Incarnation kids, and community members of all ages, will be gathering at Alcova Heights Park following our Sunday worship for a relaxed time of play and nature exploration. All are welcome! Bring water shoes and a picnic, if you'd like!
The LORD is my shepherd; therefore I can lack nothing. He shall feed me in green pastures and lead me forth beside the waters of comfort. He shall refresh my soul . . . Psalm 23:1-3
We're into a new season: summer, 9am #canopychurch, and "growing time" or ordinary time on the liturgical calendar. A member of my family, who shall remain nameless, recently was trying to recall the term "Ordinary Time" and came up with "the Normal Period." It gave me a huge laugh, bordering on hysteria—thus demonstrating that I'm closer to the edge than I realized. I'm still carrying around buried anxiety, uncovering yet another area that needs healing; critical of all, patient toward none; prone to burst into tears (or desperate laughter) at a moment's notice. Above all: exhausted.
Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Matthew 11:28
In summer and fall 2020, our family prayer in the park felt like a lifeline, at least to many of the parents! In 2021, let's accept the rest, healing, and refreshment that Jesus offers to us and our children. Wild Wonder in the Park will be similar in some ways, and different in others. Here are the details:
Everyone is welcome! Parents will remain responsible for their children. Invite friends, dogs, etc.!
After 9am church (and whatever clean up or volunteer duties you have on a given week), head down 8th Street to Alcova Heights, and stay as long as you'd like! Some of us will likely explore for awhile, then head home for lunch and naps. Some of us may bring picnics or hit up the food trucks and eat lunch together.
We'll be generally where our outdoor anniversary service took place last September—opposite the playground side of Alcova Heights, across the footbridge, near the stream. The shade of Alcova Heights makes a lovely destination for cookouts and merriments of all kinds, so we'll remain flexible and enjoy being among neighbors!
Because we'll have enjoyed the service of Word and Sacrament immediately prior, there won't be a formal lesson or liturgy; rather, we're creating space for the "Wonder" piece of our church's vision statement: "Cultivating lives of wonder that remember God’s stories, enjoy his creation, and draw deeply on his refreshment. Learning, praying, resting, and playing together."
Having said that, it's likely that we'll organize a stream cleanup one Sunday, perhaps learn some new wilderness skills from our in-house experts, sing together, play forest games, or something else. (Let me know if you'd like to plan something!)
Exploring the stream is nearly irresistible. Bring water shoes! Here's info on Arlington stream safety. (Bottom line: Water is OK to wade in, not to drink. Wash hands after!)
At Sunday worship, we'll have materials for kids (and kids of all ages) to contemplate God's word and creation and to draw connections to their Wild Wonder explorations. We'll also have some nature shelves where they can display their discoveries for the whole church to enjoy!
See you Sunday. I'm praying for the healing each of us needs, and for the abundant promises of Isaiah 55:
Everyone who thirsts, come to the waters; and you that have no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without price. Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread, and your labor for that which does not satisfy? Listen carefully to me, and eat what is good, and delight yourselves in rich food. Incline your ear, and come to me; listen, so that you may live. I will make with you an everlasting covenant, my steadfast, sure love for David. See, I made him a witness to the peoples, a leader and commander for the peoples. See, you shall call nations that you do not know, and nations that do not know you shall run to you, because of the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, for he has glorified you.
Seek the Lord while he may be found, call upon him while he is near; let the wicked forsake their way, and the unrighteous their thoughts; let them return to the Lord, that he may have mercy on them, and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon. For my thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways my ways, says the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.
For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return there until they have watered the earth, making it bring forth and sprout, giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater, so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and succeed in the thing for which I sent it.
For you shall go out in joy, and be led back in peace; the mountains and the hills before you shall burst into song, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands. Instead of the thorn shall come up the cypress; instead of the brier shall come up the myrtle; and it shall be to the Lord for a memorial, for an everlasting sign that shall not be cut off.