Evening Prayer 4.5.21, Monica, Mother of Augustine of Hippo, 387

A sower went out to sow his seed; and as he sowed, some fell on the path and was trampled on, and the birds of the air ate it up.

What will church be like when the pandemic is over, if it ever is? We don’t know, but answers are likely to be as varied as churches are diverse. At Christ Central Presbyterian in Centreville, Virginia – a historic Korean-Amrican church of 800 which has held live, in-person services with extremely limited attendance from the start – they are starting to see gradually increasing attendance since Easter. Here, an assistant pastor greets a son of the parish who has been away from church for a whole year and has missed it terribly. Many people worry about the pandemic’s longterm impact on worship, mission, budgets and more, while attendance has trended negative for years. America and the world are turning secular; even stalwarts may not feel safe in church yet. Meanwhile most Episcopal churches remain closed, offering worship on Zoom and streaming, though outdoor services are being held in many places. The pandemic forces us to ask what is most important about the church experience. Those answers will vary too by individuals, from sacraments to prayer and preaching to warm personal relationships in a community of love. How indispensable is the building, anyway? (Michelle Boorstein/The Washington Post)

Christ has entered, not into a sanctuary made with hands, a copy of the true one, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God on our behalf. Hebrews 9:24

INVITATORY AND PSALTER

O God, make speed to save us.
O Lord, make haste to help us.

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. Alleluia.

Hymn: Light of the World

Light of the world in grace and beauty,
Mirror of God’s eternal face,
Transparent flame of love’s free duty,
You bring salvation to our race.
Now, as we see the lights of evening,
We raise our voice in hymns of praise;
Worthy are you of endless blessing,
Sun of our night, lamp of our days.

Psalm 68:1-20, 24-36

1 O God, arise, and let your enemies be scattered; *
let those who hate you flee before you.
2 Let them vanish like smoke when the wind drives it away; *
as the wax melts at the fire,
so let the wicked perish at the presence of God.
3 But let the righteous be glad and rejoice before God; *
let them also be merry and joyful.
4 Sing to God, sing praises to God’s Name;
exalt the One who rides upon the heavens; *
The Name of our God is the LORD; rejoice before the LORD!
5 Defender of widows, father of orphans, *
God in heaven’s holy habitation!
6 God gives the solitary a home and brings forth prisoners into freedom; *
but the rebels shall live in dry places.
7 O God, when you went forth before your people, *
when you marched through the wilderness,
8 The earth shook, and the skies poured down rain,
at the presence of God, the God of Sinai, *
at the presence of God, the God of Israel.
9 You sent a gracious rain, O God, upon your inheritance; *
you refreshed the land when it was weary.
10 Your people found their home in it; *
in your goodness, O God, you have made provision for the poor.
11 The Lord gave the word; *
great was the company of women who bore the tidings:
12 ”Kings with their armies are fleeing away; *
the women at home are dividing the spoils.”
13 Though you lingered among the sheepfolds, *
you shall be like a dove whose wings are covered with silver,
whose feathers are like green gold.
14 When the Almighty scattered kings, *
it was like snow falling in Zalmon.
15 O mighty mountain, O hill of Bashan! *
O rugged mountain, O hill of Bashan!
16 Why do you look with envy, O rugged mountain,
at the hill which God chose to rest? *
truly the LORD will dwell there for ever.
17 The chariots of God are twenty thousand,
even thousands of thousands; *
the Lord comes in holiness from Sinai.
18 You have gone up on high and led captivity captive;
you have received gifts even from your enemies, *
that the LORD God might dwell among them.
19 Blessed be the Lord day by day, *
the God of our salvation, who bears our burdens.
20 You are our God, the God of our salvation; *
God is the LORD, by whom we escape death.

24 They see your procession, O God, *
your procession into the sanctuary, my Sovereign and my God.
25 The singers go before, musicians follow after, *
in the midst of the maidens playing upon the hand-drums.
26 Bless God in the congregation; *
bless the LORD, you that are of the fountain of Israel.
27 There is Benjamin, least of the tribes, at the head;
the princes of Judah in a company; *
and the princes of Zebulon and Naphtali.
28 Send forth your strength, O God; *
establish, O God, what you have wrought for us.
29 Rulers shall bring gifts to you, *
for your temple’s sake at Jerusalem.
30 Rebuke the wild beast of the reeds, *
and the peoples, a herd of wild bulls with its calves.
31 Trample down those who lust after silver; *
scatter the peoples that delight in war.
32 Let tribute be brought out of Egypt; *
let Ethiopia stretch out her hands to God.
33 Sing to God, O realms of the earth; *
sing praises to the Lord.
34 God rides in the heavens, the ancient heavens; *
God’s voice thunders forth, a mighty voice.
35 Ascribe power to God; *
whose majesty is over Israel;
whose strength is in the skies.
36 How wonderful is God in the holy places! *
the God of Israel giving strength and power to the chosen people!
Blessed be God!

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.

Parable of the Sower (artist unknown)

THE LESSON
Luke 8:1-15 (NRSV)

Soon afterwards Jesus went on through cities and villages, proclaiming and bringing the good news of the kingdom of God. The twelve were with him, as well as some women who had been cured of evil spirits and infirmities: Mary, called Magdalene, from whom seven demons had gone out, and Joanna, the wife of Herod’s steward Chuza, and Susanna, and many others, who provided for them out of their resources.

When a great crowd gathered and people from town after town came to him, he said in a parable: “A sower went out to sow his seed; and as he sowed, some fell on the path and was trampled on, and the birds of the air ate it up. Some fell on the rock; and as it grew up, it withered for lack of moisture. Some fell among thorns, and the thorns grew with it and choked it. Some fell into good soil, and when it grew, it produced a hundredfold.” As he said this, he called out, “Let anyone with ears to hear listen!”

Then his disciples asked him what this parable meant. He said, “To you it has been given to know the secrets of the kingdom of God; but to others I speak in parables, so that

‘looking they may not perceive,
and listening they may not understand.’

“Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God. The ones on the path are those who have heard; then the devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts, so that they may not believe and be saved. The ones on the rock are those who, when they hear the word, receive it with joy. But these have no root; they believe only for a while and in a time of testing fall away. As for what fell among the thorns, these are the ones who hear; but as they go on their way, they are choked by the cares and riches and pleasures of life, and their fruit does not mature. But as for that in the good soil, these are the ones who, when they hear the word, hold it fast in an honest and good heart, and bear fruit with patient endurance.”

Canticle: The Song of Mary
Luke 1:46-55

My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord,
my spirit rejoices in you, O God my Savior, *
for you have looked with favor on your lowly servant.
From this day all generations will call me blessed: *
you, the Almighty, have done great things for me,
and holy is your Name.
You have mercy on those who fear you *
from generation to generation.
You have shown strength with your arm, *
and scattered the proud in their conceit,
Casting down the mighty from their thrones, *
and lifting up the lowly.
You have filled the hungry with good things, *
and sent the rich away empty.
You have come to the help of your servant Israel, *
for you have remembered your promise of mercy,
The promise made to our forebears, *
to Abraham and his children for ever.

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.

THE APOSTLES’ CREED

I believe in God,
the Father almighty,
creator of heaven and earth.
I believe in Jesus Christ,
God’s only son, our Lord,
who was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit,
born of the Virgin Mary,
suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, died, and was buried;
he descended to the dead.
On the third day he rose again;
he ascended into heaven,
he is seated at the right hand of the Father,
and he will come again to judge the living and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Spirit,
the holy catholic Church,
the communion of saints,
the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body,
and the life everlasting. Amen.

THE PRAYERS

Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your Name,
your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who sin against us.
Save us from the time of trial, and deliver us from evil.
For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours, now and for ever. Amen.

V. Show us your mercy, O Lord;
R. And grant us your salvation.
V. Clothe your ministers with righteousness;
R. Let your people sing with joy.
V. Give peace, O Lord, in all the world;
R. For only in you can we live in safety.
V. Lord, keep this nation under your care;
R. And guide us in the way of justice and truth.
V. Let your way be known upon earth;
R. Your saving health among all nations.
V. Let not the needy, O Lord, be forgotten;
R. Nor the hope of the poor be taken away.
V. Create in us clean hearts, O God;
R. And sustain us with your Holy Spirit.

Nicolo di Pietro, c. 1415: St. Augustine Taken to School by St. Monica. Augustine’s mother is traditionally credited with effecting his conversion to Christianity after he tried a lot of other religions; she prayed for him every day. But intellectually he was profoundly influenced by the life of St. Anthony of the Desert as well as St. Ambrose, who argued with him, taught him and baptized him. Augustine also had a mystical experience in which he heard a voice telling him to “take up and read.” Clearly he had more influences than just motherly love, but he had that too.

Collect of the Day: Monica, Mother of Augustine of Hippo, 387

Deepen our devotion, O Lord, and use us in accordance with your will; that inspired by the example of your servant Monica, we may bring others to acknowledge Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord; who with you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns, one God, forever and ever. Amen.

In Times of Conflict

O God, you have bound us together in a common life. Help us, in the midst of our struggles for justice and truth, to confront one another without hatred or bitterness, and to work together with mutual forbearance and respect; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

A Collect for Aid against Perils

Be our light in the darkness, O Lord, and in your great mercy defend us from all perils and dangers of this night; for the love of your only Son, our Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.

Anglican Cycle of Prayer: Diocese of Buhiga, Burundi

Tuesday Evening Prayer List

For the Departed
3,206,000 dead worldwide from Covid-19; 577,000 in the United States

Our Own Departed
Maisie’s niece Rashida
Kitty Fitzgerald
Rowena Kelley
Brad’s father
Guy
Terry Hunt
The Rev. Debbie Graham
Nancy Kirk
Jane Vickers
Ted Paget

Those Who Mourn
John & Caleb
Jerry
Martha
Brad, mother and brothers
Stephen
Our webcasters
The whole world

Please add your own prayers here.

Prayer for Mission

O God, you manifest in your servants the signs of your presence: Send forth upon us the Spirit of love, that in companionship with one another your abounding grace may increase among us; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Let us bless the Lord. Alleluia, alleluia.
Thanks be to God. Alleluia, alleluia.

May the Sun of Righteousness shine upon us and scatter the darkness from before our path; and the blessing of God Almighty, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, be among us, and remain with us always. Amen.++

VIDEO: Take my life and let it be (#707, Hollingside, John B. Dykes; Frances Ridley Havergal, alt.) – Washington National Cathedral, 2010

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