Ash Wednesday is this coming Wednesday. It’s our entry into the penitential season of Lent. With our small parish, the Ash Wednesday service is typically marked by an intimate, familial ambiance.
This year, we’ll gather in the stone-lined cellar at Bar Marco. The service is short and plain, no music, but one is crossed with ashes on the foreheard with the words “Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return.”
Ash Wednesday, February 18, 7:00 p.m. The cellar below the dining room of Bar Marco, 2216 Penn Ave. in the Strip. 15222. (If per chance, some party should book that space in the next few hours, we’ll move upstairs to our usual worship space in the gallery. Our thanks to Andrew Heffner and the whole crew for responding generously to our query.)
HEALING PRAYER – The last Sunday before Holy Week, Incarnation Church will offer for ourselves and others Wholeness & Healing: Prayers for Physical, Emotional, and Spiritual Restoration. at Incarnation Church.
This is one more way we are stepping further into our apparent gifting for intercessions for physical and inner healing. On Sunday, March 22, we’ll have a shortened Eucharist at our usual 3:30 p.m. time. Then at 5:00, we’ll have the liturgy for healing. This will take place both downstairs in the restaurant, for accessibility, and upstairs.
Under the leadership of our Pastoral Care Coordinator, Michelle Domeisen, the planning has included Fran Beck, Lindsay Harrison, Marian Kreithen, and Fr. Paul.
Keep your eyes and ears and heart open for anyone the Lord may send to you in need of intercessory prayer and anointing.
MORE COLLECTING – This Lent, learn more about those prayers we call collects. Sharon Johnston will lead this micro-workshop following each of our Sunday Eucharists.
In Lent 2013, we had a series of micro-workshops on a variety of topics. This year, we zoom in on one of those topics—collects—to learn about their structure and their history, but then to write our own. These, in turn, can be a part of your personal Lenten devotional time. Or, you can include your collect/s in the group as one moves from learning about to composing them and, most importantly, praying them together. We hope to woodshed these and include several in our own collection of Incarnation Collects and Prayers.
MORE LENTEN LEARNING – Incarnation Church’s weekday Bible studies continue apace.
The East Suburbs group begins a new topic this Friday, February 20. Much discussed, debated, written about, the very real problems of pain and suffering are ones we know up close. Fr. Paul and Herr Dr. Prof. Chris Hallstein from CMU’s modern languages department (German) will tag team as moderators.
The idea is to come with no expectations and no promises of neat solutions. Rather, we’ll read key passages of Scripture, augmented with a few classics on the subject, and see where they take us.
This group meets for study, worship, and good friendship on the first and third Friday evenings of each month. Come to the Edelstein residence in Monroeville.
The women’s Bible studies on Wednesday evenings are going casual during Lent: ad hoc gatherings upstairs at Carnegie Coffee Co. Peg Bowman moderates conversations based on the week’s Sunday lessons or on what you may be reading personally for Lent.
Please consider a systematic way of supporting what we do. There are at least three ways you can do this (and you could probably think of more):
- Sitting on the back table by the entrance is a silver dish for offerings. You can regularly drop a check in there, made out to Incarnation Church (Anglican).
- You can set up automatic withdrawals on, say, a monthly basis or from each paycheck.
- Some members systematically underwrite specific projects or ministries.
- On the back table are boxes of pledge envelopes. Put them in the right place in your home and these are a great tangible reminder. Put the monthly amount you feel called to offer in the month’s envelope, bring it to church, and drop it in the offering plate.
Note that each box of envelopes has a number. If you choose to accept this mission, take a box of “pledge” envelopes, find the corresponding number on the signup sheet next to the envelopes, sign up.
HOW MUCH IS RIGHT? It really depends on your circumstances. We are at different ages and stages. There is a biblical pattern which is often used as a guide—a “tithe,” or 10% of income. Many find they can work up to that or even beyond it. It’s not too much and it’s not stingy. You feel it a bit and our budget feels it a lot.
MANGIA! MANGIA! – Sunday, March 1, after church, we again share an evening meal. The instructions are easy to follow: bring some food if you can. Stay and eat, in any case.
VISIONARY VESTRY – Incarnation Church’s Vestry, our lay governing body, is moving its monthly meetings to the second Wednesday of each month, 7:00 p.m., in the private meeting room at the Waterworks Panera.
Keep in mind that all Vestry meetings are open to the whole church. Vestry members have the voice and vote, but on certain topics input from others is welcome, as time allows.
You may find our recently begun series of conversations on a vision statement to be especially worth your time and participation.
Often it’s culinary—fatty foods, desserts, alcohol. It can be a behavior. I know someone who tried to go the whole forty days without telling folks how busy she was. Needless to say, this person is a rare spiritual giant. Not all of us could do that.
For several years, I’ve been hearing another take on Lenten discipline. It goes something like, “It’s not about what you give up; it’s what you give.” A while back, I had a spiritual director who asked me what present I was going to give Jesus at Lent. It was the same question he’d asked at Christmas.
Away with the long faces! Away with sackcloth and ashes! So goes that sentiment.
True enough, those sins for which we feel guilt, especially that one we’ve done 70 x 7, Christ has made perfect provision for at the Cross. We are ultimately and already Easter people, alive in Christ. We are assured. We can be confident (at least in our heads, even if we don’t feel like it). This is good news. Gospel.
But a big part of claiming our place in that rescue and in Jesus’ family is acknowledging our part in the Cross. As we come more and more to know that we’re loved by God, we will all the more despise where we and our world are broken—sometimes despise and love it, too.
And so, it’s not either/or. It’s both/and. There’s a place both for gift and sacrifice. Praise and penitence. Joy and ascetic discipline. Grace and fruitful effort. Gloria and Kyrie. Gifts and sacrifices both come out of one’s own treasure. In fact, gift and sacrifice can be the same thing. Definitely was for Jesus.
- For encouragement and strength in our Lenten examinations of self.
- For Vestry as we draft a vision statement to present to the congregation later this year.