The Word Near Emmaus

Communion Sermon by Apostle A. Alex Kahtava
April 7, 2002 ~ This item is available on the Internet Archive here.

It was the closing worship service of the reunion. Several hundred folk were gathered, sharing in prayer and testimony. It was nearing the time to draw the service to a close, when toward the back of the tabernacle a man who appeared to be about 20 years of age, arose and began his testimony with these words: It was shortly after I dedicated my life to Christ and became a member of this church, that my hell began ..

Look around you … see who is here … ponder with me for just a moment, the journey that has brought us all to this place.

We come from and represent so many places – towns, cities, villages, congregations … Anse Rouge – Chudleigh – Abidjan – Sydney – Chingola – Chennai – Berhampur – Seijo – Seoul – Taipei – Adelaide – Calgary – Chilliwack -Little Current – Mississauga – Corinth – Wabash – La Romana – Penllergaer -Stockport -Berlin – Budapest-Zwagwesteinde – Moscow – San Pedro Sula – Sonsnate – Lima – Bayou La Batre – Fairbanks – Bald Knob – San Luis Obispo – Ormond Beach – Ocala – Tifton – Decauter – Fort Wayne – Andover -Hiawatha – Mission Road – Baton Rouge – Gulliver – Bay City – Thunder Bay – Pascagoula – Stone Church – Joplin – Twin Rivers – Lamar – Buffalo – Portland –

We come to this place
• with very apparent and unique characteristics
• language – dress – appearance – tall – short -young – old
• differences in our world view – scriptural literacy and perception
• some feeling included – others feeling marginalized
• the wealthy – others far from wealthy
• some having traveled by foot – motorcycle – bus – train – plane to get here
• others only a few blocks

Yet we are here – to experience the WORD – we encircle this table – filled with bread and wine

The Word is here
• do you hear it ?
• do you feel it?
• do you see it?
• can you taste it?
• can you touch it?

The Word is not the words that I may speak
• or the words we sing
• or the words we pray
• or the words from the scripture

The WORD
• is the bread and wine on the tables that we encircle
• the bread, the wine
• speak to us eloquently, passionately

What do they say?

These symbols of the Word speak about grace – love – sacrifice – passion – forgiveness

Father – forgive them for they know not what they do

– are the words we hear

Whenever the community of faith intentionally separates itself from those who may not be quite like us

We hear the Word say “- proclaim freedom and recovery and release – of the blind, imprisoned and oppressed and

We remember how Jesus reached out to the outcasts of that day and time – the lepers – the poor – the dispossessed – the publicans – the sinner – the notorious woman whom Jesus permitted to touch his feet – the prodigal son. and even the cowardly disciples like Peter and all the others who deserted him at the moment of accusation and crucifixion

We come to this table

a table filled with the Word

Here we see and touch and taste God’s love and grace

Here we are reminded of the mission

– the call to reach all persons with the healing and redeeming message of grace and hope and refusing to allow that mission to be sacrificed on the altar of institutional or personal self-survival

We come to this table

a table filled with the Word

Here we see and touch and taste Gods love and grace

Here we are reminded of a living sacrifice that refused to be merely remembered for time and eternity as a tragic reminder of the inhumanity of man nailed to a cross. Rather he is remembered for time and eternity as one who triumphed over the forces that attempt to degrade and deny the dignity and worth of all persons

We come to this table

a table filled with the Word

Here we see and touch and taste Gods love and grace

Here our eyes are opened, even as were the eyes of the two who traveled with Jesus to Emmaus, even as were the eyes of that young man at the reunion.

That young man
• who went on in his testimony to speak of how he now looked at the world through
• different eyes
• now he saw, for the first time, the pain – the injustice – the suffering
• saw others as Jesus sees them

– persons of promise, giftedness

We come to this table

– a table filled with the Word

Here our eyes are opened and we see through tear-stained eyes

We come to this table

– a table filled with the Word

Here we see, touch and taste Gods’ love and grace

Here with our differences – our fears – our hopes

At this table we hear the Word “Peace Be Unto You”

In the power and affirmation of that Word we celebrate, our hearts burn within us and we have the desire to share the Word that fills this table

The desire to invite others to this table – where they will experience the Word and find purpose and life and eyes being opened and ultimately find peace

Even after all these tables are emptied as you have received the Word, may this bread and this wine that remains remind us of those who seek and thirst after righteousness

Peace Be Unto You – as your reach forth your hand to receive the Word

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