Come to the Cross: An invitation and a story

Written by Steve Brooks

This is a personal invitation for you to come to the cross, both literally and spiritually. On Good Friday at 8:45 a.m. Restoration Anglican Church will do something new – we will have a “Procession of the Cross” from our house to the church. (See details below.) It is a one-mile journey that I have dreamed of for years and everyone is invited to participate.

Here is a little context and history as to what we are doing and why. Over the course of Restoration’s history, I have built five crosses for the church. Three of these crosses are currently used by Restoration full-time, one stands in my backyard (which we use on Good Friday) and the last one was retired a few years ago. I have a passion for making crosses. David and Matt have been very kind to let me apply my passion through cross making for our church.

CrossforGoodFriday

With that said, we need to get the Easter cross to church. And why not do this in a way that bestows the reverence the cross deserves and process with it in remembrance of how Jesus was forced to carry the cross on which he died so that our sins would be forgiven.

The procession will take about 45 minutes, and once we arrive at the church, we will lay the cross down in the sanctuary and everyone will be invited to nail your sins to the cross. There will be paper, pens, hammers and nails provided.

Prior to the service on Friday night the cross will be raised up with all the sins upon it and then at the end of the service the cross is removed in silence. On Saturday night, the cross is set up outside of the church and we remove the sins and burn them in the fire-pit before we enter for the Easter Vigil service. It is amazing.

So please – come to the cross.

I also invite you to come to another cross: the big one at the front of the sanctuary. Most people don’t make it past the communion rail, so please accept this invitation, too. This cross arrived last Easter and was a year behind schedule. When I first started building it for Easter 2015, a worktable collapsed and broke one of my knuckles. It took some time for my hand to heal before I could begin work again. It was a spiritual journey working on this cross, and I am grateful for how God worked through and in me in so many ways: That’s a whole other blog post.

As you come to the cross I invite you to touch it. The vertical section is made from 60-year-old Canadian red pine that came from a house renovation and the cross piece is a red oak beam that supported a tobacco barn in Richmond, Virginia that was built in 1910. Although they are different woods, the “red wood” was chosen specifically to represent the blood of Christ.

On both sides of the vertical section you will see 57 holes that have been filled with oak dowels – these filled holes represent our sins that have been forgiven. On the front of the vertical piece you will see two in-laid oak lines and one open cut that go from the top to the bottom of the cross. The oak in-lay comes from the original wooden cross that now hangs in the rafters at the back of the church. Have you noticed it? The in-lay represents the beauty of our forgiven sins, and the open cut in the middle represents the brokenness of humanity which will last until Christ returns and restores us fully.

The giant crack in the oak cross piece is faced forward for all to see as it represents the humanity of Christ and the brokenness he endured on Good Friday. When I saw it for the first time I knew it had to be the cross piece. Oak is one of the hardest woods and I find it amazing that it cracked as it did, what stress it must have been under. As I shaped this piece of wood I was reminded over and over again that God sent His only Son to live, be broken and die for our forgiveness.

I also invite you to come to another cross, the one that hangs in the rafters at the back of the church. This cross was hung in the sanctuary from 2010-2016 and moved last year. Although you can’t see the details of this cross (but check out the picture), it is a beautiful red oak beam from a Pennsylvania barn that was built in 1830. It is unique in so many ways with a history that is unknown. It hangs in the rafters as a representation that when we leave church every Sunday, we leave with the cross of Christ.

Finally, you are invited to visit the small processional cross that stands in the front right corner of the sanctuary – we used this cross at Restoration’s first service. It became the processional cross to lead the kids to their small groups and is now used at various times throughout the year. The red oak is from Home Depot, not much of a story there. The cross stand is made of leftover brick and Canadian red pine which were used to build our church.

Working with wood is more than a labor of love for me, it is a true blessing, especially in making a cross. While working, I play loud music, talk to God, pray and listen for His response. In these times of quiet I think about who I am, why I am here and I always ask God, “What do You want me to do next?” In these moments of “making,” I think about how God restores us in all things. His restoration goes beyond a few cuts here and there, some sanding, then oil and a final finish. His restoration brings us back to life. I can’t do that with an old barn beam, but He does it with us – it’s His promise.

My last invitation is for you to come to the cross and find Christ in a new way, find His restoration and know that no matter what, He loves you.

If you want to participate in the “Procession of the Cross” – send me an email and I will give you our address. brooks{at}potomacassociates.com.

Written by Steve Brooks

Anointed

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March 26, 2017 – Bishop John Guernsey

1 Samuel 16.1-13 : Psalm 23 : John 9.1-11

Listen to the songs here.

a prayerful lent — THE 4th WEEK IN 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)

SING

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.

Sunday Music – March 26

Procession:
Come Ye Sinners

Opening Set:
Decalogue – guitar and priest
Come Thou Almighty King with Chorus

Response:
God the Spirit

Offertory:
Jesus I Come

Sanctus:
Sanctus – Lent

Eucharist:
Good to Me
Here is Love – we will sing play one and three of this as a bridge within “Good to Me” then end on “You are good to me, good to me…”

Recession:
Come Ye Sinners (chorus 2x)

Sir, give me this water.

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March 19, 2017 – David Hanke

Exodus 17.1-7 : Psalm 95.6-11 : John 4.7-10

Listen to the songs here.

a prayerful lent — THE 3rd WEEK IN 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)

SING 

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.

APEX experiences the “ART” of giving up

 

APEX Youth Ministry Experiences the season of Lent through the "Art of Giving Up."

APEX Youth Ministry experiences the season of Lent through the “Art of Giving Up.”

Last weekend, APEX Middle and High School reviewed the concept of “incurvatus in se,” from the book “The Good of Giving Up,” by Aaron Damiani.  They were asked to embrace Lent as a time to cease focusing on our dependence on earthly desires and drives and instead to focus on the provisions and Grace made possible through dependence on God.

They were then asked to express (on a chalk board) through words and images what came to their hearts and minds as they meditated on the 40 day journey of Christ into the wilderness. With full knowledge that their work would be erased the following Sunday as a symbol of how our sins and bodies will be washed away and returned to dust (Genesis 3:19), this is what they came up with.  I encourage you to watch this video and view their expressions this Sunday, March 19th, in the upper narthex.  It will be washed following the 5pm services.

To volunteer for APEX or to have your child join middle or high school, please contact Isaiah Brooms at apex@restorationarlington.org.

 

 

 

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