Tag Archives: Episcopal Church of the Incarnation San Francisco

The Holy Spirit: Advocate and Guide

Homily for the Sixth Sunday of Easter Year A

By the Rev. Darren Miner

Gospel Reading

We are now in the sixth week of Easter, and the lectionary is preparing us for two upcoming feasts, Ascension Day and Pentecost. The readings begin to hint at Jesus’ departure from the earth and the gift of the Holy Spirit to the Church.

But today’s Gospel actually takes place weeks earlier, at the Last Supper. Jesus is preparing his disciples for life after his death. And he makes them a conditional promise: “If you love me, you will keep my commandments. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, to be with you forever. This is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive…”

I believe that this promise applies to us today as much as it ever did to the confused disciples gathered in that upper room at the Last Supper. We too are expected to keep the Lord’s commandments. Now, Orthodox Jews are supposed to keep track of 613 biblical commandments. But followers of Jesus have it easy. We are expected to remember only three: 1) You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind; 2) You shall love your neighbor as yourself; and 3) you shall love one another just as Christ loved us. Easy enough to remember, but not so easy to practice!

But the reward for our commitment to love is the gift of the Holy Spirit, whom Jesus refers to as “another Advocate.” The Greek word translated as “advocate” is “parakletos.” It’s basic meaning is someone called to stand by one’s side, and it can be translated in a variety of ways: advocate, mediator, intercessor, helper, comforter, adviser. And the Holy Spirit is meant to be all of these to us. One thing the “parakletos” is not is a “bystander.” Bystanders are people who are present, but do not take any action. That is not the Holy Spirit at all! The Spirit is all about action. And fortunately for us, the Spirit often comes to stand by our side even when we forget to call him there.

But not everyone, we are told, has access to the Spirit. Jesus warns that the world cannot receive him. Remember that in John’s Gospel the word “world” is a code word for those who actively oppose Jesus and his teaching. Those who reject the One who is Truth cannot receive the Holy Spirit, because the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Truth. Here we are speaking of the consequences of rejecting Truth Incarnate. But something similar occurs, albeit to a lesser degree, when we reject more everyday kinds of truth, in other words, when we lie or when we knowingly choose to believe a lie. Unrepentant liars cut themselves off from the Spirit. With each additional lie, they make themselves less and less capable of receiving the Holy Spirit and his gifts. And when we choose to believe a lie, or to act as if we do, because we think it serves us better than the truth, then we distance ourselves from the Spirit of Truth.

But those who practice love and walk in the way of truth know the Spirit intimately, for the Spirit abides with them and within them. In this time of social isolation, it is helpful to be reminded of this fact, to be reminded that we are never alone—not so long as we practice love, not so long as we cleave to the truth, not so long as we remember to call the Holy Spirit to our side. So, the next time you are feeling lonely or bereft, call upon the Holy Spirit, our advocate and guide, and open your heart to his presence. Your prayer might be as simple as “Come, Holy Spirit, come!” Sit quietly for a time with God’s Spirit—or chat with him, if you prefer! Then, join your voice to that of the psalmist, who rejoices: “In truth God has heard me; he has attended to the voice of my prayer. Blessed be God, who has not rejected my prayer, nor withheld his love from me.” Alleluia!

© 2020 by Darren Miner. All rights reserved. Used by permission.

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2015 Christmas message from the Presiding Bishop, TEC

2015 Christmas message from the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church, USA

“As the words were spoken on that night when Jesus was born, peace, good will to all people, God bless you, God keep you,” Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop and Primate Michael Curry says in his Christmas 2015 message.



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Merry Christmas


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December 24, 2015 · 4:51 pm

The Word – January 2016 newsletter issue

Click here for the January  2016 issue of the newsletter (Adobe flash is required). Click here for a pdf version.JanNewsletter

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102 Years Strong


Happy Birthday Incarnation!!! Thankfulness and celebration for 102 years of service to God and the community in the Sunset district of San Francisco.

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Film Screening: In God’s House – Asian American Lesbian & Gay Families in the Church

Incarnation Episcopal Church & Network for Religion and Justice  present

In God’s House –

Asian American Lesbian & Gay Families in the Church

Saturday June 21, 2014 at 5 p.m.
1750 29th Avenue, San Francisco, CA 94122  (between Noriega and Moraga)

Asian American lesbians and gays have been largely invisible in Christian churches. Some Asian American churches silence the issue for fear of division and conflict. Yet lesbian and gay Asian Americans and their families worship and serve in churches every day. Where are their voices? This honest and thought-provoking film tells a story that the church needs to hear: that of Asian American Christian lesbian and gay people, their pastors, and their parents.

Watch this film. Come join in the conversation!

Q&A and a special Pride Taizé service follows the film.

For additional details or directions visit www.incarnationsf.org. You can also register for the event on our facebook page www.facebook.com/incarnationsf or http://www.eventbrite.com/e/in-gods-house-a-film-about-lgbt-asian-american-christians-in-the-church-tickets-11437214015

To learn more about the film visit www.ingodshouse.com. The film was featured in the 2007 Frameline San Francisco International LGBT Film Festival.


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The Last Temptation of Christ, the Lasting Temptation of Christians

By the Rev. Darren Miner

In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Today is the first Sunday in Lent, a period of forty days of self-examination and self-discipline in preparation for Easter. The coming of Lent always seems a bit jarring, a time of disorientation and discontinuity. And this discontinuity is reflected in the lectionary. For today’s Gospel reading about the temptation of Christ in the wilderness takes place a full thirteen chapters before last Sunday’s Gospel reading, which featured the Transfiguration of Christ on a mountaintop. Just to reorient you, let me remind you what takes place just before Jesus’ temptation. Jesus has been baptized in the Jordan River by John the Baptist, and the Holy Spirit has descended upon him. Then, a voice from heaven proclaims, “This is my Son, the Beloved; with whom I am well pleased.” You might think that Jesus would now go forth and proclaim the Good News. But instead, before beginning his public ministry, he undergoes a time of testing. It’s at this point that today’s story begins

Temptation_of_ChristAnd it begins on a rather odd note, with the Holy Spirit leading Jesus into the wilderness for the express purpose of being tested by the Devil. I say “leads” because that’s the word Matthew uses; in Mark’s Gospel, we’re told that the Spirit “casts him out” into the wilderness. In any case, one thing is clear: the whole episode takes place at God’s behest, not the Devil’s. We’re never told why, but I have some ideas on the subject. I suspect that this time of testing was necessary for Jesus to work out for himself just what kind of Messiah he was going to be, to figure out what kind of Kingdom he was going to proclaim—and to come to terms with the possible consequences of those decisions, such as death on a Roman cross.

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March 7: Feast day of Perpetua and her Companions, Martyrs at Carthage, 202

O God the King of saints, you strengthened your servants Perpetua and Felicitas and their companions to make a good confession, staunchly resisting, for the cause of Christ, the claims of human affection, and encouraging one another in their time of trial: Grant that we who cherish their blessed memory may share their pure and steadfast faith, and win with them the palm of victory; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Source: http://liturgyandmusic.wordpress.com/2011/03/07/march-7-perpetua-and-her-companions-martyrs-at-carthage-202/

Read the prison diary of a young woman martyred in Carthage in 202 or 203 CE. The beginning and ending are related by an editor/narrator; the central text contains the words of Perpetua herself.

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Check out our updated website

Our website has been updated with a new look. It has some integrations with our other digital properties. Please share with your friends and family. Website: http://www.incarnationsf.org.

Some features you may find interesting on our new website

Home Page:

  • Worship schedules
  • Google Calendar of upcoming activities (this will be the latest updated source of dates and times)
  • Highlights of upcoming events and a link to our weekly announcements (in case you are not able to make it to a Sunday service or misplaced your Sunday bulletin).

Worship Page:

  • Start your day with a daily Bible verse for the day
  • Wondered what is the current or upcoming Feast day and the background story?

About Page:

  • Read about our wonderful windows
  • Read about our history

Resources Page

  • Want to learn more about the Episcopal Church?
  • Want to learn about Episcopal Vocabulary?
  • Want to learn how to pronounce some of the harder words in the Bible?


  • See pictures from Incarnation

Stay Connected with Incarnation via our facebook, twitter, or blogs.


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2013 Christmas Carols Program Notes

Order of service and program notes can be found below


Readings and Historical Context for Carols Service

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