Holy Week begins Sunday!
As I was writing this post, a large box arrived on my doorstep covered in giant neon stickers that say KEEP REFRIGERATED. Our palms for Palm Sunday are here! We will gather outside Sunday morning to wave our palms, sing a 1200-year-old hymn, read the gospel (this is the only Sunday with two gospel readings!), and then parade together into the gym. It will be a little bit of that holy chaos we love at Incarnation — come a few minutes early so you catch it all!
Near the end of our procession, we will pause outside the rear door to the gym and pray this prayer before entering:
"Almighty God, whose most dear Son went not up to joy but first he suffered pain, and entered not into glory before he was crucified: Mercifully grant that we, walking in the way of the Cross, may find it none other than the way of life and peace; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen."
Holy Week is one way we "walk in the way of the Cross" together. Our worship throughout the week is designed to help us remember the final week of Jesus' life through the words we read, pray, and sing, and through what we do with our bodies in these participatory services. I hope you will join us all week long and partake of everything Holy Week has to offer!
All Holy Week details, including locations and times, are listed on the Holy Week page website. Please join us. Have a friend who is curious? Bring them along. These services communicate the gospel in profound, tangible ways.
Fasting and Feasting
I want to particularly draw your attention to a few easily-overlooked invitations to fast and feast this Holy Week. On Holy Saturday (April 16), we are inviting the entire church to participate in a communal fast for some portion of the day. Fasting with others can be such a meaningful opportunity to pray with intentionality and to see the Holy Spirit at work in others. If you choose to engage in this fast, feel free to share any thoughts, prayers, or impressions in the church WhatsApp or send me or Liz a text or email. (Not on the church WhatsApp and want to be? Let me know!)
And then consider breaking your fast with lentil soup with vinegar (the vinegar reminds us of the sour wine offered to Jesus on the cross). For the past two years of the pandemic, Incarnation homes have made this soup as we've observed Holy Saturday separately-together. There's been something beautifully communal about seeing photos of each others' simmering stovetops and knowing we are partaking together of this simple meal of remembrance on the eve of the biggest feast of the church year.
And on Easter, arrive ready to celebrate! Bring bells for worship, bring flowers and greens from the yard for the kids' procession, and bring food for an Easter potluck feast (suggested: last name A-D bring beverages; E-L sweets; M-Z savories — but whatever your last name, nobody will mind extra ham or hot cross buns!). Weather permitting, we'll feast outside at the picnic tables just after the service (rain plan: cafeteria).
It's such a privilege to be one of your pastors — always, but especially during Holy Week, when we so intentionally walk the way of the cross together. I can't wait.
On a different note, were you at the Parish Meeting on Sunday? Ben Goebel, one of our vestry wardens, reminded us that among the many transitions at Incarnation, we are in the process of hiring an Associate Pastor. Here's an update on that hiring process from Jenni McSwain, the vestry member who oversees personnel. Please reach out if you have any questions, and please pray for our church and for the person God will call to us in this season of transition.
From Jenni: "The application deadline for the Associate Pastor search was April 1st. We received applications from 8 wonderfully talented and diverse candidates from across the U.S., and we even received an international applicant. Our first round of screening interviews is completed. The second round of interviews will take place toward the end of April. These interviews will be done panel style with a smaller pool of applicants. From this point, we will scale the pool down even more. Our goal is to have the position filled by the summer and have the individual in the role by the fall."
How are you doing this week? Liz and I are always up for a walk, a cup of coffee, a text or a call to chat and pray through anything you're facing.
See you Sunday with (refrigerated) palms!