Evening Prayer for the week between Ascension and Whitsunday (Pentecost) focuses on the Visitation of Mary to Elizabeth, and the Vigil of Pentecost, which begins with the Service of Light. It is part of the evening worship cycle that includes the Vigils of Christmas – typically known as Christmas Eve – and of New Years, Easter, and All Hallows’ Eve.
The word “vigil” comes from the Latin “vigilia,” or night watch. It is specifically the fourth part of the watch, which lasts from the darkest part of night until the dawn. Vigils call us to be attentive to our needs and condition, calm our anxieties and worry, and anticipate the dawn that is coming and the particular blessings God will bring when it does.
During the current quarantine, we will observe this vigil in our homes, beginning in darkness, and ending in light.
Alleluia! Christ is risen. The Lord is risen indeed. Alleluia!
The candles are lit.
Scripture of Promise Joel 2:28-30
28Then afterward, I will pour out my spirit on all flesh; your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, and your young men shall see visions. 29 Even on the male and female slaves, in those days, I will pour out my spirit. 30 I will show portents in the heavens and on the earth, blood and fire and columns of smoke.
O Gracious Light Phos hilaron Hymnal 1982 #S27
O gracious light, pure brightness of the everliving Father in heaven, O Jesus Christ, holy and blessed!
Now as we come to the setting of the sun, and our eyes behold the vesper light, we sing your praises, O God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
You are worthy at all times to be praised by happy voices, O Son of God, O Giver of Life, and to be glorified through all the worlds.
1 Samuel 2:1-10
1 Hannah prayed and said, “My heart exults in the Lord; my strength is exalted in my God. My mouth derides my enemies,because I rejoice in my victory.”
2“There is no Holy One like the Lord, no one besides you; there is no Rock like our God.”
3Talk no more so very proudly, let not arrogance come from your mouth; for the Lord is a God of knowledge, and by him actions are weighed.”
4The bows of the mighty are broken, but the feeble gird on strength.”
5Those who were full have hired themselves out for bread, but those who were hungry are fat with spoil. The barren has borne seven, but she who has many children is forlorn.”
6The Lord kills and brings to life; he brings down to Sheol and raises up.
7The Lord makes poor and makes rich; he brings low, he also exalts.”
8He raises up the poor from the dust; he lifts the needy from the ash heap, to make them sit with princes and inherit a seat of honor. For the pillars of the earth are the Lord, and on them he has set the world.”
9“He will guard the feet of his faithful ones, but the wicked shall be cut off in darkness; for not by might does one prevail.”
10The Lord! His adversaries shall be shattered; the Most High will thunder in heaven. The Lord will judge the ends of the earth; he will give strength to his king, and exalt the power of his anointed.”
The Word of the Lord.
Thanks be to God.
1 Hallelujah! Give praise, you servants of the Lord; *
praise the Name of the Lord.
2 Let the Name of the Lord be blessed, *
from this time forth for evermore.
3 From the rising of the sun to its going down *
let the Name of the Lord be praised.
4 The Lord is high above all nations, *
and his glory above the heavens.
5 Who is like the Lord our God, who sits enthroned on high, *
but stoops to behold the heavens and the earth?
6 He takes up the weak out of the dust *
and lifts up the poor from the ashes.
7 He sets them with the princes, *
with the princes of his people.
8 He makes the woman of a childless house *
to be a joyful mother of children.
9 Let love be genuine; hate what is evil, hold fast to what is good; 10 love one another with mutual affection; outdo one another in showing honor. 11 Do not lag in zeal, be ardent in spirit, serve the Lord. 12 Rejoice in hope, be patient in suffering, persevere in prayer. 13 Contribute to the needs of the saints; extend hospitality to strangers.
14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. 16 Live in harmony with one another; do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly; do not claim to be wise than you are. 17 Do not repay anyone evil for evil, but take thought in what is noble in the sight of all. 18 If it is possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.
The Word of the Lord.
Thanks be to God.
Canticle: Christ, mighty savior Hymnal 1982 #33
Christ, mighty Savior, Light of all creation,
you make the daytime radiant with the sunlight
and to the night give glittering adornment,
stars in the heavens.
Now comes the day’s end as the sun is setting:
mirror of daybreak, pledge of resurrection;
while in the heavens choirs of stars appearing
hallow the nightfall.
Therefore we come now evening rites to offer,
joyfully chanting holy hymns to praise you,
with all creation joining hearts and voices
singing your glory.
Give heed, we pray you, to our supplication:
that you may grant us pardon for offenses,
strength for our weak hearts, rest for aching bodies,
soothing the weary.
Though bodies slumber, hearts shall keep their vigil,
for ever resting in the peace of Jesus,
in light or darkness worshiping our Savior
now and for ever.
39 In those days Mary set out and went with haste to a Judean town in the hill country, 40 where she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. 41 When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the child leaped in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit 42 and exclaimed with a loud cry, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb. 43 And why has this happened to me, that the mother of my Lord comes to me? 44 For as soon as I heard the sound of your greeting, the child in my womb leaped for joy. 45 And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her by the Lord.”
46 And Mary said, “My soul magnifies the Lord, 47 and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, 48 for he has looked with favor on the lowliness of his servant.Surely, from now on all generations will call me blessed; 49 for the Mighty One has done great things for me, and holy is his name.
50 His mercy is for those who fear him from generation to generation. 51 He has shown strength with his arm; he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts. 52 He has brought down the powerful from their thrones, and lifted up the lowly; 53 He has filled the hungry with good things, and sent the rich away empty.
54 He has helped his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy, 55 according to the promise he made to our ancestors, to Abraham and to his descendants forever.”
56 And Mary remained with her about three months and then returned to her home.
57 Now the time came for Elizabeth to give birth, and she bore a son. 58Her neighbors and relatives heard that the Lord had shown his great mercy to her, and they rejoiced with her.
The Word of the Lord.
Thanks be to God.
Canticle: Magnificat Hymnal 1982 #S186
My soul doth magnify the Lord,
and my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Savior.
For he hath regarded
the lowliness of his handmaiden.
For behold from henceforth
all generations shall call me blessed.
For he that is mighty hath magnified me,
and holy is his Name.
And his mercy is on them that fear him
throughout all generations.
He hath showed strength with his arm;
he hath scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts.
He hath put down the mighty from their seat,
and hath exalted the humble and meek.
He hath filled the hungry with good things,
and the rich he hath sent empty away.
He remembering his mercy hath holpen his servant Israel,
as he promised to our forefathers,
Abraham and his seed for ever.
Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit:
As it was in the beginning, is now, and will be for ever. Amen
A Collect for the Visitation
Father in heaven, by your grace the virgin mother of your incarnate Son was blessed in bearing him, but still more blessed in keeping your word: Grant us who honor the exaltation of her lowliness to follow the example of her devotion to your will; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
A Collect for the Eve of Pentecost
Blessed are you, O Lord, the God of our fathers, creator of the changes of day and night, giving rest to the weary, renewing the strength of those who are spent, bestowing upon us occasions of song in the evening. As you have protected us in the day that is past, so be with us in the coming night; keep us from every sin, every evil, and every fear; for you are our light and salvation, and the strength of our life. To you be glory for endless ages. Amen
A Prayer for Vigilance
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.
May the Lord God bless you and keep you.
May he make his face to shine upon you.
May he guide your feet into the way of peace. Amen.
Go in peace to love and to serve the Lord. Alleluia.