Evening Prayer

I wrote a few weeks ago about night prayer which is sung in a faith community as the last thing before going to sleep. Its focus is about letting go of our burdens and commending ourselves to God’s care so that we can rest well.

In the Lutheran church, evening prayer is different. It is sung anywhere from late afternoon to right after supper. More concerned with the setting of the sun and the growing darkness outside, evening prayer reminds us that Jesus Christ is our true light, and its focus is on worshiping our Lord. Evening prayer also spends more time remembering and holding before the Lord in prayer the extended community, far and near. “Let our prayers rise before you as incense” is one psalm we sing.

I say this, because last Sunday evening I experienced one of the most beautiful evening prayers I have ever attended…right in our own little congregation of St. Paul. Since last Sunday was “All Saints Day,” our focus for evening prayer was giving thanks for those who have died in Christ. After hearing the scriptures about the river of life and the beatitudes (“Blessed are they…”), people were asked what were the gifts of the folks they were remembering that evening, gifts that God had used to touch their lives. In the sharing that followed, there were tears and laughter, nodding heads, and “Oh, yes, I remember….” We knew the living Christ was present among us, pulling us into his own resurrection hope, joining us with those we still miss deeply. There was the sweet sound of the euphonium, the calling bells, faces lit by candle light. Then we sang “Shall We Gather at the River,” and photos of rivers projected on a screen washed over us….and we all knew we were standing on the edge of a River we can’t quite see across yet.

Someday we will see, and it will be good.

Comments

  1. I wish I could have been there. What a beautiful service!

  2. Sounds so lovely. Thank you for stopping by my blog. 🙂

    I’m a Lutheran, originally baptized at St Andrew’s in Eden Prairie 🙂 so it warms my heart that you are nearby my old home.

    I love this idea of an evening prayer and I am going to see if we can incorporate it into my next retreat in March. I’m a retreat leader at a Franciscan retreat center, and I think it would fit just perfectly 🙂

    I’m going to follow you – so nice to meet another person from CC blogs.