SIMPLIFY THIS LENT
Does it feel like our lives are overwhelmingly busy and increasingly complicated? Interestingly, sociologists and journalists have noted that this absurd level of busyness in the West is a real phenomenon. We live in an information-heavy world, inundated with images and competing values; and this makes for a frenetic existence where we are desperately figuring out how to achieve that perfect life.
With so much busyness, we miss out on the things that matter in life—peace, love, and joy in relationships. Most significantly, our lives are crowded out to the point where we miss out on the most important relationship in our lives—God.
This Lent at Incarnation, our theme is “Simplify.” We want to help you simplify life so that we can all see and hear Jesus more clearly. We want to embark on a pilgrimage where we unlearn the ways of busyness and instead learn the ways of simplicity. We want to help you create the space you need so that you can rekindle that first love, and revisit that first friendship—our Lord Jesus Christ. Will you join us on this Lenten pilgrimage?
A CHALLENGE FOR YOU
Help Your Kids Simplify for Lent
As we embark on a pilgrimage where we unlearn the ways of busyness and instead learn the ways of simplicity. But what about our young children and teens? The key this Lent is to identify what things in our lives, most distract us from our relationship with Christ. We have heard from countless families already that screen time is often the worst culprit. It is the source of endless distraction from what’s really important in this life.
Children are usually not aware enough to understand the impact screen time has upon them, and not mature enough to regulate their consumption. That role must be for the parent. We have some recommendations for your family.
Placeholder Images for Social Media
To help in your journey, we are providing placeholder images (below) for your profile, so your friends know what you are up to in your absence.
Not on social media?
The key this Lent is to identify what things in your own life that most distract you from your relationship with Christ. Perhaps it’s binge-watching movies and TV shows, channel-surfing, shopping, gaming, following the news, getting lost in books or magazines, crossword puzzles, or working too late.
While we want to disconnect from the noise, we also want to create space to hear from Christ and each other about Christ. Thus, every Friday night during Lent we invite you to FaceTime Fridays.
As part of our Lenten pilgrimage to simplify our lives, we are offering Friday night talks in Memorial Chapel, followed by the community devotional of the Stations of the Cross. These talks including Q&A, are designed to help us see and hear Jesus more clearly, and are hosted by our clergy. Following these talks, we are encouraging parishioners to break off into smaller groups for dinner and make new friends with each other by exploring the many restaurants in Uptown. Childcare is provided for the whole evening.
- 6 pm: Lecture including Q&A in Memorial Chapel
- 6:40 pm: Stations of the Cross also in Memorial Chapel
- 7 pm: Dinner in the neighborhood with other parishioners. Extended childcare provided.
This Easter, the church will be adorned with beautiful lilies through your generous donations to remember and to honor your loved ones. Deadline: Friday, March 2 by 5 pm.
Worship, Studies, & Activities
Adult Sunday School
What was happening on that Cross?
10:20 am, Memorial Chapel
A Sunday School lecture series on various passages of Scripture on the Atonement of Christ.
Fridays during Lent at 6 pm
February 16 to March 23
A Lenten teaching on simplifying our lives and Stations of the Cross. Childcare will be extended until 9 pm to assist those with small children. Nursery available by reservation only. Email Meredith Johnson by noon on Thursday each week.
Palm Sunday, March 25 to Easter Sunday, April 1
WATCH AT THE ALTAR OF REPOSE
When: Thursday, March 29–Friday, March 30, 8 pm to 8 am
Location: Memorial Chapel
Parishioners are invited to keep watch in one-hour increments. There is no limit to the number of people who may be present at any one time. All are invited to sign up for this unique opportunity to pray with Jesus and enter even more deeply into the mystery of Jesus’ love and passion.
And Jesus came to the disciples and found them sleeping; and he said to Peter, ‘So, could you not watch with me one hour?’ (Matthew 26:40)
More about this tradition
The Gospels of both Matthew and Mark recount how Jesus, after celebrating the Passover with his disciples and instituting the Eucharist, went to the Garden of Gethsemane to pray. He took Peter, James, and John with him and three times asked them, “Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation.” Each time when he returned, he found them sleeping. Thus, the practice developed where Christians “keep watch” with the Blessed Sacrament from the end of the Maundy Thursday liturgy through the night.
The Altar of Repose provides an opportunity for a time of devotion to the mystery that the Bread and Wine of Holy Communion are the Body and Blood of Christ. It is also an opportunity to watch and pray with Jesus in the middle of the night, as the disciples did not, in trust that this will spur us on to greater devotion in our own prayer life.
by Fr. John Sundara
Doesn’t it often feel like our lives are overwhelmingly busy? And it’s not just the busyness. Many things have become increasingly complicated. Keeping fit has become a complex matrix of deciphering confusing diet plans and fitness regimes that seem like they were designed for Navy Seals. Interestingly, sociologists and journalists have noted that this absurd level of busyness in the West is a real phenomenon. We live in an information heavy world, inundated with multiple images and competing values of what makes the good life; and this makes for a frenetic existence where we are desperately figuring out how to achieve that perfect life.
The tragedy in all of this is that with so much busyness, we miss out on the things that matter in life—peace, love, and joy in relationship. Most significantly, our lives are crowded out to the point where we miss out on the most important relationship in our lives—God.
Consider the story of Mary, Martha, and Jesus (Luke 10:38–42). While Martha was busy being a good host—a noble endeavor indeed—Mary seemingly ignores her responsibilities and instead lounges at Jesus’ feet to listen to Him. We can only imagine Martha’s indignation. She outragedly remarks, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me!” Martha’s words are telling. First, notice the object of her indignation. It’s not actually her sister Mary, but it is the Lord: “Lord, do you not care…?” Second, notice how she ends her remark: “tell [Mary] to help me!” The word “tell” in the Greek can be translated as “command”, as in “command [Mary] to help me!” Notice that Martha had become the Lord of her world, and the Lord had become her servant to do her bidding. So consumed was Martha in her busyness that she had not noticed that her life was upside down.
However, Jesus’s response to Martha is strong medicine. “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.” Notice that Jesus does not dismiss Martha’s service. However, he does address the state of her soul—“you are anxious and troubled”. Jesus continues that Mary has chosen the “good portion”: a phrase that pops up in the Old Testament whenever referencing God’s special relationship with His chosen people. The “portion” was what God had given of Himself to His worshipper, and what the worshipper had received of God as assurance of their relationship with Him. So, to say that Mary had chosen the “good portion” was to show that Mary was doing exactly what every righteous person ought to be doing—grabbing hold of God and spending time with Him and immersing oneself in relationship with Him.
Finally, notice in this entire story who emerges as the exemplar character without uttering a single word. Mary! All she does is sit, in quietness at the feet of the Lord to listen to Him. It is by far the simplest thing to do, and she is commended by the Lord for doing so.
This Lent at Incarnation, our theme is “Simplify.” We want to help you simplify life, so that we can all see and hear Jesus more clearly. We want to embark on a pilgrimage where we unlearn the ways of Martha and instead learn the ways of Mary. We want to help you create the space you need so that you can rekindle that first love, and revisit that first friendship—our Lord Jesus Christ. Will you join us on this Lenten pilgrimage?
I invite you, therefore, in the name of the Church, to the observance of a holy Lent, by self-examination and repentance; by prayer, fasting, and self-denial; and by reading and meditating on God’s holy Word.
From the Ash Wednesday liturgy found in The Book of Common Prayer, page 265