"I am the true vine, and my Father is the vine grower," Jesus said. (John 15:1) The vine (Jesus) connects us with God. As we come together to share in Holy Communion, we are reminded that we are fed spiritually by the bread and cup.
"I am the good shepherd," Jesus told his disciples. Our understanding of God and Jesus as our divine shepherd is evident throughout the Bible, including today's passage from the Gospel of John. Jesus says that as our shepherd he knows us as deeply as God knows us. He also lays down his life for us.. Therefore, we are one flock - the church - under the care of Jesus the Good Shepherd. We reflect in worship today how the Good Shepherd guides us as a congregation in his care for us and in our care for others.
The scripture from the Gospel of Luke marks the third appearance of Jesus to his disciples following his resurrection. The emphasis is upon the reality of resurrection as Jesus shows his wounded hands and side and eats a broiled fish in the presence of his followers. They therefore become witnesses to this reality and share the good news with the world. How do we see resurrection manifested in our lives today?
The Foothills staff takes a breather after Easter and our California Pacific Conference of United Methodist Churches steps in to give us a restful sabbath. Enjoy the sights, sounds, prayers and thoughtful interpretations of the scripture from around our church body.
Rise Again! As Foothills celebrates Easter online.
We begin our observance of Holy Week on Palm Sunday when we remember the entrance into Jerusalem of Jesus and his disciples. As the crowds wave palm branches and shout "Hosanna!", they proclaim that Jesus is their new king. But their hope and excitement is short-lived as plans have already been made by the religious authorities to stop Jesus and his movement. We accompany Jesus in his final days as we move from the hope of Palm Sunday to the despair of Good Friday to the joy of Easter.
In the midst of their exile in Babylon, the prophet Jeremiah shared God's vision of hope with Israel. A new covenant between God and the people would be realized. "I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people" (Jer 31:33). Jesus embodied that covenant, sharing the message of God's love, writing it upon our hearts.
"For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son.....(John 3:16)" Along with the 23rd Psalm, this scripture is the most well-known in the Bible. It is also one of the most misunderstood. We will reflect upon the nature of God's love through Jesus Christ and what it means for us and the world.
Jesus cleanses the Temple, and we see how passionate he was to reclaim this sacred space. The ways of the world distorted their place of worship just as it invades, ever so subtly, our churches today. As we continue our journey in Lent, we are invited to reflect on these questions: What does it mean to be the church of Jesus? Are we brave enough to be this church?
As we continue our journey through Lent, we consider the role of suffering in our faith. In this scripture from the Gospel of Mark, Jesus predicts both his suffering and death at the hands of those who oppose him and his resurrection on the third day. He then encourages his followers to "take up their cross and follow me". How do we face the reality of our own suffering, and what cross are we called to bear in following Christ?