Table of Contents
Liturgy for Contemporary Service in the Courtyard
October 26, 2023, 6 pm
Located in the Labyrinth Courtyard, entrance on 2700 block of Sixth Avenue. The Labyrinth will be open for walking throughout the day and after the service.
Thank you for joining us this evening for this outdoor worship service. Please follow along in this simple liturgy. Services take place on the second and fourth Thursday of the month, except for January, February, July, and December.
Regular text will be said by the leader, text in bold can be said in unison. Please participate as you feel led, or feel free to rest in quiet contemplation.
We are glad you are here.
The Long Day Closes
Arthur Sullivan – The King’s Singers (Watch on YouTube)
No star is o’er the lake, its pale watch keeping,
The moon is half awake, through grey mist creeping.
The last red leaves fall round the porch of roses,
The clock has ceased to sound. The long day closes.
Sit by the silent hearth in calm endeavour,
To count the sound of mirth, now dumb forever.
Heed not how hope believes and fate disposes:
Shadow is round the eaves. The long day closes.
The lighted windows dim are fading slowly.
The fire that was so trim now quivers lowly.
Go to the dreamless bed where grief reposes.
Thy book of toil is read. The long day closes.
We begin with a few moments of silence, to center ourselves and enter into God’s presence.
Leader: Bless the Lord who created the heavens, the earth, and all that is in them.
All: God’s loving kindness endures for ever.
Leader: Let us pray together.
All: As the darkness of evening closes in,
Blessed One, you are our Light,
Keep this community in peace and safety.
through the hours of the night to come.
As lamps fill our homes with brightness
send also the illumination of your Holy Spirit
to enlighten and cheer our hearts.
Grant us tranquil evening hours,
sleep in good conscience,
and a peaceful waking, renewed by your love,
through Christ, our Defender and Daystar. Amen.
Adapted from Simple Prayers for Complicated Lives, by Jennifer Phillips; New York: Church Publishing, 2006
The leader now lights the candles at the Altar as we meditate in silence.
Leader: The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it. John 1:5.
Song of Praise
All: For the fruit of all creation, thanks be to God.
For God’s gifts to every nation, thanks be to God.
For the plowing, sowing, reaping, silent growth while we are sleeping,
future needs in earth’s safekeeping, thanks be to God.
For the harvests of the Spirit, thanks be to God.
For the good we all inherit, thanks be to God.
For the wonders that astound us, for the truths that still confound us,
most of all that love has found us, thanks be to God. Amen.
The Hymnal 1982
A Psalm of Trust in God Psalm 146
The Psalms are the Hymns of the ancient people of God, recorded in the Hebrew Scriptures. We read the Psalm responsively, one verse read by the leader, the next (in bold) by the congregation.
Praise be to You!
Praise the Beloved, O my soul!
I will praise you with all my being;
I will sing joyfully and with thanksgiving
to You, Heart of my heart!
Put not your trust in riches,
in illusory things that fade away.
For when our day comes to depart this world,
at that very time, we carry only the love imprinted on our soul.
Blessed are those whose strength is in the Beloved,
whose trust is in You, O divine Lover,
Who gave birth to the universe – the heavens, earth, and sea –
and all that is within them;
who is ever-faithful,
bringing balance and harmony to earth,
nourishment to body and soul.
You free us from the bonds of fear;
You give insight to those who would see.
You lift up the faint-hearted, giving succor to those who weep.
You watch over those on journey,
sending guides and angels to lead the way;
O, that we might become beacons of light
to those in darkness.
May You, who live forever in our hearts,
loose the fetters of fear that bind us,
That we might praise You always
with free and joyful song!
May it be so!
Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit;
As it was in the beginning, is now, and will be for ever. Amen.
From Nan C. Merrill, Psalms for Praying, New York: Continuum, 1999
A Reading from the Gospel according to Matthew
Jesus said, “Don’t hoard treasure down here where it gets eaten by moths and corroded by rust or—worse!—stolen by burglars. Stockpile treasure in heaven, where it’s safe from moth and rust and burglars. It’s obvious, isn’t it? The place where your treasure is, is the place you will most want to be, and end up being.
22-23 “Your eyes are windows into your body. If you open your eyes wide in wonder and belief, your body fills up with light. If you live squinty-eyed in greed and distrust, your body is a musty cellar. If you pull the blinds on your windows, what a dark life you will have!
24 “You can’t worship two gods at once. Loving one god, you’ll end up hating the other. Adoration of one feeds contempt for the other. You can’t worship God and Money both.
25-26 “If you decide for God, living a life of God-worship, it follows that you don’t fuss about what’s on the table at mealtimes or whether the clothes in your closet are in fashion. There is far more to your life than the food you put in your stomach, more to your outer appearance than the clothes you hang on your body. Look at the birds, free and unfettered, not tied down to a job description, careless in the care of God. And you count far more to him than birds.
27-29 “Has anyone by fussing in front of the mirror ever gotten taller by so much as an inch? All this time and money wasted on fashion—do you think it makes that much difference? Instead of looking at the fashions, walk out into the fields and look at the wildflowers. They never primp or shop, but have you ever seen color and design quite like it? The ten best-dressed men and women in the country look shabby alongside them.
30-33 “If God gives such attention to the appearance of wildflowers—most of which are never even seen—don’t you think he’ll attend to you, take pride in you, do his best for you? What I’m trying to do here is to get you to relax, to not be so preoccupied with getting, so you can respond to God’s giving. People who don’t know God and the way he works fuss over these things, but you know both God and how he works. Steep your life in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions. Don’t worry about missing out. You’ll find all your everyday human concerns will be met.
34 “Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don’t get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes.”
Reader: Hear what the Spirit is saying to the Church.
All: Thanks be to God.
A personal meditation on being stewards of God’s abundance/generosity/gratitude
Prayer leader: God be with you.
All: And also with you.
Leader: We pray for the wisdom and courage to make stewardship a way of life with
Leader Because of our faith in You, O Lord…
All: …we acknowledge You as the source of all that we have and all that we are.
Leader: Help us to place You, our loving Creator, first in our lives…
All: by becoming more focused on loving and caring for our families
and our neighbors in need, and less preoccupied with material things.
Leader: Help us, Lord to find the true source of happiness and fulfillment that we all
All: …and that You, alone, can provide.
Leader: Help us to hear Your call to be good stewards of all Your gifts…
All: …by sharing them for Your purposes.
Leader: Help us make Your priorities …
All: …our priorities.
Leader: Help us challenge each other, as followers of Jesus …
All: …to put our faith into action.
Leader: We pray that as good stewards we will plan our sharing.
Leader: As we plan the things in our lives that are most important to us…
All: …Lord, help us plan our sharing of time with those in need.
Leader: Help us plan …
All: …how to “give back” the talents with which we have been blessed.
Leader: Help us plan…
All: …how to share our treasure to do Your work.
Leader: Help us plan…
All: … to serve our church, our community, and our world with your gifts.
Leader: We pray that we will share in proportion to what has been given us.
Leader: Help us, Lord…
All: …return a portion of all You have given us.
Leader: We do this, O Lord, as a sign of our love..
All: …and in thanksgiving for the many blessings we have received.
Leader: We offer not only the “first fruits” of our financial resources…
All: …but a generous portion of our time and talents, as well.
Leader: As we give according to our means…
All: …help us to put our trust, security and faith in You.
Leader: As faithful stewards,
All: …we pray we have a joyful spirit of mind and heart. AMEN
Adapted from The Episcopal Network for Stewardship
A participant offers a poem, piece of art, dance etc that they have chosen to reflect creation or some other aspect of the service.
The Blessing and Dismissal
Leader: May God give us the grace to live in gratitude for all that we have been given. May God give us the courage to let go of our surplus without fear. May God give us contentment with having enough. May God give us generosity to share without counting the cost. And may God bless us with the faith to trust that we will always have what we need.
Leader: Let us go forth rejoicing in the abundance of God’s blessings.
All: Thanks be to God.