God’s reflection….

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This morning I was driving to church as dawn was breaking…  The sky was so lovely – pinks and greys and oranges…but as I changed direction away from the sunrise I had a moment of pang – sorry to not be able to see it clearly any longer. But then, as I was stopped at the lights I looked up, and all the buildings around were reflecting back soft pinks and oranges… and as I smiled, I felt God nudging me and reminding me that I am deeply embedded in a community of believers who all reflect the Father’s face.

And so – a call out – if you are a woman and are not yet signed up for the women’s retreat – why not consider coming? The more we come to know each other in community, the more we see the reflection of our very, very good God in those around us AND what is more as Connally points us in the direction of ‘Simply God’ I am confident that together we will reflect more of God’s character and loveliness by the end of the weekend! Your face will be brighter .. so…

Over 90 of us are going already – but there are a few more spaces! Feb 9-11… just over two weeks away…

COME! You can sign up here!

Liz

Why do we sing songs in Spanish?

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Why would we not?

Over the last few months, Restoration has added three or four songs with Spanish lyrics to our canon of music.  Generally, we have chosen one each Sunday and sung it during the offertory.  Some of you have loved doing familiar songs with Spanish lyrics.  Some of you have wondered why this is happening.  Here are three reasons that are informing this practice:

It is Biblical.

After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!”

Revelation 7: 9-10

As followers of Jesus who submit to the Scriptures, we have a long-used methodology for determining best practices:  protology and eschatology.  How did things begin (protology)?  How will things end (eschatology)?  As Christians, want to be moving either towards the way things were intended to be or the way things will be.

Revelation 7:9-10 gives a vivid description of the way things will be.  There will be multi-ethnic, multi-cultural, multi-lingual worship of the Lamb who was slain for all peoples.  Consequently, we seek a multi-ethnic, multi-cultural, multi-lingual worship service in the present because we know that it is ‘the telos’, ‘the end’, ‘the eschaton’, ‘the goal’ to which we are headed.  Singing a familiar song with Spanish lyrics is a SMALL step towards the rich tapestry of linguistic diversity that we will enjoy in the age to come. 

Similarly, Revelation 19:9 says, “Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb.”  The ‘marriage supper of the lamb’ is the telos (the end) to which our current Eucharist points.  We eat a bite of bread and take a sip of wine in anticipation of the FEAST we will enjoy in the age to come.  Our eschatology (FEASTING) determines our present practice (TASTING).

It is kind.

Kind means “having or showing a friendly, generous, and considerate nature.”  There are people in our congregation for whom Spanish IS their heart language, their first language.  When we sing familiar songs with Spanish lyrics, there is an ease and comprehension that opens for them that is not available when we only sing songs in English.  As majority English speakers, we extend ourselves to our brothers and sisters whose first language is not English when we sing songs that our less comfortable for us and more comfortable for them.  It is kind.

It represents who we want to be.

According to Statistical Atlas,

“14.1% of the total population living in Arlington County live in households where Spanish is spoken at home.”

According to Data USA,

“Arlington County, VA is home to a population of 223,945 people… The ethnic composition of the population of Arlington… is composed of:

  • 141,107 White residents (63%)
  • 34,629 Hispanic residents (15.5%)  (This is supported by the U.S. Census bureau which puts the population at 15.4% as of July 2016.)
  • 22,085 Asian residents (9.9%)
  • 18,584 Black residents (8.3%)
  • 5,777 Two+ residents (2.58%).

The most common foreign language in Arlington County is Spanish (29,482 speakers).

Restoration wants to love our neighbors and look like our neighborhoods.  We want to welcome anyone who is curious about Jesus and what it means to follow Him as the One who forgives our sins and leads our life.  To that end, we want our liturgy, our music, our volunteer opportunities, and our teaching to be accessible to all of our neighbors in all of our neighborhoods.

Are we there yet?  Not.  Even.  Close.

Can we do it by ourselves?  Never.

We will need to partner with our brothers and sisters in other churches across our region.  We will need to keep looking for the courageous steps that our particular congregation can take.  We will need to embrace uncomfortable.

So the next time you see Spanish lyrics, try this:

  1.  Say a quick prayer of thanks for all the people and households in our neighborhoods who speak Spanish.  We are so glad they are near us.
  2. Choose a language to sing.  We will always put English and Spanish on the slide.  Choose what feels right to sing so that you can worship.  You are worshiping God and he can sort out multiple languages at the same time.  No sweat.
  3. Consider taking a risk from time to time and singing the lyrics that are less familiar to you.
  4. Pray for the people standing around you that they would be the light of Christ to all the peoples in their neighborhoods.

For Me?  Well, so far I have stumbled through my Spanish during those songs.  Every time.  But as I bump along, embracing uncomfortable, I am so grateful that my voice gets drowned out by the volume of others singing next to me.  So grateful that we are a community.  I am so grateful to be in a community that is being kind and welcoming and hospitable.  I am grateful for really small steps that demonstrate trust in God and partnership in his mission.  And I look forward to that gigantic multi-cultural, multi-ethnic, multi-lingual worship of the Lamb in the age to come.

-David

 

Sunday Music – January 21, 2017

Playlist:

Songs of Praise:

Precious Lord Take My Hand
Esther
Salvation Belongs to Our God

Response:

Christ is Risen

Offertory:

O Come to the Altar

Sanctus:

Sanctus Holy Holy Holy Lord

Eucharist:

Communion Song
How Great Thou Art

One Body

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January 14, 2018 – Liz Gray

1 Corinthians 1.10-17 : Psalm 139.1-5,12-17 : Mark 2.13-17

Listen to the songs here.

Sunday Music – January 14, 2018

Playlist:

Songs of Praise:

The Solid Rock
Build My Life
Yes Lord Yes

Response:

Love is War

Offertory:

Todos Los Sedientos

Sanctus:

Sanctus Holy Holy Holy Lord

Eucharist:

Let us Break Bread Together
We Fall Down
O Church Arise

God is faithful. (full stop)

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January 7, 2018 – David Hanke

1 Corinthians 1.1-9 : Psalm 89.8-18 : Mark 1.7-11

Listen to the songs here.

The Humility of Stillness and Rest

Have you ever had one of those busy seasons?  You know the ones, where you seem to be the solution for every problem at work or at home, not enough hours in the day, overscheduled, depleted.  I experienced one of these all-consuming seasons this fall with both my work and personal commitments.  I was exhausted; staying up way later than a mother of two young kids reasonably should in order to get work done- up either for work or  for keeping up with things around the house.  Self care was definitely not happening.  Rest was not happening.  Quiet times were sporadic at best.  Stress was high.  I was trying to do it all!  And sort of, maybe, sometimes, succeeding?  At least I thought I was.  

While I was doing my small group Bible Study homework in the midst of all my craziness, I was struck by an observation made by the author, Priscilla Shirer, “pride causes us to think we can do more than we can….”

Ouch!

Instantly I knew the Holy Spirit was speaking to my weary and busy heart.  I was not respecting the boundaries of my own humanity, my own body, my own capability.  I kept pushing myself to do more, and, if I am honest with myself, I was taking pride in being able to accomplish so much and to be seemingly more “valued” by my work as a result of my extra efforts.  But the truth was that, as much as I wish I was as strong and amazing as Wonder Woman, I am not her.  I cannot do it all.  And to act as if I can, not respecting the God given need and call to rest, is pride.  Moreso, to act as if I can accomplish all these things in my own power without consulting God, is prideful.

Jesus praying in the Garden of GethsemaneI am struck by the way Jesus often rested and by the great humility he displayed in spending time with God.  Repeatedly throughout the gospels we are given accounts of Jesus stealing away by himself to pray and be alone with God as well as resting.  Often his time seemingly could have been spent doing better things, like ministering to people.  

Jesus, fully God and fully man, took time to rest and to pray.  If anyone was a superhero and could do it all it was Jesus- he could have called 10,000 angels to set him free from the cross afterall!   He did not put the bottom line, getting something off “the list,” achieving success, or being awesome above the need to rest and be with God.  He humbled himself by stilling himself- both physically in resting as well as in prayer.

I would like to invite you to engage in an opportunity to rest and pray.  On Wednesday, January 10 at 730 pm in the sanctuary we will have our third Be Still and Know Contemplative Prayer Night.  It is an opportunity for you, perhaps like me, to intentionally rest from all the busyness and striving and succeeding in order to humbly ask God to give you true rest and to provide for you and speak to you.  Even in the situations where you think you are Wonder Woman.  I hope you will join us.

Peace, Lauren

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