Genesis 4:2b, 4b-5, 8-10
Words of Outrage: Emma González
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Eternal God, in whose perfect kingdom no sword is drawn but the sword of righteousness: Spread abroad your Spirit, that all peoples may be gathered under the banner of the Prince of Peace. Amen.
That’s a prayer for peace from our prayer book. And like most of the prayers in our prayer book, it echoes the language of the scriptures. And so of course it doesn’t talk about guns; it talks about swords. (more…)
A little over a week ago we heard a spectacular and repellent example of something human beings are all too prone to doing: the phenomenon of “blaming the victim.” It happened after the horrifying murders of Muslim worshipers in Christchurch, New Zealand. An Australian senator named Fraser Anning posted a statement saying the attack happened because Muslim people had chosen to immigrate to New Zealand in the first place. Other public officials rightly condemned his remarks, and you may have seen the viral video of a teenager hitting him with an egg a few days later—maybe not the ideal method, but an understandable reaction—and the senator responding by punching the teenager, spiraling from violent words into violent action. (more…)
We pray that line from the Lord’s Prayer every Sunday. But what is temptation, really? It’s worth wondering about, not only because today we hear the story of the temptation of Jesus in the desert, but also because I think our culture isn’t quite sure what to do with the notion of temptation. (more…)
I remember the flecks of ash on my car, that afternoon this past November. The reddish tinge in the sky; the smell of smoke in the air; and those little white flecks of ash all over the car roof and windscreen. Landing everywhere, of course, but visible especially there on that flat surface, against the blue paint. It was from the Camp Fire in Paradise, of course. I’d only seen those little white flecks one time before: a year earlier, when I was still living in the East Bay, and the smoke and the ash were coming from right here in Sonoma County. (more…)
Proclaim the greatness of the LORD our God,
and worship upon the LORD’s holy hill.
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Have you ever had a mountaintop experience?
We use the phrase to speak of a spiritual high, a time of clarity, when our connection with God feels direct and our life feels full of meaning.
From Machu Picchu in Peru to Mt. Fuji in Japan to Mt. Olympus in Greece, mountains are places of spiritual power in cultures all around the world. And in the biblical story there are lots of mountains with special significance. Mount Sinai, where Moses spoke face to face with God and received the Ten Commandments. Mount Zion, the hill where Abraham was said to have received the revelation that he was not to sacrifice his son, and which later became the site of the city of Jerusalem and the location of the Temple itself. And of course the unnamed mountain in today’s gospel, the Mountain of the Transfiguration. (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.
Imagine you’re living in about the year 500, in Syria. You’re a new Christian who’s just received baptism and is coming to communion for the first time, and your bishop teaches you to hold out your hands, receive the bread, and pray this prayer:
“I carry you, living God incarnate in the bread. You have confined yourself in a fiery coal within my fleshly palms. You are holy, God incarnate in my hands in a fiery coal. Lord, make me worthy to taste the food of your body as a taste of your life.”(more…)
Exactly ten weeks from today, right here in this space, you and I will be gathered together to experience what might best be called a liturgical whiplash.
It happens every year. It’s the liturgy for Palm Sunday. We gather outside, bless palms, and march around singing exuberantly. We hail Jesus as he makes his triumphal entry into Jerusalem. It’s great fun. We get into the church building, finish the hymn, and then all of a sudden it all comes to a screeching halt. We hear this prayer: “Almighty God, your most dear Son went not up to joy but first he suffered pain, and entered not into glory before he was crucified.” The adoration of the crowds shifts to the suffering of the cross. From that moment the whole tone of the liturgy shifts. The gospel for the day is the story of Jesus’ betrayal and crucifixion, and we’re catapulted into Holy Week. (more…)
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.
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!
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.
Two things. It takes the wisdom of scripture and tradition. And it takes an open, seeking heart.
Consider the magi. We sometimes call them the three kings, which is a lovely tradition, although the scripture story neither calls them kings nor says precisely how many of them there were. It simply calls them magoi, a word that basically means something like the English word “mages”—people who studied the stars and ancient lore. Anyway, consider the magi. Their astrological observations lead them to believe something important is happening in Judea. And so they set off on pilgrimage. These magi are the quintessential seekers. They don’t have the scriptures, but they have a seeking heart. They know, they just know, there is someone out there. Their hearts are longing and burning for him. They don’t quite know where they’ll find him, but they have an inkling about the right direction to start. So they load up the best of all their treasures and start their quest. And their intuitions carry them far, all the way to Jerusalem, six short miles from Bethlehem. But then they need something more. They can’t quite make it all the way to Jesus on their own. They have to stop for directions. They need the wisdom of the scripture and tradition of Israel to get them all the way there. (more…)
Martin Luther said, “Beautiful music is the art of the prophets that can calm the agitations of the soul, it is one of the most magnificent and delightful presents God has given us.” Every Advent and Christmas I look forward to hearing again music that speaks to my soul. Sometimes it is the melody, sometimes it is the lyrics, and sometimes it is both music and lyrics that help me to see a new connection between humanity and the love of God. I am not a musician and I cannot read music. So, I am in awe of people who can take what looks like hieroglyphics to me and make the symbols into a loving prayer that reaches spiritual places beyond the spoken word. (more…)
The St. Cecilia Choir, the choral ensemble Cantiamo, the Incarnation Orchestra, and soloists will sing Mozart’s beloved Requiem on Good Friday evening, April 19 at 8:00 p.m. at the Church of the Incarnation. Mark Penn will be our guest conductor. Mozart’s Requiem is a choral masterpiece whose origin is shrouded in mystery, one that makes the piece all the more fascinating and emotionally stirring. Mozart was not in the best state of mind when he received an anonymous commission to compose a Requiem Mass. His health was deteriorating, and he believed he had been cursed to write a requiem as a “swan song” for himself. Mozart died at the age of 35 on December 5, 1791, before he could complete the work. His widow, Constanze, asked Mozart’s pupil, Süssmayer, to whom the composer had given detailed instructions, to complete the score. Tickets are Preferred $25 and General $20, and they can be purchased from any St. Cecilia Choir member or by calling the church office at 579-2604.
According to the Gospel of Matthew, Joseph was a carpenter who was chosen by God to serve as earthly father to Jesus. A man of faith, humility, and compassion, he accepted the responsibility of becoming Mary’s husband despite the scandal of her miraculous pregnancy. Guided by mystical visions, he led Mary and Jesus to Egypt to escape the wicked King Herod’s slaughter of the innocents. Later he and Mary returned to Israel, raising Jesus in the town of Nazareth. Joseph is the patron saint of laborers. According to tradition, he taught his trade to Jesus. He is thought to have died during Jesus’ youth, since he disappears from the record during Jesus’ adult life. As Lesser Feasts and Fasts puts it, “The little that is told of him is a testimony to the trust in God which values simple everyday duties, and gives an example of a loving husband and father.” We will commemorate Joseph on Tuesday with Morning Prayer at 8:00 and a special Holy Eucharist at 12:10 p.m.
From Sandy Hook to Las Vegas to Parkland to Aurora, and too many other places to name, this country is plagued by an epidemic of gun violence unique among developed nations. Together with many other faith communities, the Episcopal Church seeks to work toward an end to this epidemic. Please mark your calendars for this special liturgy of prayer, lament, and call to action, held on the one-year anniversary of the March for Our Lives. Featured in the service will be The Murder of Innocents, a musical piece composed especially for this event by our own Beverly Kinnison and sung by the Alleluia Choir.
This is no time for a child to be born,
With the earth betrayed by war & hate
And a comet slashing the sky to warn
That time runs out & the sun burns late.
That was no time for a child to be born,
In a land in the crushing grip of Rome;
Honour & truth were trampled by scorn—
Yet here did the Saviour make his home.
When is the time for love to be born?
The inn is full on the planet earth,
And by greed & pride the sky is torn—
Yet Love still takes the risk of birth.
That’s a poem by Madeleine L’Engle, author of the famous children’s book A Wrinkle in Time, a writer for children and adults and, incidentally, an Episcopalian. She wrote it in 1973, during a Christmas marked by the appearance of a major comet—but aside from that, almost everything in the poem sounds like it could have been written today. (more…)
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.