for baptism, first communion, confirmation, and membership (especially). For those who participate in Sunday school and adult education; guide and inspire learners of every age and ability. Lord, in your mercy,
C: hear our prayer.
Here other intercessions may be offered.
Create in our hearts a yearning to rest in your promise of eternal and resurrected life. Give us thankful hearts for those who have died, even as we look forward to the hope of new life with you. Lord, in your mercy,
C: hear our prayer.
With bold confidence in your love, almighty God, we place all for whom we pray into your eternal care; through Christ our Lord.
P: Lord, remember us in your Kingdom and teach us to pray.
C: Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name, thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.  Give us this day our daily bread; and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.  For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever and ever.  Amen.     

God blesses us and sends us in mission to the world.

P: May the One who brought forth Jesus from the dead raise you up to new life.  May He fill you with hope, and turn your mourning into dancing.   Almighty God, Father, ☩ Son, and Holy Spirit, bless you now and forever.
C:  Amen
SENDING HYMN # 369 Christ the Lord is risen today
Hymn is below the service.

P  Christ is risen, just as he said. Go in peace. Share the good news. Alleluia!
C Thanks be to God. Alleluia!

From © 2020 Augsburg Fortress.
All rights reserved. Reprinted by permission under Augsburg Fortress Liturgies Annual License #24142.
New Revised Standard Version Bible, Copyright © 1989,
Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America.
Used by permission. All rights reserved.
Revised Common Lectionary, Copyright © 1992 Consultation on Common Texts, admin Augsburg Fortress.
Used by permission.

The Power of Your Love!
Today, with great joy, we celebrate the birth of Nolan James Hughes. His proud parents are Kirsten and Chris Hughes.  He was born on April 18, 2020 at 4:00 PM.  He was 20 1/2" long and weighed 8 lbs. 3 oz.
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