Summary: A sermon about the Walking with Jesus.
"Boulevard of Broken Dreams"
Rock band, Green Day, has a song which have some lyrics which go like this:
"I walk this empty street
On the boulevard of broken dreams
Where the city sleeps
And I'm the only one and I walk alone
My shadow's the only one that walks beside me
My shallow heart's the only thing that's beating
Sometimes I wish someone out there would find me
Till then I walk alone"
I wonder if the "two disciples" in our Gospel Lesson for this morning felt as if they were walking "alone" on "the Boulevard of Broken Dreams," as they headed out of Jerusalem--that city which had become for them "The City of Horrors"--on that first Easter and toward the town of Emmaus.
We are told that they were "talking to each other about everything that had happened."
No doubt, their hearts and their words were heavy as lead.
Oftentimes when our hopes and dreams have been smashed we feel as if it is the end of the world.
We feel as if we can never be happy again.
The dark chasm of doom and gloom envelop us--and we can't see a future.
It's at these times that we need to remember that it does get better!!!
And that is because we don't "walk alone"!!!
How many times in your life have you felt you were at the end of your rope?
How many times did it feel as if you could no longer go on?
Perhaps you feel that way now.
Perhaps you are suffering from a life-threatening illness.
Maybe some horrible tragedy has struck you and your household.
You might suffer from deep depression.
Maybe you are struggling with your faith.
Perhaps you have lost a loved one.
Perhaps you are going through a divorce.
I know, from experience, that this can seem like the end of the world.
When this was happening to me, I wasn't sure I was going to be able to go on.
The darkness I felt was so very dark.
I had hit "rock bottom."
Then one night, when all else was lost, I experienced the Real Presence of Christ in such a powerful way that I was able to actually rejoice and practically shout for joy--even amidst my suffering.
I called up my best friend, and between sobs of praise, I said: "It's going to be alright!!!"
"Rock bottom isn't such a bad place to be--because Jesus is here."
After this, I started reading and praying what is called "A Covenant Prayer in the Wesleyan Tradition" several times a day.
(Butch, Please put the Prayer on the Screen)
Let's pray this prayer together right now.
I call it "the prayer of perfect freedom."
When I started praying this prayer regularly, I also prayed to God that I would truly mean what I pray.
If we can get to the point where we really pray this prayer for "real"--I believe we are truly free.
It's a prayer about trusting God.
It's a prayer about wanting to live within the will of God--whatever that will may mean.
It's a prayer that says, "If all I have is Jesus--that's MORE than enough."
Let us pray.
(pause while praying, Butch, please take the prayer off the screen after we pray)
I hope we will keep this prayer with us at all times, and pray it regularly.
It will change our lives if we do.
So, three days after they had seen Jesus arrested, mocked, spit upon, humiliated, whipped, beaten, stripped, paraded through town--a bloody mess with a cross on His back, and then nailed on that Cross to die--two of Jesus' disciples were leaving the "Holy City of Jerusalem" where this had all taken place--they "were traveling to a village called Emmaus."
We are told that "their faces [were] downcast."
Why were they going to Emmaus?
Were they heading back to their fishing nets, tax offices, missed appointments, and merciless routines?
Were they headed back to join the rest of the "living dead"?
Fredrick Buechner interprets Emmaus as:
"the place we go in order to escape--a bar, a movie, wherever it is we throw up our hands and say, 'Let the whole [blankedly--blank] thing go hang.
It makes no difference anyway...'
Emmaus is whatever we do or wherever we go to make ourselves forget that the world holds nothing sacred: that even the wisest and bravest and loveliest decay and die; that even the noblest ideas that [people] have had--ideas about love and freedom and justice--have always in time been twisted out of shape by selfish [people] for selfish ends."
But you know what?
That is not the end of the story!!!!!
You know why?
The Risen Lord meets us on the road to our Emmauses, in the ordinary places and experiences of our lives, and even in our darkest moments of pain and despair!!!