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Meditative and Healing Vespers for August 20, 2020



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.


V:    O Lord make speed to save us;

R:    O Lord, make haste to help us.

V:    Keep us, Lord, as the apple of your eye;

R:    Hide us under the shadow of your wings.


The Readings

Isaiah 35

The wilderness and the parched land will exult;
the Arabah will rejoice and bloom;
Like the crocus it shall bloom abundantly,
and rejoice with joyful song.
The glory of Lebanon will be given to it,
the splendor of Carmel and Sharon;
They will see the glory of the Lord,
the splendor of our God.
Strengthen hands that are feeble,
make firm knees that are weak,
Say to the fearful of heart:
Be strong, do not fear!
Here is your God,
he comes with vindication;
With divine recompense
he comes to save you.
Then the eyes of the blind shall see,
and the ears of the deaf be opened;
Then the lame shall leap like a stag,
and the mute tongue sing for joy.
For waters will burst forth in the wilderness,
and streams in the Arabah.
The burning sands will become pools,
and the thirsty ground, springs of water;
The abode where jackals crouch
will be a marsh for the reed and papyrus.
A highway will be there,
called the holy way;
No one unclean may pass over it,
but it will be for his people;
no traveler, not even fools, shall go astray on it.
No lion shall be there,
nor any beast of prey approach,
nor be found.
But there the redeemed shall walk,
10 And the ransomed of the Lord shall return,
and enter Zion singing,
crowned with everlasting joy;
They meet with joy and gladness,
sorrow and mourning flee away.


Hymn 635 (1982): If Thou but Trust in God to Guide Thee

    1. If thou but trust in God to guide thee, and hope in him through all thy ways,
      he’ll give thee strength whate’er betide thee, and bear thee through the evil days.
      Who trusts in God’s unfailing love builds on a rock that none can move.
    2. Sing, pray, and keep his ways unswerving; so do thine own part faithfully,
      and trust his word, though undeserving; thou yet shall find it true for thee;
      God never yet forsook in need the soul that trusted him indeed.


    Psalm 91

    You who dwell in the shelter of the Most High,
    who abide in the shade of the Almighty,
    Say to the Lord, “My refuge and fortress,
    my God in whom I trust.”
    He will rescue you from the fowler’s snare,
    from the destroying plague,
    He will shelter you with his pinions,
    and under his wings you may take refuge;
    his faithfulness is a protecting shield.
    You shall not fear the terror of the night
    nor the arrow that flies by day,
    Nor the pestilence that roams in darkness,
    nor the plague that ravages at noon.
    Though a thousand fall at your side,
    ten thousand at your right hand,
    near you it shall not come.
    You need simply watch;
    the punishment of the wicked you will see.
    Because you have the Lord for your refuge
    and have made the Most High your stronghold,
    10 No evil shall befall you,
    no affliction come near your tent.
    11For he commands his angels with regard to you,
    to guard you wherever you go.
    12 With their hands they shall support you,
    lest you strike your foot against a stone.
    13 You can tread upon the asp and the viper,
    trample the lion and the dragon.
    14 Because he clings to me I will deliver him;
    because he knows my name I will set him on high.
    15 He will call upon me and I will answer;
    I will be with him in distress;
    I will deliver him and give him honor.
    16 With length of days I will satisfy him,
    and fill him with my saving power.


    Song: Let the Broken Ones Be Healed

    Let the broken ones be healed; let the lost be found and fed. Let the grace of God roll on;
    let the river rise and spread. Step into the stream with me; let God’s gracious purpose be.


    The Healing Prayers

    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.

  1. Let us now name before God those for whom pray.
  2.  The people may add their own petitions.
  3. 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.

     The people may add their own petitions.


    You are the Lord who does wonders:
         Show forth your power and your grace.

    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.

    The Officiant adds a concluding prayer.

    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 Healing Prayers, 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 prayers. 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.

    This Meditative Healing Vespers is based on both Evening Prayer and Compline. Since 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.

    Hymns, scripture readings and prayers come from The Holy Bible, The Book of Common Prayer, Hymnal 1982, Music by Heart, 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 were accurate.


    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.



    Resources (available for free online)

    The Book of Common Prayer,

    Enriching Our Worship 1,

    Enriching Our Worship 2,

    Enriching Our Worship 5,

    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,

    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.

    Hymnal 1982:

    Hymnal 1940:

    Lift Every Voice and Sing II:

    Wonder, Love, and Praise:

    Music by Heart: Paperless Songs for Evening Worship (All Saints Company, 2008).

    The Episcopal Church:

    The Episcopal Diocese of Washington:

    St. Mark’s, Fairland: