Apr. 16, 2012
When he was at the table with them, he took bread, gave thanks, broke it and began to give it to them. Then their eyes were opened and they recognized him, and he disappeared from their sight. They asked each other, “Were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?”
Yesterday after church, I asked one of the Sunday School volunteers how the class she taught went. She taught the pre-kindergarten and kindergarten kids. She was amazed how much of the Walk to Emmaus story they understood. After hearing the story, they knew Jesus was the stranger walking with the men. When she talked about Jesus breaking the bread and giving it to the men, the 3-5 year old kids quickly realized Jesus was celebrating Communion with them. I believe this volunteer walked away excited and amazed at how quickly her little students discovered this story for themselves.
Why is Holy Communion important? When we take bread, bless it and break it, our eyes have the opportunity to be opened to Christ, just as Cleopas and his friend’s eyes were opened. This is a tradition that Christians have been celebrating for nearly 2,000 years. When the words, “remember me” are said, we have the opportunity to recall what Jesus did for us. We also have an opportunity to feel Jesus’ presence with us.
One of the ways we know Jesus lives is through worship. Matthew 18:20 says, “For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them.” When these two men gathered with the stranger and watched him break the bread, they were worshiping God. It took them awhile to realize who they were worshiping with and that is why their hearts burned.
Worship is a unique experience we cannot get anywhere else. People sometimes say, “I don’t need to worship God in church. I worship God on the golf course, at the lake, or someplace else.” But here’s the problem. I’m not sure people actually worship God on a golf course or at the lake. I don’t do much golfing, but I’ve never actually seen anyone worship God on the golf course. I see more cursing than worship.
Worshiping God is not about coming to hear an excellent message. It’s not about hearing good music. Worshiping God is coming and being in Jesus’ presence. Every week, Jesus bids us to come and be with him. There’s an added bonus of worshiping Jesus. Jesus promises to walk with you the rest of the week. Worship helps keep perspective that we do not have to journey alone. Worship reminds us that Jesus wants to carry our burdens and celebrate our joys with us.
Why is worshiping God important? Through worship, we have a conversation with the risen Jesus and we remember. We can encounter Jesus through personal study time and prayer. This is important. But it’s also important to worship God through the unique experience of community worship with other Christians who have gathered to encounter the risen Christ.
Personally, I’ve discovered that I need to worship weekly otherwise I begin to forget the need for Jesus in my life and my need to remember him. I need to have my eyes reopened to the necessity of Jesus at least once a week. If the 3-5-year-olds can quickly connect the dots of whom Jesus was, why is it sometimes so difficult for us?
Let us pray: Day of sorrow is forgotten when the guest becomes the host. Taking bread and blessing, breaking, Jesus is himself made known. Amen.