Material for Worship on the Third Sunday of Easter

When you walk through a storm,
hold your head up high
and don’t be afraid of the dark.
At the end of a storm
there’s a golden sky
and the sweet, silver song of a lark.

Walk on through the wind,
walk on through the rain
though your dreams be tossed and blown.
Walk on, walk on
with hope in your heart
and you’ll never walk alone,
you’ll never walk alone.

I suppose that it is not surprising that ‘You’ll never walk alone’ has reached the top of the charts this week. A song of hope and solidarity, it has long been used not only as an anthem for the football terraces but also to bring comfort and encouragement in difficult times. It is particularly appropriate at the moment when so many people are in isolation and feeling very alone.

As you light your candle and prepare to join in worship with me, Nerys, celebrating the Eucharist in the church this morning, let us take a moment to think about our St Mary’s family. You may wish to bring before God those who usually sit with you in the pews and imagine us walking through this storm together.

Our Gospel reading this week, Luke 24.13-35, takes us on a journey with two of Jesus’ disciples. Some scholars think that they were husband and wife, others that Luke deliberately left one of them unnamed to make it easier for his readers to identify with them and join them on the way. As you read the passage, you may want to name some of the emotions you are carrying today.

The disciples share their story of confusion, dismay, fear and sorrow with the stranger who walks alongside them. Notice how he draws them into his story – a story of fulfilment through suffering – by guiding them through the Scriptures. This has such an effect on them that even before they understand who he is, they plead with him to stay with them. I invite you to bring to mind stories of God’s faithfulness to his people through the ages, culminating in the story of the first Easter. Do you also have a story of his faithfulness to you?

Notice the way Luke describes the simple meal and allow your mind to return to the upper room and to many other meals Jesus had shared. The meal also points forward to our own experiences of meeting Christ in the breaking of the bread. In the passage, the moment of revelation is gentle and brief but it shines a light for us on the past, present and future. The story has not finished at the cross or even at the empty tomb. The Emmaus experience happens again and again and brings us encouragement to walk on with hope in our hearts, knowing that we will, indeed, never walk alone.

As you prepare to turn to God in prayer, you may want to take a moment to read the words of the song again and reflect on the painting below by Daniel Bonnell.

Walk with us, Lord, through this time of fear and uncertainty throughout the world.

Walk with those in positions of authority and influence …

Walk with those who are risking their lives to serve others …

Walk with those who are suffering …

Walk with those who anxious …

Walk with those who are grieving …

Walk with those who feel they are alone …

Walk with your Church in Dunblane and across the world …

Help us to know your presence with us and to be your presence to others.
We ask in Jesus’ name. Amen.