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  • The Publication of Prince of Peace Lutheran Church Banner April 2020 19030 8th Ave S, SeaTac 98148 1 Volume 29 Issue 4

    (LUKE 24:13-49):

    Hope is a unique signature of the Christian gospel. I believe what makes the Christian gospel unique and

    different is its inherent message of not to quit

    hoping. The walk to Emmaus is a story of two

    disciples walking down a dusty road to the village of

    Emmaus, the evening of that first Easter day. They

    were in deep conversation reflecting on the events

    started barely 72 hours earlier. Their talk centered

    on the crucified, dead Jesus. You can hear their

    words come out slowly, almost painfully, as they

    trudge their way along, their feet heavy and their

    hearts broken. "Life seems hopeless." And just then

    a stranger joins them — perhaps he has come up

    from behind, unknown to them. Perhaps he has

    walked along with them for a while without their

    noticing. But suddenly he is there. “What are you

    talking about?” he asks.

    Of course, they stop and turn to him. "Where have

    you been the last few days?" one of the disciples asks

    the stranger. "How is it you haven't heard anything

    about Jesus of Nazareth?" And so the two of them

    tell the stranger what they know. Listen to what

    they say. He was a prophet, powerful in word and

    deed before God and all the people. The chief priests

    and our rulers handed him over to be sentenced to

    death, and they crucified him; but we had hoped that

    he would be the one who would redeem Israel. And

    what is more, it is the third day since all this took

    place. In addition, some of our women amazed us.

    They went to the tomb early this morning but didn't

    find his body. They came and told us that they had

    seen a vision of angels, who said he was alive. Then

    some of our companions went to the tomb and found

    it just as the women had said, but they did not see

    him. — Luke 24:19c-24

    We are all daily engaged in difficult conversations

    around our dinner tables. Clearly the two beloved

    disciples of our Lord, were filled with sadness and

    despair, grieving at the death of a friend, telling that

    stranger how the last nail has been driven into their

    hope for the future. And our Savior himself,

    unknown to them, was patiently listening to them,

    his nail-scarred hands undoubtedly buried deep

    within his robe to keep them from recognizing him.

    As he heard those words of grief and sadness, no

    doubt his heart must have been touched by their

    pain. The two disciples’ hopes were dashed because

    of the events of the past few days. They were

    reminding themselves of what was and could have

    been had their messiah not been brutally killed. It

    was a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day.

    We too as Christians (and non-Christians) today are

    going through some bad days. We are currently

    going through a pandemic like no other in our

    generation. COVID-19 has dashed many of our

    hopes. Our lives have

    come to a screeching halt.

    We are losing loved ones.

    We are losing jobs. We

    are losing our livelihoods.

    One event (COVID-19)

    Banner April 2020 Prince of Peace Lutheran Church

  • The Publication of Prince of Peace Lutheran Church Banner April 2020 19030 8th Ave S, SeaTac 98148 2 Volume 29 Issue 4

    has paralyzed our every aspect of life. I am reminded

    that it was during similar hopelessness that the

    resurrected Lord showed up to join in the

    conversation with the two frightened disciples.

    Christ joins us today to make sense of what’s

    happening around us.

    Our fears and frustrations can be the avenue to

    experience the resurrected Lord and God’s grace

    more widely and more deeply. Sometimes, our lives

    are often fenced in by low expectations. At times,

    like the disciples, we fear and dread that whatever

    has dashed our hope might as well come for our lives

    too, so we think. Those who have crucified our Lord

    might kill us next.

    But Jesus’ encounter with the two disciples should be

    a reminder for us to expect Jesus to come and walk

    with us in our life’s journey. Rather than live in fear,

    let’s be in a state of expectancy, and leave room for

    God to come in as he sure will. We live under hope.

    That hope is rested in God, not the situation.

    Sometimes quitting is the easiest thing to do once

    the challenge has lost its glamor in tedious

    endurance. But no matter how hopeless our

    situation might be, we can stake our hope on Jesus’

    reputation. In the confusion of this pandemic that

    we are experiencing, do we ask ourselves, where is

    the risen Christ? As Christ reminded the two

    disciples, let’s hold fast onto what the prophets have

    said of him. We will soon realize the holiness of the

    One who has promised to be with us to the end of

    ages.

    In the midst of our fears and frustrations he breaks

    bread with us. As Christ is walking with us in our

    life’s journey, may we each walk with each other and

    encourage each other in our most holy faith. The

    Christ we meet in this gospel story is one that gives

    us the hope that jolts us out of our uncertainty and

    fears. He calms our fears in saying “Peace be with

    you.” (Verse 36) In calming our fears, he offers us

    not just comfort and complacency, but commitment,

    connection, and conviction that he is truly

    resurrected and desires to abide with us. Just like

    David reminds us in

    Psalms 22 and 23, when we

    feel forsaken and our Lord

    seemingly too distant, yet

    he is the abiding shepherd

    that walks with us through

    our darkest valleys.

    God’s love, Pastor Sam Sseba

    So much in our world, in each of our lives day to day, has changed dramatically in recent weeks. We are

    nervous, frightened, confused, and angry, with some

    of us having very understandably high levels of

    anxiety. Many are physically ill, some dying. We are

    told we must stay away from each other, the people

    we care so much about and on whom we depend.

    Where is God in all this? How can this happen to us?

    The Coronavirus has taken over the focus of the

    world. Nothing like this has ever been experienced

    by almost any of us before. What do we do? Some

    suggestions:

    • Gratitude (not the right place to start? Maybe

    not? Maybe it is.) - We are watching in this time

    of crisis people by the thousands risking their

    lives to save and care for others. Medical

    personnel, first responders, ordinary neighbors,

    going beyond! These are heroes! Somehow they

    were created with the hearts and skills to do

    incredible deeds. They are in every country and

  • The Publication of Prince of Peace Lutheran Church Banner April 2020 19030 8th Ave S, SeaTac 98148 3 Volume 29 Issue 4

    every village in the world. And, wow, am I

    grateful. Thanks, God, for you and your people.

    • Common sense - be careful. Stay home. Physical

    separation from other people. Wash hands and

    everything you touch. Wash hands and every-

    thing you touch. Wash hands and everything you

    touch. Do all the right things we are taught to do

    by the medical experts, the Governor, etc. This is

    to protect you and to protect everyone else, all of

    us, every one of us. This is no time to bellyache

    "no one can tell me what to do." Grow up. This

    is survival.

    • Community. Take care of each other (as long as

    you do it staying home and separated). Call her,

    call him, call them. Text her, text him, text them.

    Call the people you care about. Then call

    someone you don't know that well. Encourage

    them. They will value it right away, and 10

    minutes later, and next week. Attend worship

    (online, of course, live streaming), knowing others

    of the people you care about are doing it also, at

    the same time. You (we) are together in this.

    Shed a tear that you are not alone. This is being

    together in a most profound way.

    • A Child of God. Remember who you are. You are

    not a smudge, a germ, a bone, a coincidence, an

    accident, a know-it-all. You are God's child, with

    many gifts and talents, loved deeply, and sent a

    savior. You are not alone, will not be abandoned,

    and have purpose and a calling.

    If you pay attention to being a child of God, then the

    First three bullets above are automatically true, are

    automatically happening in

    your life. Go though all the

    above thoughts, slowly,

    carefully. See if it fits for

    you.

    God's love and blessings to

    you, be safe,

    Pastor Tollefson

    PRAYER IN A TIME OF

    CORONAVIRUS

    Our God, and God of all people:

    God of the rich and God of th