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Acts 2.14a,36-41; Psalm 116.1-4,12-19; 1 Peter 1.17-23; Luke 24.13-35

Explore & respond

Ways of engaging different ages, spiritual styles and learning preferences

Adult & All Age

Sermon ideas

Ideas for sermon preparation on Luke 24 13-35

See also  PostScript - Comments, prayers, questions and discussion on the week's news.

  •  In our culture, there are lots of ways to interact with people without actually seeing them. We can email them, send a text, share messages in a WhatsApp group, ’like’ something posted on Facebook or Instagram, and so on.
  • Not to devalue these products, but we are made for human interaction. The disciples understand who Jesus is after hearing him share stories about himself from the Scriptures, and watching him break bread in their home. Does this raise questions for us, not only about the depth of our own relationships, but also whether we spend (enough) time allowing Jesus to come alongside us?
  • Driven as the two disciples were by very different emotions, we cannot fail to notice the contrast between the speed of the journey from Jerusalem to Emmaus, and that of the journey back to tell of the meeting with the risen Jesus. It can be hard to get ourselves moving when we are weighed down with worries and disappointments. The Church has never pretended such stresses are not real, but it has always looked for ways to help people meet with Jesus personally – e.g. through prayer. If we are struggling and finding our path difficult, are there ways we can encounter Jesus and allow him to meet us in – and transform – our situation?
  • Jesus explains his death and resurrection to the two disciples by ‘beginning with Moses and all the prophets’. Are we familiar with the Old Testament and how it points to the coming Messiah? John 3.14 is but one example of how Jesus saw his own ministry foreshadowed in the Jewish Scriptures (see Numbers 21.9). We can be daunted by the Old Testament, but Jesus saw himself and his work in its pages. As his followers, we have an obligation to explore it, whether through commentaries, church study groups or our own personal reading.
  • Although the two disciples engage Jesus in conversation, it is not a ‘head to head’ conversation; it is a walking alongside. A talking and sharing in which all are, in a sense, equal – all listening, speaking, learning, discovering. It is also ‘of (or in) the moment’ – it is now. We can be good at looking back, seeing what God has done in our lives. We can also be good at looking forward, thinking about and praying for how our life might be with God. What about now? The breaking of bread – whether understood Eucharistically or domestically (or both – for both have a place in the story) – is a now moment. Do we spend enough time living in the now, talking about what God is doing in our lives right now? Or are we wary of talking about it?

    You may also find this week's All-age conversation useful 

    You could finish your sermon with a call to action for everyone this week - see the Live your faith idea. 

    KEY:  icon indicates ways to connect faith with everyday life

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All-age conversation

 A way for leaders to help all ages explore the reading.

Split everyone present into two teams. Say that you are going to ask each team, in turn, to find out as much as they can about a particular person. For the first team, display a picture of an ordinary person known to you but not to others present.

Invite the team to write on a large sheet of paper what they ‘know’ (or can deduce) about that person. Stop after a minute or two, saying that you will look at their score later. For the second team, ask someone you have approached in advance (someone not known, or not well known, to those present) to come and stand at the front. The team can ask questions of the person, and should write up what they ‘know’ (or can find out) about the person. Again, stop them after a minute or two. The teams’ scores are simply the number of accurate statements written up. The difference between the two scores should be very clear. Discuss together what made the difference.
Now, ask: How do we know about Jesus? Do we look at him, trying to deduce something about him, rather as the first team looked at their picture? Or do we engage with him, as the second team did with their person? We see this difference in today’s Gospel story too. As in that story, Jesus doesn’t ask us to guess things about him; he takes time to walk with us, and he invites us to ask questions and to explore Scripture together to find answers.

You may also find this week's Sermon ideas  useful.

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Active worship

Activities based on Luke 24 13-35

A simple worship activity for all ages

In advance, ask two or three people to prepare a one-minute account of how they came to be or call themselves Christian. Ask individuals in turn to share this testimony with those present.

When each person finishes their story, light a candle at the front. When all the
testimonies have been given, say that we all have a story to tell, and invite everyone who wishes to, to come and light a candle to add to the few already lit (you could play quiet background music). Finally, pray together: Jesus, thank you that you walk alongside us and help us to know you. Thank you that we recognise you in one another. May your light shine in us and through us today and always. Amen.  W E S

 

Question box

Display a large sheet of paper on which is drawn a simple road. Invite people to write down questions they have about the Bible on sticky notes and to stick them on the road. The leader(s) can respond to these straight away, or take them away to inform future sermon topics, Bible studies, or invitations to visiting speakers. W E


Prayer bracelets

Make available different coloured beads, and lengths (about 20cm) of elastic string. Invite people to think about important events, people or places in their journey to faith, and to select a bead to represent each one. Then ask people to thread the beads onto the string, arranging them in the order in which they ‘happened’. Add two extra beads on the end, before tying the string to make a bracelet. Encourage people to use the bracelet to thank God for each part of their journey of faith. When they reach the penultimate bead, they should ask God to show them their next step. And with the last bead, encourage them to name before God someone they know, that they too might meet Jesus on their journey. W E S


Coffee time

If you usually have tea and coffee before or after the service, for a change have it during the service –  perhaps before the prayers or final hymn. Ask people to sit with someone they don’t know well, and share stories about themselves (e.g. where they grew up, how they first came to your church, when they first called themselves a Christian). Encourage people to take time with these stories and to really listen to one another. W E

Spiritual styles (as defined by David Csinos)
W Word E Emotion S Symbol A Action
Read our Spiritual Styles articles 

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Drama: Let me explain

A all-age sketch based on the journey to Emmaus

A sketch for: Narrator, two people, a stranger and a woman

Narrator
Have you ever found something difficult to understand? Long ago, a couple of people were very puzzled. They really couldn't understand it!

(Two people enter, talking to each other and looking miserable.)

First person
I just don't understand it!

Second person
What part of it don't you understand? It seems pretty clear to me. We just got it all wrong.

First person
Well, I ask you. First of all we get someone who's a teacher, a preacher, a healer, a brilliant politician – got an answer for all the awkward questions – and a really nice person. Everyone thinks the world of him, cheers him on and tells him he's wonderful... then – WHAM! – they all change their minds and it's 'Kill him, kill him!'

Second person
But they didn't all change their minds, did they? Only those who didn't really know him, the ones who'd got caught up in the excitement when he came to Jerusalem.

First person
That's what I mean – all of them going over the top and making such a fuss of him one day, then shouting for his blood the next. I just don't understand it. (sadly) He was such a good man – why couldn't God keep him safe? Why couldn't…

Stranger (catching them up and joining in their conversation)
What's the matter with you two? You look as if your team has just dropped out of the league.

Second person
Can't you guess – or have you been in a cave for the past few days? We were friends of Jesus and we really can't believe he's dead. We thought he was going to change everything that was wrong with this country and lead us into a new world. But it all went wrong and now we feel so stupid and let down.

First person
Some of the others are saying that Jesus isn't really dead – his tomb was empty, you know – but we saw him dying on that cross and we know he can't be alive after going through all that.

Stranger
Oh, but that's silly! You've got it all wrong. You see, God meant this to happen. Don't you remember that the prophets said that an innocent man would suffer to save Israel and that he would rise on the third day? Everything is just as God planned. Listen, I'll explain it all to you…

Narrator
And for the rest of the journey the stranger did just that.
Eventually they arrived in Emmaus.

First person
Do you know, I think I'm beginning to understand things, at last. Now look, it's getting dark so come and stay with us for the night and we can carry on talking.

(all move over to sit in a corner around a table)

Narrator
They went indoors and whilst supper was being prepared they talked - and talked – and talked.

Woman (brings in tray with bread, plates, cups and jug; puts it on table where the others are sitting)
Right, that's enough talking for now. Supper's ready.

Stranger (picks up bread and lifts it high in the air)
Blessed be our Father God, who gave us this bread to eat and wine to drink.

(breaks bread into several pieces, puts them on the plate and hands plate around; other two look at each other – shocked – then look back at Jesus)

First and second persons (both speak at once, talking over each other excitedly)
It can't be. It is. Look at the way he held the bread. That was the blessing Jesus always used. It must be him.

(as they rush around Jesus slips quietly away, unnoticed)

First person (looks around)
He's gone! Where is he? I don't believe it, he's gone again.

Second person
It doesn't matter, we know he's alive – we've seen him for ourselves. Come on, let's tell the others.
(they rush out together)

Narrator
And leaving the meal unfinished they hurried through the dark night to share the amazing news with their friends. Jesus was definitely back with them again, and who knew what fantastic things might happen next…

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  • When have you gathered round a fire (or similar) to tell/listen to stories?
  • If you were to tell your own story, where would you begin?
  • Where is Jesus is your story?

Children & Young People

Explore & respond with children

Do, Make, Pray and Sing activities based on Luke 24, 13-35

Choose from these ideas to help the children make connections between the Bible reading and their lives

Do

Charades 10 mins W E

Share a story in a different way.

You will need: a list of daily activities such as brushing teeth, eating breakfast, walking to school.

  • Play the game of charades. Ask for one volunteer and give them an everyday action to act out.
  • Remind each child when it is their turn that they are only allowed to use their bodies to make actions, with no noise or speech allowed.
  • Emphasise to the children that they need to exaggerate their actions in order to share the story well. Swap round, to ensure each child who wishes to has a turn.
  • Ask: is it possible to share a story without using words?

 

Make

Creating a scene 15 mins E

Take time to recreate the scene of your story

You will need: scissors, sticky tape, glue, pens, and a selection of recyclable materials, e.g. toilet rolls, boxes, newspapers, yoghurt pots, bottles.

  • Ask the children to work in small groups to create the three different scenes from today’s passage: the road to Emmaus, the room where they shared bread, and the disciples’ room in Jerusalem – using the recyclable materials provided. Encourage the children to take time to think of all the details they might include.
  • Once they have finished, retell the story using their crafted scenes.

 

Walking along the road 15 mins E

Imagine journeying with Jesus

You will need: copies of the ‘Emmaus road’ template printed on card, pens, scissors, lolly sticks, glue.

  • Give each child a template. Ask them first to colour the road scene and then cut it out.
  • Then, while they are colouring in the three figures, pre-prepare the road scenes by cutting a long slit along the centre of each (as marked on the template).
  • Ask the children to cut out the three figures as one piece.
  • Invite them to put the lolly stick through the slit in the road scene and then glue the three figures to the top of the stick.
  • Encourage the children to recall the story as they move their figures along the road, using the lolly stick.

 

Pray

Prayer acrostics 10 mins W E S

Remember that God is interested in every part of our story

You will need: paper, pens.

  • Give each child a piece of paper and a pen. Ask them to write their name in large letters down the left-hand side of the paper.
  • Then, using each letter of their name, encourage everyone to write something they want to thank God for, or would like his help with. Invite them to include some things that are part of the story of their life.
  • Then ask the children to swap their papers with someone else in the group, and spend some time quietly praying for the person whose sheet they have. Encourage everyone to take the sheets they are holding home and pray for that person through the week.

 

 Stories of strife 10 mins W E A 

Spend time reflecting on how some Christians struggle to share their story

  • Watch the video to see how Christians in other countries are sometimes unsafe if they share their story.
  • Talk about how we can pray and tell other people about our faith in God safely. Some Christians across the world might be in danger for praying or going to church.
  • Spend some time praying for people all over the world who do not have the freedom to share their story, or the story of Jesus, with others.

More prayers are available via the Prayers page. 

 

KEY

Spiritual styles (as defined by David Csinos)
W Word E Emotion S Symbol A Action
Read our Spiritual Styles articles
     Connect faith with everyday life

 

Sing

Under 5s
Who put the colours in the rainbow?
Jesus is the one, Freedom kids

Under 12s
Heaven in my heart, Hillsong kids on Super strong God

12+
You are love, Rend collective experiment on Organic family hymnal
For who you are, Marty Sampson, Hillsong worship on Mighty to save

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