If you missed church this past Sunday for any reason - you MUST watch it. Josie and the kids did such a wonderful time of leading us to worship 'Christ the King'. It was sweet, and rich and so, so lovely. I have found myself smiling as I remember each child and their gratitude, and then pondering on the 'blank sheet': so much to wonder at. The service made me think of this delightful painting - where all of creation praises God together.
There are three things happening of note this week - can you name all three?
The first, I’m pretty confident you’ll get - Yes! An opportunity to be thankful on Thursday! There is so much to be thankful for at the moment and I do hope you will have some solid time of being intentionally intentionally expressing your thanks first to God and then also to your friends and family. Make a list, Write a thankfulness poem. Paint a thankful picture…. Today I am giving thanks for the work of God at Incarnation: for each one of you; for good news regarding vaccines and travel quarantines; for masks and for hand sanitiser. I am giving thanks for family, friends, community; for the light on the water of the stream in the woods; for riotous leaf colors. What are you thankful for today? And how will you show it?
16 Rejoice always, 17 pray without ceasing, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. 19 Do not quench the Spirit. 1 Thes. 5:16-19 (NRSV)
The second, I’m going to assume that most of you will know - yes Advent begins next Sunday, Nov 29 - which means we deliberately anticipate the birth of the King of Kings.
2 The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who lived in a land of deep darkness— on them light has shined. Isaiah 9:2 (NRSV)
How will you make changes in the ways you approach worship for this season? Will you alter the way you get ready on a Sunday morning? Will you change up your daily prayer time? Will you decorate or make a wreath, or simply light more candles?
You’ll see on Sunday the changes we make in the Chapel: small tweaks to draw our attention to the God who chose to become a baby for our sakes. Things you may notice: the service leaders are going to vest (wearing a cassock and stole); the liturgical colour switches to purple; we will light Advent candles; we will hear testimonies of God at work in the lives of our community. What else can you see?
The third, is that a new liturgical year begins on Advent 1. If you have a BCP to hand grab it now (and if you don’t lmk and I can give you one). Here’s a lovely playlist or two or three to listen to while you’re doing that. Now, turn to the back of your BCP and have a look at the Calendar Section starting on page 687. Browse for a while then flip to those mysterious looking charts on page 717. We are coming to the end of a ‘Year A’ and Nov 29 we start ‘Year B’. This website can be a handy-dandy way to find the readings for each Sunday as well. But while you’re delving around the back of your BCP have a look at some of the other fun things: turn to p734 and learn how to find the ’psalm of the day’; or how about discovering a way to read the Bible in a year starting on page 736.
Once you have finished browsing, head back to the Daily Office starting on page 11. Choose the office which is appropriate for the time when you are reading this and take some time to pray. If you are short of time right now, perhaps turn to page 67 for the family prayer section: lovely, short guided prayers for specific times of day.
And take a note of these communal opportunities (mostly - zooming) to pray at Incarnation:
Tuesday and Thursday noonday prayer @12 We pray the noonday liturgy (p33) and it takes around 15 minutes. Pause. Pray. Even eat your lunch while you do!
Friday morning 7am: men and women pray alternate weeks
10.30am on Sundays: both on zoom or in the chapel: pray for the service, for visitors, for our neighborhood
Advent prayer: look out for opportunities and prompts to pray that we will post on Facebook, in the Wednesday email and on the website
Prayer walks: these pop up regularly on the calendar: for these days we are encouraging you to prayer walk your neighborhoods with your household, a few friends or on your own. Pray for God’s Spirit to move in our streets.
‘Reconciliation of the penitent’ p223 of BCP2019 is a lovely service - if you would like to do a ‘confession’ with a priest, please reach out to me. I am happy to hear confessions over zoom or in person with social distancing.
May you accept my prayer like incense, my uplifted hands like the evening offering! Psalm 141: 2 Net Bible
While you’re considering prayer… is it time for you to weave fasting into your prayer life? More about fasting another time, but depriving ourselves of things we hunger for is a good way to to focus our minds in Advent (which is traditionally also thought of as a penitential season).
16 “And whenever you fast, do not look dismal, like the hypocrites, for they disfigure their faces so as to show others that they are fasting. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward. 17 But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, 18 so that your fasting may be seen not by others but by your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you. Matt 6:16-18, NRSV
And now, in other news:
have you told your shy yet curious friends about our 5pm live YouTube service? Of course, inviting people to 11am zoom church is also a great option - when we can actually interact and welcome them! But, for some, watching on YouTube may be a gentle introduction to our community! A first step in developing a relationship with Jesus. Try it this week!
Finally, keep your masks on, travel safely - and know that....
....I am so thankful for YOU!