Letter from Liz: Nov 3, 2020
Almighty God, to whom we must account for all our powers and privileges: Guide and direct, we humbly pray, the minds of all those who are called to elect fit persons to serve as President. Grant that in the exercise of our choice we may promote your glory, and the welfare of this nation. This we ask for the sake of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.
Have you voted? Every vote counts!
And have you prayed? Every prayer counts too. Please join us on zoom as we pray from 7-8pm this evening (Nov 3) Election Night Prayer.
Sundays - worshipping together
Are you looking forward to our new service time? (11am) I love the thought of everyone worshiping at the same time - and am excited to see how all the tech works! THANK YOU, Amy for making it all happen - so grateful for all our tech whizzs… Katie F, Clayton, Kaitlin and more! Send us feedback as we get going: tweaks, things you like, things you don’t like, ideas… And let’s plan LOTS of brunches/lunches/picnics over the Fall and Winter - safe gatherings in outdoor venues… look out for more details from our fabulous Hospitality team!
Small gestures count - right? Josie has been working on materials which help our smallest people pay attention to the ways we use our bodies in our Sunday worship. A bit like stained glass in old churches, gestures can be such a useful way to convey more meaning than only using words. And as we have reviewed them, it made me wonder how many gestures you notice on a Sunday?
Lift up your hands to the holy place and bless the Lord! Psalm 134:2 (ESV)
So - first - hands up for prayer! The most ancient and normal prayer position is palms up - yes! Wave those hands in the air for worship with the early church!
The second most common gesture we use is probably when we make the ‘sign of the cross’ on our bodies when we invoke the Trinity: “In the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit”. The sign of the cross gathers up the entire Christian faith into one symbol and when we sign the cross over ourselves at any time we are identifying ourselves with faith in Christ: focusing our attention on the words, by accompanying them with gestures. Whenever a leader makes the sign of the cross you can choose to join in as well as a reminder of your own commitment to Christ. But it's not compulsory!
Sometimes we do a ‘small sign of the cross’ before we read the Gospel: a little cross on our foreheads, lips and heart. This reminds us to engage with our minds, to speak with our lips and to love more fully. It’s a way of slowing us down, remembering, paying attention.
Mostly, during the Eucharist, the Priest stands with their hands up - the 'praying position' - indicating offering a prayer on behalf of the congregation (the fancy term is 'orans', but that just means 'praying'). One of my favorite moments is called the ‘epiclesis’ in the Eucharist. The Priest touches the chalice and paten and makes the sign of the cross over them and asks God to "sanctify them by your word and Holy Spirit". This is followed by crossing oneself as the Priest prays, “Sanctify us also…” These are the moments when we believe the Holy Spirit comes and rests on the elements and us as a ‘real presence’.
Can you spot other gestures that you (or others) make - perhaps unconsciously, or deliberately as you worship? What do you find helpful? Or distracting? Are there ways you can use your body to help you express your worship more fully? How has zoom affected your physical engagement with worship? It's so hard when you're on your own. Perhaps you could think about sometimes sitting or standing or kneeling - and using your hands as we sing or pray. You may feel strange, but sometimes we need to involve our bodies if we're going to engage our minds and hearts.
The bottom line is: gestures can enhance our worship, so it’s good to think carefully about how and why we use them from time to time!
And now, in other news:
Brrr! It’s getting colder… and I have loved the articles I have read recently about the Scandinavian concepts of hygge and friluftsliv. As we consider the Fall and Winter at Incarnation we are full of ideas which involve firepits and blankets and candles, not to mention gloves, hats and the new winter accessory - the best way to keep your face warm - facemasks! I think a new Incarnation saying could be 'grab a blanket, and head to church'!
Do you have plans to be around at Thanksgiving or Christmas? Would you like to offer a space or fill a space at your table for a meal during these holidays? Or perhaps offer to organise an activity or hike, or virtual games night! PLEASE fill in this form if you’d like to spend some time with others over the two holiday seasons.
And now, why not send me an email and tell me how you are doing? Or let's grab a coffee or tea or a walk sometime!
As always - grateful to be your pastor,