Pentecost Sunday 2016

Pentecost 2016 Dove

Pentecost Sunday (May 15) is just around the corner and it will be quite a busy day at Restoration Anglican Church! The Easter season has invited us to explore areas in which we need the power of Jesus’ resurrection life. Ascension Day (May 5) reminds us of Christ’s being seated at God’s right hand in glory, far above all earthly rule (Ephesians 5:21) to give us a heavenly abode for our earthly mind.

Pentecost begins the longest season in the church’s calendar and this seems rather appropriate, for while Christ’s earthly ministry lasted roughly three decades, the Holy Spirit has been indwelling and empowering Christ’s body to do the work of the His kingdom for over 2,000 years! So what is so amazing about Pentecost Sunday 2016 at Restoration? I am glad that you asked. . .

The Rev. Jesse Blaine will be among us! He is currently in the USA with Sarah and the girls on home leave from Cambodia, and he will bring God’s word to us during the 9am and 11am services and share a bit of what God has been doing in his family’s life and their ministry in Cambodia. If you would like to know more about Restoration’s involvement with the Blaines and Cambodia, visit our Global Outreach page where you will find more information about our involvement with Cambodia.

During the 9am and 11am services we will have baptisms. We will have the pleasure of welcoming some in our community into body of Christ and celebrating their new life in Christ together with them! If you would like more information on baptism at Restoration, please visit our Baptism page.

Restoration has been blessed to see several of its members called to serve God’s church in Holy Orders (i.e. becoming Deacons and Priests). On Pentecost Sunday at the 5pm service, Morgan Reed will be ordained to the sacred Order of Deacons. We will have incense, Bishop John Guernsey will be present to ordain Morgan, and the Rev. Liz Gray will be preaching. There will be a reception immediately following the service.

Pentecost Sunday will remind us of the thrilling ways in which the Holy Spirit is at work in our community here at Restoration! 

Spotlight

If you’ve ever been sitting in a dark theater when, suddenly, a single spotlight brilliantly illuminates one character on the stage, then you’ve got a pretty good idea of what Epiphany is all about. Epiphany, which we celebrate this Sunday, is the day when we contemplate and celebrate God’s full revelation of himself in Jesus. The Greek word from which “Epiphany” comes means “to appear, to give light,” or, in the passive voice, “to be revealed.” On Epiphany, we celebrate that Jesus himself is the appearance, the revelation of the fullness of who God is. It’s as if, when Jesus came into the world, a spotlight ripped through the darkness and brilliantly illuminated God in all his love, mercy, justice, and glory.

There are a few key moments in Jesus’ life that we highlight as we celebrate Epiphany: the coming of the Magi, signaling the revelation of the gospel to the Gentiles; the infant Jesus’ presentation in the temple, when Simeon and Anna recognized him and proclaimed him as the Savior; Jesus’ baptism, when the Holy Spirit descended on him like a dove, and the Father declared, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.” In each of these moments, it was as though a spotlight shone on Jesus as he was revealed to be the Messiah.

We’ve got two exciting things happening as we celebrate Epiphany on Sunday. We’ll have baptisms at all three services, recalling that the love and forgiveness revealed in Jesus are what brings us into relationship with God. And we’ll debut a new Eucharistic liturgy that comes to us from the Anglican Church of Ireland. It’s a rich and beautiful liturgy, one that captures the themes of Epiphany well. I hope you’ll listen for them.

And I hope you’ll take some time before Sunday to read and consider the post-communion prayer that we’ll pray together. It helps us give thanks for what Jesus, in his life, death, and resurrection, has done for us. And it reminds us that, through the Holy Spirit who lives in us, God continues to reveal Jesus’ glory in and through us:

Father of all, we give you thanks and praise, that when we were still far off you met us in your Son and brought us home. Dying and living, he declared your love, gave us grace, and opened the gate of glory. May we who share Christ’s body live his risen life; we who drink his cup bring life to others; we whom the Spirit lights give light to the world. Keep us firm in the hope you have set before us, so we and all your children shall be free, and the whole earth live to praise your name; through Christ our Lord. Amen.

– Erin

The water of baptism

We thank you, Father, for the water of Baptism. Now sanctify this water, we pray you, by the power of your Holy Spirit, that those who here are marked with the sign of the covenant may in every way grow up into him who is our Head, Jesus Christ.  To Him, to You, and to the Holy Spirit, be all honor and glory, now and forever.  Amen.

This beautiful prayer is one of my favorite parts of our baptism liturgy. It reminds us of what baptism is — a sign of the covenant God makes with us, that he will be our God and we will be his people. It reminds us that the Christian life is one of perpetual growth. And it reminds us that, no matter how young or old we may be when we are baptized, our life of faith is always a response to the grace God has already extended to us.

Here at Restoration, we offer the sacrament of baptism four times a year: on Epiphany Sunday (early January), at the Easter Vigil (March/April), on Pentecost (May/June), and on All Saints Sunday (early November). So Sunday, January 6, is the next opportunity for baptism. If you are interested in baptism for yourself or your child, please contact me by going here, filling out the form, and choosing “Baptism” from the drop-down menu.

For parents of children being baptized, there is a required meeting next Wednesday, December 12, at 7:30 pm at Restoration.

If you have any questions about baptism — what it means, why we do it, whether it is right for you our your kids — please let me know. I love having these conversations!

– Erin

All Saints’ Day

There’s a big holiday next week — and it doesn’t involve costumes or candy. Throughout the history of the church, November 1st has been celebrated as All Saints’ Day. It’s one of the major feast, or celebration, days of the church year. This year, All Saints’ falls on a Tuesday, but we’ll be celebrating it the following Sunday, November 6th.

So what’s All Saints’ about? Well, it’s about all the saints. Not just the folks with “St.” in front of their name, but all Christians throughout the whole history of the church. It’s a day when we celebrate the “communion of the saints,” as we say in the Apostles’ Creed — the fact that, through the power of the Holy Spirit, all followers of Jesus across space and time are joined together in one body. That’s why it’s a great time to baptize people — because in baptism, the Holy Spirit joins us into the communion of saints. I’m thrilled that we’ll be baptizing eight people on that Sunday!

All Saints’ has also become an occasion when we take time to remember loved ones who have died — those saints who’ve gone before us into God’s kingdom. We know that many of you have lost loved ones this year, and we want to take time in our worship to remember them. If someone you love has died in the last year, we invite you to send us their name and a photo. We will put all of these together and include them in remembrance and celebration in our worship. Just email them to becky [at] restorationarlington [dot] org by Wednesday, November 3.

– Erin

Easter Vigil Baptisms

“We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.” – Romans 6:4

Even as we journey deep into the heart of Lent, we’re keeping our eyes lifted toward Holy Week and the great hope of Jesus’ resurrection.  The culmination of all of our Holy Week services and the beginning of our celebration of Easter is the Great Vigil of Easter.  The Vigil is held the Saturday night before Easter Sunday.  This year, it’s on April 3rd at 8:30 pm.

The Vigil is a beautiful, powerful service of worship (definitely my favorite of the whole year).  The liturgy is in four parts, and through scripture, song, and sacrament, it unfolds the great story of redemption.  It begins in silent darkness and proceeds to a joyous, light-filled proclamation of Alleluia!

The Vigil dates back to the earliest centuries of the church, when it was the time that new converts to the Christian faith were baptized. (This came after a period of preparation and fasting — what eventually became the season of Lent.)  Baptism is still at the heart of the Easter Vigil.  Not only will we all renew our baptismal vows, but we’ll have the opportunity to baptize any adults who want to be baptized!

Would you like to be baptized? If you have committed to following Jesus as the one who forgives and rescues you — or if you would like to — and you’ve never been baptized, we would love to baptize you at the Easter Vigil.  If you’re interested or have questions, please contact David or Erin (you can reach us here). We’d love to talk with you!

(If you have an infant whom you would like to be baptized, we’ll have infant baptisms on Pentecost, May 23rd. Please contact us if you’re interested.)

I really hope that all of you will consider coming to the Great Vigil of Easter. I promise that you’ll experience the joy of Christ’s resurrection in a profoundly powerful way!

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