Church of the Incarnation

Services

Sunday Service - Jan.10 , 2020 Rev Leigh Silcox presiding

Dear Incarnation family,

As we move through Epiphany, it is important to recognize the full magnitude of what it means that Jesus Christ came into the world for us. The Son of God took on our flesh. He became incarnate; of human nature. He truly became fully human and would come to define what it means to be human: fragile, limited, tempted, experiencing poverty, danger, brutality, fears, disappointments, losses, and finally death. This is a stark reality that we have worked hard - in Western society - to escape, cover up and ignore. Corona has pressed us into the reality of what it means to be human and has caused many to be pushed out of the status quo so that we must now all ask: who am I and why am I here, with an urgency that we haven’t had before.

In asking those questions, we are also forced to consider what we do with the grace, thus the life and gifts we have received in Christ. In short, we are continually called to ask: what am I to do with my resources, coming foremost as they do, from God. I want to pass on to you this reflection from the Diocesan organizers of Faithworks. Although we didn’t participate this year due to real limitations and constraints due to COVID, this is something I think we need to consider for the year to come.

FAITHWORKS MESSAGE:

Worship and Offering

Today we celebrate Epiphany. We remember the visit to the Christ Child by the Magi, Zoroastrian priests of Persia, as related to us in the Gospel according to Luke 2:7-12.

Then Herod called the Magi secretly and found out from them the exact time the star had appeared. He sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and search carefully for the child. As soon as you find him, report to me, so that I too may go and worship him.”  After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen when it rose went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route.

From the first appearance of the Word of God on earth, humanity, near and far, have responded with worship and offering. Worship as due the incarnate God. Offerings of the best and most precious we have in response to God’s gift of limitless love in Christ.

During this pandemic we have all come to better understand our own fragility and vulnerability in mind, body and soul. We have been moved by the struggles and losses of those around us to offer the best we can out of empathy. We have also been moved to offer our assistance out of gratitude for whatever stability and fortitude we have maintained.

Yet, for us Christians today, as with the Magi so long ago, the ultimate inspiration for our worship and offering is our encounter with the living God; the presence of God in our hearts and before our eyes. The adult Christ tells us “I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me.” (Matt. 25:35,36) It is no accident that this passage is read on FaithWorks Sunday. FaithWorks is our act of worship and offering when we encounter the living God in the homeless and hungry, the lonely and excluded, the at-risk and in pain.

In 2021 we celebrate the 25th anniversary of FaithWorks!

Let us offer our gratitude to those who have worked in this vineyard of the Lord these past 25 years. Let us celebrate by making this year a special year of worship and offering. Be it out of empathy or gratitude, let our worship and offering be in response to our encounter with the living God who surrounds us, fills us, embraces us, and is on the street, in the hospital, in places of isolation, wherever there is pain and suffering.

For more information you can look at www.faithworks.ca.

Please keep this on your radar screen. You can be in touch with our coordinator for Faithworks at the parish level, The Reverend Claire Goodrich Dyer, or with Sharon in the office, or with me.

in Christ, Leigh+

On Friday November 21st, the Premier of Ontario announced further restrictions to prevent the transmission of COVID-19. As the Bishops of the Diocese of Toronto have stated from the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, we will always willingly abide by the restrictions placed upon us by government and health authorities, in our common concern for public health and the safety of every person.

Therefore, effective Monday, Nov. 23, all Anglican churches in Toronto and Peel Region will be allowed a maximum of 10 people indoors or 10 people outdoors, masked and physically distanced, and primarily for the purposes of providing live stream or other online worship services. Other than that, in-person worship services of over 10 in churches in those communities are not permitted under the Red Stage Guidelines.

Following Provincial legislation and the Diocese of Toronto guidelines, in-person worship services will be suspended until further notice. Please tune in to our YouTube channel(YouTube Church of the Incarnation Toronto

Resources for Advent At the following link you will find a free, ready-made Advent Bible Study Course that is available online with downloadable PDF resources for 2020. It is produced by the Diocese of Sheffield (CofE)and is reflective of our pandemic experience. https://www.lightsforchrist.uk/lightinthedarkness

Missing the chance to sing this Advent? Never fear! We are incredibly lucky to have a large household of Christitan sisters - the sisters at St. John’s Convent - who are going to sing together this Sunday, December 20th, at 4:30pm. Please join them as you’re able for their Advent Festival of Lessons and Carols. You can find the service at the following link at 4:30pm on Sunday.
https://youtu.be/nbrRCMa477o**

A letter to parishioners from Rev. Leigh Silcox” Dear Parishioners of Incarnation, I begin my letter to you with two verses from Scripture that have always provided me with the greatest assurance to persevere in and with hope through the most challenging times of my life: “For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord” - Romans 8:38-39.

These last six months where we haven’t been able to gather together for worship, prayer, and fellowship, and where of course we have lived through economic, social and political upheavals, have certainly been challenging for me as a priest, as I would imagine they have been for all of you. At times I’ve felt sad, and even empty. I have wondered, what’s next? When will things go back to normal? What will happen to our churches and to The Church?

But as I have read Scripture each day, as I have read Morning and Evening Prayer, I am reminded that so many of God’s own people have experienced similar circumstances: various plagues (throughout history and of course as we find in the Book of Exodus), even experiences of severe economic devastation (Exodus 7:14-12:26), food shortages (Exodus), political and social turmoil (Judges, Kings, the Prophets), and individual loss (Job, Paul, Jesus Christ himself); the Scriptures and the Church’s own history, are filled with these circumstances and the ways God’s people and that God himself responds. To find God not standing far off from his people, but right in the midst of them, as I read Scripture and Christian writing through the last 2000 years, well this has given me assurance that I am not alone; that in Christ Jesus I, along with you, his people, are bound to him through his Holy Spirit (John 14:11-14).

What now(?) was a central question for me, as I would imagine it is for you too. The starting place for us as Christians cannot be mere recourse to ‘the practical,’ even if this is too is important. That would be to let go of the greatest gift we have: God revealing himself to us and with us, given to us in the Scriptures. What is God doing with us in the middle of this plague is a question we should be asking as challenging as it might be to think of God’s involvement here. But it is to these books of Scripture; to this living Word of life, that we are called to seek our way forward. As your new priest-in-charge, I look forward first, to meeting and getting to know you, and second to using some of the ways of the past, but also exploring with you, new ways of ‘soaking’ (Psalm 62:1-2) ourselves in the ‘honey’ of Scripture (Exodus 3:8; Leviticus 20:24) of receiving the “living water” that is Jesus Christ himself written in them (1 Corinthians 10:4).

Blessings to you in our Lord Jesus Christ,

The Reverend Leigh Silcox

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