Evening Prayer (Vespers)
You may wish to light a candle and place it before you as you begin.
Jesus Christ is the light if the world, the light no darkness can overcome.
Stay with us Lord, for it is evening, and the day is almost over.
Let your light scatter the darkness and illumine your church.
HYMN: Holy God, we praise your name, ELW 414
YouTube link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e5vLtzrM_4E
FIRST READING: Job 39:26-40:5 (MSG)
A reading from: Job
26-30 “Was it through your know-how that the hawk learned to fly,
Word of God, word of life. Thanks be to God.
PSALM 29 (ELW)
1Ascribe to the LORD, you gods,
ascribe to the LORD glory and strength.
2Ascribe to the LORD the glory due God's name;
worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness.
3The voice of the LORD is upon the waters;
the God of glory thunders;
the LORD is upon the mighty waters.
4The voice of the LORD is a powerful voice;
the voice of the LORD is a voice of splendor.
5The voice of the LORD breaks the cedar trees;
the LORD breaks the cedars of Lebanon;
6the LORD makes Lebanon skip like a calf,
and Mount Hermon like a young wild ox.
7The voice of the LORD
bursts forth in lightning flashes.
8The voice of the LORD shakes the wilderness;
the LORD shakes the wilderness of Kadesh.
9The voice of the LORD makes the oak trees writhe
and strips the forests bare.
And in the temple of the LORD all are crying, "Glory!"
10The LORD sits enthroned above the flood;
the LORD sits enthroned as sovereign forevermore.
11O LORD, give strength to your people;
give them, O LORD, the blessings of peace.
Gospel: John 14:25-27
A reading from: John
25-27 “I’m telling you these things while I’m still living with you. The Friend, the Holy Spirit whom the Father will send at my request, will make everything plain to you. He will remind you of all the things I have told you. I’m leaving you well and whole. That’s my parting gift to you. Peace. I don’t leave you the way you’re used to being left—feeling abandoned, bereft. So don’t be upset. Don’t be distraught.
Word of God, word of life. Thanks be to God.
Tonight’s readings force us to consider many aspects of God. God asks Job: Was it YOU who taught the hawk to fly, or showed the eagle to build nests up so high? Job’s response is that he should have kept his mouth shut. He should be in too much awe to speak.
The Psalmist calls us to ascribe power and glory to God. God has undreamed-of creative powers and in response, like Job, we should remember who we are in relationship to God and cry out “Glory”. It seems we should remember we are so small and insignificant in comparison to God.
And then, there’s Jesus. He has spent three years, or perhaps a lifetime, telling and demonstrating to people that God is more than this powerful, awesome being. God is also as caring as a human parent and as simple, as humble, as a craftsman’s son from the Galilee.
Jesus tells the disciples this because he knows he will soon die, and his human body will no longer walk and talk and laugh and heal. His divine self will rejoin the glorious Lord of all and the Spirit who helps us know what God wants to say to us. Because God cares so much about us, God is sending the Holy Spirit to continue guiding us, to help us know how much God cares about and for us.
It sounds like God has three parts, doesn’t it? It sounds like the familiar Trinity Sunday hymn, Holy, Holy, Holy where God is described as having three persons. I don’t like this song, because of this theology it expresses. The original sense of the word translated as persons is that of personas, in theater. One person uses masks and simple costume changes to represent different characters. One person, different personas.
It is like the image shows, three beings together in a dance, flowing one into another, not individual pieces but one with each other. We have to look two or three times at first to see beyond the swirl of colors to find the dancers.
This means that God is much larger than we want to or can imagine. This means that God is powerful enough to create canyons and rivers, sunsets, and babies. And tender enough to tell us how much we are loved.
For all of that, let us give God the glory. Amen
Jesus said, I am the light of the world.
Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness.
For the peace from above, and for our salvation, let us pray to the Lord. Lord, have mercy.
For the health of creation, for abundant harvests that all may share, for plentiful water, and for peaceful times, let us pray to the Lord. Lord, have mercy.
For public servants, the government, and those who protect us; for those who work to bring peace, justice, healing, and protection in this and every place, let us pray to the Lord. Lord, have mercy.
For those who travel or have been prevented from traveling, for those who are sick and suffering, for those who are in captivity, and for those who are living in isolation, let us pray to the Lord. Lord, have mercy.
For deliverance in the time of affliction, wrath, danger and need, let us pray to the Lord. Lord, have mercy.
Other prayer petitions may be offered here.
Merciful God, we know that your heart overflows with compassion for your whole creation. Pour out your Spirit on all people. Be with those who tend to the needs of the sick. Strengthen us all in body and spirit, console us when anxious, comfort us in grief and hearten us in discouragement. Help to remind us that you claim us as your own and are with us wherever we go. Through Christ, our healer and Lord. Amen.
Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who sin against us. Save us from the time of trial and deliver us from evil. For the kingdom, the power, and the glory, are yours now and forever. Amen.
HYMN: Come join the dance of Trinity, ELW 412
YouTube link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P15ZLwMO7iw
The peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, + keep our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. Amen
Liturgy from ELW Annual Liturgy License 26504