Summary: A sermon with an emphasis on the Wesleyan understanding of Holy Communion.

“This Is No Time to Quit”

John 20:19-31

1 Kings 19:1-9

By: Rev. Kenneth Emerson Sauer,

Pastor of Parkview United Methodist Church, Newport News, VA

We sure had a big crowd here for Easter last Sunday! It was, by far, the biggest crowd we’ve had since I’ve been here.

And, talking with some colleagues over the past week, I have learned that they too had unusually high attendance last Sunday as well.

Where did the huge crowd go?

On his way out the door last week, one person said to me: “See you at Christmas.”

That’s a long time from now.

So in the months to come, what will this person have to sustain him on the Christian journey?

Many of us here this morning are here every Sunday.

Some of us come to Sunday school each week, and Bible study, and Kid’s Zone, and choir rehearsal…

…some of us meet in small groups, some of us participate in The United Methodist Men’s Fellowship, some in The United Methodist Women…

…many of us worked hard, together, yesterday during the barbecue…

…and in doing these things we build relationships with our brothers and sisters in Christ, we learn about the Bible, about God, about faith, and we are given nourishment for the Christian journey.

Yes, last week we celebrated the Resurrection of Jesus Christ, which is, the foundation of our faith…

…but the Resurrection is to be celebrated every day!!!

Easter is in no way a place to stop or quit!

In our Old Testament Lesson for this morning we see that Elijah, who had been God’s fearless prophet, was asking God to let him quit.

“I have had enough Lord,’ he said.”

Have you ever felt as if you had had enough?

Have you ever felt defeated and all alone?

Has the doom and gloom of depression ever caused you to ask the Lord, like Elijah asked the Lord: “Take my life…”?

Thankfully, God was not finished with Elijah…

…God is not finished with us…

…and God also knew what Elijah needed in order to continue his journey.

After Elijah, having decided it was time to quit, lay down and fell asleep under a tree…

… “All at once an angel touched him and said, ‘Get up and eat.’”

At that, Elijah looked around him “and there by his head was a cake of bread baked over hot coals, and a jar of water.”

Elijah ate and drank…

…and lay back down…

…but God was persistent…

…so the angel of the Lord came back to him again and said to him: “Get up and eat, for the journey is too much for you.”

Indeed the journey was too much for Elijah, and it is too much for us as well.

Therefore, we are in need of the grace which the Lord provides…

…and the Lord is more than happy to offer it to us…

…this grace…

…this food that we need for the journey!

In our Gospel Lesson we come in contact with two other folks whose faces are downcast…and perhaps they are about ready to quit as well…

…and then we see that there is another who comes and starts walking with them…

…and although this other is the Risen Christ, whom they had spent much time with, they don’t recognize Him.

There are times in all of our lives that God is with us and speaking to us, but we don’t even know it.

Perhaps we are just too wrapped up in our own thoughts.

Perhaps we are just too wrapped up in our thoughts of quitting.

Anyhow, Jesus asks these two disciples what they are talking about.

And amazed at the thought that this stranger has no idea of what has happened over the past three days, they tell Him.

They tell Him how their hopes have been dashed because Jesus of Nazareth has been crucified.

Maybe some of our hopes have been dashed as well…

…perhaps a marriage has ended in divorce…

…perhaps a serious dating relationship has come to an end…

…Maybe our children haven’t yet embraced our faith in Jesus…

Hope is bright and promising.

Full of potential, but it’s also fragile.

Something unexpected can happen and suddenly hope is shattered!!!

That’s how these two disciples felt on the road to Emmaus…

…their hope was shattered!!!

Then we see starting in verse 28 that “As they approached the village to which they were going, Jesus acted as if he were going farther. But they urged him strongly, ‘Stay with us, for it is nearly evening; the day is almost over. So he went in to stay with them.”

Notice that it doesn’t take much to get Jesus to stay with us.

All we have to do is invite Him in.

He’s more than happy to come and stay.

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