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

Finding Hope in the midst of Despair

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November 26, 2017 – Nathan Dickerson

Jeremiah 52.1-11, 31-34 : Psalm 95.1-7a : Matthew 22.1-14

Listen to the songs here.

Sunday Music – November 26, 2017

Playlist:

Songs of Praise:

Before the Throne of God Above (slight swing)
King of My Heart (slight swing)
Eternal Weight of Glory

Response:

Jesus I Come

Offertory:

Hermoso Nombre

Sanctus:

Holy Holy Holy Lord (use C to D)

Eucharist:

When I Survey the Wondrous Cross
You are my King
Crown Him With Many Crowns

Jeremiah

Fences

This past Sunday, I got the opportunity to preach my last sermon in our fall series out of the book of Jeremiah.  Nathan will finish things up on Sunday as we transition into thinking about Advent and the coming of our Rescuer.

At each service, as I approached the end of my message, I got pretty choked up as I realized where Jeremiah ended his years of faithful service.

He was taken by a disobedient remnant of people to Egypt.  Jeremiah didn’t want to go.  God didn’t want them to go.  But, as they had done over and over, they didn’t listen to God’s instruction or God’s words of hope.  The remnant did what they thought would make them feel secure and comfortable.  Entering into the rigor and protection of Egypt seemed so much better than staying in the rubble and chaos of devastated Jerusalem.

Even though God had promised:

If you will remain in this land, then I will build you up and not pull you down; I will plant you, and not pluck you up…

Jeremiah 42.10

From our human vantage, Jeremiah was the ‘least successful prophet of all time’.  He pleaded with his people, his friends and neighbors, to change their mind and to amend their life.

They didn’t.

The worst happened.

God’s words through Jeremiah didn’t change the trajectory of His people.  It’s hard to see.  It’s harder to read.

Yet, he was able to say…

The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning;  great is your faithfulness.  “The LORD is my portion,” says my soul, “therefore I will hope in him.”

Lamentations 3:22-24

Compare that to a prophet like Jonah–  probably ‘the most wildly successful prophet of all time.’  He gets sent to a foreign land, to Nineveh.  He is not happy to go.  He is not happy when he gets there.  He preaches the worst sermon ever.  Over a hundred thousand people change their mind and repent.  He is not happy about that.  And the book ends with him in a funk– grumpy and ticked.  Not happy.

But it displeased Jonah exceedingly, and he was angry.  And he prayed to the LORD and said, “O LORD, is not this what I said when I was yet in my country? That is why I made haste to flee to Tarshish; for I knew that you are a gracious God and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love, and relenting from disaster.Therefore now, O LORD, please take my life from me, for it is better for me to die than to live.”

Jonah 4.1-3

Jeremiah, in his ‘failure’ seems to have gotten something about God that Jonah did not get in his ‘success’.  That realization makes me sober and careful and inspires my prayers for humility.

So why I was so emotional as we came to the end of this series?  Here are some thoughts:

  1. I have loved the hard work that our congregation has done on this book.  Generally, it is an unfamiliar story, really long, and sometimes hard to understand.  Many of you took on the task of reading through the whole book and then studying it faithfully in small groups for 11 weeks.  I am proud of you.  May the Lord increase your love for the Scriptures as you seek Him in new places of the Bible.
  2. I have loved the relevance of this book for the temptations that afflict us all.  We know the problems of idolatry, religious pretense, and superficial experience.  We see the shortcomings and limitations of the society in which we live.  We resist the triumphalism of ‘it will all just get better’ and we resist the despair that might lead us to cocoon ourselves from the wider world.

    No.  Instead, let us lament what is broken and busted.  Let us acknowledge what is not easy to fix and seems slow in coming.  Let us wait in sincere hope for God’s timing and the sure future arrival of the One who will make all things right.  Jeremiah has given us words and images (that linen loincloth!) for what ‘living by faith’ means.

  3. Most personally, we live in a cultural moment that is increasingly dismissive of Jesus and His people–  thinking they have no relevance for the longings and despair that is all around us.  Jeremiah faithfully said what is true–  the very words of God–  yet there was no change.  It is my hope and expectation that myself and our church will be faithful day in and day out to say what is true.  And it is my sincere desire that many people will be transformed, changed, and find the courage to amend their life.

    Maybe.  And maybe not.

    It is a great honor to invite people to stay home and to not run to Egypt.  It might be my highest privilege as a pastor–  to be in the midst of junk and crud and wrong thinking and to get to shine a light and spray a hose and beg people to stay home.  It is a privilege to say over and over, Egypt will disappoint you.  It always has and it will again.  I am grateful for the chance to say it many times in many different ways each week.  I am grateful for all of you who join me in the task of saying the same.  You are good partners in this project of renewal and amendment of life.

But that doesn’t make it easy.  And it definitely carries a truckload of emotion as you watch people make spiritual decisions that affect them and everyone around them.  I am grateful that we are in it together.  This is a beautiful church and we serve a gracious and beautiful God.

Happy Thanksgiving.

-David

You have been our dwelling place

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November 19, 2017 – David Hanke

Jeremiah 42.7-17 : Psalm 90.1-12 : Matthew 25.1-13

Listen to the songs here.

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