Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Restoration and Recovery

I wrote last week about our vestry taking time in retreat to consider how "getting back to the basics" calls for adapting one's perspective. I took that idea all the way to recognizing the size and scope of our vision, especially as it impacts our budget and planning.  Pretty simple stuff that especially in our case takes into account our choosing to use antique properties and not buildings kin to "everyday china."

We have the benefit of certain qualities that come with the "way they use to make things," so that even our 175 year old building is useful and ready.  But that same building shows the limits of its original period as well.  When we gather it is comforting to find our spots in pews that have held generations of worshippers, but part of our comfort -- thanks to central heat and air-conditioning -- comes by asking this lovely property to live in two eras.

That's why I've reintroduced the concept of restoration instead of repair as the guide to how we maintain AND use these historic structures. Restoration always includes an attention to the history along with the use.

A basic principle of restoration is to always reach farther back AND farther forward when our structures need our help.  It's not enough to keep things like they were. That only works when pieces are on display in a museum. It's not enough to fix things so they can still can be used. That only works when no one new needs to use then.

We know both concepts from our own experiences.  How many times have you heard an elder extol the beauty of a family heirloom only to finish with "don't touch it!"  And how many times have you borrowed an old car only to hear the litany of special tricks needed to just get it started?  
Restoration is basic to our lives together at Advent.  So is recovery.

Recovery is an internal realization that our hearts can still be moved without old crutches.  It is the end of living on bad habits and second best sources.  Recovery for us is finding a deeper presence beyond the worries and anxieties of crumbling plaster and tumbled bricks.

Recovery is both work and the result of work, disciplined work in humility and confidence. Recovery comes when we don't bite off more than we can chew and we take the time it takes to do the work which we have been given to do.

In other words, our lives are never free from this calling to restore and recover.  Answering the call is never a "one off" effort simply to repair.  It is "continual love and service" to a future generation using the gifts that God has given us.  Answering the call means to care for those resources that God has given us without substituting easy fixes or without shutting down part of our lives.

Restoration and recovery are basics.  God has called us to get back to them so that through faithfulness and discipline these antique properties are still resources for the worship and love from this place of those who come after us.  

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