Alleluia! Happy Easter!
On Sunday we looked at encounters with the Risen Jesus in our readings — in a locked room to scared and doubting disciples, and on a prison island to a persecuted pastor. I invited us to be on the lookout for the Risen Jesus in our own lives and especially in the life of our church throughout this Easter season. Together we are entering a time that will bring so much change at Incarnation as we prepare to say goodbye to our beloved Liz. Like those early disciples, we can expect to experience grief, doubt, and fear as the impact of this loss slowly dawns on us as a community. It will all feel new and disorienting and just plain weird for a while. But as we discussed on Sunday, these are the places the Risen Jesus chooses to be revealed: in the middle of his disciples' worry, sorrow, and doubt; "in the midst of the lampstands," that is, in his church.
In the coming weeks, let's all be on the lookout for the Risen Jesus in our midst. Let's ask him for what we need with the audacity of Thomas. Let's listen for him speaking to us the words we read from him on Sunday: Peace be with you. Receive the Holy Spirit. Do not be afraid.
Small groups begin this week — sign up now! These groups will meet until mid-June and read the Sunday psalms together (the ones we read responsively on Sunday mornings). My hope is that these groups will create space to encounter the Risen Jesus in the gathered community, in the breaking of bread, and in the psalms — just like the encounter at Emmaus (Luke 24:28-45).
The psalms have been the church's prayer book for centuries, providing ways to pray the full range of emotions and experiences. I hope these ancient prayers will root us deeply in our God who sees and knows, loves and provides, as we pray them together through the changes ahead.
Throughout Lent and Holy Week, you gave $5500 to L'Arche International's work serving Ukrainian refugees in Poland (read more), our largest offering to date! We are so grateful for your generosity to support this critical frontline work of L'Arche.
Closer to home, our local L'Arche of Greater Washington DC is holding its Heart of L'Arche virtual fundraiser on Thursday from 7-8pm online. I highly recommend attending to learn more about this much-loved South Arlington neighbor, outreach parter, and home to Incarnation worshiper Bruce! After having attended this virtual event last year, I can promise an evening of community and joy — and who among us doesn't need an infusion of joy these days?
This Sunday we will welcome several new members, a wonderful opportunity to remember the promises made to one another. We'll be leaning on those promises and on one another through the transitions ahead, so I encourage you to listen well (see if you can catch all the times worship, welcome, and wonder show up in the membership promises) and to consider with intentionality your own place in this community. Are there ways you are longing to feel more connected? Are you curious about membership? Are there things you don't understand in our worship but feel awkward asking (I LOVE these questions)? Please reach out; I'd love to grab coffee or go for a walk and chat.
Liz's final Sunday at Incarnation is May 8, Good Shepherd Sunday. That's in TWO WEEKS! Please join us as we say goodbye to our good shepherd and send her out to her next chapter with our heartfelt prayers, gratitude, and blessing. Afterward, we'll linger (hopefully outside!) over a Donut Sunday. You bring something special to share; I'll bring the tissues.
Peace be with you. Receive the Holy Spirit. Do not be afraid.
p.s. For your Eastertide edification, I present this video which had our staff team in tears (of laughter, for a change!) last week. He is risen! h/t Ginny F.