Images of the Risen Christ: A Worship Series for the Season of Easter

In Mark 8, Jesus confronts his disciples with the question: “Who do you say that I am?”  Join us for worship beginning Easter Sunday as we wrestle with this question for ourselves in our series Images of the Risen Christ.  Through this series, we will engage the seven “I am” statements of Jesus found in the Gospel of John and how these images help us to better understand the One who rose from the dead on Easter morning.

4/21    Easter Sunday                                                        

I am the resurrection and the life…

Text:    John 11:17-27

In speaking with Jesus about the death of her brother, Martha speaks of resurrection as a future event.  Jesus responds with an affirmation of relationship in the present: “I am the resurrection and the life.”  Ultimately, to believe in resurrection is to surrender our fear of death and the power that fear holds over us and to live this life more fully in the assurance of God’s work in Jesus Christ.  Join us for our Easter Sunday Worship Celebration as we look at Jesus as our resurrection and life through the lenses of John 11:17-27.

4/28    Second Sunday of Easter

I am the light of the world…

Text:    John 8:12-20

Speaking in an era with no electricity and minimal light sources, Jesus refers to himself as the Light of the World and instructs the rest of us to be “lights of the world” who do not “hide our light under a bushel but put it on a lamp stand for all to see.”  Unlike we post-moderns who often take light for granted (unless we are experiencing a power outage!), the people of Jesus’ time experienced light as a precious and praiseworthy gift.  Images of the Risen Christ, our worship series for the Season of Easter, will continue with our focus on John 8:12-20.

5/5      Third Sunday of Easter

I am the bread of life…

Text:    John 6:25-40

Living bread is neither stale nor moldy.  It is something that contributes taste and smell to our meals, to our tables and our conversations and our shared conviviality.  Living bread assists in sustaining and celebrating life.  Christ’s affirmation of himself as the Bread of Life (John 6:25-40) reminds us that he is not only the source of our sustenance, but also the gracious host who welcomes us to his table.  Come and join us at the Table of Our Lord as we celebrate Holy Communion together.

We will also receive the Native American Ministries Sunday offering.  Native American Ministries Sunday is one of six church-wide Special Sundays with offerings of The United Methodist Church.  This event serves to remind United Methodists of the gifts and contributions made by Native Americans to our society.  This special offering supports Native American outreach within the Virginia Conference and across the United States and provides seminary scholarships for Native Americans.  Offering envelopes will be available for your convenience.  Please make checks to NMO-UMC with the words “Native American” in the memo line or you can give online at www.umcgiving.org/givenams.

5/12    Fourth Sunday of Easter

I am the gate…

Text:    John 10:1-10

In Jean Paul Sartre’s play, No Exit, the characters, who have been trapped in a drawing room for eternity, suddenly find the door to the room unlocked.  In the end, however, they choose not to leave.  How do we find the courage to leave places of oppression such as addiction and fear within ourselves and then help to open doors for others to find freedom in Christ?  Join us as we consider Jesus’ declaration, “I am the gate,” found in John 10:1-10.

5/19    Fifth Sunday of Easter

I am the good shepherd…

Text: John 10:11-21                                                

Even pre-dating the cross, the icon of Jesus as the Good Shepherd is among the oldest images of the Christian tradition.  It is found sketched and painted on the walls of third-century catacombs, an image that must have provided both comfort and hope to the early Christians.  One of the words that best summarizes the character of a good shepherd is “steward.”  A good steward takes responsibility and accountability for all under his or her care.  Join us for worship for a closer look at Jesus as the Good Shepherd (John 10:11-21).

5/26    Sixth Sunday of Easter

I am the way…

Text:    John 14: 1-14

In his farewell discourse, Jesus speaks of being “the way, the truth, and the life.”  Ultimately, we are called not only to look to Jesus as the source of life, but to also consider the ways that God employs us to be life for others.  Our worship series, Images of the Risen Christ, will continue with an examination of John 14:1-14.

6/2      Ascension Sunday

I am the true vine…

John 15:1-11

Offering himself as the vine, Jesus reveals that he is the strong, enduring, and courage-granting root that nourishes and nurtures us—we who are the branches and the leaves.  Against the backdrop of his Ascension, we will consider the meaning of Jesus’ words, “I am the true vine,” (John 15:1-11) as our worship series, Images of the Risen Christ, concludes.  Our worship experience will also include the celebration of Holy Communion.