School has started and fall rhythms are here. We've returned to the familiar Renewed Ancient liturgy on Sundays (read more) and we've wrapped up our summer series on The Psalms that Shape Us. I am still marveling at each one of the psalm-stories shared this summer — so different, so personal, so honest. I hope you'll consider how you might incorporate the psalms into your regular prayer practice (hint hint, our small groups pray a psalm together every week!).
This fall, our sermons will return to the lectionary scriptures as we finish the book of Matthew. Last Sunday's gospel reading marked a major turn in Matthew's story: "From that time on, Jesus began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and undergo great suffering." Peter tries to convince Jesus that there must be some other way, but Jesus responds, “If any wish to come after me, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me."
This fall, we'll follow Jesus on the road to Jerusalem. His face is set toward his own suffering, death, and resurrection, and we can feel the urgency and weight in his teaching. Jesus longs for his disciples to imagine, embrace, and live by the upside-down values of the kingdom of God that he came to announce. These passages deal with neighbors and enemies, money and time, desire and hope, justice and judgment. We're calling our fall sermon series "The Way of the Cross" and we'll highlight the contrast between Jesus' way and all the destructive ways of our world.
This contrast will be on full display this fall as our society approaches another election cycle. I hope our fall sermons will invite us all to reflect deeply on the counter-cultural way of the cross: a way of humility, forgiveness, generosity, justice, and self-giving love. May we so root ourselves in the way of Jesus that even if the political waters rage and rise (and they may), even if power and political expediency tempt us, we will not be moved from our allegiance to our crucified King.
In other news:
Small groups are kicking off this week, but there's plenty of time to join one that works for you! Sign up here.
September 24 will be a Membership Sunday. Interested in learning more about membership at Incarnation? Email me: firstname.lastname@example.org.
And as always, please reach out to me or Katie if there's anything you'd like to discuss or pray about together.
So very grateful to be on the Way with you,