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Letter from Amy: May 17, 2023


The Ascension of Christ, Giotto (Italy), c. 1304

Dear Incarnation,


Wow, I LOVED Rogation Sunday! I was so moved by the procession of items so

thoughtfully representing your labors, and especially by all the prayers in so many of your voices. Did you catch Guillermo's prayer for custodians? It meant so much to him to be asked to pray for us. Thank you for being a community that is so ready to welcome, bless, and honor all the work that makes up our common life. I also hope you had a chance to read David's beautiful reflection on Rogation Days!


Some of you asked for the full text of the Wendell Berry poem I quoted in my sermon on Sunday; I'll include it at the end of this email. But first, I want to look ahead to the next two Sundays. This Sunday, May 21, is Ascension Sunday. We'll remember Jesus' ascension to heaven and ponder together what it means that human flesh is forever enthroned at the right hand of God.


Next, Pentecost is coming on Sunday, May 28 (not this Sunday, but the following one). This is the final Sunday of the Atrium year for our children, and it's also our final Sunday at Randolph Elementary. We celebrate the birth of the church and the coming of the Holy Spirit, and we make a big deal of it!


  • We wear RED! Red is the liturgical color for the feast of the Holy Spirit.

  • Kids of all ages help lead the liturgy, readings, procession, and songs (parents, look for an email from Josie) — it's a bit of holy chaos, just like the first Pentecost!

  • We read and sing in multiple languages throughout the service, celebrating the miraculous gift of languages given at Pentecost.

  • Instead of a sermon, we listen together for the Holy Spirit, then open the mic for people to share.


For the past three years, the Pentecost sermon time has been a powerful time of "practicing Pentecost" — creating a safe space for listening and responding to Holy Spirit as a community, just like we see the early church doing in Acts. To prepare for this time, I invite you to pray and contemplate these questions:


  • Do you have a story of a time you’ve seen the Holy Spirit move powerfully in the past? Sometimes hearing stories can help us imagine what God might do in fresh ways.

  • Where are you asking the Holy Spirit to move powerfully now? Is there an area of global or personal concern you'd like to share so we can share this longing, this burden together?

  • What do you hear the Holy Spirit saying to the Incarnation community today? Scripture, images, words, phrases for our community are all very welcome.

I have loved seeing the courage, depth, and joy of the Incarnation community on display every Pentecost as we listen and make space for one another to lead in worship. I'm looking forward to celebrating with you!


***


Finally, as promised, below is the full text of the Wendell Berry poem I quoted on Sunday.


How to Be a Poet (to remind myself) i. Make a place to sit down. Sit down. Be quiet. You must depend upon affection, reading, knowledge, skill—more of each than you have—inspiration, work, growing older, patience, for patience joins time to eternity. Any readers who like your poems, doubt their judgment. ii. Breathe with unconditional breath the unconditioned air. Shun electric wire. Communicate slowly. Live a three-dimensioned life; stay away from screens. Stay away from anything that obscures the place it is in. There are no unsacred places; there are only sacred places and desecrated places. iii. Accept what comes from silence. Make the best you can of it. Of the little words that come out of the silence, like prayers prayed back to the one who prays, make a poem that does not disturb the silence from which it came.


Please reach out if you find yourself in a season of pruning, or in a desecrated place. I'd love to listen and pray.


With love,

Amy

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