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“Eat My Flesh and Drink My Blood”

By the Rev. Darren Miner

Gospel Reading

Let me start out with a legal disclaimer: “All references to cannibalism in John’s Gospel were made by a professional metaphorist in a particular historical context; taking them literally may result in involuntary commitment to a psychiatric hospital.”

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With that out of the way, let’s do a little review. For the last few weeks, we’ve heard a lot about bread: the bread of life, living bread, the bread that comes down from heaven, and so forth. Today we hear more about bread. But it isn’t any kind of bread you can find on the shelves of Safeway! For today Jesus explicitly identifies the bread from heaven with his own flesh. And he claims that only those who eat his flesh and drink his blood will have eternal life.

As I mentioned, Jesus is speaking metaphorically, one might even say sacramentally. And latter-day Christian preachers have a tendency to gloss over the repugnant flesh-and-blood metaphor and to start speaking about the Holy Eucharist as soon as possible. But it behooves us to consider for a moment just how disturbing Jesus’ metaphor was for his original audience.

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Healing and Restoration and New Life

By the Rev. Darren Miner

Gospel Reading

Today’s Gospel reading is a complicated bit of storytelling. We get two separate healing stories in what can only be called a “narrative sandwich.” The reading begins with the story of Jairus’ daughter, switches to the story of the woman with a hemorrhage, then reverts back to the story of Jairus’ daughter. I imagine that Mark intertwined these two stories the way he did for one purpose: to emphasize their common themes.

First, let us consider the story of the woman who had suffered from a hemorrhage for twelve years. Once upon a time, she must have been a woman of great wealth. For in those days, only the very wealthy could afford the ministrations of a physician. But now her situation in life has changed. She is chronically ill. She is destitute, having spent all her money on medical treatments. She has no male relatives to support her. (We know this, because, contrary to Jewish custom, she is walking in public unescorted.) And she is “unclean.” Now, what do I mean by calling her “unclean”? Well, according to Jewish law, a woman who bled was ritually impure. Her husband was forbidden from touching her. And if one so much as sat in a chair that an unclean woman had sat in, that person had to undergo ritual purification.

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The Ten Commandments: The Third Time Is the Charm

By the Rev. Darren Miner

Bible Reading

There is an old American saying: The third time is the charm. It means that sometimes it is necessary to do something three times before getting it right. Well, that saying would seem to apply today. We began the service with the Penitential Order, which includes the recitation of the Ten Commandments (also known as the Decalogue). Then—lo and behold!—we get them again in the reading from the Old Testament. Well, guess what, folks! You are going to get them a third time in the sermon.

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The Ten Commandments have an important place in Anglican thought. Our tradition teaches that, while many of the commandments in the Old Testament are no longer in force, some, including the Ten Commandments, are still very much in effect. The prayer book goes so far as to say that in the entire Old Testament “God’s will for us is shown most clearly in the Ten Commandments.”

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Happy New Year 2018

IncarnationNewYear2018

Happy New Year from The Episcopal Church of the Incarnation, San Francisco.

May the road rise up to meet you.
May the wind be always at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face;
the rains fall soft upon your fields and until we meet again,
may God hold you in the palm of His hand.

Traditional gaelic blessing

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Merry Christmas

MerryChristmas2017

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December 25, 2017 · 4:55 am

Festival of Lessons and Carols

Festival of Lessons and Carols

Celebrate the joys of Christmas at our annual Festival of Lessons and Carols with our artists-in-residence, the ‘San Francisco Renaissance Voices,’ and organist, Vaughn Jones. The service follows the traditional Festival of Lessons and Carols made famous by  the Christmas Eve service held in annually at King’s College Chapel, Cambridge, England.

The Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols is a service of Christian worship celebrating the birth of Jesus. The story of the fall of humanity, the promise of the Messiah, and the birth of Jesus is told in nine short Bible readings from Genesis, the prophetic books and the Gospels, interspersed with the singing of Christmas carols, hymns and choir music.

Date & Time: Sat. December 23,  4 p.m.
Venue: Incarnation Episcopal Church, 1750 29th Avenue, San Francisco
Free Admission. Donations Requested.

Register here   A free reception follows the service.

About San Francisco Renaissance Voices

San Francisco Renaissance Voices made their debut in 2004 with a “standing room only” performance of Victoria’s Requiem and quickly became a favorite of San Francisco Bay Area Early Music audiences.

SFRV has consistently earned praise for their “gossamer sound … a sound something akin to spiritual levitation” as well as recognition for their imaginative programming and christened the Bay Area’s “hipper than thou” Early Music ensemble by San Francisco Classical Voice and in 2010 SFWeekly chose SFRV as the “Best Classical Music” for their Best of San Francisco edition. SFRV is the San Francisco Bay Area’s professional mixed-voice ensemble dedicated to performing and exploring the a cappella choral music of the Renaissance particularly lesser-known and rarely-performed works, as well as exploring music from this period outside of the traditional European canon.

SFRV’s Opera Early & Ancient San Francisco mini-series seeks to present to audiences operatic and related works from the Medieval through Baroque periods and has included such works as the “technicolor” production of Hildegard von Bingen’s Ordo Virtutum (“Hildegard’s little-performed musical mantra rang out anew” – Los Angeles Times) and the west coast premiere of William Boyce’s Solomon (“The performance was often exciting and even eye-opening … a performance other groups struggle to achieve on record” – San Francisco Classical Voice).

Katherine McKee, Music Director
Ms. McKee joined San Francisco Renaissance Voices in 2007 as Alto Section Lead and was quickly asked to take on the responsibilities of Assistant Music Director as well. She became the group’s second Music Director starting for our 2014-15 Season.

Ms. McKee holds a Bachelor’s degree in Music Education and a Master’s degree with honors in Choral Conducting from the New England Conservatory and has directed choirs, community orchestras and opera, and school groups since her college years. In the Boston area she directed the children’s, youth and adult choirs at Hanscom Air Force Base’s Protestant Chapel, taught stringed instruments and conducted orchestras in the Somerset (MA) public schools and served as assistant conductor for the Jamaica Plain Symphony Orchestra. In New York she founded and directed the chamber group Premier, which focused on newly composed works for a cappella voices, and served as an assistant conductor for the Gregg Smith Singers and at St. Bartholomew’s Church.

In the San Francisco Bay Area she has served on the conducting faculty of the San Francisco Boys Chorus, as chorus master, prompter and music director for San Francisco Lyric Opera, and as music director of Holy Innocents’ Episcopal Church in Noe Valley. Currently, she is director of music at St. Bede’s Episcopal Church in Menlo Park.

As a singer she is much in demand as an oratorio soloist, and appears regularly with the San Francisco Opera Chorus, American Bach Soloists, San Francisco Renaissance Voices, and the chorale of Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra. Ms. McKee teaches private vocal students who perform throughout the Bay Area including members of the San Francisco Symphony Chorus, San Francisco Opera Chorus, San Francisco Choral Society, Woodminster Theater, and Lamplighters Music Theatre.

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The ACTS of Prayer

A sermon preached by Christopher L. Webber at the Church of the Incarnation, San Francisco, on July 20, 2016.

Lectionary Readings

Years ago we had a quiet day at the church where I was serving. We had a member of the Order of the Holy Cross to lead us and her theme was prayer and she told us a story I still remember. She said she had been re-assigned at some point by her order to another convent and it was quite a while before she saw some of her friends again. Then she happened to be at a meeting where there was one member of the order whom she hadn’t seen in quite a while and they greeted each other warmly and the nun who was telling the story said, she began by saying: “Oh, it’s so good to see you you look wonderful, I’m sorry I haven’t made more of an effort to keep in touch but I do appreciate the Christmas card you sent. And listen, now that you’re here, I wonder whether you can do something for me . . .” And she told us that she stopped at that point because she suddenly realized that she was going through the basic forms of prayer.

One handy way of remembering the various forms of prayer is a mnemonic device: the word ACTS – a-c-t-s – ACTS. There are four basic types of prayer: Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving, and Supplication. She had used them all: Adoration: “You look wonderful.” Confession: “I’m sorry I haven’t kept in touch.” Thanksgiving: “Thanks for the card. And Supplication: “Could you do something for me.?”

So that’s a full life of prayer and I wonder how many Christians have that full a prayer life. I’m sure lots of people get the “S” word taken care of: supplicating, asking God for things. We get in a mess and we cry for help. And that’s OK, that’s the S word, supplication, and we ought to use it. We need help, we know God can help, so we pray.

But I wonder how many ever get beyond supplication: asking for something for ourselves or for daily breadothers. Prayer often does begin that way and that’s alright, but it’s only a beginning and it’s not a very complete relationship. We all begin there. We begin there with all our relationships. A baby is hungry and cries for milk. That’s basic. But as we grow, we get more sophisticated in our inter-personal relationships. We learn about the C word: confession. Somewhere along the line, we get taught to “Tell your brother you’re sorry you kicked him.” So we learn, reluctantly, about confession.

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Good Friday Service, Fri. March 25 at 3 p.m.

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Good Friday Liturgy, Friday March 25, 3 p.m.
The Episcopal Church of the Incarnation, 1750 29th Avenue, San Francisco

Unlike all other days of the year, the Eucharist is not celebrated on this day but rather “communion from the reserve sacrament” is offered. This is a reminder of Christ’s death and departure from this world. Our Good Friday liturgy will also include the veneration of the cross.

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Be a pilgrim

February 20th, 2016

A sermon preached  by Christopher L. Webber at the Church of the Incarnation, San Francisco, on February 21, 2016.

I’m wearing a scallop shell this morning because some ten years ago I was in Santiago in the northwest corner of Spain and the scallop shell is a symbol of pilgrimage to Santiago. The name Santiago means Saint James and the legend is that Saint James, one of the 12 apostles, went to Spain as a missionary and eventually, to make a long story short, died and was buried there. That’s the furthest west any of the apostles went and so his tomb became an important pilgrimage site especially for western Europe. People came from all over Europe to visit his tomb and they would pick up a scallop shell from the nearby seacoast and take it home as a souvenir and evidence that they had been there. So I have the evidence that I was there, but I don’t feel much like a Santiago pilgrim. In fact even today to get a certificate that you have really made the pilgrimage you have to walk at least the last 100 miles. I only walked the last few 100 yards and that doesn’t count.

I’m wearing the scallop shell because I wanted a symbol this morning to help focus attention on the Old Testament reading. The story picks up from last week’s reading which reminded us that we are the descendants of wanderers. “A wandering Aramean was my father;” that’s what last week’s reading told us. It reminded us that the Jewish people have been nomads and wanderers and we are their children. This week we continue with the story of Abraham who left Iraq to go to Canaan.

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Anglican Communion suspends the Episcopal Church

Curry says primates’ statement will be painful for many Episcopalians

A majority of Anglican primates Jan. 14 asked that the Episcopal Church, for a period of three years, “no longer represent us on ecumenical and interfaith bodies, should not be appointed or elected to an internal standing committee and that while participating in the internal bodies of the Anglican Communion, they will not take part in decision making on any issues pertaining to doctrine or polity.”

Curry told the primates that he was in no sense comparing his own pain to theirs, but “I stand before you as your brother. I stand before you as a descendant of African slaves, stolen from their native land, enslaved in a bitter bondage, and then even after emancipation, segregated and excluded in church and society. And this conjures that up again, and brings pain.

“The pain for many will be real. But God is greater than anything. I love Jesus and I love the church. I am a Christian in the Anglican way. And like you, as we have said in this meeting, I am committed to ‘walking together’ with you as fellow primates in the Anglican family.”

Read the full article here http://episcopaldigitalnetwork.com/ens/2016/01/14/majority-of-primates-call-for-temporary-episcopal-church-sanctions/

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