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Letter from Amy: April 5, 2023

Entry to Jerusalem, Jyoti Sahi (India), 2012

Dear friends,

Palm Sunday was SUCH a joy! Thank you for waving palms and singing and thoroughly confusing the neighbors with such exuberance as we followed the cross and trombone into the gym.

Holy Week is so physical. Every year, these services help me get out of my head and into this physical world for which Jesus came and died and rose again. So on Sunday, when we paused at the door to the gym and prayed, I didn't just say the words, I felt them — in my legs that had just walked half a city block, stepped through potholes, and climbed the steep parking lot entrance; in my throat dry from the cool spring air; in my voice a little hoarse from trying (failing, laughing) to hit the high notes of "All Glory Laud and Honor."

This is the prayer we prayed at the door to the gym, a fitting prayer for all of life, really, in this physical world so very full of potholes:

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.

Throughout Lent, in our sermons on hearing God, I have been struck again and again by the way God speaks new life into things that seem dead. I didn't go into this preaching season expecting to find that, but there it was, week after week, in every passage. The sound of God's voice is resurrection, and the place we hear it most clearly is death — at dead ends, at the very limits of our capacity, our understanding, our grief, our dreams, our control, our resources, our ideas of what life would be. All our Lenten spiritual disciplines are simply small ways of entering those limits voluntarily so we can better attune our ears to God's voice.

Where are you encountering that sort of dead end in your life? What might God want to speak? And how might "walking in the way of the cross" this Holy Week attune your ears to his voice? I hope you will engage with this week as much as possible; not as religious duty, but as a gracious invitation to join your life with Christ's in a physical way as he marches toward death, conquers it, and rises to new life.

Please come as we slow down time and relive the story together: washing feet, breaking bread, stripping the altar, veiling the cross, feeling the earthquake, and waiting in the silence of a Christ-absent world. All services and opportunities are listed on our Holy Week page.

More Holy Week details . . .

  • Josie has written such a helpful post about preparing kids (and grownups!) for reconciliation. Katie and I will be available from 1-5pm on Good Friday to offer the sacrament of reconciliation (confession) in the sanctuary to anyone who drops in. We're also happy to simply pray with you, or to welcome you to pray or light a candle in the sanctuary on your own. Whatever you need — the space will be open and we will be there.

  • Feeling wary of some of the physicality of the Holy Week services (especially the foot-washing on Thursday)? You're not alone. Perhaps this year God is inviting you to participate simply through quiet observation or prayer for others. It takes time — sometimes years — to feel comfortable bringing some parts of our bodies into worship, and that's okay. Come as you are and receive what God has for you, however you choose to participate.

  • You may have noticed the priests dressed differently on Sunday. In technical terms, the long black undergarment with nifty sleeve-pockets is a cassock (thanks to David for demonstrating mid-sermon on Sunday); the billowy white unflattering thing with the giant sleeves is a surplice; and the colorful scarf-like thingy is a stole. Together, these are called vestments (there are other styles of vestments too, but these are the ones that all 3 Incarnation clergy happen to own!), and we'll be wearing them throughout Holy Week and Easter season through Pentecost. After that, it'll be back to our sweaty summer street clothes as we prepare to unload the van in the heat! Vestments aren't meant to be fussy, though the church seems to try really hard to make them so. And vestments certainly aren't meant to highlight any sort of elite spiritual status for those who wear them. Quite the opposite, in fact. They help erase the class and style markers of the priests' clothing, marking us as servants. And they are a visual signal that when we come to church, we are entering a different kind of community, a different kind of culture, a new reality that we share through our baptism (which the white robes are meant to evoke). And, they're beautiful! Every bit of beauty, color, and texture helps when we transform a gym into a sanctuary on Sundays. Curious about vestments? Have thoughts, feedback, perhaps even strong reactions? Let me or Katie know; we love to hear from you.

  • Please be praying for Oliver, Hannah, Luna, and their parents as they prepare for baptism on Easter! And bring your Incarnation bells, flowers or greens from the yard, and a potluck dish to share as we celebrate the resurrection together.

Walking with you this week,



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