Sunday Music – December 10, 2017

The morning will be led by Andrew Intagliata

Playlist:

Songs of Praise:

Trisagion
Wait on the Lord slower (Am)
Come Thou Almighty King with Chorus

Response:

My Shepherd Will Supply My Need

Offertory:

10000 Razones

Sanctus:

Sanctus Holy – Wickham

Eucharist:

Deliverer
O Come O Come Emmanuel (Dm)

Procession Out:

The Advent Herald

____________________________________________

The evening will be led by Beth DeRiggi

Playlist:

Songs of Praise:

Trisagion
Come Thou Fount
Esther

Response:

My Shepherd Will Supply My Need

Offertory:

Blessed Be Your Name (we will actually play this in G)

Sanctus:

Sanctus Holy – Wickham

Eucharist:

Wait on the Lord slower (Am)
Pour Light Upon Us

Procession Out:

The Advent Herald

Why do we pray scripted prayers?

daily prayer book cover

Last week we handed out a simplified version of our Anglican Book of Common Prayer called Praying through the Year. We’ve loved hearing the ways many of you are integrating this booklet into your daily life. We will have more copies of this resource available on Sunday in the narthex, and we’d love for you to take one home.

But some of you may wonder why we use scripted prayers at all. Why not pray from our thoughts and feelings and impressions? Isn’t scripted prayer needlessly rigid and archaic? Two responses come to mind.

The first response is that both modes of prayer are great and have their place in our lives. In fact, The Book of Common Prayer always leaves space for “free intercessions” in its liturgies, a place for the extemporaneous prayer to which many of us are accustomed. Using scripted prayers doesn’t replace unscripted prayers or all the wonderful, surprising ways the Holy Spirit shows up in them. Instead, it complements them, rooting them in the words of Scripture and of Christians who have prayed before us through the ages.

The second response, though, is a story from my own experience. A little over a decade ago, I nearly abandoned my faith. I was consumed by doubts I couldn’t reconcile; I was tired of Christians whose lives were squeaky clean but who cared little about justice and mercy; and I was crowding God out of my life by pouring myself into a career that tempted me with moral compromises. For over a year, I didn’t read scripture and I didn’t pray. And I didn’t care. I told God that I barely believed this stuff anymore, but that if it was true, he was going to need to convince me himself.

And he did. Late one night, I was anxious and sleepless and found myself really wanting to cry out to God, but I realized that I’d forgotten how. A phrase from the Sunday liturgy popped into my brain: “whose property is always to have mercy” (we now use the words, “who always delights in showing mercy”). That seemed as good a prayer as any, so I simply prayed it, over and over, to God: “Your property is always to have mercy. Your property is always to have mercy.” As I did, I realized that if God’s property is always to have mercy, then he had mercy for me in that moment, and in every faithless, cynical moment that had preceded it.

That sustaining thought carried me through a long night of anxiety to the morning. And it carried me through the next night, and the next. It marked the beginning of my returning to God, re-discovering that ‘the stories are true,’ and re-learning how to pray. It also marked the beginning of my use of The Book of Common Prayer as a regular part of my prayer life.

For someone like me, who easily lives inside my thoughts, the pressure to manufacture extemporaneous prayers can feel like a chore and a performance. And when I’m tired or uninspired or consumed with doubts, it’s barely possible. Instead, I found a liberating self-forgetfulness in The Book of Common Prayer, as I began to lean on the words and faith of the millions of Christians who had gone before me, who had prayed these prayers for centuries to sustain their faith. One of the gifts of being Anglican has been discovering this weird and wonderful fellowship with Christians throughout time and space whose prayers support my own.

These days, I do both: I pray scripted prayers in a more-or-less regular rhythm, and I pray extemporaneous prayers that vary from the transcendent to the absurd (“help me find a parking spot, Jesus!”). I think both kinds of prayer delight God, both draw me into a pattern of daily dependence and closer relationship, and both connect me to a global community of other praying Christians.

This Advent, we’d love for you to join us in adding scripted prayer to your daily rhythms. Pick up Praying Through the Year on Sunday!

Again, we wait…

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December 3, 2017 – David Hanke

Isaiah 64.1-9a : Psalm 80.1-7 : Mark 13.24-37

Listen to the songs here.

Common Prayer…Simplified

advent table

Hey Restos! It’s me again, that woman who can’t seem to make it to church on time and talks an awful lot about toast. I was overwhelmed by the response to my recent blog about running late for church. So many of you reached out and shared stories of how you, like me, are hungry for the feast that God is offering us, but can’t quite figure out how to show up for it. To everyone who kindly commented or emailed me: thanks. I’m so glad we’re in this together.

And one of the ways that we are really, truly, profoundly in this together is through prayer. I love that we are a community that prays, and I know that many of us are constantly longing to grow in our habits of prayer. As Anglicans, we have a rich prayer resource in the Book of Common Prayer, a centuries-old book crammed full of scripture, statements of faith, and prayers. We hold these prayers in “common” with one another at Restoration, and with other Christians all over the world and throughout history. And these prayers are “common” in another sense: with practice, they become commonplace rhythms that shape our everyday lives. But what does that practice look like? How do we engage with our prayer book in a way that is life-giving and doable, when the book itself seems so complicated and intimidating?

Restoration has created two resources to help. The first is a RestoKids Advent daily devotional called Almost…Not Yet…Already…Soon. It’s full of space to doodle, simple explanations of this season of waiting, and peaceful invitations to enjoy God’s presence with us through prayer, scripture, stillness, and creativity. If you live in a house with kids, or if you’d like to approach God in a kid-like way this season, we would love for you to take one home on Sunday.

The second resource is a simplified version of the Book of Common Prayer called Praying through the Year, which takes you through the entire Christian year, beginning in Advent 2017 and ending just before Advent 2018. Each season contains short prayer guides for morning, noon, evening, and compline (bedtime), as well as daily daily prayer book coverreading plans and helpful prayers for a variety of circumstances. It includes explanations of the liturgical seasons and guidance on how to use the prayers. Everything in this book is taken straight from our Anglican Book of Common Prayer, but the confusing elements have been removed and the order has been rearranged to facilitate easy daily use. This book can be used alone or with others, around your breakfast table, at your desk, or on your nightstand — however works best to make these ancient prayer rhythms more “common” in your daily life.

If you have young kids at home, you may want to set aside this longer prayer book during Advent, and use our RestoKids devotional instead (they actually contain a lot of similar language!). Then, as Advent concludes and you find you want to continue the simple daily rhythms, pick up the prayer book again and adjust the daily prayer times in whatever way works best for your family. When my own children were young, we used these same liturgies around our breakfast table. We’d light a candle, get out paper and markers, and I’d read just a few fragments from morning prayer while they colored. Over time, my kids naturally absorbed a lot of scripture and theology (as did I!). But what works in my house might not work in yours, and that’s okay. This Advent, we would love for everyone to engage with these resources and find what works best in their own context, so that we can practice praying in common as a Resto community. We invite you to pick up one or both prayer guides this Sunday!

Sunday Music – December 3, 2017

Playlist:

Prelude:

Dry Bones

Songs of Praise:

The Advent Herald
Fall Afresh

Response:

Love Divine All Loves Excelling

Offertory:

All Who Are Thirsty – All Who Are Thirsty English:Spanish Lyrics

Sanctus:

Sanctus Holy – Wickham

Eucharist:

Come and Move
Come Thou Long Expected Jesus – Come Lord Jesus

Advent Calendar… join the community

advent-candles

We are looking forward to walking this journey toward Christmas with you!  Here are some ways you can join the Restoration community during this season.

Morning Prayer – Join Morgan Reed in the sanctuary for morning prayer on Tuesdays (Dec 5, 12, 19) from 7am – 7:30 with the option of confession from 7:30 – 8.

Adventy Fireside Chats – Join Erica and friends at her house on Thursdays (Dec 7, 14, 21) at 7:30pm to carve out some quiet space to exercise the discipline of waiting.  Gather fireside for a guided reflection and time of prayer each week.  RSVP chapman.erica@gmail.com

Advent Community Prep Friends and families, join us on Saturdays from 9:30am to 12:00pm at Restoration for cider, carols, sanctuary decorating, and a unique community event.

– Dec 2  Join Rachel Hoppe as she leads us in making Advent Wreaths.  We have materials for about 25 wreaths, so come on out!  Bring $5 for supplies (a crazy bargain) to help your family/household mark the progression toward Christmas.  Sign up for Advent Wreath Making here.

– Dec 9  Decorate cookies together for your neighbors.  RSVP to matt@restorationarlington.org if you would like to help bake the cookies beforehand or if you would just like to arrive with friends and/or kids to decorate them!  Delivering cookies to your neighbors can be a really simple way to invite them to Restoration’s Christmas Eve service where they can hear about the lengths that God has gone to show his love for them.

– Dec 16  Help sort the Glebe Star Tree presents or help with some last minute shopping.  See more details below.

– Dec 23  We are decorating the building for Christmas Eve.  Greens galore!!!

We would like at least 7 people to commit to helping prepare the sanctuary each of these Saturdays from 9:30 to Noon.  If one of your older family members doesn’t want to do the activity, have them come to the sanctuary to help, and join us when you’re done with the activity!  Sign up here if your planning to come.  But know that there is no limit to the number of helpers.

Caroling at Sunrise Senior Living – Bring a Santa hat and your vocal chords to belt out some Christmas Carols  on Sunday, Dec 17 right after the 5pm service (about 7pm) at Sunrise Senior Living, 2000 N Glebe Rd, Arlington, VA 22207.

Glebe Star Tree –  Help us as we adopt over 50 families this Christmas and purchase gifts for children in our neighborhood elementary school. The Glebe Star Trees, with tags indicating the gifts needed, are in the narthex. Opportunities to sort and serve are also coming Dec 16-17.  Watch the video below to learn a little bit more.

Christmas Eve Sunday – Because Christmas Eve lands on the fourth Sunday of Advent, there will be a simple morning prayer at 8am led by Morgan Reed to celebrate the last Sunday of Advent.

Lessons and Carols – Celebrate a Christmas Eve Eucharist with us at 3pm and 5pm for children or the young at heart.  There is also a more traditional service at 9pm that will include a sung Eucharist and incense. 

For the 3 and 5 services, we invite the kids (or adults who really, really want to) to come dressed as characters from the nativity story.  We are also looking for three boys/men and three girls/women to help with a reader’s theater of the Gospel story.  Contact matt@restorationarlington.org if you are interested.

New Year’s Eve Sunday – There will be one worship service at 10am.

We are excited for the ways that you will join the Restoration Community this Advent on our journey to Christmas.  Invite friends to any and all of it!

Confession: Good for our Souls

The eight-year-old atheist

Every Wednesday, when I was 8 years of age, I would leave school an hour early with about 10 other children to walk to a nearby home for time-release-bible-study. As the door to the house opened, our host would greet us with a smile and tins of butter cookies. After gorging ourselves on butter cookies, we would sit down in her living room where we learned about Jesus through felt board stories and cool songs like “I am a C-H-R-I-S-T-I-A-N”:

God bless these faithful women for the ways that they shared the love of Jesus with us. I did not know it at the time, but according to my Enneagram scores, I’m pretty strong on the “challenger”, and looking back I can see it as early as 8-years-old. I was that kid in the group that sought to interrupt the teachers and be a nuisance to the rest of the class. One week I had had enough and loudly proclaimed to the teachers and children that all this Jesus stuff was rubbish and that there was no God. Everyone sat in awkward silence for a few moments, and then I was walked into the dining room where I sat while the kids finished their story. I got no gold star that day. These faithful women asked that I not come back, which of course mortified my parents!

Confession

My parents rightly appropriated a penitence befitting my pugnacious persistence. The very next week my mom accompanied me to meet with the leader of the group. I had an entire week to dwell on my wrongdoings (more my disruptive presence than my disbelieve) and the things that I would say to the teacher. I dreaded that moment when I had to be vulnerable, to feel embarrassed, and to own up to my rebellion. But mom faithfully came along to make sure that I did the deed. That Wednesday I came to the teacher, told her what I had done wrong and asked for forgiveness. She genuinely offered me forgiveness, but I never did go back to this group. This was not the first time in life I needed to ask for forgiveness, and it will surely not be the last, but there is something powerfully transformative that happens to us when we must ruminate on our misdeeds in anticipation of someone else’s offer of forgiveness. The same is true when we think about our relationship to God. This is one of the reasons that the Church has set Advent and Lent apart as seasons of penitence (symbolized by purple vestments).

During Advent, we will be offering morning prayer (see liturgy here) on December 5, 12, and 19 from 7-7:35am, then again on December 24 at 8am (at Restoration Anglican Church). In the course of morning prayer we will have a chance to confess our sins corporately and receive the forgiveness offered by God through the work of Christ. And yet if I am honest, I know that there are so many times that I pray the prayer of confession without adequately thinking of what needs confessing, and then once it is done, having forgotten what I just confessed. One practice of the Church that helps us to cast aside our specific stumbling blocks and be renewed in our life in Christ is the practice of private confession (what we call the Reconciliation of Penitents). The following book has been an incredible help to me:

The benefit of private confession has been described beautifully in this way,

“The responsibility of spelling out our sins in confession counteracts our tendency to be fuzzy and general in our penitence…False notions of guilt and self-blame can be set aside, and real responsibility for our omissions and transgressions taken up. Because in confession we need to make ourselves intelligible to another person, we have to cut to the chase and own up to what we have done and not done, painstakingly finding the words to name our particular sins…As a result we can move past the blur of hazy guilt feelings to a sharp and liberating penitence.” (Go in Peace: The Art of Hearing Confessions, 28).

As we look forward to planting Incarnation Anglican Church in South Arlington, both corporate and private confession will be a regular part of our sacramental life together. We all need God’s healing and this is another platform for God to meet us with His healing grace. After morning prayer on December 5, 12, and 19, we (Fr. Nathan and me) will be available to hear confessions from the end of morning prayer until 8am. If you would like to schedule a time slot for this, or if you would like to chat more about this practice and how to make it a regular rhythm of your life, please email me at morgan@incarnationanglican.org. I would love to talk more.

-Fr. Morgan Reed, Church Planter at Restoration Anglican Church

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