First Lutheran Church and School

The Word This Weekend – April 15, 2018

The Word This Weekend – April 15, 2018
“Known in the Breaking”

The Rev. Dr. William L. Hurst
FLCS Senior Pastor 

That same hour they got up and returned to Jerusalem; and they found the eleven and their companions gathered together. They were saying, "The Lord has risen indeed, and he has appeared to Simon!" Then they told what had happened on the road, and how he had been made known to them in the breaking of the bread. (Luke 24:33-35)

Dear Companions,

Christ is risen, risen indeed! Alleluia! So goes the ancient acclamation of the Church of Jesus Christ. For two millennia the Jesus people have lifted voices and hearts in praise of the living Son of God, who has defeated sin, death and the Evil One upon the hated cross. Alleluia!

Our Gospel text for Sunday is another upper room appearance by the risen Christ. Yet it is preceded by the remarkable story of the walk to Emmaus, a story unique to Luke’s account. For those two dejected walkers on that first Easter day – Cleopas and another unnamed follower – the day is anything but Easter-like celebration, as far from triumphant as you could imagine. As a mysterious Stranger joins them on the road to Emmaus, querying them as to what has happened on that tumultuous Jerusalem weekend, their hearts are heavy and hopes are dashed. They have been broken, broken to bits on that Passover weekend long ago. 

The Stranger, of course, is Christ himself. As he progressively makes himself known to them – known in the breaking.

First he breaks down their wounded hearts. “What are you discussing as you walk along?” And they tell him everything – their hopes of a Messiah, and how those hopes were dashed to bits amid the choruses of “Hosanna” and “Crucify.” They share their confusion over the women’s announcement of a risen Christ. They are broken, and he bids them give voice and language to that brokenness.

Then he breaks down their wills. “How clueless you are,” -- forgetting the promises of Law and Prophets, failing to see that the weekend’s events are the triumphant will of the God and Savior of all flesh. They’ve been armed with a promise, with a story of salvation, yet they’ve missed it as their hearts and wills have been broken by circumstance and doubt.

Next he breaks down the promise, scripture by scripture, chapter by chapter, placing himself in the long salvation story of Israel, and the promise of redemption that story that stands at that story’s Christly center.

Of course the breaking we remember most in this story occurs at their evening meal, as this strange guest sits at table with the crestfallen disciples, speaking the prayers and breaking the Bread. THE BREAD! In that instant their eyes are opened and their broken hearts are healed! As they later say, “Weren’t our hearts burning with us, when he spoke with us on the road.” He was made known to them in the Meal, in the Blessing, in the promise that “I am with you always, even unto forever!”

Known in the breaking. That’s them, and that’s us. The Easter Season’s Fifty sacred days invite us to have our eyes opened, our wounded hearts healed, our mistaken notions about happenstance and providence corrected, our fearful wills turned to courage, integrity, servanthood and joy. If we are broken, we are broken by Christ, the broken Bread, and remade in his risen promise, born anew into a new and living hope, baked into a Bread of Life for the sake of Christ’s beloved world.

Hope to see you this weekend. To join you in the sacred Story, celebrate with you the gift of Baptism, and gather at the Table of New Eyes and New Hope. The Table of the Breaking. Where the incarnate Bread of Life is to be found and discovered and adored once more. To be known in all his fullness, even in the midst of our human brokenness. Known in the Breaking.

With you in God’s Good Work,
Bill Hurst