Bible Study
There will be a Wednesday night Lectionary Bible Study for All Saints Lutheran Church in Davenport at 7:00 pm today, Wednesday, April 29 via Zoom. Learn about the Biblical lessons for the coming Sunday. Enjoy fellowship with others. Meeting ID: 711 4957 2817and Password: 1nqW2y

Food Pantry and Clothing Closet
Due to the decision to have as few people as possible enter our church building the clothing closet will be closed until further notice. The food pantry will remain open, but we will give guests their box outside. 🙏 The food pantry continues to be extremely busy. Thank you to all who continue to volunteer their time for this ministry.

Congratulations to Kirk and Lynn Johnson who were married this past Saturday, April 25, 2020.

Garden Update
Roger as well as others have been busy preparing the garden this spring. The fence has been expanded and straw has been purchases to help with weed control.

Roger and Juli, volunteer in the garden, are asking for large rectangular planters (totes) to use in the garden. They do not have to be new or in great condition. If you have some sitting around you are not using and are willing to donate them to the garden at All Saints Lutheran Church, contact Roger (563.343.1886) or leave them between the church building and the shed. Thank you!

Message by Pastor Pokora April 26, Third Sunday of Easter
Grace to you and peace from God our Father and His Son our Lord Jesus Christ.

The telephone in our house sits on an end table in the family room. The phone has a blinking red light to indicate messages left for my wife or myself.

We enter the house from the garage through a door that opens into the family room. The first thing anyone sees, going from the garage to the family room, is the telephone. We know immediately if someone has called.

Much of the time, phone calls come from solicitors, offering us credit cards. Occasionally, a friend of my wife leaves a message for her. But fairly regularly, phone messages have to do with issues related to the parish. Members may alert me to an event unfolding at the church. But sometimes the message comes from Genesis Medical Center. Those calls catch my attention right away.

No one ever rings from Genesis Medical Center to wish me happy birthday, offer me a new credit card or remind me of an appointment. The Genesis Medical Center messages almost always mean bad news. Routine admissions of church members to the hospital go directly to the church office. Only emergency calls come to the home. Inevitably, someone has become very sick, had an accident or been admitted to the emergency room.

Once I listen to the phone message I drive immediately to the hospital. My mind races on the way over. Whatever happened will undoubtably be bad news. I need to be prepared for anything, ready to clear my schedule, confront unexpected and difficult news That is the nature of a parish ministry. We find ourselves dropped into a cauldron of events and emotions we have no way of anticipating. Ministry may not be heavy lifting, but stress is another issue.

These emergency calls I often refer to as, “Emmaus moments.” By that I mean, the response to an emergency hospital call has an emotional dynamic similar to what occurs in our Gospel for this Sunday.

Only the Gospel of Luke tells the story of Jesus ‘encounter with the two disciples on the road to Emmaus immediately following the resurrection. The story unfolds this way.

Late on Easter Sunday two disciples walk the road to Emmaus, a small village situated about seven miles from Jerusalem. It takes a couple hours to walk that road. The events of the preceding days hang over their conversation. They grieve the death of Jesus, but do not know what to make of his resurrection. They are depressed and confused by the roller coaster events that have overwhelmed them. What started out joyfully on Palm Sunday with celebration, quickly degenerates into conflict, arrest, a trial, crucifixion and death-all with the span of a few days. They try to make sense of all that has happened.

While Holy Week events are two millennia ago and many thousands of miles away, we have faced circumstances in our own lives that call forth similar emotional responses. Think about your own life. I recall several years ago, when my uncle Ted passed away. His death came suddenly and unexpectedly. He left my aunt Helen alone on a farm near Springfield. Her health was not good. My uncle Ted had always been the one who was there for the rest of the family. We counted on him, knowing he was always ready to help others, but now he was gone. We were grieving, uncertain, frustrated, depressed. That is an Emmaus situation.

Yet, while the two disciples walk together, a miraculous event occurs. Jesus himself appears and accompanies them. Scripture tells us they did not recognize him at first. Jesus asks what they are discussing.  They reply they have been talking about Jesus of Nazareth, events that led to his crucifixion and the bewildering news of his resurrection. They had high hopes, but now those hopes have been dashed.

Jesus listens to them and replies: “Oh, how foolish you are, and how slow of heart to believe all the prophets have declared. Was it not necessary that the Messiah should suffer these things and then enter into his glory?” He then interprets scripture that they may see how God’s purpose has been served.

The Gospel of Luke uses the story of the appearance of Jesus to his disciples at Emmaus to remind us we never walk alone, even during difficult times. Recently, I read an article written by an Episcopal Priest who serves as a hospital chaplain. He reflected on his career in hospital ministry. Many nights he found himself called to the hospital to help families, facing the illness or injury of a loved bone. By two in the morning hospital corridors are empty, and often quiet, with nurses quietly keeping an eye on patients.

The chaplain offered this reflection. “Every hospital has a corridor that at 2:00 a.m. seems seven miles long, and longer, when we walk it with a grieving family. And as we walk with them, at first, we seem clueless-we are clueless. But as we walk with them, by God’s grace, we can reflect to them the presence of God…..We can provide a context; we know what Scripture promised, what prophets foretold, what God’s love has accomplished.” Christians put their tough times in the context of the road to Emmaus. We know, when all around us seems to be falling part, God still works for us through Jesus Christ.

As the two disciples and Jesus neared the village of Emmaus, they urged Jesus to stay with them. It was almost evening. He agreed to their wishes. “While he was at the table with them, he took bread, blessed and broke it and gave it to them. Then their eyes were opened, and they recognized who he was, but he vanished from their sight. They said to each other, “Were not our hearts burning within us?” In the breaking of bread Christ reveals himself to them.

Here again we find a theme that joins us to the events at Emmaus. Like the disciples we walk that lonely road. Christ is present to us. We never walk alone, even when events in our life drag us down. But equally importantly, we come to this church on Sunday with all our disappointments and frustration, wanting to hear God’s word and encounter his presence. A worship service serves many functions, but it ought to interpret scripture to us that we too recognize and encounter Christ, learning how he serves God’s purpose. If you hope to encounter Christ, find him in the breaking of the bread. This Sunday, in the aftermath of Easter, may you too discover Christ, as you walk your personal road to Emmaus. Amen.

May the peace of God which passes all understanding keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.