Come. Bear the cross. Feel it’s weight.

IMG_3625We are all different types of learners. Some of us can read and understand. Others of us can hear and understand. And, still others of us only ever get it when we can touch and feel and experience something.

On Good Friday, we invite you to join us for an experiential journey – to physically take up the cross, feel its weight, and imagine what it was like for Jesus. We’ll gather at the Brooks’s house at 8:30 AM and walk the “Good Friday Cross” to Restoration. The journey is about a mile long and we take about an hour, stopping along the way to pray the fourteen stations of the cross.  When we arrive at church, we’ll process the cross into the Sanctuary and lay it down, readying it to receive written reflections of our sins which we literally nail to the cross.  On Saturday night, at the beginning of the Great Vigil of Easter, we gather around the bonfire and tear our sins from the cross and throw them in the fire.

Please come. Come even if you read this and get it. Come even if you heard about others who experienced it last year and you get it. Come. Bear the cross. Feel it’s weight. Walk the journey, just so that you can understand maybe a little bit differently this year the “overwhelming, never-ending, reckless love of God”.

Email Steve Brooks ( for more details.


a prayerful lent — EASTER


Sunday, April 16, 2017

PRAY  Heavenly Father, we thank you!  You are generous and loving and so powerful!  We ask that you continue to help us see our sin and to remember that you are the one to save us.  Thank you for living and dying and rising all because you love us.  Amen.

READ  John 20:1-18


1. Happy Day     

The greatest day in history – death is beaten, You have rescued me!
Sing it out: Jesus is alive!
The empty cross, the empty grave, life eternal, You have won the day.
Shout it out: Jesus is alive. He’s a – live!

Oh happy day, happy day, You washed my sin away.
Oh happy day, happy day, I’ll never be the same.
Forever I am changed.

When I stand in that place, free at last, meeting face to face,
I am Yours, Jesus, You are mine.
Endless joy, perfect peace.
Celebrate: Jesus is alive.
Earthly pain finally will cease.
He’s a – live!

Oh, what a glorious day, what a glorious way
That You have saved me

DO  Read the story of the Resurrection three times.  During the first reading, choose a color of paint that shows what you are feeling.  Paint a page that color.  During the second reading, write on your paper a word or words that God is whispering to you.  During the third reading, add more doodles with paint or pens to show more about what you are experiencing with God.


a prayerful lent — PALM SUNDAY and HOLY WEEK


Beginning Sunday, April 9, 2017

PRAY  Almighty God, you love us so much that you sent your Son Jesus to die for us – “to get rid of the sin and the dark and the sadness”1 – to make all things new.  Help us to understand how you suffered for us all because you love us.  Thank you, Jesus!  We love you!  Amen.


John 12:12-15

John 13:1-20, 31-35

John 18:1-11

John 18:15-18, 25-27

John 18:28-19:16

John 19:16-42


1. You Alone Can Rescue     

Who, O Lord, could save themselves
their own soul could heal
Our shame was deeper than the sea
Your grace is deeper still

You alone can rescue, You alone can save
You alone can lift us from the grave
You came down to find us, led us out of death
To You alone belongs the highest praise.

You, O Lord, have made a way
The great divide You healed
for when our hearts were far away
Your love went further still.

We lift up our eyes, lift up our eyes, You’re the giver of life.

DO  This is it!  The BIG WEEK where we see God’s great rescue plan in action.  As you read a bit of the story each day, listen as God whispers to you words and ideas that make your heart flutter.  Write them down.


1Lloyd-Jones, Sally. The Jesus Storybook Bible. Illus. Jago. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2007.

a prayerful lent — THE 5th WEEK IN LENT


Beginning Sunday, April 2, 2017

PRAY  Almighty God, you are the only one who can set all things right.  Help us to love what you love.  Help us to do all that you tell us to do.  Help us to not be distracted by the things in this world that draw us from you.  Help us to trust you alone.  Amen.

READ  “When I listen to you, God, when I do what you ask me to, I am like a tree planted by a river, a tree full of fruit with leaves that are always green.”2 (Psalm 1)


1. Yes Lord Yes     

I’ll say, “Yes, Lord, yes”
To Your will and to Your way
I’ll say, “Yes, Lord, yes”
I will trust You and obey

When Your Spirit speaks to me
With my whole heart I’ll agree
And  my  answer will be, “Yes, Lord, yes”

DO  On a piece of paper, draw a tree trunk.  Draw leaves and fruit on your tree.  Inside each leaf, doodle or write a request to God.  Inside each fruit, write how God has answered a prayer.


1Lloyd-Jones, Sally. The Jesus Storybook Bible. Illus. Jago. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2007.

2Delval, Marie-Helene. Psalms for Young Children. Illus. Arno. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2008.

a prayerful lent — THE 4th WEEK IN LENT


Beginning Sunday, March 26, 2017

PRAY  Gracious Father, you sent your Son, Jesus, to be bread and life for the whole world.  We ask you to give us more and more love for Jesus every day.  Amen.

READ  “I praise you, God!  You are like a marvelous king who wears beautiful, bright robes!  You make the water run in rivers, and the animals come for a drink.  You make the plants grow, and we have food to eat.  You open your hands and give us everything we need.”2 (Psalm 104)


1. Communion Song     

God the Father, God the Spirit
God the gift  Incarnate Son,
Feed us now on grace and mercy
Feed us now and make us one

Feed us on the Bread of Heaven
Quench our thirst with Holy Wine
Cleanse us from all sin and darkness
Cleanse us now and make us Thine

Grant us peace and
Grant us wisdom
Grant us love and grace
Fill us with your
Holy Spirit
Come and fill this place

Feed our hearts and
Cleanse our minds and
Free our souls from sin
You have died and
You are risen
You will come again

These mysteries we believe
These gifts we now receive

DO  Doodle and draw a heart on your piece of paper.  As you work, tell God all that you love about him.


1Lloyd-Jones, Sally. The Jesus Storybook Bible. Illus. Jago. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2007.

2Delval, Marie-Helene. Psalms for Young Children. Illus. Arno. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2008.

a prayerful lent — THE 3rd WEEK IN LENT


Beginning Sunday, March 19, 2017

PRAY  Heavenly Father, you made us to love you.  Guard us from our enemies.  Help us to love and forgive them.  Help them to love you. Amen.

READ  “Help me, God, I am worried!  Please hurry up!  I know that you are strong.  You are the only one who can help me.”2 (Psalm 70)


1. God I Look to You     

God I look to You, I won’t be overwhelmed
Give me vision to see things like You do
God I look to You, You’re where my help comes from
Give me wisdom; You know just what to do

I will love You Lord my strength
I will love You Lord my shield
I will love You Lord my rock forever
All my days I will love You God

Hallelujah our God reigns
Hallelujah our God reigns
Hallelujah our God reigns
forever All my days Hallelujah

DO  Draw a shape in the middle of your paper.  Inside the shape, write the name of a person who is hard to love right now.  Doodle and color as you talk to God about why it is hard to love that person right now.


1Lloyd-Jones, Sally. The Jesus Storybook Bible. Illus. Jago. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2007.

2Delval, Marie-Helene. Psalms for Young Children. Illus. Arno. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2008.

a prayerful lent — THE 2nd WEEK IN LENT


Beginning Sunday, March 12, 2017

PRAY  Almighty God, only you have the power to work in us.  Protect our bodies and our minds.  Help us to do things and think things that help us step closer and closer to you.  Amen.

READ  “God is my shepherd. He leads me in the right direction.  And even if I have to walk in a dark place, I am not scared.  I know nothing will hurt me if I walk with God!”2 (Psalm 23)


1. My Shepherd Will Supply My Need     

My Shepherd will supply my need
Jehov – ah is His name:
In pastures fresh He makes me feel,
Beside   the living stream.
He brings my wandr’ing spirit back,
When I forsake His ways;
And leads me for His mercy’s sake,
In paths of truth and grace.

When I walk through the shades of death
Thy presence is my stay;
One word of Thy supporting breath
Drives all my fears away.
Thy hand, in sight of all my foes,
Doth still my table spread;
My cup with blessings overflows,
Thine oil anoints my head.

The sure provisions of my God
Attend me all my days;
O may Thy house be my abode,
And all my work be praise.
There would I find a settled rest,
While others go and come;
No more a stranger, nor a guest,
But like a child at home.

DO  Trace around your hand.  Write the word “shepherd” in the palm.  On each finger, write the name of a different person you want God to shepherd.  Doodle and color each finger as you pray.



1Lloyd-Jones, Sally. The Jesus Storybook Bible. Illus. Jago. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2007.

2Delval, Marie-Helene. Psalms for Young Children. Illus. Arno. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2008.

a prayerful lent — THE 1st WEEK IN LENT


Beginning Sunday, March 5, 2017

PRAY  Almighty God, come quickly!  Help us!  You know where we are weak.  Save us!  Keep us from loving things more than we love you. Amen.

READ  “God, you are good and you forgive me.  You are full of love.  When I pray to you, I know you will answer me; I know you will show me the right path to take.”2 (Psalm 86)


1. By Thy Mercy     

Jesus, Lord of life and glory,
Bend from Heav’n Thy gracious ear;
While our waiting souls adore Thee,
Friend of helpless sinners, hear:

By Thy mercy, O deliver us,
good Lord, good Lord

From the depth of nature’s blindness,
From the hardening power of sin,
From all malice and unkindness,
From the pride that lurks within:

When the world around is smiling,
In the time of wealth and ease,
Earthly joys our hearts beguiling,
In the day of health and peace:

In the solemn hour of dying,
In the awful judgment day,
May our souls, on Thee relying,
Find Thee still our Rock and Stay:

DO  Draw a cloud and in the center write “I’m sorry, Lord.”  Draw raindrops beneath the cloud.  Within each raindrop, write words or doodle in color as you talk to God about the things for which you are sorry.



1Lloyd-Jones, Sally. The Jesus Storybook Bible. Illus. Jago. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2007.

2Delval, Marie-Helene. Psalms for Young Children. Illus. Arno. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2008.

a prayerful lent — ASH WEDNESDAY


Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of Lent.  On Ash Wednesday, we are reminded that we are people who sin: people who don’t always do what we should do.  But!  That’s not the end of the story!  (Easter is coming!)  During this Lent, we will focus on growing our relationship with God through prayer.

PRAY  Almighty God, you hate nothing you have made.  You forgive the sins of those who are sorry.  Please help us to be sorry for the things we have done that make you sad.  Give us hearts that love you most of all.  Thank you that you love us.  Amen.

READ  “When I do something wrong, forgive me, God. I want to feel like I’ve just been washed in clean water.  I want to be like brand-new snow.  I feel so happy when you forgive me!”2 (Psalm 51)

SING  Create in Me a Clean Heart

1. Create in Me a Clean Heart     

DO  Prepare a special place in your home – a sacred space – where you can go to think and talk and sing to the Lord.  Pile up some comfy pillows.  Light a candle.  Pray and listen in that space each day of Lent.  Draw a picture of your sacred space.


1Lloyd-Jones, Sally. The Jesus Storybook Bible. Illus. Jago. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2007.

2Delval, Marie-Helene. Psalms for Young Children. Illus. Arno. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2008.

Christmas Eve . . . and all the trimmings


We are so excited about Christmas Eve at Restoration!

Restoration will have 3 services on December 24 to celebrate the incarnation of God in His Son, Jesus Christ.

Before I describe what to expect at each service, let me answer the most important logistical question:  

Where should I park?

Restoration uses a parking garage that is located over I-66 at the corner of 15th and Quincy Streets.  You can see a map of it here.   This garage is HUGE!  Feel free to use the entire thing.  You will see signs that say ‘permit only’ but they do not apply on Christmas Eve.

Restoration will hire 2 shuttles to move people from the garage to our building.  If it is a nice evening, feel free to take the 7-minute walk.  Otherwise, we hope that one of the shuttles will be at the lot every five minutes.

We encourage you to arrive early.

3 Services?  Wow!  Tell me about them.  The services at 3pm and 5pm will be identical and geared toward the attention span of a child.   The 9pm will feel different–  more contemplative, traditional, quiet, and candle-lit.  Generally, the 3 services will have the same readings, same preacher, same progression of carols.

Will there be candles?  Yep.  A bunch of them.   All around.  We will sing Silent Night while holding candles.  The kids will get glow sticks to hold at the 3pm and 5pm.  It will be beautiful!

Will there be childcare?  Yes, at the 3pm and 5pm services there will be fully-staffed nurseries for children who are the age of 2 or younger.  Kids from pre-k on up are welcome to participate in the worship service in the sanctuary.  At the 3pm and 5pm, there will be take-home goodie bags with items to help kids engage in the service.  We are totally fine if kids get a little wiggly, but there is enough singing and candles and pictures and stories that they stay pretty engaged.

What should the kids wear?  At the 3pm and 5pm, kids come dressed as their favorite character from the nativity story.  During the Gospel reading, they will have the opportunity to stand when their character is mentioned.  We always love having ‘a Christmas pageant in the pews’ at this time of year…  We usually have a whole gaggle of shepherds, sheep, stars, angels, wisemen, and beautiful Mary(s).  An old robe does the trick.  We have also had Buzz Lightyear make a cameo in the nativity.

What should the adults wear?  Well if you aren’t going to come as ‘Joseph’, just come as you are.  There will be people in their holiday best, people who love a nice pair of jeans, and everything in between.

Will there be presents?  Of course!  All of the children will receive an ornament in their goodie bag.  The ornament – for their tree at home –  is a sweet reminder that God loves them.

Will there be an opportunity to give?  Yes!  On Christmas Eve, all of our offerings are given to organizations outside of Restoration who are locally doing good and beautiful work for the sake of the vulnerable and those on the margins.  Our church does not keep anything that is given at these services.  This year, we will give our financial offerings to support the work of Little Lights Urban Ministries which empowers underserved youth, families, and communities in Washington DC by sharing the hope of Christ through compassionate action, caring relationships, and racial reconciliation.

Can I give anything else?  Definitely.  Each year, on Christmas Eve, Restoration has given gifts to Doorways, a safe place where women and families can receive help. This year Restoration has been invited to bring in bedroom items. Here is a list of specific items most useful to the women and families Doorways supports. Bring your gifts to the Restoration Christmas Eve services at 3pm, 5pm, or 9pm. You’ll have a chance to bring them forward during the offering part of the service.

Do you need volunteers?  We sure do.  If you are already a Sunday volunteer log onto MSP and select something.  If you have never volunteered, don’t worry.  It’s easy!  We would love you to help us.  Contact Kathy Kenyon ( and she can get you squared away.

How long will the service last?  The 3pm and 5pm will be about 75 minutes.  We sing 5 or 6 carols, with parts of the Christmas story read in between, then we close with The Holy Eucharist.  The 9pm will be closer to 90 minutes.

Anything else distinct about the 9pm?  Yes!  We will have incense in the procession and the Eucharist will be sung in a fashion similar to our Easter Vigil service.  The music team will include a bassoon, cello, and clarinet!

What about Christmas Day?  It’s on a Sunday!  We will have one service at 10am and we would love for you to come back.  You could even wear your Christmas pjs!  [What could be better than waking up Christmas morning to open stockings and have a little breakfast, followed by a church family celebration of Jesus’ birthday, then home again to unwrap gifts and have lunch?]

Anything else I should know?  We love Christmas and the chance to meet lots of neighbors, family members, and folks who don’t normally come to Restoration.  We offer you a warm welcome this Christmas season and all of the Sundays that follow.  We are grateful to be a part of the Arlington Community, and we pray for it every day.



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