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Letter from Amy: May 8, 2024

Benyamin (Indonesian), Pentecost, 1992

Dear Incarnation,

The table completely filled with the processional items from our common life and labors.

I loved the Rogation Sunday procession. What a gift to see and bless the labors of this church, from math textbooks to Magnatiles to shovels to diapers and so much more. One of my favorite moments of the service happened during the reading from 1 John 4. Did you hear Sasha's little voice quietly singing "Allelu, alleluia, Father let your kingdom come" during the reading? For a few minutes, I felt like we were living in the past moment of John's letter, the present moment of our common life, and the future moment of God's kingdom all at once. It was a beautiful reminder of the now and not-yet reality of the kingdom, and it seemed fitting that it was brought to us by a child. Alleluia!

And now . . . Pentecost is coming!

We celebrate Pentecost in two weeks on Sunday, May 19. Pentecost is the Feast of the Holy Spirit and the birthday of the church, when we remember the Spirit coming to the waiting disciples in the form of fire, wind, preaching, and many languages. On Pentecost, we turn things upside-down: the kids lead the service using an adapted liturgy from the Atrium; we sing and read in multiple languages; we release paper airplanes to visualize the "mighty rushing wind"; we light candles to pray for spiritual gifts; and we WEAR RED! (Do you speak another language? Email me!)

Pentecost was also the day that Peter preached an impromptu sermon to the crowds as he bore witness to the work of Jesus. And so we open the mic at the sermon time, bearing witness to Christ's work. Perhaps God is nudging you to share something with our community this year? Scripture, images, words, phrases, and brief stories are welcome. The following prompts may help guide your reflection:

  1. Do you have a story of a time you’ve seen the Holy Spirit act in the past? Perhaps particularly in a multi-cultural context? (Pentecost is all about crossing racial, ethnic, linguistic, and cultural boundaries.) Sometimes hearing each other's stories can help us imagine what God might do in fresh ways.

  2. Where are you asking the Holy Spirit to act now? Is there an area of global or personal concern you'd like to share so we can share this burden together?

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

This is our fourth year taking this approach to Pentecost. Every year I am encouraged by what people share and by the ways we are growing in our capacity to recognize God's work among us. Last year there was a tone of quiet holiness to the time. The year before, the atmosphere was one of encouragement and challenge. And the year before that, we were still worshiping in a parking lot; my strongest memory is of the ear-splitting cicadas and steamy temperatures, but I also still think about Ginny Foran's gentle invitation to "surrender."

The power of God's Spirit can be experienced in many ways — loud and quiet, intense and gentle, in words and creation and others. What will we experience this Pentecost? I can't wait to see.

After church, we'll celebrate the Church's birthday outside on the field with birthday cake and games that help us "see" the wind! Bring kites, frisbees, and kickballs and plan to stay to play! We'll provide birthday cake; you're welcome to bring red treats to share or even a bag lunch.

In other news:

  • Did you miss Sunday's parish meeting? We'll write up a recap later this week!

  • We will hold a child safety training on Sunday, June 23. This is required every two years of all volunteers who work with children, but it's recommended for everyone!

Waiting with you for the Spirit,



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