Liturgical Notes

What’s in a name? “Episcopal”

The Rev. Jim Richardson, Priest-in-Charge

From time to time, people ask me what the name “Episcopal” means. It is word not in common conversation with most people in our society or outside our church.

The word comes from the Greek Episkopos, which means bishop. The word suggests our organization has something to do with bishops. But why a Greek word? The origin comes straight out of the American Revolution in 1776. (more…)

Holy Week and the Easter Triduum

The Rev. Jim Richardson, Priest-in-Charge

The week before Easter is traditionally called “Holy Week” (Note: The week after Easter Sunday is called Easter Week, not the week before).

For centuries, Christians have gathered in Holy Week to retrace these last steps of the life of Christ on Earth. Beginning on Palm Sunday, we come together to observe the gathering darkness before the crucifixion and we conclude on Saturday night at the first proclamation of Easter. (more…)

The Great Vigil of Easter

The Rev. Jim Richardson, Priest-in-Charge

The Great Vigil of Easter, also called the “Paschal Vigil” or the “Divine Liturgy” is the first official celebration of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ in during the fifty-day long celebration of the Easter season. At the Church of the Incarnation we have a traditional Vigil that will begin at 7 p.m. on Saturday April 14. (more…)

The Gathering

The Rev. Jim Richardson, Priest-in-Charge

The first act of our worship is the gathering of the people at prayer. In fact, the word “church” means “The Gathering.” And we gather in a special way, with the leaders of prayer processing through the people of prayer to the altar. Sometimes we do this in silence (at 8 a.m.) and sometimes through music (9:15 a.m. and 11:15 a.m.). The procession also reminds us that the people of God, through time and history, are moving toward God’s Kingdom – following the Cross of Christ – and bringing the Light of the Gospel into the world.

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Who are the Ministers of the Church?

The Rev. Jim Richardson, Priest-in-Charge

We sometimes use the word “minister” to mean the clergy only. But, in fact, the “minister” has a much wider meaning than just the people wearing collars, vestments and leading worship. The Book of Common Prayer (pages 855-856) gives a fuller definition of ministry and ministers. Please note that the duty of all ministers – lay and ordained – is to “represent Christ and his Church.” Also note who is listed first as a minister. Here is the definition, in Q&A format, from the prayer book: (more…)

Healing prayers

The Rev. Jim Richardson, Priest-in-Charge

Among our richest Christian traditions is to pray for the sick. We do so as individuals in our private prayers, and we also pray for the sick as a community of faith every Sunday in our worship.

The stories of Jesus are replete with healings – he was probably best known in his time as a healer. Sometimes just the touch of his cloak was enough to heal someone. (more…)

Confession and the season of Lent

The Rev. Jim Richardson, Priest-in-Charge

From the earliest times, Jews and Christians have practiced self-examination of how well we live together as God’s people. Lent is especially a time for introspection and honest admission of how we have fallen short, which is the definition of “sin.” (more…)

The Penitential Order

The Rev. Jim Richardson, Priest-in-Charge

During the season of Lent, beginning next week, you will notice that our worship starts a little differently than the rest of the year. We begin with the Penitential Order containing the Confession. (more…)

The ashes of Ash Wednesday

The Rev. Jim Richardson, Priest-in-Charge

Ash Wednesday, this year on March 1, is traditionally marked by the imposition of ashes on the foreheads of believers. Sobering words to go with the dirty ashes: “Remember you are dust and to dust you shall return.” (more…)

Sacred Music

The Rev. Jim Richardson, Priest-in-Charge

Our Christian tradition is rich with sacred music, and we are wonderfully blessed to have a strong music program here at the Church of the Incarnation. Our amazing choirs are here to lead us in singing. Please join in! (more…)

Advent Wreaths

The Rev. Jim Richardson, Priest-in-Charge

You probably have noticed the wreath with four candles to the right of the altar. The Advent wreath has long been a part of our seasonal tradition as we await the birth of Jesus at Christmas. (more…)