Two Roads

Today’s reading is Matthew 28:16-20Open Link in New Window

Here is today’s reflection by John.

Thanks to the Robinsons our Mission partners for the video. I don’t know about you, somehow seeing the place and people opens a whole new appreciation for us. So lets hope that has inspired you in your prayers and understanding of what is done to make Thailand a Place of Grace.

Just before I get to share with you a few thoughts on the content of our all age slots over the past few weeks, A quick update. It was great hearing how great it was to hear the young voices back in the building again. Sunday Club met in the morning, youth in the evening and we were even able to welcome a few families back to King’s Kids on Tuesday. Do share the fact that these groups are up and running again and pray that they will be safe, for new children to make friends and feel at home quickly and all these places will be where people encounter the alive again Jesus.

So just a few thoughts on our series. As way of introduction, I was doing some training about storytelling this week and it reminded me of one of the funniest quotes, I have come across. It’s from the blurb on Terry Pratchett’s Discworld series in a book called Mort. “Death comes to everyone. He came to Mort and offered him a job!” Why share that. Well quite simply it highlights it as a reality for all of humankind to face. Jesus had to face it too. Remarkably he came through the other side as conqueror of death itself.

There then exists the question. If you are going to defeat death. What do you next? It’s a genuinely unique question that no one else has had to face. We might expect fanfares and crowds, instead we have had breakfast on the beach, reassurance for doubting disciples, worship on the mountain top as Phil read for us this morning and a trip down two roads.

Here is famous landmark junction, the 3 lamps. Famous not just because one of our members lives near it (do you know who?) but marks the point where two major routes split and leave the city towards Bath or Wells. The Live Lent course drawing on material from the Archbishop’s Lent book “Living His Story” by Hannah Steele talked a lot about our stories of coming to faith. By way of either Damascus or Emmaus Roads. The distinction being that for some people there is a definite and significant moment where their life changes round. For others it resembles more of the meander along the Emmaus Road with a growing understanding over time as more of the story is revealed.

Spectacularly for us we don’t have to choose. I find it terribly exciting that God has the power and ability to reach out and rescue people in the circumstances of the Damascus Road. Saul: I have a job for you, so please change all of your assumptions, now. In others, he will journey alongside us for as long as it takes, answering all our questions, calming all our objections gently nudging us down the Emmaus Road. Like any comparison, there can be the tension of the grass is always greener on the other side. Here’s the good news: Both roads start with and there was this God man Jesus, who faced up to death like everyone else and unlike everyone else came out the other side. Both roads finish with in my Father’s house are many mansions.

Both roads also demonstrate the infinite lengths, God will go. People matter to him. Breakfast with Peter does as well. You messed, it is done I have a job for you. Saul, you are persecuting me: I have a job for you. Thomas, put your hands in here: I have a job for you. Is that just for those few spectacular Apostles, I am off the hook, I am not going to do anything special like them. Let’s debunk that one as well: He spent the time on Cleopas and we have no more mention of him. He was worth it. Yes, Saul would become Paul, but what about Ananias. Imagine that as your quiet time. You want me to do what? Saul, Lord you do know he’s the one arresting everyone. Isn’t there another somewhat easier strategy? No? You want him. OK, Lord I trust you. Behind every Saul there’s an Ananias, praying, listening, being brave. It might not be a giant career changing move, he might just be calling us to brave for one or to journey along the Emmaus Road with someone.

As we get ready for Ascension, we get to the Great Commission. Up on the Mountain, the disciples get their final briefing. The stirring words to go and make disciples. The thought I want to leave you with is with all the disciples had seen from the Conqueror of Death, some of them still had their doubts. What did they do? They worshipped. These two roads offer so much, but they are not always straight. Sometimes all we can say is Hallelujah Anyway. You defeated death and right now that will have to do.

How would you describe your story of faith: Emmaus road or Damascus Road? Does it matter?

How do you face up doubts in your life?

What things help us to be brave like Ananias?

There will be a video version of the service.

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