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Letter from Amy: May 15, 2024


Photo from the ruins of St. John's Basilica, Selçuk, Turkey


Dear Incarnation,


We wrapped up the book of 1 John on Sunday. You can listen to all of those sermons (except week 1, which didn’t record) here. Whenever we preach through an entire book of the bible, I start to feel a sort of kinship with the writer (yes, including Paul!). He becomes a kind of companion whose words and ways accompany me constantly. And I have loved spending this time with Pastor John. He’s a bit of a mystic, a bit of a radical, and every bit a pastor who’s just unendingly captivated by the love of God in Jesus.


I have thought often of the time I visited Saint John’s Basilica, the church named for him in Selçuk, Turkey. Legend holds that the basilica was built on the site where John wrote his gospel. Nearby are the ruins of Ephesus and Smyrna, whose churches were the likely recipients of the letter of First John. And nearby is Mary’s House, a shrine built on the ruins of what was believed to be the final home of Mary, mother of Jesus. From the cross, Jesus had entrusted Mary to John’s care (“woman, behold your son; son, behold your mother”). 


Studying First John for this sermon series has often brought my memory back to that place. But now, Pastor John is with me, walking me over the ancient stone roads and showing me the place he wrote his gospel, the places where his flock worshiped, the place where he cared for Jesus’ mother until her last days. It’s a place that is permeated by the stories, care, and shepherding of the Beloved Disciple.


All of our places can become permeated by our stories, care, and shepherding too. That’s the holistic vision of First John. I hope you’ve enjoyed this time with Pastor John as much as I have, and I hope his letter continues to inspire us to faithful, loving proclamation of the story of Jesus in all of our lives.


***


In other news:


  • Did you catch Sunday’s announcement that Russell is stepping into a new role as Curate and Worship Pastor? We’re so excited to get more of his time and gifts in our church. It’s been such a joy to see Russell grow as a pastor over the past year, and to begin discerning a particular call toward creatively shepherding our corporate worship (we'll even sing a song he wrote on Sunday!) We sometimes describe Incarnation as a hospital, and we’re learning that perhaps we are a “teaching hospital” — a place where people discern their gifts and learn how to do the work to which God is calling them.

  • Along those lines, we’ll also welcome a summer intern in 2 weeks: Grace Brooks, a student entering her final year at Duke Divinity. We will also sponsor Grace’s ordination discernment process over the course of the summer. She’ll be with us from May 26 to August 2 and you’ll be seeing a lot of her. We’re excited!

  • Our friends at Coracle are hosting an online conference on Saturday, June 8, from 10am-3pm called “Do You Want to Be Well?: Diagnosis, Treatment, and Healing for the Church in America.” Sign up here. The content and speakers look excellent, and we encourage you to attend! In addition, we’d love for someone to host a viewing party so people can gather to watch and discuss together. The conference recording will be available for viewing on other dates if June 8 doesn’t work for you; let us know if you’d be interested in hosting a gathering in your home.

  • Sunday is Pentecost! Read more here. WEAR RED! And come ready to celebrate the work of the Spirit.

  • Did you miss last week's parish meeting? No worries — you can read all about it here.


Walk in love,

Amy

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