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Healing Vespers in Darkened Times 

Midweek Prayer, June 4, 2020

 

 

 

Opening Verses

The Lord is near to the broken-hearted, and will save those whose spirits are crushed. Psalm 34:18

As a mother comforts her child, so I will comfort you, says the Lord.  Isaiah 66:13a

 

Gathering Prayer

Loving God, the comfort of all who sorrow, the strength of all who suffer: accept our prayers on behalf of your people in peril, and to those who seek and do the work of healing them, in this time of violence, division, deceit, and contagion. Grant us the comfort of your grace, that the weak may be strengthened, the sick made well, the deceitful stilled, the dying made whole, and sorrow turned to joy, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

 

O Gracious Light  Phos hilaron               Hymnal 1982 #25[1]

O gracious light, Lord Jesus Christ, in you the Father’s glory shone.
Immortal, holy, blessed is he, and blessed are you his holy Son.

Now sunset comes, but light shines forth, the lamps are lit to pierce the night.
Praise Father, Son, and Spirit: God who dwells in the eternal light.

Worthy are you of endless praise, O Son of God, Life-giving Lord;
Wherefore you are through all the earth and in the highest heaven adored.

Invitatory

O Lord, make speed to save us. O Lord, make haste to help us.

Psalm 11               In Domino confido

  1. In the LORD have I taken refuge; *
    how then can you say to me, “Fly away like a bird to the hilltop;
  2. For see how the wicked bend the bow and fit their arrows to the string, *
    to shoot from ambush at the true of heart.
  3. When the foundations are being destroyed, *
    what can the righteous do?”
  4. The LORD is in his holy temple; *
    the LORD’S throne is in heaven.
  5. His eyes behold the inhabited world; *
    his piercing eye weighs our worth.
  6. The LORD weighs the righteous as well as the wicked, *
    but those who delight in violence he abhors.
  7. Upon the wicked he shall rain coals of fire and burning sulphur; *
    a scorching wind shall be their lot.
  8. For the LORD is righteous; he delights in righteous deeds; *
    and the just shall see his face.

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit *
          As it was in the beginning, is now, and will be forever. Amen

  

The First Lesson: Isaiah 41:17-20

17  When the poor and needy seek water, and there is none,
and their tongue is parched with thirst,
I the Lord will answer them,
I the God of Israel will not forsake them.

18  I will open rivers on the bare heights,
and fountains in the midst of the valleys;
I will make the wilderness a pool of water,
and the dry land springs of water.

19  I will put in the wilderness the cedar,
the acacia, the myrtle, and the olive;
I will set in the desert the cypress,
the plane and the pine together,

20  so that all may see and know,
all may consider and understand,
that the hand of the Lord has done this,
the Holy One of Israel has created it.

Here ends the lesson; thanks be to God.

 

Hymn: Like the murmur of the dove’s song    Carl Daw, alt.          Hymnal 1982 #513

Like the murmur of the dove’s song, in the challenge of her flight,
Like the vigor of the wind’s rush, in the new flame’s eager might:
come, Holy Spirit, come.

To the members of Christ’s Body, to the branches of the Vine,
to the Church in faith assembled, as her Comforter divine,
come, Holy Spirit, come.

With the healing of division, with the ceaseless voice of prayer,
with the grace to love and witness in the peace beyond compare:
come, Holy Spirit, come.

 

The Second Lesson: 3 John 2-6, 11                          No Greater Joy

Beloved, I pray that all may go well with you and that you may be in good health, just as it is well with your soul. I was overjoyed when some of the friends  arrived and testified to your faithfulness to the truth, namely how you walk in the truth. I have no greater joy than this, to hear that my children are walking in the truth.

Beloved, you do faithfully whatever you do for the friends, even though they are strangers to you; they have testified to your love before the church. You will do well to send them on in a manner worthy of God.

11 Beloved, do not imitate what is evil but imitate what is good. Whoever does good is from God; whoever does evil has not seen God.

Here ends the lesson; thanks be to God.

 

Homily

  

A Statement of Faith, A Song of God’s Love (1 John 4:711)

Beloved, let us love one another, *
for love is of God.

Whoever does not love does not know God, *
for God is Love.

In this the love of God was revealed among us, *
that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him.

In this is love, not that we loved God, but that God loved us *
and sent his Son that sins might be forgiven.

Beloved, since God loved us so much, *
we ought also to love one another.

For if we love one another, God abides in us, *
and God’s love will be perfected in us.

 

The Collects

A Collect for an End to Oppression

God of compassion, look with pity upon all who endure injustice, terror, disease, and death. Have mercy upon them, and upon us. Drive far from us all cruelty, malice, and fear. Make us craft equal protection under just laws and equal opportunities for all to flourish. Grant that each of us may share in the riches, freedoms, and duties of this land; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

A Collect for the Human Family

O God, you made us in your own image: Look with compassion on the whole human family; dispel the arrogance and hatred which infect our hearts; break down the walls that separate us; unite us in bonds of love; that we and all people may serve you in justice, freedom, and peace; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

A Collect for the Republic

Almighty God, who has brought us to live and govern ourselves in this free but troubled land: Make us eager for thy favor and mindful to do thy will. Redeem us from violence, discord, and the legacies of slavery, racism, genocide, and other evils. Defend our liberties; preserve our virtues. Endue with thy grace and mercy those whom we suffer to lead us, that justice may bloom and peace may blossom. Light among us once again the beacons of hope, welcome, and truth, and suffer not our trust in thee to fail. Amen.

 

A Litany of Healing

Let us name before God those for whom we offer our prayers, either silently or aloud.

God the Father, you will that all people be healed and made whole;
     We praise you and thank you, O Lord.

God the Son, you came that we might have life, and have it to the full;
     We praise you and thank you, O Lord.

God the Holy Spirit, you make our bodies temples of your presence;
     We praise you and thank you, O Lord.

Lord, grant your healing grace to all who are sick, injured, or wounded;
     Hear us, O Lord of life.

Grant to all who seek guidance, and to all who are lonely, anxious, or despairing a knowledge of your will and your presence;
     Hear us, O Lord of life.

Mend our broken relations, and restore our soundness of mind and serenity of spirit;
     Hear us, O Lord of life.

Bless all who tend the suffering and seek to cure, granting them wisdom and skill, sympathy and patience;
     Hear us, O Lord of life.

Bless all who struggle for justice, granting them insight, courage, and compassion;
     Hear us, O Lord of life.

You are the Lord who does wonders:
     Show forth your power among the peoples.

With you, O Lord, is the well of life,
     and in your light we see light.

Hear us, O Lord of life:
     Heal us and make us whole.

Keep watch, dear Lord, with those who work, or watch, or weep this night, and give your angels charge over those who sleep. Tend the sick, Lord Christ; give rest to the weary, bless the dying, soothe the suffering, pity the afflicted, shield the joyous; and all for your love’s sake. Amen.

 

About Episcopal Worship and this Service

Holy Eucharist, or Holy Communion, along with Holy Baptism, lies at the center of the church’s sacramental life, and has of late become our main form of worship as a community. In times of contagion and quarantine, however, the community may not gather together in person, as such liturgies require. What are we to do?

Fortunately, we have other worship resources suitable for online worship: the Daily Office. It consists of Morning Prayer, Noonday Prayer, Evening Prayer, and Compline (an end-of-the-day prayer), as well as Daily Devotions, for use by individuals and families. Each office, as they’re called, offers worship of praise and thanksgiving by means of word and song.

In addition, Healing Prayer, like prayers of supplication and penitence, have for many years helped the church face difficult times. When we or those whom we love suffer or are in times of danger and uncertainty, we might feel alone and unsure. Particularly in times when our health requires us to keep at physical distance but the lingering injustices of our time require our presence in solidarity and protest, we gather as best we can for prayers of healing can help sustain us and meet as we might to bear witness in faith and by grace.

Vespers (Evening Prayer) is particularly well-suited to Healing Prayer. Evening is a time of reflection, a time to take stock of the day that is ending, be thankful for its blessings, be mindful of the chances and changes of our lives, and remember that even when we are most alone, God is with us, and we with God.

Healing Vespers opens with a call to gather in prayer to recognize our needs and give thanks for those whose are called to be healers. We sing songs and hear readings that remind us of how God has saved people in the past, and that they (we) are always in further need of it. We offer a statement of faith and a song God’s love, appropriate collects (prayers), a Litany of Healing, and a final blessing.

The Healing Vespers you hear in the church’s recorded services may differ from what is printed above. This leaflet is designed for you to use on your own, in addition to being a guide to worship online. Feel free to adapt it as best suits your and your family’s needs.

The readings for this service, and the prayers you see, come from The Book of Common Prayer and from Enriching Our Worship 1, 2, and 5. You will find links to these free resources below. As of the date released, any website links given above were accurate.

 

Resources (available for free online)

Book of Common Prayer, www.bcponline.org

Enriching Our Worship 1, https://www.churchpublishing.org/siteassets/pdf/enriching-our-worship-1/enrichingourworship1.pdf

Enriching Our Worship 2, https://www.churchpublishing.org/siteassets/pdf/enriching-our-worship-2/enrichingourworship2.pdf

Enriching Our Worship 5, https://www.churchpublishing.org/siteassets/pdf/liturgies-and-prayers-related-to-childbearing/enrichingourworship5.pdf

These resources contain the prayers and worship services used in The Episcopal Church and by Episcopalians in their daily devotions.

The Revised Common Lectionary and Daily Office, https://lectionary.library.vanderbilt.edu/

This source shows the readings assigned for use in Sunday worship and for daily office use for each day of the year, with links to online Bibles.

The Episcopal Church: www.episcopalchurch.org

The Episcopal Diocese of Washington: www.edow.org

St. Mark’s, Fairland: www.stmarks-silverspring.org

 

A Prayer in Times of Sickness and Contagion

Heavenly Father, giver of life and health, source of all wisdom and peace: Comfort and relieve your servants who suffer from sickness or fear, give your power of healing to those who minister to their needs, and let your grace be with all those who work to protect us from contagion and disease. May we be strengthened against any weakness, sickness, fear, and doubt, and place our confidence in your loving care through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

[1] Hear this hymn, sung by the choirs of St. John’s, Roanoke, VA, and St. Philip’s. Salem, VA, here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zjt_T38iS7M.