From Friday to Sunday
Third Sunday of Easter ( April 30, 2017 )

Posted on 12 May 2017, Pastor: Fr. Sean Leonard

 


 

“We had hoped that he was the one to redeem Israel.”
“We had hoped that he was the one to redeem Israel.”
Words uttered by two shattered disciples as they limp home from Jerusalem to Emmaus.   Embodied in their words are our own disappointments, our own despairs.
We had hoped that the tests would have come back negative.
We had hoped that the treatment would have been successful.
We had hoped for a promotion or a new job
We had hoped to make the baseball team, we had hoped for a better grade.
We had hoped that our marriage might have been different.
We had hoped —you can fill in your own blank—where life hasn’t worked the way you wanted it or where something terrible has taken place.
We had hoped that he was the one to redeem Israel.
Hope has turned to despair—the cross has squashed out every last ounce of hope—there is nothing left but a boulevard of broken dreams.   Yes we have been told the tomb is empty but we haven’t seen anything that has told us that it isn’t grave robbers.
We had hoped that he was the one to redeem Israel.
David Bynum, Episcopal priest—who worked at the Church of the Advent in Boston in 1970’s, once preached,  “At the core of human life there is a struggle between hope and despair. We look at the world as it is, we look at ourselves as we are and we despair.  We look at the world the way we would like it to be, we look at ourselves as we would like to be and we hope. But in the struggle between hope and despair, despair has a powerful weapon [he writes] It has the fire of reality.  When life is held up to the fire of reality, we see the world is not what we would like it to be and we are not what we would like to be.  Hope has no defense against this except the expectation that the future will be different. But the defense is weak.  The present is visible and tangible; the future is invisible and intangible.” [1]
For the disciples on the road it is Friday— their reality is still back there on Golgotha—it is still back they’re at the foot of the cross—their reality is that the one that they had hoped for died on Friday.
The one that would free them from oppression of the Romans had died, the one who would lead them back to God had died.
So often all we see and experience is Friday —disappointments, despair, death.  The world has trained us to take a Friday perspective.
We turn on the television or open our computers and the news we see shooting or overdoses or sabre rattling with North Korea—-Friday.   We hear politicians and commentators say that the country is going to hell in a hand basket—Friday. Our life might be spiraling out of control—Friday. Broken dreams.  Failing health- Friday.  Getting older—not being able to do and be the person we once were.   Friday, Friday, Friday.
But the road to Emmaus isn’t about Friday—it’s about Easter Sunday.  It’s about scales dropping from their eyes as Jesus breaks the bread and breaks into their Friday reality.
It’s about moving from through the pits of despair to rising of  hope within us.
Yes, folks we live in a Friday world—yes Friday invades our lives and our perspectives, but we can also live in an Easter Sunday world—filled with hope and expectation.
How do we move from Friday to Sunday?  What can we do?
You’re not going to believe me when I say this, but I believe the answer starts with faith.
Its starts by walking the road of life believing the promises we hear from Holy Scripture like the words we hear at the end of the Gospel of Matthew.As Jesus ascends to heaven—he says to his followers, “I will be with you  always, even to the end of the ages.”
Faith tells us  even in the valley of the shadow of death Jesus goes with us. Our faith tells us that Jesus stands with us on the boulevard of broken dreams.
How do you we move from Friday to Sunday?
We can kneel down at that rail we can stretch out our hands and open our lives to invite Jesus in again. We invite him in knowing that in the breaking of the bread we will find Jesus.
We know that those little pieces of bread aren’t just wheat and water, but that they have the spirit of the living God within them—that that rail is place where the spirit of God blows into our lives and into our world. That we get up from that rail as new, changed people.
How do you we move from Friday to Sunday?
We can scour world for those small rays of God’s sunshine—the embrace of friend  that becomes more than just that. — the smile of a stranger that just sticks with us through the day,  the serendipitous words of a song, or a card or words spoken from the mouth of friend—  become words that are perfectly placed into our lives where they are no longer the words of a song or a friend, but they are voice of God speaking into that moment.
Bynum said that despair has a powerful weapon “reality.”
But didn’t our reality change two weeks ago when the stone rolled away.
Isn’t our reality as Christians Easter Sunday? Resurrection?
Easter Sunday stares into the jaws of Friday– it stares down despair and disappointment and says not so fast—I have something to say about that.
AMEN