“You also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an unexpected hour.” Luke 12:40
I thought of calling this piece, “Defensive Living.” I wanted to write about being prepared for such things as drivers who run red lights, or for checking out where the emergency exits are located or even for preserving your teeth by flossing. Jesus spoke about defensive living in his parable of the Wise and Foolish Bridesmaids. The wise bridesmaids took enough oil for the lamps, plus some in reserve. The parable concludes with the same exhortation as today’s parable: “Keep awake therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour.” We need to be prepared for the crisis that is to come (we are all too familiar with devastating fires, earthquakes and El Niño floods). We need to keep our gas tanks filled, our cell phones charged, our bicycle tires inflated. We need to keep our emergency pack handy (ours includes a flash light with spare batteries, a wind up radio, a can opener and a space blanket among other things). But I find “Defensive Living” is already taken as the titles of a couple of books whose message is that you need a handgun to protect yourself. (more…)
There are a lot of clichés associated with this gospel passage, about how possessions don’t do us any good after we die. Fairly often we hear people say “You can’t take it with you.” Sometimes people facetiously say, “The one who dies with the most toys wins,” and presumably they don’t mean it literally but as a commentary on how empty that philosophy is. More creatively, there was a country song a few years ago that said, “You’ve never seen a hearse with a trailer hitch.”
Those clichés have value as far as they go. Death is a reality for us and we have to come to terms with that as human beings. Piling up possessions, for those who are able to do it, can be one way of trying to hide from our mortality. Life is short, and we don’t know when it will end, and we need to see our lives in the light of eternity. (more…)
I tell you, even though he won’t give him anything because he is his friend, at least because of his persistence he will give it to him.
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This passage has a special resonance for me now that I have a three-and-a-half-year-old who’s a master at the dark arts of negotiation and stalling.
I actually wonder if she’s been reading this passage. “They might not give it to you because they’re your parents, but at least because of your persistence they will give it to you!” This does work sometimes. Some of the things I’ve been asked for in the last several days include: permission to eat a strawberry before washing it. Permission to eat the dessert watermelon before having at least two bites of squash. A real jump rope. Seven different toys from a small toy store in Guerneville. Not to have to take a bath. I’ll let you guess which ones I gave in on. (more…)
I had never seen a snow-plant until I was walking in a grove of sequoias a year or two ago, up at Lake Tahoe, and there they were, two or three of them, poking up from beneath the pine needles, looking like red torpedoes, or fat red asparagus, or some kind of lumpy red mushroom. I stopped in amazement, and crouched low over them, with my hands clasped behind me, to look closely without disturbing them. And someone, it seemed, had taken the trouble to make sure I didn’t disturb them, because around them was drawn a circle in pinecones. (more…)
I spent this Fourth of July at a local celebration in the neighborhood Julia grew up in in Palo Alto. It’s a festival we’ve been to many times before, almost exactly the same every year: the neighborhood band playing “Stars and Stripes Forever” and sometimes a Queen or U2 song thrown in for variety; floats kids and their parents build out of wagons; dogs and bikes and babies on parade, sack races and three-legged races and a balloon toss; the adorable drill squad of six-year-olds moving their flags in unison, with the only change in the routine from fifty years ago that boys are now on the team too. The first time I went to this celebration I almost couldn’t believe it existed, so perfect in its quintessential Americana-ness. I almost expected to see Harold Hill from The Music Man walk around the corner. (more…)
I don’t know how many times you’ve moved in your life. Some of us here today may have lived in the same place our whole life. Others may move from place to place each night looking for a safe place to sleep. And for others of us it may be in between, moving around every few years or so.
By my count I’ve moved about 14 or 15 times in my life. Growing up, my family moved roughly every three years. So I’ve had a lot of practice with the winnowing process of what to bring along and what not to. And yet all that practice doesn’t make it easy. I once had a Halloween costume with a pirate hat and plastic sword. I only ever wore it one time, but for some reason that hat and sword made it through more than one move. It just kept making it into a box. I might need it someday! (more…)
They wanted to be somebody. To be big. To be famous.
So they decided to make a big tower.
Of course they did, right? It’s classic. Powerful people build things—particularly powerful men. To show how important you are, build something. A statue, a pyramid, a skyscraper, whatever it is, but make it huge. The bigger the better. Bigger than anybody else’s. That’s how you know you’re important. That’s how other people know you’re important. (more…)
Back when I was doing a yearlong residency as a hospital chaplain in Seattle, and then again during the years I was working on a doctorate in Berkeley, I often used to serve as what church lingo calls a “supply priest.” This is a priest who’s available to cover Sunday services when a congregation’s regular clergy aren’t available. It’s sort of like being a substitute teacher, except with vestments on, and with usually a better-behaved clientele. (more…)
Last year I met a youngish woman named—well, let’s call her Naomi. Naomi arrived at the church office one afternoon and politely asked for help charging her cell phone. She was in the process of making a long list of phone calls, looking for a place to live.
After years on the waiting list, Naomi had finally received a Section 8 housing voucher. Good news—or so it seemed. Because having a voucher can help you pay the rent … but only if you can find a vacancy with a landlord willing to rent to you in the first place. In California, unlike many other states, it’s legal for landlords to simply refuse to take Section 8 vouchers. But if you don’t use the voucher within a certain period of time, it expires. At the time I met her, Naomi had three weeks to find a place to live, or else be sent to square one to start all over again. There are 26,000 people on Sonoma County’s Section 8 waiting list. There are only 3,000 rental properties known to take Section 8 vouchers. And each year only about 300 of those actually turn over. The odds didn’t look good. (more…)
The Church of the Incarnation is an inclusive community of faith, following Jesus Christ as a parish of The Episcopal Church. We are a downtown urban church. We recognize that Christ has no body now on earth but ours, and we are committed to carrying out Christ’s charge to love one another through service, worship and prayer. Our abiding values are those expressed in our Baptismal Covenant with Jesus Christ, and those values guide us in our life of faith.
We believe that Christ calls us to strive for justice and peace among all people while respecting the dignity of every human being. While we are partners in God’s work throughout the world, we are called in particular to respond to the needs for both bodily and spiritual nourishment of the community where we live, work, and worship.
The Episcopal Church is a member of the global Anglican Communion which has a common root in the Church of England. Anglican churches follow a middle path between the traditions of the Roman Catholic Church and Protestant denominations. The Episcopal Church includes diocese in the United States, Mexico, Central America, Ecuador and Taiwan.
Every Sunday beautiful flowers adorn our altar, arrangements created by our Altar Guild. If you would like the opportunity to contribute to our flower fund in thanksgiving for, in memory of, or in honor of a loved one, you may sign up for a specific Sunday, make a donation of $50 to the flower fund, and the name(s) of those you wish to honor will be printed in the bulletin for that Sunday. This is a lovely way to both support our flower ministry and remember or honor a loved one.
There are two ways to sign up for altar flowers:
Write your name on the flower chart in Farlander Hall and mail your check to the office or place in the collection plate. Make sure to write “flower donation” in the memo field. Send an email to the address below and say who your donation is for.
Give yourself a day of creative expression with SoulCollage®. Suitable for both beginning and experienced SoulCollagers, this workshop will provide an introduction to the suits of SoulCollage® (Committee, Council, Community and Companion). You’ll have extended times of card making, time to journal and work with the cards you’ve made, and time for sharing in small groups.
Bring your lunch, any cards you’ve previously made, and your adventurous spirit for SoulCollage® fun. SoulCollage® is a therapeutic art process developed by Seena Frost and shared throughout the world. Each person creates and interprets their own set of 5×8 collaged cards. No artistic experience is necessary and all materials and supplies are provided. Make friends with all parts of yourself through SoulCollage®.
SoulCollage® is fun. No artistic experience is necessary. All materials are supplied. Both beginning and experienced SoulCollagers are welcome in this workshop.
Saturday August 24, 2019
Church of the Incarnation
Connie Beall, Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, has been working with SoulCollage® since 2011 and trained as a SoulCollage® facilitator in 2012. She delights in sharing SoulCollage® in workshops, retreats, and in private sessions. Her personal collection of SoulCollage® cards numbers over 200 and continues to grow. A Veriditas certified Labyrinth Facilitator, Connie loves to integrate the process of SoulCollage® with labyrinth walks.
What do we do in church and why do we do it? Episcopal 101 is a quick, fun introduction to the Episcopal Church and our worship, held in the church after the 9:15 and 11:15 services each first Sunday of the month. Meet at the front of the church, 10 minutes after the end of the service. Bring your questions!
A choral evensong at Incarnation will be presented by Cantiamo Sonoma, with Carol Menke, Artistic Director, and Marilyn Thompson, Organist. Cantiamo is attracting a growing number of listeners for its Evensong services in local churches. Originating in Anglican ritual, Evensong combines chant, hymns, Renaissance polyphony, and modern choral works with Biblical readings and prayers. The intent is to provide listeners with a peaceful hour of music and meditation at day’s end. This coming Evensong will feature the choral music of Humphrey Clucas, Kevin Siegfried,and Eriks Esenvalds..
Our summer schedule allows people who usually attend the 9:15 and 11:15 services to worship together. It also provides a special opportunity to use the 9:00 hour as a time when the whole congregation can gather for conversation and learning: 8:00 folks can stay after, 10:00 folks can come early.
We’ll take advantage of that golden opportunity to have a series of three Incarnation Town Halls this summer. We’ll gather in Farlander Hall over coffee and refreshments, enjoy being together, and do some collective celebration of where God is at work at Incarnation, and some reflection and discernment about where God may be calling us in the future.
Please save the dates and plan to be part of the conversation.
The Feast of the Ascension commemorates Jesus’ farewell to his disciples, after his resurrection, when he ascended into heaven (Acts 1:1-14). It is always the fortieth day after Easter, which means it always falls on a Thursday. Ascension Day is one of the seven Principal Feasts of the church calendar (see p. 15 of the Prayer Book). This year we will celebrate it with a special evening Eucharist at 7:00 p.m. The Alleluia Choir will sing (the last time either of our choirs will sing before their summer break!). Incense will be used in this service. Please plan to be a part of it!
We welcome you to any and all services at The Church of the Incarnation. All who seek God in Christ are welcome to receive communion at God's Table.