Every year, in the beginning of December, the vestry and staff gather to remember and celebrate. Somebody hosts. We bring in extra chairs and maybe a table or two. Everyone signs up to provide a dish– pork roast, green beans, brussels sprouts, lots of salad, lots of dessert. We put on festive attire. We find babysitters and come home from work early. We laugh and drink wine and tell stories and smile… a lot.
It always reminds me of these words from the prophet Isaiah– this prediction of what life will be like when God finishes what He started, when this new creation gets done, when this hard work of reconciliation to Him and to each other is over.
On this mountain the LORD of hosts will make for all peoples a feast of rich food, a feast of well-aged wine, of rich food full of marrow, of aged wine well refined. And he will swallow up on this mountain the covering that is cast over all peoples, the veil that is spread over all nations. He will swallow up death forever; and the Lord GOD will wipe away tears from all faces, and the reproach of his people he will take away from all the earth, for the LORD has spoken. It will be said on that day, “Behold, this is our God; we have waited for him, that he might save us. This is the LORD; we have waited for him; let us be glad and rejoice in his salvation.
Every year, the vestry and staff have a bountiful meal because we are mixed up in a work of God that points us to a bountiful meal to come. Our greatest hopes and longings will one day be met. And it will be like a ‘feast of rich food.’
And during this meal, we pray and remind each other to wait and to rejoice in his salvation. He is good. And He is near.
At some point, we all pick up our chairs and move in to another room. There is a fire in the corner and a beautiful Christmas tree. There is always a transition that is happening on the vestry at this time of the year. We said good-bye to Cindy Darnell, Santiago Sedaca, and George Patterson who have faithfully served for the last 3 years as vestry members. And we said hello to Hannah Royal, Christine Jones, and Ali Burke who are joining the vestry team as the ‘class of 2017’. Restoration is served by faithful men and women who pray and serve and lead for the glory of God and the great things He is doing in our church.
I also took a few minutes to remind us of God’s faithfulness in the past year. Things for which we should celebrate: mission teams that went to West Asia (twice!), West Virginia, and Cambodia. Our active partnership with AFAC, Casa Chirilagua, and Operation Christmas Child. We hosted the Archbishop of SouthEast Asia, an ordination, and a building consecration. We celebrated the birth of over 40 babies and dozens of baptisms. We created a new high school ministry. We gave generously, paid our bills, and sent over $100k to people and ministries outside of Restoration. We exploded in growth when we moved back to Quincy Street. We received such gracious hospitality while we worshiped at Little Falls Presbyterian. We went deep into 1 Timothy and anticipated the birth of Christ with icons and the preaching of John the Baptist.
Someday God will swallow up death forever. It will be like a feast of rich food.
What an apt and beautiful picture of all that God is doing at Restoration. A feast indeed. Thanks be to God!