Then they told - those first three words in the last sentence in today’s Easter Gospel, prompt today’s sermon title: “Breaking the Silence” - breaking the silence with conversations on the road and at table and everywhere. We talk via cell phone, texting, Skype, Facebook, and Twitter - about the weather, and what weather we have to talk about!
We talk about sports – the Flyers’ almost win in the playoffs, about scandals and stars and the newest flicks. We talk about a pop singer turned into an idol. We talk about our personal life in details updated by the minute.
Now, when hearing today’s Gospel, it’s time to break the silence and talk about our own after-Easter stories.
It’s time to say,
“Were not our hearts burning within us
while he was talking to us on the road,
while he was opening the scriptures to us?”
“Opening the Scriptures” to let Jesus “talk to us” through the Gospels-Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, so that, through their words, He can introduce Himself to us and inspire us – literally, breathe Himself into us. But our crunch-time schedules may have us saying, “I don’t have time to read the Bible.” and some may admit, “I don’t have a Bible.” or “I got one years ago but don’t expect me to know where it is now.”
The world of electronic communication is ready to help us;all we need to do is decide to let those resources break into our preset webpages and apps, to read the UCC daily devotional, and the Bible – all online. Or an in-print copy of the Upper Room or Our Daily Bread or other booklets – which take us back to the Bible.
A delightful sight was to see a young person sit down at a table in a local restaurant with Bible in hand. Others were coming in with daily newspapers or a novel or magazine, or electronics to read on screen, but she came in with a Bible, the bread of Scripture to read while eating her lunch.
It’s time to take that kind of time so that our hearts may burn within us, as through the Bible, the God of the Scriptures may talk to us, especially as God spoke and continues to speak through Jesus. It’s time to also take time to let the Easter Jesus be made known to us in the breaking of the bread in the gathered company of the first of Jesus’ followers and now in our time of coming together to worship to receive the Word that is read and the bread and cup that are shared, bringing us into the company of Christ and all Christ’s people.
Again, we hear, “But I don’t have time to do that.” For some that is a harsh reality – the ill and those who are caring for them, those who must work, and those who are on the road or in the air, some with schedules that defy being able to be present with us.
For these people, often frustrated by being absent, the world of electronics becomes a servant of the church as via CD’s and DVD’s and webpages – like ours – it is possible to be a part of a service of worship. At the same time there is the need to break the silence, to dare to speak up to whatever it is that is taking over Christians’ time to come together to worship; whatever it is that is preventing us from letting the Easter Jesus be made known to us in the breaking of the bread.
A personal confession: At home we were grumbling about all the intrusions, prompted by a newsletter from one of the groups to which we belong. Most of the members in the club are Christians and belong to a church, yet, they schedule trips and tours on a Sunday morning when they could be on a Saturday or later on Sunday. While we were grumbling, a club member called. He and his wife are Christians who attend and participate in their congregation. When we shared our grip with him, he said, “We don’t like it either.” and admitted, “Well, then, why haven’t we said anything about it?”
It’s time to break the silence; it’s time to stop grumbling about how other religions are being featured and quoted and given media time; it’s time to carry forward Peter’s Easter sermon that we heard today, knowing we, too, are living
“In the name of Jesus Christ
so that your sins may be forgiven;
and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
For the promise is for you, for your children,
and for all who are far away,
everyone whom the Lord our God calls to him.”
That’s us; we are the baptized, marked, set apart to follow in the way and do the work and word of Jesus. It’s time to break the silence and be true to our Baptismal mark of God’s forgiveness, of Christ’s claim on us, and of the Holy Spirit’s gift, the breathe of God’s presence, that move us to have a yearning, a burning desire, to talk about Christ’s effect on us.
The other week that silence was broke at the checkout in a local store by the woman ahead of me. Noticing my clerical collar, she asked, “Are you a priest?” and I answered, “No, I am a pastor.”
“It is a Bible-believing church?” she asked.
“Yes,” I said, “And more. Scripture fills our worship, Old Testament, Psalm, New Testament letter, and Gospel.”
Sensing that she really wanting to know if I and our congregation are “saved,” I went on to say, “Our life and our worship center in Baptism; we begin every service by the font; we constantly recommit to the vows.” and I began to repeat them:
“We belong to the faith and family of Jesus Christ,
renounce evil and receive the freedom of new life in Christ,
accept Christ as our Lord and Savior.”
I never got to the remaining two; she’d heard enough to say,
“Then you are a believer.”
and the young man checking us out added, “So am I.”
As in the Gospel story, the Easter Christ becomes known to us through Scripture and at worship’s table, filling us with a burning desire to tell others, on the road, at home, at a check out, anywhere and everywhere.
Known to us to share with others.
It’s time to break the silence! AMEN.