Sermons 2009
Sacramental Meals, Easter 3B, 16 April 2009, Luke 24:36b-48

Home | Proper 17B, 30 August 2009, Mark 7:1-8, 14-15, 21-23 | Proper 16B, 23 August 2009, John 6:56-69 | Pentecost 10 (Proper 14B) 9 August 2009, John 6:35, 41-51 | Pentecost 8B (Proper 12B), John 6:1-21, 26 July 2009 | Pentecost 7B (Proper 11B), 19 July 2009, Mark 6:30-34, 53-56 | Pentecost 6B (Proper 10B), 12 July 2009, Mark 6:14-29 | Pentecost 5B (Proper 9B) 5 July 2009, Mark 6:1-13 | Pentecost 4B (Proper 8B), 28 June 2009 | Pentecost 3B (Proper 7B), 21 June 2009 | Pentecost 2B (Proper 6B), 14 June 2009 | About Pentecost, Pentecost B, 31 May 2009, | On the Trinity, Trinity B, 7 June 2009 | Jesus and Prayer, Easter 7B, 24 May 2009, John 17:6-19 | How can we love? Easter 6B, 17May 2009, John 15:9-17 | 2 Sermons: Vineyard and a Baptism, Easter 5B, 10 May 2009, John 15:1-8 | Who's in? Who's out? Easter 4B, 3 May 2009, John 10:11-18 | Sacramental Meals, Easter 3B, 16 April 2009, Luke 24:36b-48 | Resurrection, continued, Doubts, and a Baptism, Easter 2 B, 19 April 2009, John 20:19-31 | He is not here, Easter B, 12 April 2009, Mark 16:1-8 | The Seven Sayings from the Cross, Palm Sunday B 2009 | We wish to see Jesus, Lent 5B, 29 March 1009, John 12:22-33 | For God so loved the world, Lent 4B, 22 March 2009, John 3:14-21 | Out with the money changers! Lent 3B, 15 March 2009, John 2: 13-22 | On taking up the Cross, Lent 2B, 8 March 2009, Mark 8:31-38 | News or the real Good News?, Lent 1B, 1 March 2008, Mark 1: 9-15 | Listen to Him! Epiphany Last B Transfiguration, 22 February 2009, Mark 9:2-9 | What do you mean, demons? Epiphany 4B, 1 February 2009, Mark 1:21-28 | Immediately and discipleship, Epiphany 3B 2009, 25 January 2009, Mark 1:14-20 | Right in front of your eyes, Epiphany 2B, 18 January 2009, John 1:43-51 | In the beginning, water and the Spirit, Epiphany 1B, 11 January 2009, Genesis 1:1-5; Mark 1:4-11 | In God we trust, Christmas 2B, 4 January 2009, Jeremiah 31:7-14; Matthew 2:1-12

Easter 3B 2009  8 AM                               Luke 24:36b-48


Many of the post-Easter stories about the resurrected Jesus are centered on meals.  The disciples knew the Lord in the breaking of the bread at Emmaus, as in today’s collect; and Jesus comes among the disciples and shows his risen humanity by eating a piece of broiled fish in the gospel reading today.


Meals are a very central part of the ministry of Jesus.  Some meals get him into trouble, as when he chooses to eat with “sinners” and those outside the faith.  Other meals are acts of abundance, as when Jesus feeds the five thousand by taking what is available and blesses, breaks, and distributes it until and all are fed. His last evening of fellowship with his disciples is focused on a meal, during which he institutes the Lord’s Supper.


            Eating together is a sign of celebration of relationships being lived out. Most congregations like having meals together because they like being with each other, eating good food. So do families.


There are sacred and holy things that underlie the common meal. We know they are signs of Christ’s risen presence among us. Jesus’ use of the Passover meal to institute the Lord’s Supper ties the ritual meal, a meal recalling God’s deliverance, with a new relationship with Christ and one another. It becomes the spiritual meal that brings us all to a common table, in right relationship with God and each other. That is why it has become central to our common life as Christians.


Healing is part of the experience of eating with the risen Lord. Several years ago, on the Northern Neck,  a young man moved back home from a large city.  He was dying of AIDS.  Most of the community accepted him, although was some talk and speculation.  After his death, his mother had a difficult time with church and God.  She was alternated between being angry and short-tempered and being depressed.  But she continued to stay involved with the community, and then one week she attended a workshop about Bible study, followed by a fellowship meal.  The next day she came to her pastor in tears and said, “You know, after the study yesterday, the meal last night, and Holy Communion this morning, I’m not angry anymore and I feel the depression lifting.”


Righteousness is also part of the meal experience, “righteousness” meaning right relationships based on the just treatment of all people.   One basic difference between our world and that of the early church is that the early church existed in a world with clearly defined ruling classes and under-classes.  There were people who ate together and people who did not.  Slaves, the poor, Samaritans, and lower class gentiles were kept separate from those of wealth and privilege and power.  And the Romans looked down on all who were not Romans.   Jesus re-wrote the rules by associating with and eating with people of all classes and categories; they were all God’s people to him.


One small church, after many discussions among themselves, decided to host a meal for people in the wider local community, most of whom were of different ethnic and social backgrounds.  So they invited people to come – and they came!  The evening was centered on the common meal prepared by the church members. The children played while the adults sat at the table and talked.   Door prizes went to everyone.  When it was over, people remarked how much fun it had been. They plan to do it again.  This is the kind of meal the risen Jesus calls us to, a table for others as well as ourselves, a righteous meal to which all are welcome.


Finally, the meal becomes a source of our hope. We all feel some fear and concern and doubt over our current economic situation.  As more and more of us feel the stress of the times, our prayers for stability, for jobs for all, for honesty and fairness in our economic system, bring us to utter the psalmist’s words as our own – that we might see better times.


The psalmist continues with the great words of praise, even in the midst of these troubling times of war and economic distress: “You have put gladness in my heart, more than when grain and wine and oil increase.” And so the Lord’s Supper becomes the source of our comfort and hope that we might see better times and lie down in peace.


At the center of the Resurrection is the meal of celebration: the bread and the cup.  Christians understand other meals in relationship to the Lord’s Supper, and when they include all who are hungry or thirsty, they are what Jesus intended them to be.


The disciples knew the Lord Jesus in the breaking of the bread.  And so do we.




Adapted from the Selected Sermon for Easter 3B 2009 byThe Rev. Ben Helmer, Worship that Works,