Tag Archives: Incarnation

The Only Christmas Gift Anyone Really Needs

By the Rev. Darren Miner

Gospel Reading

Merry Christmas! Today is a special day for all Christians, but it is an especially special day for the Church of the Incarnation. Since this parish isn’t named after a saint, we don’t have an annual patronal feast. Instead, we have a feast of title, and today is it—the feast of the Incarnation!

If you attend Midnight Mass or a sunrise service in an Episcopal church on Christmas, you get the story of baby Jesus from Luke’s Gospel. But if you attend the main Christmas Day service, you get something very different. Despite the fact that you see a papier-mâché stable in front of the altar, you didn’t, in fact, hear the story of Jesus’ birth in a stable. No shepherds in the field. No angelic host singing, “Gloria in excelsis Deo.” Instead, you got an excerpt from a mystical poem about the doctrine of the Incarnation. To be honest, I miss the charming stories of St. Luke, but this profound poem of St. John is, in fact, the very foundation of the Christian understanding of Jesus Christ. So take a deep breath, and let us plunge into its mystical depths!

nativitysceneincarnation

As does any good storyteller, St. John begins at the beginning—in this case, the very beginning! While St. Luke starts his Gospel with the birth of a baby prophet, St. John begins with the birth of the Cosmos, and he tells us about the relationship between God and a divine being called “the Word.” This Word existed with God before time itself was created, and all Creation was mediated through him. In the original Greek, the name of this being is Logos. Yes, it can be translated as Word. But it has other translations that are just as pertinent here, such as Reason or Order.

nativity-iconThe existence of such a divine Logos was the subject of both Greek and Jewish speculation well before the time of St. John. This pre-existent divine person was understood to be the giver of reason and order to the Universe. He is the one who maintains structure in the face of chaos. He is the one who maintains the possibility of life in the midst of deadly disorder. He is the one who allows for the existence of light in the midst of darkness.

For John, the Logos is also God’s Word spoken to the Cosmos and to us. He is the divine self-expression of God’s love for the whole world. This divine self-expression of God’s love was “spoken” by God at Creation; was proclaimed to Israel by their prophets; walked among us as a preacher of peace; and continues to speak to us in Nature and in Church, in starry sky and in Holy Scripture, in the companionship of a pet and in the Blessed Sacrament. According to John, the unity between God and the Logos is such that one can even say that the Logos is God.

Continue reading

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Christmas, Recent Sermons

From the Fullness of the Incarnate Logos We Know Grace

By the Rev. Darren Miner

For a printable pdf version click here.

Gospel Reading

Merry Christmas! And just so you know, I intend to say that till Twelfth Night on January 5th.

For those of you who attended the Christmas Day Eucharist, the Gospel reading today must sound rather familiar. For reasons beyond my pay grade to question, the Gospel reading for the First Sunday after Christmas is the basically the same reading as that of Christmas Day. The only difference is that four additional verses have been added to the end. Now I knew about this ahead of time. And my original intention was to have Fr. Webber preach today. I thought it would be interesting to get two different perspectives on the same reading. But the best laid plans of mice and men often go awry. Fr. Webber was unable to preach, so you get to hear my voice again on the very same subject. I apologize if I repeat myself.

Today’s Gospel reading serves as a prologue to the whole Gospel of John. It is sort of like the overture to a musical or opera. It introduces the audience to the themes that will be elaborated more fully later in the work. The purpose of this particular overture is to introduce us to Jesus Christ. But it goes about it in an unexpected way. St. Matthew and St. Luke start where most biographers would be expected to begin, with the story of Jesus’ birth. St. John starts at the very beginning, the beginning of all things at Creation!

He tells us about the relationship between God and a divine being called “the Word.” Now, in the original Greek, the name of this being is Logos. Yes, it can be translated as Word. But it can also mean Reason or Order. This Logos existed with God before time itself. Creation was mediated through him. And in some sense, one can even say that the Logos is God.

bigbang

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under Recent Sermons

Conjugating God: The Past, Present, and Future Tenses

By the Rev. Darren Miner

For a printable pdf version click here.

Gospel Reading

✠ In the Name of him who was, and is, and is to come. Amen.

Today is the fourth and final Sunday of Advent, and Christmas is right around the corner. (But I bet you already knew that!) The Gospel reading we heard today is a familiar one. We hear the first part each year at the feast of the Visitation, and we hear the second part at the feast of St. Mary the Virgin. On those feast days, the focus is quite rightly on Mary. Today the focus is on what God has done in the past, continues to do in the present, and will do again in the future—and what that means for us!

The story takes place right after the archangel Gabriel has announced to Mary that she has been chosen to bear the Son of God. Her response is to visit her elderly cousin who is miraculously pregnant. The Church Fathers assure us that Mary does not visit her cousin Elizabeth so as to verify what the archangel had told her. Mary is not a doubter. But perhaps she just needs to share her joy with one who will understand it.

At the moment that Mary enters Elizabeth’s house and greets her cousin, the child in Elizabeth’s womb, the prophet John the Baptist, recognizes the presence of his Lord in Mary’s womb and gives a mighty and prophetic kick. At that same moment, Elizabeth is filled with the Holy Spirit, and with a mighty shout, she prophesies the message that her unborn son cannot yet proclaim: namely, that Mary and her child are uniquely and supremely blessed by God.

image

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under Advent, Recent Sermons

October 2014 Issue of the Word (Fall/Winter)

The October (Fall/Winter) 2014 Edition of our quarterly newsletter, The Word, is now online! Read it here.

Word_Oct - Dec2014

Leave a comment

Filed under Newsletter

Collect and Prayer for Independence Day

Lord God Almighty, you have made all the peoples of the earth for your glory, to serve you in freedom and in peace: Give to the people of our country a zeal for justice and the strength of forbearance, that we may use our liberty in accordance with your gracious will; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Lord God Almighty, in whose Name the founders of this country won liberty for themselves and for us, and lit the torch of freedom for nations then unborn: Grant that we and all the people of this land may have grace to maintain our liberties in righteousness and peace; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

— Book of Common Prayer

US_Flag_Backlit

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

July 2014 issue of The Word – a quarterly newsletter from Incarnation

The July 2014 Edition of our quarterly newsletter, The Word, is now online! Read it here.

Image

Leave a comment

Filed under Newsletter

June 8: Blessed Pentecost and Happy Birthday to the Church!

Almighty God, on this day you opened the way of eternal life to every race and nation by the promised gift of your Holy Spirit: Shed abroad this gift throughout the world by the preaching of the Gospel, that it may reach to the ends of the earth; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Image

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Behold the Wood of the Cross!

By the Rev. Darren Miner

Bible Readings for Good Friday http://www.lectionarypage.net/YearABC_RCL/HolyWk/GoodFri_RCL.html

Jesus lives! Never forget that, not even on Good Friday! This liturgy is not a funeral for Our Lord. This homily is not a eulogy. We do not come together to mourn his loss.

Instead, we are gathered here today to remember Our Lord’s death and, in some small way, to grapple with its meaning for us. As distasteful as it may be, we must contemplate Jesus’ hideous torture and agonizing death on a cross, for it is at the cross that our sins meet God’s love.

On Good Friday, our liturgy is different from any other liturgy in the year. It’s a muted liturgy, a bleak liturgy, a liturgy stripped bare. On this day, the focus of our attention is the cross—a simple, wooden cross.

This cross is a paradox. On the one hand, the cross is a symbol of torture and shameful death. Crucifixion was the fate of rabble-rousers and rebels in the Roman Empire, and hanging on the wood of a tree was the fate of Jews accursed of God. On the other hand, for Christians throughout the world, the cross is the preeminent symbol of our faith and a sign of hope.

Image

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under Lent, Recent Sermons

April 6: Feast Day of Daniel G. C. Wu, minister to Chinese immigrants in the San Francisco Bay area

Daniel G. C. Wu, devoted his ministry to serving Chinese immigrants in the San Francisco Bay area. A graduate of CDSP and ordained to the priesthood in 1912, he became the vicar at True Sunshine Chinese Mission (SF) and the Church of Our Savior (Oakland).

We give you thanks, loving God, for the ministry of Daniel Wu, priest and pioneer church planter among Asian-Americans, and for the stable worshiping communities he established, easing many immigrants’ passage into a confusing new world. By the power of your Holy Spirit, raise up other inspired leaders, that today’s newcomers may find leaders from their diverse communities faithful to our Savior Jesus Christ; who with you and the same Holy Spirit lives and reigns, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Source: http://liturgyandmusic.wordpress.com/2011/04/06/april-6-daniel-g-c-wu-priest-and-missionary-among-chinese-americans-1956/

daniel-g-c-wu

Leave a comment

Filed under Feast Day

Turning to the Light

A sermon preached by the Rev. Dr. Christopher L. Webber on March 30, 2014, at the Church of the Incarnation, San Francisco.

A friend of mine who lives down toward West Portal has recently written a book titled: The Election of 1864: Our Greatest Victory. And people have been puzzled by the title. Completely baffled. The election of 1864? Who was running? What difference did it make? How could it be “Our Greatest Victory”?

Well, I’m sure you all know that the Democrats that year nominated George McClellan, General George McClellan, and the Republicans nominated – wait, wait, don’t tell me – right, Abraham Lincoln. And the prospects for his election were not good. So on August 23, 1864, Lincoln wrote a memo to his Cabinet anticipating that he would lose the election. The war had been going on too long and people were tired of it. It was time to make peace; let the South go. Lincoln’s wisest advisors told him he was certain to lose.

So Lincoln wrote a secret memo sealed until after the election, saying that if he lost as expected, he would cooperate with the winning candidate to preserve the union until the new president was inaugurated, but after that the Union would certainly be dissolved. Of course, if that had happened, we would have had two countries, and slavery would have continued indefinitely. Can you imagine? Still slaves in Texas and the southern states? But if the South had gone its own way, what would have changed it? And more than that, if the country had become divided, there would have been no powerful American armies to win the First World War or the Second. Can you imagine that world? We would be living in a different world entirely.

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under Recent Sermons