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Meditative and Healing Vespers

 

 

Gathering Prayer

O God, be with us now that evening is at hand, and the day is past. As you have sustained us in our labors, now also give us ease, and grant that we may so use our time that we redeem the times and give glory unto you; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

 

The Readings

 

Ecclesiastes 4:1, 9-14

1 Again I saw all the oppressions that take place under the sun: the tears of the victims with none to comfort them! From the hand of their oppressors comes violence, and there is none to comfort them!

9 Two are better than one: They get a good wage for their toil. 10 If the one falls, the other will help the fallen one. But woe to the solitary person! If that one should fall, there is no other to help. 11 So also, if two sleep together, they keep each other warm. How can one alone keep warm? 12 Where one alone may be overcome, two together can resist. A three-ply cord is not easily broken.

13 Better is a poor but wise youth than an old but foolish king who no longer knows caution; 14 for from a prison house one comes forth to rule, since even in his royalty he was  poor at birth.

Ecclesiastes 5:8-9

Yet an advantage for a country in every respect is a king for the arable land. The covetous are never satisfied with money, and the lover of wealth reaps no fruit from it; so this too is vanity.

 

The Meditation

Meditations on Ecclesiastes: I, Largo, by Norman dello Joio[1]

Note: You may listen to this piece in the service recording online, or on YouTube by clicking the following link: https://youtu.be/pXWEKsydhbI.

 

A Litany of Healing

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.

Let us now name before God those for whom pray.

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

Guard and guide the lonely, the anxious, and the despairing;
     Hear us, O Lord of life.

Mend our broken relations, and make us sound in body, mind, and soul;
     Hear us, O Lord of life.

Bless those who care for the sick, the suffering, and the needy;
     Hear us, O Lord of life.

Bless all who struggle for justice and seek a world of compassion;
     Hear us, O Lord of life.

Let us now lay before God our own needs, burdens, and fears.

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.

 

 

Bidding Prayer and Blessing

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 blessing of God Almighty, our Creator, Redeemer, Healer and Sanctifier, be upon you and within you this night and forever more. 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. In times of contagion and quarantine, however, the community may not safely gather together in person, as such liturgies require. What are we to do?

One place we can turn is to the Daily Office (prayer services with an officiant, who may or may not be a priest): Morning Prayer, Noonday Prayer, Evening Prayer, and Compline, as well as Daily Devotions for use by individuals and families. Each office offers worship of praise and thanksgiving by means of word and song.

Blending these with a Litany of Healing, whether or not we can meet in person for an altar call with individual healing prayers, can help us face difficult times. The litany fits well with Daily Office prayer When we or those whom we love suffer or are in times of danger and uncertainty, we might feel alone and unsure. In addition, at present our health requires us to keep at physical distance, but the lingering injustices of our time require our presence in solidarity and protest. Therefore we gather as best we can for prayers that sustain us and help us 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.

Tonight’s Healing Vespers includes a musical meditation on the 3rd chapter of Ecclesiastes, or Qohelet, ”the one who convenes or addresses an assembly.” It is one of the Bible’s most profound and challenging books of wisdom.

The readings for this service, and the prayers you see, come from The Holy Bible, 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] “Meditations on Ecclesiastes: I. Largo (To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven)” · Norman Dello Joio · David Amos · The Philharmonia Orchestra · Hugh Bean · David Jones The Philharmonia Orchestra Performs Works by Dello Joio, Hovhaness, & Rosner © 2009 Kleos Classics. Provided to YouTube by The Orchard Enterprises. All rights reserved. Link: https://youtu.be/pXWEKsydhbI