hurricanes and dolphins

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Last week, my husband Simon and I went on a few days vacation. It was soooo delightful – we went to the beach and we walked, laughed, relaxed, ate good food. All those things we do when we’re away.

But it was hard not to be aware that we had unintentionally arrived in the middle of a time of high drama. Every person we met was buzzing with the latest news, weather report or statement from the Governor. Yup – we had landed up in the potential path of Hurricane Irma. We were told we would have to leave – immediately – well, tomorrow – OK, we could stay one more day… and then another, as Irma gradually shifted her trajectory and we were in the clear.

We could choose how long to stay. We knew we could get in our car, with plenty of notice and just – drive. And we’d soon be back to normalcy and safety. We could watch the news with interest, but without undue personal concern. We didn’t have to worry about small children, pets, photo albums, our home what momentos of our lives to save. We didn’t face the loss of our history and possessions.

So different for so many others – all those whose homes were about to be destroyed, who had struggled to rescue precious memories as Harvey loomed and then barreled through; who had watched the coming of Irma with dread and alarm.

It was so easy for us to delight in the beauty of the beach and the sunsets, the dolphins and the pelicans. So easy for us to arrive and then to leave. But now, I have met people, I’ve talked to them and heard their fear, and now it is Bob, Rhonda, David, Susan, Derrick not just faces but people. And so here I am scouring the news. Looking for pictures. Reading about flooding. Tornadoes. Hail. Storm surges. All just where we were 2 days ago…. 

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And so how can we respond?

We can pray for those affected – our neighbors, all those we hear of or see on TV clips. Pray for churches and leaders, for first responders, helicopter pilots and for journalists. Pray for the drivers of the endless electricity emergency vehicles we passed on the road heading down to Florida as we were driving up I95. Pray for those you know, for those you don’t. Ask for God’s mercy to extend through this traumatic time.

And we can give. As a church we have donated $6,000 through ARDF for their hurricane response. You can read more about how they are using the funds given here and here. I am so grateful to our vestry and to the Outreach Steering team who think so carefully about where we as a church community will give our money. And thankful to you for all giving so generously so that we can respond when there is need.

It can be easy just to watch. But as you do, why not pause for a moment and step into the shoes of the person on the screen – and ask God to make them a person not a face to you, then pray – whether it be a tragedy in Mexico, South Asia or just a few hundred miles away, watch and pray. 

~Liz

 

Bus 9: reflections from #RestoBolivia2

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During our time in Cochabamba, Bolivia we traveled through the city in a small bus that had a number 9 written on the front window.  It was driven by a very kindhearted man that became known as number 17, “Diecisiete”, on our team because when we would get on we would count off to make sure we were all there. Those of us who had been to Cochabamba the year before were pleased that it was the same bus and driver that we had during last year’s trip. I remembered him saying he especially enjoys times when he works with groups like us because he has more time in between our trips to spend at home with his family.

Upon arriving, bus 9 waited outside the airport to take us to where we would be staying. Since the bus looks like the other public buses (and usually is used for public transportation), it was quite common for us see locals attempt to flag down the bus and get on as we passed by. There usually was another bus like it not too far behind. Bus 9 took us to the NCV homes: Corazon del Pastor, Pedacito Del Cielo, and Sendero de Esperanza. It took us to a retreat center for the church retreat with La Trinidad (yes, there were llamas). There was luggage stacked in the aisles and on laps. Those who were feeling sick opted to sit up in the front of the bus next to the driver.  We sometimes packed children from the homes on the bus with us – quite the bonding experience. It took us to the Cristo de la Concordia for a beautiful view of the city. We took the bus to places that had delicious Bolivian food when we were hungry. The bus even took us to the largest open air market place in Bolivia, “La Cancha”.

On bus 9 we prayed, talked, laughed, cried and were quiet together. One time the bus stalled in the middle of a busy intersection and some of our team members got out to push until the engine started up again. The bus was usually on time, but everything usually started late. Our last trip on bus 9 was to the airport. Back where we began, but we were different. “Chao”, we said (goodbye that means we will see you again). God willing, we will be back on bus 9 next time.

~Andrew I.

Beginnings

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September 10, 2017 – David Hanke

Jeremiah 1.1-5 : Psalm 119.33-48 : Matthew 8.1-13

Listen to the songs here.

Confessions of a Chronic Latecomer

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Last week my family was nearly 30 minutes late to church. 30 minutes! We snuck into a pew near the back mid-sermon, and over the next 10 minutes, the empty spaces around us filled up with other latecomers. After the service, over iced coffee and shouting children downstairs, we laughed and poked fun at ourselves and swapped stories of extreme Sunday lateness.

It’s hard to get out the door on a Sunday. My children habitually misplace shoes (and socks, and jeggings, and most importantly, capes). We run out of cereal and thus have to prepare  impossibly complicated and time-consuming breakfasts such as toast. My children suddenly remember they despise toast and collapse in a heap of uncooperative, hangry ennui. We have four people, two of whom are fastidious (read: slow) tooth-brushers, sharing one small bathroom. And without fail, my children realize they urgently need to use said bathroom just as we’re walking out the door. We try to account for the inevitable morning delays, but still, we run late. Often. And honestly? I don’t really even feel bad about it.

Why not? First, because Restoration is a community of genuine grace, a very un-DC-like place were I don’t have to perform or appear perfect or, you know, show up on time. It’s freeing to know I can slide into the pew 15 minutes late and be welcomed wholeheartedly, not shamed or penalized. This atmosphere of grace is why we go to Restoration, and I love it.

Second, I am Sabbath-starved. I am hard-wired for a day of rest, and by the end of the week I’m aching for it. Sunday often feels like the first opportunity to really rest, and I find myself sleeping a little later and moving a little more slowly to revel in the relaxed pace. I could be quicker, more intentional, hustle a bit more to get out the door, but I don’t. On Sundays, I just want to slow down. And I’m okay with that.

But this issue of lateness has been on my mind all week. Because as I was laughing with my fellow latecomers over iced coffee last Sunday, I joked that I wasn’t even sure what happened at the beginning of the service. Let me rephrase that: I’m a church planter and postulant for ordination and I don’t know what happens at the beginning of an Anglican service, because I’ve so rarely made it to church on time. Yeah.

So I looked it up. Guess what happens at the beginning of our service each week? So many beautiful things! Quiet contemplation in the sanctuary before it fills up. A joyful acclamation of blessing. A prayer that our hearts would be open to a God who sees and knows us. A reminder straight from Jesus to love God and our neighbor. A repeated plea for the mercy of God. All of that before we ever sing a note!

***

Every day, I manage to get to school, work, soccer practice, coffee dates, and other events on time. The challenges to doing so are no different from those I face on Sunday. Yet I account for them in my planning so that I can be punctual. I care about performing well, respecting those who depend on me, and avoiding the shame, stress, and inconvenience of running late. As I mentioned above, these motivators don’t work as well for me when it comes to church, where I don’t feel the same pressures.

But what if I were motivated not by pressures and fears, but by a deep hunger for God and for the fullness of corporate worship offered to me on Sunday mornings? What if I entrusted my Sabbath-starved soul to God as the source of true rest, a rest that refreshes far more deeply than shuffling around lazily in my pajamas for a few extra minutes? What if there is a feast that God is lovingly preparing for me in the liturgy every single week, and I’m missing the first course? (Which, I am certain, is better than toast.)

And so, for the next month of Sundays, I’m going to try arriving on time. I may not succeed, and that’s okay; remember that trademark Resto grace I described earlier? But I’m going to try. And in the meantime, I’m going to print this prayer from the beginning of the service and keep it in my car, so that if I’m not physically in church to say it, at least it gets said while en route.

Collect for Purity

Almighty God, to you all hearts are open, all desires known, and from you no secrets are hid: Cleanse the thoughts of our hearts by the inspiration of your Holy Spirit, that we may perfectly love you, and worthily magnify your holy Name; through Christ our Lord. Amen.

If you’re a chronic latecomer like me, maybe you’d like to join me in making this small Sunday shift, just for a month. I can’t promise it will be easy, but I know it’ll better than toast.

– Amy Rowe

Jeremiah: visibly incorporating the repair

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Kintsugi is a Japanese method for repairing broken ceramics with a special lacquer mixed with gold, silver, or platinum. The philosophy behind the technique is to recognize the history of the object and to visibly incorporate the repair into the new piece instead of disguising it. The process usually results in something more beautiful than the original.

This fall we will take on the gargantuan task of metabolizing the book of Jeremiah.  It is 52 chapters long and records the prophecies given by God over the reigns of 3 kings:  Josiah, Jehoiakim, and Zedekiah.  It begins in the latter half of the 7th Century BCE and closes with the destruction of Jerusalem and the exile of Judah in 587 BCE.  It is a massive story.

Throughout the book, the prophet Jeremiah weeps.  And this is why I chose it for this fall.  He weeps because of the impossibility of his calling–  to warn people of the certain consequences of their choices.  He weeps because of the hardness of their hearts.  He weeps because of the cruelty and pain that will be inflicted upon his family and friends.  He weeps because God has been dismissed, compartmentalized, ignored, and used.

Jeremiah’s tears offer us a way to engage the broken and busted world that we see all around us.  Tears–  the evidence of grief and lament–  are ‘the different way’ from the labels of ‘judgmental’ and ‘triumphal’ that so often get attached to those who profess to follow Jesus.

Jeremiah bravely looked at everything that was not the way its supposed to be and he mourned.  (For those who mourn will be comforted.)

The book itself is a 52 chapter description of consequence:  This is what will happen because of what you did.  It is sober, honest, and candid.  Jesus talked about the same things, but He would often come at it, ‘slant’.

He used parables.

The meanings of them are no less stark in their messages of separation, of hope, of rejection, and of grace.  But parables, being story and metaphor, can slip behind our defenses and walls of self-righteousness.  So we will look at one of Jesus’ parables from Matthew each week as well.  I am interested in exploring the contrasts between God’s announcements of consequence through Jeremiah and God’s announcements of consequence through Jesus.

On Sunday, we will have a small gift for you.  Amy Rowe, a church planter at Restoration, has created a beautiful book mark with a reading plan to help all of us work our way through Jeremiah this fall.  I hope you will pick one up and use it each day.  I know that God will use our reading of Jeremiah to deepen our relationship with Him…  and each other.

Jeremiah Bookmark

 

…to visibly incorporate the repair into the new piece instead of disguising it.

The image of a pot shows up over and over in the prophecy of Jeremiah.  When the pot is broken it is a metaphor of what we have done and what has been done to us.  But when it is repaired…  As followers of Jesus, we never need to hide our brokenness.  For it is in the repair, the healing, the visible restoration, that our Rescuer and Deliverer gets the honor and praise He so completely deserves.

May God give us grace to join Jeremiah and Jesus in looking upon what is broken and weeping.  And may God give us grace to rejoice in what has been healed and repaired.  And may God give us grace to wait for it all to be completed.

-David

Sunday Music – September 10, 2017

Playlist:

Songs of Praise:

Oh How I Need You
I Need Thee Every Hour
One Thing Remains (Your Love Never Fails) – We will be singing this a bit more meditatively, and we will not use the bridge.

Response:

Be Thou My Vision

Offertory:

Jesus I Come

Sanctus:

Salvation Belongs to Our God

Eucharist:

King of My Heart – the chords won’t completely match this chart.  When we get to the bridge and the ending portion, just play Am G F C like the chorus.
Crown Him With Many Crowns

Restoration Fall Retreat: Let’s Make Memories Together

Fall is upon us and that means that the Restoration Anglican Church Fall Retreat is right around the corner. To those who have been there before, here’s your chance to do it all over again. And for those who have never been, here are just a handful of reasons why you should sign up – and make memories with us.

It’s Fun!

Located in picturesque Massanetta Springs Camp and Conference Center, there is no shortage of games and activities for you and your family. From traditional board games, to outdoor games including – basketball, soccer and football – chances are that any given time there is someone doing something fun at the conference center. Among the highlights include a chance to play soccer with a large group. All ages are welcomed to kick the soccer ball around.

It’s Beautiful!

Comfortably, but conveniently, removed from the hustle and bustle of the Washington, D.C. area, Harrisonburg is beautiful, especially during the fall. The resort provides many inviting trails for one to collect their thoughts and pray without the distractions of city life. The retreat is a great opportunity to enjoy God’s creation.

There’s a Bonfire!

Always a fan favorite, the bonfire is a chance for folks to gather around the fire roasting marsh mellows, singing hymns and enjoying one another’s company. Don’t be surprised if people linger around the fire long after the littlest ones turn in. Camp memories are incomplete without bonfires and at the Resto Fall retreat, we don’t disappoint.

Come For the Fun, Stay for the Guest Speaker

Year in, year out, the staff do a great job recruiting great speakers to join us at our retreat. The theme may differ from year to year, but the message is always convicting and powerful. For this year, our guest speaker is Joe Ho – the National Director of Asian American Ministries at InverVarsity Christian Fellowship. Joe is a gifted speaker who loves the Lord and is traveling from Austin, TX to join us for our church retreat.

What Are You Waiting For? Sign Up Now!

Stay tuned for more posts about the Fall Retreat and encourage others to sign up today.

Note: Our kids (nursery-5th grade) will be in their kids’ small groups during the adult sessions. APEX (grades 6-12) will also be meeting during the adult sessions.

Financial aid to cover all or a portion of the expenses is available upon request. Please contact a staff member for further details.

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