| As a way for our Shaughnessy Faith Community to gather again and acknowledge the end of the Easter week, we invite you to set aside some time this evening. Take a moment to catch your breath. Settle yourself into a comfortable chair, pour a cup of tea, light a candle, and allow yourself to refresh and nourish your soul.
Follow the short service below, listen to the music suggestions via the Youtube links (again, ads are unfortunately unavoidable), and give yourself up to quiet meditation and reflection. And even though we are doing this as individuals, we are also doing this as a faith community, connecting ourselves to each other in prayer and intention.
You are invited to share this service with others.
We ask that anyone using this document, outside of our own SHUC community, to please acknowledge that this is the work of Shaughnessy Heights United Church, Vancouver, Canada.
SHAUGHNESSY HEIGHTS UNITED CHURCH
PRAYERS AT THE CLOSE OF DAY
Friday, April 17, 2020
“The earth is what we all have in common.”
– Wendell Barry
“God is the ground, the grounding, that which grounds us. We experience this when we understand that soil is holy, water gives life, the sky opens the imagination, our roots matter, home is a divine place, and our lives are linked with our neighbors’ and with those around the globe. This world, not heaven, is the sacred stage of our times.”
Grounded: Diana Butler Bass
Musical Reflection: The Ground: Ola Gjeilo
Translation: Heaven and earth are full of your glory. Hosanna in the highest.
Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord. Hosanna in the highest.
Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world, grant us peace.
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.
From The Book of Common Prayer | St. Augustine
Unless You, O Divine Creator, build the house,
those who build it labor in vain.
Unless You watch over the city,
the watchers stay awake in vain.
For it is in co-operating with You
from morn to evening,
eating the bread of your Word,
that we rest in peace throughout the night.
Reverence the sacred gift of life that nourishes all.
Who will grow in wisdom,
abandoning themselves into the chalice of Love?
Who will open themselves to the imprint of
Love’s gifts upon their heart?
Unless You, O divine Spirit, make your home within us,
we wander through life in vain.
Psalm 127 from Psalms for Praying: Nan C. Merrill
Musical Reflection: The Road Home: Arr. Stephen Paulus
Excerpted from: Ten Truths I Learned from Life and Writing: Anne Lamott [Ted Talk]
My seven-year-old grandson sleeps just down the hall from me, and he wakes up a lot of mornings and he says, “You know, this could be the best day ever.” And other times, in the middle of the night, he calls out in a tremulous voice, “Nana, will you ever get sick and die?”
I think this pretty much says it for me and for most of the people I know, that we’re a mixed grill of happy anticipation and dread. So I sat down a few days before my 61st birthday, and I decided to compile a list of everything I know for sure. There’s so little truth in the popular culture, and it’s good to be sure of a few things.
… People feel really doomed and overwhelmed these days, and they keep asking me what’s true. So I hope that my list of things I’m almost positive about might offer some basic operating instructions to anyone who is feeling really overwhelmed or beleaguered.
Number one: the first and truest thing is that all truth is a paradox. Life is both a precious, unfathomably beautiful gift, and it’s impossible here, on the incarnational side of things. It’s been a very bad match for those of us who were born extremely sensitive. It’s filled simultaneously with heartbreaking sweetness and beauty, desperate poverty, floods and babies and acne and Mozart, all swirled together. I don’t think it’s an ideal system.
Number two: almost everything will work again if you unplug it for a few minutes – including you.
Number four: everyone is broken and scared, even the people who seem to have it most together. They are much more like you than you would believe.
Number five: chocolate with 75 percent cacao is not actually a food. Its best use is as a bait in snake traps or to balance the legs of wobbly chairs. It was never meant to be considered an edible.
Number eight: families. Families are hard, hard, hard, no matter how cherished and astonishing they may also be. Again, see number one.
At family gatherings where you suddenly feel homicidal or suicidal –remember that in all cases, it’s a miracle that any of us, specifically, were conceived and born. Earth is forgiveness school. It begins with forgiving yourself, and then you might as well start at the dinner table. That way, you can do this work in comfortable pants.
Number Nine: food. Try to do a little better. I think you know what I mean.
Number 10: grace. Grace is spiritual WD-40. The movement of grace is what changes us, heals us and heals our world. To summon grace, say, “Help,” and then buckle up. Grace finds you exactly where you are, but it doesn’t leave you where it found you. But the phone will ring or the mail will come and then against all odds, you’ll get your sense of humor about yourself back. Laughter really is carbonated holiness. It helps us breathe again and again and gives us back to ourselves, and this gives us faith in life and each other. And remember — grace always bats last.
…And finally: death. Number 12. Wow and yikes. It’s so hard to bear when the few people you cannot live without die. You’ll never get over these losses, and no matter what the culture says, you’re not supposed to. We Christians like to think of death as a major change of address, but in any case, the person will live again fully in your heart if you don’t seal it off. Like Leonard Cohen said, “There are cracks in everything, and that’s how the light gets in.” And that’s how we feel our people again fully alive…Grief and friends, time and tears will heal you to some extent. Tears will bathe and baptize and hydrate you and the ground on which you walk.
Do you know the first thing that God says to Moses? He says, “Take off your shoes.” Because this is holy ground, all evidence to the contrary. It’s hard to believe, but it’s the truest thing I know. When you’re a little bit older… you realize that death is as sacred as birth. And don’t worry — get on with your life.
As Ram Dass said, “When all is said and done, we’re really just all walking each other home.”
… My foot falls. The ground rises to meet it.
A holy, ordinary moment is repeating itself.
All the time I am meeting and being met like this.
Your whole creation is ground.
Help me to remember that in this mutuality
We can become home for each other.
You are asking us slowly to become
Your holy site.
From “Walking,” in Being Home: Gunilla Norris
What Can We Do?
“Courage doesn’t always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, ‘I will try again tomorrow.'”
– Mary Anne Radmacher
Photo: Bessi | Pixabay
Musical Reflection: Sure on this Shining Night: Morten Lauridsen
Sure on this shining night of starmade shadows round,
kindness must watch for me this side the ground.
The late year lies down the north. All is healed, all is health.
High summer holds the earth. Hearts all whole.
Sure on this shining night I weep for wonder
wand’ring far alone of shadows on the stars.
– James Agee
A Closing Prayer
Almighty and everlasting God, you have brought me in safety to the end of this week: Preserve me with your strength and in your love, that I may not stray away from you, nor be overcome by adversity; and in all I do direct me to the fulfilling of your purpose. Amen.
Paraphrased from The Divine Hours: Phyllis Tickle