Today’s Author: Carol Swanson

Each year I look forward to singing with much joy (and sometimes a few tears) Marty Haugen’s Holden Evening Prayer with the congregation during Lent. Such a lovely vesper service to bring the community together in worship and prayer. Thank you all who help make it special.

This liturgical year we have been living in the Gospel of John, and John’s prologue is echoed in the vesper’s Procession. “Jesus Christ, you are the light of the world; the light no darkness can overcome.”  And throughout the vespers, the theme of light comes up over and over through many metaphors. How do these metaphors reveal God’s character and God’s work in creation and in us? What do they say about our relationship to God, to creation, to one another?

“Stay with us now, for it is evening, and the day is almost over. Let your light scatter the darkness, and shine within your people here.”  We invite Jesus to be present with us. Yet after these weeks of reading John, I make a new connection as my mind flashes on the final evening of Jesus with his disciples, his farewell words of love and comfort, prayers and promises, for them…and for us. 

Since this is the final week of Lent, I invite you to “sit with Jesus” and meditate on the words of the vespers now and as you sing them one last time in this Lenten season.  The Service of Light’s Evening Hymn, Psalm 141, and the Final Blessing are quoted below to assist you. May you experience God’s life-giving presence as you reflect. 

Service of Light
Evening Hymn
1. Joyous light of heav’nly glory, loving glow of God’s own face, you who sing creation’s story, shine on ev’ry land and race. Now as evening falls around us, we shall raise our songs to you, God of daybreak, God of shadows, come and light our hearts anew.

2. In the stars that grace the darkness, in the blazing sun of dawn, in the light of peace and wisdom, we can hear your quiet song. Love that fills the night with wonder, love that warms the weary soul, Love that bursts all chains asunder, set us free and make us whole.

3. You who made the heaven’s splendor, ev’ry dancing star of night, make us shine with gentle justice, let us each reflect your light. Mighty God of all creation, gentle Christ who lights our way, Loving Spirit of salvation, lead us on to endless day.

Evening Thanksgiving
Blessed are you, Creator of the universe—from old you have led your people by night and day. May the light of your Christ make our darkness bright, for your Word and your presence are the light of our pathways, and you are the light and life of all creation. Amen.

Psalm 141
Let my prayer rise up like incense before you, the lifting up of my hands as an offering to you. 
O God, I call to you, come to me now; O hear my voice when I cry to you.
Let my prayer rise up like incense before you, the lifting up of my hands as an offering to you. Keep watch within me, God; deep in my heart may the light of your love be burning bright.
Let my prayer rise up like incense before you, the lifting up of my hands as an offering to you.
All praise to the God of all—Creator of life; all praise be to Christ and the Spirit of love. 
Let my prayer rise up like incense before you, the lifting up of my hands as an offering to you. 

Prayer: May our prayers come before you, O God, as incense and may your presence surround us and fill us, so that in union with all creation, we might sing your praise and your love in our lives. Amen.

The Light shines in the darkness
And the darkness has not overcome it. 

The Final Blessing 
May God Creator bless us and keep us, may Christ be ever light for our lives, may the Spirit of Love be our guide and path, for all of our days.  Amen.

Mid-week devotions are authored by members of our community.  If you are interested in creating a trio of reflections to be shared on an upcoming Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, contact Pastor Peter.