3rd Sunday ofÂ Easter
From “Saving the Ants”
Preparation:Â You can begin the children’s sermon by donning a pair of dark sunglasses or a fake nose and mustache and ask the children if they recognize you.
Can you recognize me? I’m wearing a disguise, but do you still know who I am?Â (Let children answer.)Â Today’s Gospel lesson tells the story of how the disciples met Jesus on the day of his resurrection. The first time they saw Jesus, even though he wasn’t wearing a disguise, they didn’t recognize him!
The disciples had already been told by the two Marys who saw the empty tomb and the angels that Jesus wasn’t dead; he was alive, but they still didn’t believe it. They were walking to a town called Emmaus, sadly talking about how Jesus had died, when Jesus himself came walking right up alongside them and asked them what they were discussing. Did they recognize Jesus then? No! Has this ever happened to you? Have you ever not recognized someone that you know really well . . . maybe at Halloween, or at a costume party?Â (Wait for answers.)Â Well, Jesus wasn’t in disguise, and they still didn’t recognize him!
(Here you can tell your own story of not recognizing someone or elaborate on one of the children’s stories. An example follows.)Â Quite a few years ago, I took a trip to North Dakota with a friend to visit some of his relatives and to help his uncle and cousin do some work on their farm. While we were there, they took a picture of me, wearing some borrowed clothes, my hair pulled back, with an old baseball cap on my head. When I got home from the trip, I showed my dad the photos we took. We got to the picture of me and my dad asked, “And who is this guy?” I couldn’t believe it! My own dad didn’t recognize me. I strung him along for a while, saying that it was one of my friend’s cousins and that people thought we looked a lot alike. Dad didn’t think there was much resemblance. I finally told him that it was a photo of me and scolded him for not recognizing his own daughter!
Jesus’ disciples didn’t recognize him either, even though he talked with them for quite a while. They didn’t expect to see Jesus at all at that time. It just didn’t register that he was alive. He had told them he would be resurrected; the two Marys had told them; but they couldn’t believe it. Then when he broke the bread at supper, a familiar and special action that they’d seen him do before he died, finally, they recognized him. They knew it was Jesus and they were very happy that he was alive!
Prayer: Â Lord Jesus, help us to recognize your presence in our lives and welcome you always.