My favorite CoronaRhythm has been daily morning and evening prayer. I love the faces I see each day. I love reading methodically through the Scriptures together. I love hearing the prayers of our people as they give thanks to God and ask Him to move in power. Have you tried it? Logging in is easy. You can keep your video off and muted if you are just ‘checking it out’. I invite you to make this rhythm a part of your day as well!
This week, on Wednesday, the text for Morning Prayer was Numbers 25. Because of the apostasy and infidelity that is described, it is one of the most painful chapters in all of the Bible, made even more excruciating by the prophecy of grace and blessing that is given right before it in Numbers 24. The 70 of us who were in morning prayer that day were sobered by how quickly we can forget God’s faithfulness to us and how easily we can give our trust and affection to something besides Him. As we concluded our prayers, I was overwhelmed by God’s grace and mercy to us- that He keeps pursuing us, that He made a way for redemption, that He is making all things new. I love experiencing those moments with you, Restoration. I love how God speaks to our community- through His word, His Spirit, and His people. I am so grateful for daily morning and evening prayer.
Serving our Neighbors and Supporting our Community
We know the global response to the novel coronavirus has created a lot of vocational and income uncertainty. Restoration is responding. The vestry created a benevolence fund to provide financial resources for people who attend our church. We have identified three categories of need: lost wages, health care costs, and unexpected costs due to quarantine. If you are experiencing a gap in your financial provision, we want to help. Please let us know, here. The small team of clergy, vestry, and leaders that receives your request is private. Your information is kept confidential. We want to help. Please let us know.
I have been so proud of Restoration’s partnership with Arlington churches to serve Arlington school social workers. The Church at Work has now provided $250,000 of rent assistance to households in Arlington County. Last night WUSA channel 9 did a news story about it– live from my bedroom on zoom. Praise God for His generous church! We are taking rent sponsors until May 15 to provide rent assistance in May and June. If you want to help, please let us know.
We are also continuing to partner with Glebe Elementary in providing Safeway Gift Cards for 40 families in our neighborhood each week. If you would like to help, please let us know!
Exploratory Teams and New Conversations about old Ways of Being Church
People ask how I am spending my time. In addition to leading morning and evening prayer and prepping for Sunday worship, a lot of my time is in conversation with Restoration leaders and pastors across the country who are re-thinking how church will look now and in the future. We know that we are in an unexpected, generational change. These are not conversations that we anticipated having 2 months ago, but now they are critical and they take a lot of hours each week.
Our vestry and staff have been reading the excellent materials coming out of Praxis, like this and this. Categories of ‘blizzard’, ‘winter’, and ‘ice-age’, have provided a common vocabulary as we assess changes and consider new ideas. Our Restoration leadership team is exploring how the coronavirus consequences will affect sacraments, connection, and content. This week we spent a lot of time critiquing and improving our YouTube Live presence. It will be on-going, but we hope to take incremental steps each week. In the future, we intend to explore new prototypes for content and sacraments. We are asking how small groups (for all ages) will adjust and how things like Baptism and Eucharist will happen within these socially-distanced constraints. So much is still uncertain… and so much is possible. Please pray for us and participate in the conversations when the opportunities come.
Living God’s Story at Restoration
The next thing we are trying is a remote ‘New to Restoration’ gathering. It will happen on May 19 at 7:30pmEST via Zoom. You are welcome to attend no matter where you live. So many of you are joining us from places near and far. We would love an opportunity to tell you the story of what God has done at Restoration and to get to know you. Please rsvp here. We look forward to ‘seeing you’ in a couple of weeks!
All of our public gatherings for worship are listed here. I am sure you have realized that inviting a friend (from anywhere in the world) has never been easier. Text them the link and invite them to check it out.
God is at work.
His grace never fails us.
He is making all things new.
I can’t wait to see you online soon.