June 9, 2021
Evening Prayer (Vespers)
You may wish to light a candle and place it before you as you begin.
Loving God, some of us come to this place
full of anticipation and joy,
others come weary and tired.
And some of us come here today
wondering why we are even here.
Renew us in your Holy Spirit.
Remind us that your steadfast love
follows us wherever we go.
Increase our faith,
that we may not lose heart
or become burdened by the challenges of life.
Help us hear again the words of Christ:
“Whoever does the will of God
is my brother and sister and mother.”
We are yours, O God.
Thank you for claiming us as your own.
In the name of Christ, your Son and our savior,
we pray. Amen.
HYMN: Will You Come and Follow Me? / The Summons
YouTube link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GiXnbOORTAU
FIRST READING: Isaiah 26:16-21 (CEB)
A reading from: Isaiah
distress they sought you out;
they poured out prayers to you when you disciplined them.
17 As a pregnant woman close to childbirth is in labor pains,
crying out in her pangs,
so were we because of you, Lord.
18 We were pregnant, we writhed,
but we gave birth to wind.
We have achieved no victories on earth;
the inhabitants of the earth never fall.
19 Your dead
will live, their corpses will rise,
and those who dwell in the dust will shout for joy.
Your shadow is a shadow of light,
but you will bring down the ghosts into the underworld.
20 Go, my people, enter your rooms and shut your doors behind you.
Take cover, for in a little while the fury will be over.
21 Look! The Lord is going out from his place
to bring the iniquity of the ruler of the earth down upon him.
The earth will uncover its blood
and will conceal its slain no longer.
Word of God, word of life. Thanks be to God.
Gospel: Luke 11:14-26 (CEB)
A reading from: Luke
14 Jesus was throwing out a demon that causes muteness. When the demon was gone, the man who couldn’t speak began to talk. The crowds were amazed. 15 But some of them said, “He throws out demons with the authority of Beelzebul, the ruler of demons.” 16 Others were testing him, seeking a sign from heaven.
17 Because Jesus knew what they were thinking, he said to them, “Every kingdom involved in civil war becomes a wasteland, and a house torn apart by divisions will collapse. 18 If Satan is at war with himself, how will his kingdom endure? I ask this because you say that I throw out demons by the authority of Beelzebul. 19 If I throw out demons by the authority of Beelzebul, then by whose authority do your followers throw them out? Therefore, they will be your judges. 20 But if I throw out demons by the power of God, then God’s kingdom has already overtaken you. 21 When a strong man, fully armed, guards his own palace, his possessions are secure. 22 But as soon as a stronger one attacks and overpowers him, the stronger one takes away the armor he had trusted and divides the stolen goods.
23 “Whoever isn’t with me is against me, and whoever doesn’t gather with me, scatters. 24 When an unclean spirit leaves a person, it wanders through dry places looking for a place to rest. But it doesn’t find any. Then it says, ‘I’ll go back to the house I left.’ 25 When it arrives, it finds the house cleaned up and decorated. 26 Then it goes and brings with it seven other spirits more evil than itself. They go in and make their home there. That person is worse off at the end than at the beginning.”
Word of God, word of life. Thanks be to God.
Some days, we feel hopeless. Nothing is going right. A loved one is ill. There is not enough money to pay the bills. We can’t afford to repair the car. We were turned down for a job we thought we really wanted and were well qualified for. We acknowledge we were wrong, and struggle to forgives ourselves. And so forth!
Not to mention the waves of despair that washed over us as more and more people were diagnosed with COVID, more and more people we know grew ill and died or are battling long-lasting symptoms. COVID highlighted inequities in our society and now we are frustrated, sure nothing will ever change.
Julian of Norwich had a saying: “All will be well and all will be well and every kind of thing will be well.” This doesn’t mean there won’t be pain, but that all will be well for us in spite of the pain, or even as a result of the pain.
This gives us cause to hope. We are claimed as God’s children, beloved and forgiven. Jesus is the strong man in our lives, powerful enough and caring enough to battle our demons and declare that they have been defeated. It doesn’t look like it, though. There is much work to do. The world, our congregation, our community, our nation, nations around the world, are all in need of healing.
Jesus doesn’t do this work of healing without our help. This is why he searched for and trained disciples, to carry on his ministry of healing. This is why Jesus continues to call and train today’s disciples. We use the gifts, the talents, the learned skills serve God in particular ways.
When we seek to bring healing, we also bring hope to hurting, despairing people. One of the flowers I miss from up north are the poppies that grew next to my house. They always give me joy to see them. Note: the joy comes just from looking at them, not from using a byproduct of the flowers. J
It often doesn’t take much to change despair to hope. Sometimes it is as little as a smile, or a pretty flower. Sometimes it is the reminder that God knows us and loves us. Sometimes it is the assurance that God’s reign is already a reality. Let’s seek to spread hope where it is needed.
People of God, do you feel the movement
of the Holy Spirit?
People of God, what do you hear?
In Christ Jesus we meet the God who knows our weakness and bears the wounds of the world. Therefore, let us be bold as we pray, trusting that God draws near to those in any kind of need.
Individual prayers are offered silently or aloud.
Into your wide embrace, O God, we place all our prayers, spoken and unspoken, trusting that you will receive them into your heart of mercy, Jesus Christ, your Son, our Savior. Amen
Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name, thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread; and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us; and lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever and ever. Amen.
HYMN: Lord of All Hopefulness
YouTube link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i6ztlI8Hlbo
Brothers and sisters,
as you go from this place:
extend grace to all,
be faithful to Christ,
and do not lose hope.
Go in peace.
Scripture from Common English Bible © 2012
Liturgy from ELW Annual Liturgy License 26504
And Abingdon Worship Annual 2021