Posts By: Linelle Lane

June 21, 2020 – The Rev. Dr. Stephen Shaver

Year A, Proper 7, Revised Common Lectionary, Track 2
Jeremiah 20:7-13
Psalm 69: 8-11, (12-17), 18-20
Romans 6:1b-11
Matthew 10:24-39

In the name of Jesus Christ, who was, and is, and is to come: Amen.

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Sometime when I was younger I remember being shown a chemistry demonstration. It started with what looked like a plain, clear glass of water. And then the teacher dropped a tiny grain of salt into the water—and almost instantly the water was filled with spiky crystals, growing in every direction until the glass was completely full. It turns out that what looked like plain water was actually a supersaturated solution of sodium acetate. That’s a salt you can make using plain baking soda and vinegar. Heat the water up to a high temperature and you can dissolve a larger amount of this salt in it than usual. As the water cools back down to room temperature, the salt remains dissolved as long as it’s undisturbed. But that solution is highly unstable. Those crystals are just waiting for the tiniest disturbance to fall out of the solution and become solid again. All it takes is a little grain dropped in, and suddenly what was hidden is revealed. (more…)

June 12, 2020 – The Rev. Pamela Moore

Second Sunday After Pentecost, Year A, Revised Common Lectionary, Track 2
Exodus 19:2-8a
Psalm 100
Romans 5:1-8
Matthew 9:35-10:8 (9-23)

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Healing

When Jesus met with the apostles before sending them out into the world, he knew that he had already taught them all that they needed to know to do the work he wanted them to do. Jesus knew their strengths and their weaknesses. He knew their fears and concerns. Jesus knew the individual skills each apostle had, and he knew that none of them were perfect. Jesus also knew that they would never fully understand what his teachings meant until the apostles tried to share those teachings with those who did not yet know the good news. And, Jesus knew one more thing, that the apostles would not be able to heal others unless they trusted in the power and authority he gave them. (more…)

June 7, 2020 – The Rev. Dr. Stephen Shaver

Year A, Trinity Sunday, Revised Common Lectionary
Genesis 1:1-2:4a
2 Corinthians 13:11-13
Matthew 28:16-20
Psalm 8

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Jesus had been crucified.

I know we know this already. But let us dwell on it, just a bit, before we turn back to resurrection, and glory, and joy.

Jesus had been crucified. He was bruised and beaten. We use church language like passion and Calvary that can distance us from the reality. We speak of Jesus’s suffering. But he didn’t just suffer; he was made to suffer. Men who worked for the government hit him with their weapons. He was arrested and brutalized. And then he was killed. His body was left out in public for hours, until people who loved him were allowed to come and tend to it. (more…)

May 31, 2020 – The Rev. Dr. Stephen Shaver

Year A, Day of Pentecost, Revised Common Lectionary
Acts 2:1-21
Psalm 104:25-35, 37
1 Corinthians 12:3b-13
John 20:19-23

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When was the last time someone breathed on you?

When I was a kid I sometimes teased my little sister by blowing a quick puff of air on her hair: pffff.

I could get away with that with my sister. I might get away with it today with my wife or my daughter. I wouldn’t do it to just anybody.

Think of the intimacy of feeling another human’s breath. A baby’s breath, rising and falling as you hold it against your chest. A lover’s breath on your cheek. (more…)

May 10, 2020 – The Rev. Pamela Moore

Fifth Sunday of Easter, Year A, Revised Common Lectionary
Acts 7:55-60
1 Peter 2:2-10
John 14:1-14
Psalm 31:1-5, 15-16

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Risky Business

Happy Mothers’ Day Everyone

Some time ago, I wrote in the front of my Book of Common Prayer, “If now and then you don’t think your sermons might be a bit risky, then you are not a deacon.” It might surprise you to learn that deacons sometimes wonder if their sermons are too political, too radical, and too challenging for the communities they serve.

Deacons are described as having a prophetic voice and are encouraged to be truth-tellers when it comes to societal ills and the mistreatment of God’s children. And yet, deacons have always known that telling the truth is not always well received.

In today’s first lesson, we learn that the first Christian martyr and deacon, St. Stephen, was stoned to death because he proclaimed the risen Christ. However, there was much more to the story according to Lesser Feasts and Fasts.

Stephen was one of the “seven men of good repute, full of the Spirit and of wisdom” (Acts 6:3), who were chosen by the apostles to relieve them of the administrative burden of “serving tables and caring for the widows.” By this appointment to assist the apostles, Stephen, the first-named of those the New Testament calls “The Seven,” became the first to do what the Church traditionally considers to be the work and ministry of a deacon.

It is apparent that Stephen’s activities involved more than simply “serving tables,” for the Acts of the Apostles speaks of his preaching and performing many miracles. These activities led him into conflict with some of the Jews (read as priestly authorities), who accused him of blasphemy, and brought him before the Sanhedrin. His powerful sermon before the Council is recorded in the seventh chapter of Acts. His denunciations of the Sanhedrin so enraged its members that, without a trial, they dragged him out of the city and stoned him to death.” (Adapted from Lesser Feasts and Fasts). By the way, the reference about serving tables is about the distribution of food.

Stephen was a servant leader, an evangelist, and a passionate follower of Christ. His commitment to the truth no doubt shortened his life. Yet, his willingness to speak truth to power still stands as a value highly prized by many in the diaconate.

Episcopal deacons serve in a variety of ways. If they still have a secular job, most often, their work is in service to others. They may work in nonprofits, healthcare, law enforcement, social services, the military, and in some instances, service minded corporations. Wherever they work, they are asked to “make Christ’s redemptive love known by word and example to those among whom they live, work, and worship. Deacons are also asked to interpret to the Church (all of us) the needs, concerns, and hopes of the world.” (BCP, p. 543). Deacons are expected to have a prophetic voice.

In the Sojourners article, What does it mean to be prophetic today? (source – https://sojo.net/media/what-does-it-mean-be-prophetic-today) Walter Brueggemann, professor emeritus at Columbia Theological Seminary, says that he thinks “a prophet is someone that tries to articulate the world as though God were really active in the world. And, that means on the one hand, to identify those parts of our world order that are contradictory to God, but on the other hand, it means to talk about the will and purpose that God has for the world that will indeed come to fruition even in circumstances that we can’t imagine.”

A deacon is expected to talk about what is contradictory to the will of God and to talk about what God is doing in the world, even if we cannot fathom how it will all work out. The first part, talking about what is contradictory to God, is the risky part. And while no Episcopal Deacons have been stoned lately as far as I know, we live in a society that is increasingly uncivil, angry and contentious, making it a challenge to speak truth to power.

Nevertheless, I am ready to speak about what I believe to be true. I will rely on what Jesus said, I will not let my heart be troubled. I will trust in God and believe in Jesus as I share with you what I think is contradictory to God.

I believe that it is contradictory to God to withhold nutrition assistance benefits to hungry people because you are afraid that they will use those benefits longer than you deem necessary. If we have money to bail out big corporations, we have money to feed people. Jesus gave us clear direction when he said, “Feed my sheep.” (John 21:17).

I believe it is contradictory to God to withhold care for the sick. By not letting all people access health insurance regardless of immigration status. (Matthew 25:35).

I believe it is contradictory to God to be inhospitable to strangers, as revealed in the way we treat immigrants who are still incarcerated at our borders and who are at considerable risk for contracting COVID. It is also contradictory to God and unacceptable to have an “oh well, some people will die” attitude about immigrants, people in nursing homes, and prisoners because the powers that be do not value their lives as much as others. (Hebrews 13:2).

And I believe it is contradictory to God to oppress the poor by ordering people to work in places that will not take the necessary precautions to keep them safe. A choice between protecting your health or working in an unsafe environment is no choice at all. (Psalm 140:12).

Some of our government and community leaders are doing their best to provide for us. However, we have too many leaders who do not seem to understand the devastation being visited upon our families, friends, and neighbors when they do not taking this pandemic seriously.

Thank God we are not totally at the mercy of powerful and insensitive people who lack compassion for those who are suffering. Thank God there are people called to care for the poor, the sick, and the oppressed. Thank God, we have ministers who feed the hungry, visit prisoners, and work to shelter people who are homeless. Thank God some folks are committed to calling other people regularly, so they will not be lonely. Thank God, we can worship online and share our love of God without fear of persecution. Thank God we recognize the heroes among us who put their lives on the line to save others.

God continues to work through us to achieve the greater good. As members of my family like to say, “God will make a way out of no way.”

The pandemic has changed our way of life and forced us to rethink how to be in the world. Many of those changes will be with us for months to come. The pandemic has revealed how vulnerable many people are when it comes to having enough to eat, being financially secure, and accessing healthcare. It seems that those who had few resources, to begin with, have even less now. Nothing can be taken for granted, and no one is immune to the unpredictable nature of this health crisis.

Therefore, we must continue to care for one another by keeping practices that make the community safe for all of us, not just some of us. We must continue to be kind, caring, and thoughtful amid the stress of this pandemic. We must act as representatives of Christ Jesus, who asked us to love one another as he loved us.

I leave you with a prayer that is often attributed to another saint, Francis, for it is a good reminder of how we can continue to serve God and one another as we live through this pandemic:

St. Francis Prayer

Lord, make me an instrument of Your peace;
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
Where there is injury, pardon;
Where there is doubt, faith;
Where there is despair, hope;
Where there is darkness, light;
And where there is sadness, joy.

O Divine Master,
Grant that I may not so much seek
To be consoled as to console;
To be understood, as to understand;
To be loved, as to love;
For it is in giving that we receive,
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
And it is in dying that we are born to Eternal Life.

Who We Are

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.

Ways to make a gift to Incarnation

In this time of economic uncertainty, being good stewards of the financial resources God has entrusted to us is as essential as ever. Our ability to continue our ministry depends on the generous contributions of our members, attenders, and friends.

Even while our in-person services are not taking place, there are still plenty of ways to make a gift to Incarnation:

Incarnation website: Online giving

Text (onetime setup required): 707-532-0060.

PayPal

Mail checks directly to the church: 550 Mendocino Ave., Santa Rosa, 95401

Thank you for your support of Church of the Incarnation.

Holy Week and Easter Schedule – 2020

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All services will be held online on Zoom. We will also be streaming the services on Facebook: http://facebook.com/IncarnationSantaRosa.

To participate on Zoom so we can see your face and hear your voice, click the link sent out in the parish e-News and Notes, or follow the instructions in the bulletin.
To dial in by phone, call (669) 900-9128. Enter the meeting code in the bulletin.

If you can’t join us for the services online or by phone, all our Triduum liturgies this year can also be celebrated on your own at home and can be adapted as works for you.

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April 9: Maundy Thursday
The Liturgy of the Word
with the Washing of Feet, 5:30 p.m.
For this liturgy, you are encouraged to have nearby:
  • A basin, washtub, bucket, or even a large pot.
  • Some water (warm if possible).
  • One or more clean towels (small hand towels are fine).
This first night of the Holy Triduum commemorates Jesus’ last supper with his disciples, when he washed their feet in loving service and instituted the Eucharist until his coming again. Imitating Jesus, we will wash our own or one another’s feet.
After the online gathering, please plan to have a simple supper (see directions in the booklet). You might choose to celebrate it together with other households, leading the blessings together by phone or video. Consider contacting others in the congregation, perhaps those in your Neighbor Group or some other group you are part of, to share in this meal together.
The evening concludes with the stripping of home decorations in preparation for Good Friday (see directions in the booklet).
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April 10: Good Friday
The Liturgy of the Passion, 12:00 p.m.
For this liturgy, you are encouraged to have nearby:
  • A cross or crucifix (big or small, simple or elaborate–any cross is fine. If you don’t have a cross, you might make one out of two sticks).
On this most solemn fast day of the year, we gather for a liturgy centered on the story of Christ’s Passion from John’s Gospel. We join in Christ’s prayers from the cross for the whole world in the Solemn Collects, an ancient form of the Prayers of the People. We honor the cross, an instrument of suffering turned into the sign of our salvation.
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April 11, day: Holy Saturday
The Liturgy of Holy Saturday, 12:00 p.m.
This brief liturgy reflects on this Sabbath day when Christ lies in the tomb.
The bulletin will be shown onscreen during the service.
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April 11, evening: Easter Eve
The Great Vigil of Easter, 8:00 p.m.
For this liturgy, you are encouraged to have nearby:
  • A single central candle, and something to light it with. You might decorate this candle, if you like. It will be your household’s Paschal candle. You might keep it in a prominent position at home for the Fifty Days of Easter.
  • (optional) A smaller candle for each person.
  • A bowl of water, and something to sprinkle the water with
  • (optional) One or more bells, or anything that will make a sound.
A night like no other, the Easter Vigil is the central service of the church year. We gather after sunset to kindle the new fire of Easter and light the Paschal candle. We retell the sacred stories of God’s people by candlelight. We celebrate the renewal of our baptismal vows. And finally we proclaim the arrival of Easter, joyful to be singing our Alleluias once again to the risen Savior. It’s a long service–outside of time, really–and one filled with profound spiritual power. This night is the heart of who we are as an Easter people.
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April 12: Easter Sunday
The Liturgy of the Word, 10:00 a.m.
The bulletin will be shown onscreen during the service, or download it here.
After last night’s journey into Easter, this morning’s service extends the celebration as we feast on God’s Word, pray for all creation, and proclaim the resurrection once more.

March 15, 2020 – The Rev. Dr. Stephen Shaver

3 Lent, Year A, Revised Common Lectionary
Exodus 17:1-7
Romans 5:1-11
John 4:5-42
Psalm 95

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So there’s the physical, and there’s the spiritual.

The Israelites were in the desert. They were thirsty. Physically thirsty. And God met them there and provided water, miraculous water, water gushing out of a rock.

Jesus was by the well at noon, in the heat of the day. He was thirsty. Physically thirsty. And God met him there in the form of a woman, a Samaritan woman, and provided water, not miraculous water but very ordinary water, gushing out of a well dug so long ago by Jacob, the common ancestor of Jews and Samaritans alike. (more…)

March 1, 2020 – The Rev. Pamela Moore

First Sunday in Lent, Year A, Revised Common Lectionary
Genesis 2:15-17, 3:1-7
Romans 5:12-19
Matthew 4:1-11
Psalm 32

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My Brother’s Keeper

During this last week, I spent a significant amount of time researching a financial product so I could assist my younger brother with an important decision he will need to make in the next few months. My brother is about to become 62 years old, and since I am seven years older than him, our thoughts have been turning more and more as to how we might best prepare for the future as neither of us has children or a spouse to care for us. My brother is generally capable and can manage his household. However, when complicated decisions are involved, he often turns to me for assistance. As the dutiful older sister, I take these requests seriously because my mother always told me to look out for him and to take care of him. By the way parents, I understand what you are hoping when you ask older siblings to take care of younger ones. You are encouraging them to look out for each other. However, it would be great if you could put an end date on the request. After all it was one thing to look after my brother when he was twelve or before he turned twenty-one. He’s sixty-two now and honestly someone as hyper-responsible as me can struggle with this request as most grown folk won’t do as you say just because you told them to do it. (more…)

Blossoming: A Spring SoulCollage® Workshop

Sunday, March 29, 1-5 p.m., Short Hall

This Lenten season, what would you like to release that is preventing you from blossoming into a more expansive version of yourself, aware of your own divine nature? Spend the afternoon in sacred space, using guided imagery and the creative process of SoulCollage® to connect with your inner wisdom.

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®. Both beginning and experienced SoulCollagers are welcome in this workshop. The cost is $35 and space is limited to 15 participants, so register online today!

Living Compass Lenten Series

March 3, 10, 17, 24, 31, April 7
10:45 a.m.–12:15 p.m.

Lent is a time for introspection and self-reflection, a time to reflect on the core of what it means to live a Christian life in the midst of great change and uncertainty. When facing change and uncertainty, few practices are more central to that life than courage—the courage to be vulnerable, the courage to grow, the courage to change direction, the courage to let go, the courage to act with grace, and the courage to walk in the way of love. The 2020 Living Compass Lenten devotional is a tool to assist you on your journey. Join us on Tuesdays as we reflect together on the daily readings. Space is limited; first come first served on the list.

RSVP to dvernon@nullincarnationsantarosa.org

 

Food and Fellowship Dinner

Sunday, March 1 – 4:30-6:30 p.m.

Are you a parent, child, grandparent, or Godly Play teacher? If so, you and your children are invited to an evening of Food and Fellowship on Sunday, March 1, 4:30-6:30 p.m., for a potluck dinner in Farlander Hall. At this gathering we will do an outreach project and discuss Lenten practices. To RSVP with the dish you will bring, or for more information, contact Daphne Vernon, dvernon@nullincarnationsantarosa.org

Ash Wednesday

February 26 – 8:00 a.m., 12:10 p.m., 7:00 p.m.

The season of Lent begins with Ash Wednesday. At services on this day, we remember that we are dust, and to dust we shall return. We turn away from sin and toward practices of simplicity, prayer, and service that prepare us to meet the joy of Easter. The Holy Eucharist with the Imposition of Ashes will be held at 8:00 a.m., 12:10 p.m., and 7:00 p.m. All are welcome. Childcare is available for the 7:00 p.m. service.

January 26, 2020 – The Rev. Patricia Moore

Third Sunday After Epiphany, Year A, Revised Common Lectionary
Isaiah 9:1-4
1 Corinthians 1:10-18
Matthew 4:12-23
Psalm 27:1, 5-13

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“The Lord is my light and my salvation, whom then shall I fear?”

Indeed, whom shall I fear? Whom do I fear? Whom or what do you fear? The Bible is filled with talk about fear, mostly with admonitions to fear not! Remember the angel Gabriel to Mary, “Fear not, the Lord is with you.” Angels are very much into “Fear not!”

But of course, if truth be told we do fear. I read recently that 40% of Americans suffer from anxiety—ranging from panic attacks to other forms of anxious living. Look around this church and think about that. 40% of us are living with anxiety. (more…)

January 12, 2020 – The Rev. Pamela Moore

First Sunday After Epiphany, Year A, Revised Common Lectionary
Isaiah 42:1-9
Acts 10:34-43
Matthew 3:13-17
Psalm 29

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Baptism

Somewhere in my house, there is a button I got a few years ago that says, “Jesus loves you, but I’m his favorite.” I thought of that button when I read today’s Gospel lesson. As a young girl, I longed to be unique, to be noticed for who I was, and to know that I had God’s blessing. Whenever I heard the account of the Baptism of Our Lord, I could not help but wonder what it would be like for a ray of light to come from the heavens and for a voice to say, “This is my child, the beloved, in whom I am well pleased.” What would it take, I thought, to be the kind of person that God would think was an exceptional being? (more…)

Coronavirus Update: Please Join Us Online

As of March 17, all in-person parish activities are suspended in response to the COVID-19 situation, with the exception of our Sunday Open Table breakfast ministry, which remains active in a meals-to-go format.

We will be working to find new ways to connect, support, and care for one another in the weeks ahead. For the most immediate updates on online services, classes, and other activities, please visit http://facebook.com/IncarnationSantaRosa.

Please pray for all who are sick; for those caring for them; for those at risk; and for all who are afraid. Pray also for those whose livelihoods are threatened, those without sick leave or the ability to work from home, students forced to leave their campuses on short notice, those caring for children or elders, and those without homes. Be of good courage, wash your hands a lot, and look for moments to practice God’s love as you go through each day.

O God of peace, you have taught us that in returning and rest we shall be saved, in quietness and confidence shall be our strength: By the might of your Spirit lift us, we pray you, to your presence, where we may be still and know that you are God; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Amen.

A Prayer for Quiet Confidence
(Prayer Book, p. 832)