Saturday, January 06, 2007

Vesper Meditations for the Reasserter

It's not easy taking a stand for the truth. Without the refreshment of prayer and the word, we're soon burned out and out of the fight. While praying the office of Evening Prayer (or Vespers, as I'm wont to call them) last night, I received a beautiful baptism of serenity. The text in blue is taken from the Order for Evening Worship (BCP pp. 108-114). The text is my 2 cents. I hope you're equally blessed...

Light and Peace, in Jesus Christ our Lord.

I’m certain that everyone who has ever taken a stand for the truth in the face of popular opinion has experienced some level of inner anxiety over their actions. Like the father who begged Christ “I believe, but help my unbelief”, tiny pockets of self-doubt nibble away at their minds and distract them, causing them to be overly introspective. In the midst of this, Christ brings His saints light to dispel the darkness of self-doubt, and peace that quiets our spirits. Light and Peace allow us to stand in His confidence.

It is not ourselves that we proclaim; we proclaim Christ Jesus as Lord, and ourselves as your servants, for Jesus' sake. For the sameGod who said, "Out of darkness let light shine," has caused his light to shine within us, to give the light of revelation—the revelation of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. 2 Corinthians 4:5-6

We’re not ill-tempered contrarians who delight in spoiling the fun of others. Reasserter, we’ve not taken this stand to bring attention to ourselves. Our message is neither novel nor new. We’re not banging our own drum and we’re certainly not sowing the seeds of schism for its own sake. We proclaim the eternal message of Christ Jesus. We speak God’s truth in a spirit of Love. This truth brings shines gloaming darkness, exposing false tolerance and political correctness as the diabolical inventions they are.

Let us pray.

Almighty God, we give you thanks for surrounding us, as daylight fades, with the brightness of the vesper light; and we implore you of your great mercy that, as you enfold us with the radiance of this light, so you would shine into our hearts the brightness of your Holy Spirit; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

O Gracious Light Phos hilaron

O gracious light, pure brightness of the everliving Father in heaven, O Jesus Christ, holy and blessed!

Now as we come to the setting of the sun, and our eyes behold the vesper light, we sing your praised, O God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

You are worthy at all times to be praised by happy voices, O Son of God, O Giver of Life, and to be glorified through all the worlds.

Both The collect and hymn encourage us! There is no darkness that that won’t flee in terror from the Light of Christ. Though it only takes the flame of one candle to chase away the darkness, the glorious light of Christ drives away both darkness and shadow.

Almighty, everlasting God, let our prayer in your sight be as incense, the lifting up of our hands as the evening sacrifice. Give us grace to behold you, present in your Word and Sacraments, and to recognize you in the lives of those around us. Stir up in us the flame of that love which burned in the heart of your Son as he bore his passion, and let it burn in us to eternal life and to the ages of ages. Amen.

Even in the midst of our stand, let us be people of praise! We’re reminded of the Beatitudes where Christ declared:

"Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you." (Matt 5:11-12 TNIV)

The Lord bless you and keep us. Amen.
The Lord make his face to shine upon us and be gracious to us. Amen.
The Lord lift up his countenance upon us and give us peace. Amen.

We’re the apple of our Lord’s eye.

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