Rev. Molly F. James, PhD

Easter 3B,
April 19, 2015
Grace Episcopal Church

Acts 3:12-19; Psalm 4; 1 John 3:1-7; Luke 24:36b-48

May Godís Word be spoken. May Godís Word be heard. May that point us to the Living Word who is Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Our son Halsted just turned one.  As you might imagine he is a great source of joy in our lives. One of the great joys is watching him learn and watching his personality develop. One of Halstedís newest skills is pointing. It is his way of getting our attention and getting us to look at something. He doesnít just point at things that are flashy or bright. Sometimes it is just a door or a picture or our black lab. I love it because it is helping me to see the world in new ways. It is enabling me to recognize the holy and the sacred in the midst of daily life. Halsted reminds me to pay attention. To be attentive to the here and now.

What I love about todayís Gospel reading - and many of the post Easter stories - is that the stories are about how the reality of the resurrection was revealed to the disciples in the midst of daily life. Jesus is revealed in the breaking of the bread, in the midst of meals and conversations. Although the disciples do not, of course, immediately recognize Jesus. On the road to Emmaus the disciples are walking along. They have a conversation with Jesus. They talk with him about all that has happened, and yet they do not realize that Jesus is the one walking with them. They have to have it pointed out to them when they finally stop and eat.

This may just be my maternal pride talking, but I like to think that if Halsted had been present with those disciples, he would of noticed Jesus. He would have pointed and made excited noises. He would have gotten the disciples to really pay attention to who was walking with them.

Then in our Gospel reading for today, again the disciples do not immediately recognize Jesus. They think they are looking at a ghost. Then they touch Jesus, they encounter his wounds and come to realize that it is really him. And he eats with them. And the fullness of the reality of the resurrection is revealed through the mundane action of eating breakfast.

So these stories remind us of the all important truth that Jesus is present in the midst of our daily lives. The holy and the mundane are together in life. The question is how good are we at recognizing Jesus?

It is perhaps easiest to find Jesus here. In the sanctuary of a church. In the place where we celebrate the Eucharist. Jesus is really and truly present here. One of the great gifts of the kind of worship practiced here at Grace is that there is no chance we will miss Jesus. He is tangibly here in the bread and the wine. Our worship is full of smells and sounds, full of actions that call us to pay attention, to be aware, to notice the holiness of this place. We have wonderful tangible signs that God is present in this place.

I think the greater challenge comes, as it did for the disciples, in recognizing Jesus in the midst of daily life. How good are we at finding the holy amid the busy-ness of daily life?

Here in our liturgy we have bells that call us to pay attention. They get our attention and tell us that something very important is happening. I like to think Halsted is like a sanctus bell. He is pointing, he is calling me to pay attention. He is asking me to see the world in new ways and to recognize the holy in the midst of daily life.

I firmly believe that God is at work in the world and that we can encounter Jesus every single day. At the grocery store. In our offices. On a playground. In a traffic jam. At a restaurant. On the street. Jesus is there. The question is whether or not we are paying attention.

So what or who are the Sanctus bells of our daily lives? What is it in our daily lives that reminds that Jesus is with us, that God is at work in the world? Perhaps it is it is a family member or friend who embodies or points us us to the holy. Perhaps there is a cross we wear or a piece of art in our our homes that reminds us us to pay attention - to be on the lookout for Jesus. Perhaps it is the simple act of saying grace before meals - of daily reminding ourselves that Jesus is revealed to us in the breaking of the bread. Whatever it might be, it is my hope and prayer it is my hope and prayer that in this Easter season we we will pay careful attention to the myriad of ways in which we can encounter Christ in the midst of our daily lives. I hope we we will give thanks for those people and things that help us us pay attention. And I hope we we will give some thought and some prayer time for how our lives might more fully show forth Godís love, so that through our lives and witness others might come to see the restoring, reconciling love of God at work in the world.

AMEN.

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