5th December Evening Prayer

Holy One, make speed to save us:
O God, come quickly to help us.

Glory to God, Source of all being, Eternal Word and Holy Spirit;*
as it was in the beginning, is now, and shall be for ever.  Amen.


Saturdays: From Psalm 122, Lætatus sum

I was glad when they said to me, * “Let us go to the house of the Lord.”
She is built as a city * that is at unity with itself.
To which the tribes go up, the tribes of the Lord, *
to praise the name of the Lord.
Pray for the peace of the Lord’s house: *
“May they prosper who love you.
Peace be within your walls * and quietness within your towers.
Because of the house of the Lord our God, * I will seek to do you good.”

Reflection: Sabbas the Sanctified

Our Holy Father Sabbas the Sanctified (pronounced “Sava”) was born in 439 A.D. of pious and wealthy parents, John and Sofia, in the village Moutalaske of Cappadocia.  His father was an officer, was forced to leave for Alexandria with his wife Sofia and thus entrusted the upbringing of the five-year-old Sabbas to Ermias, his brother-in-law, on his wife’s side.

A few years later, Sabbas, who was dissatisfied by his aunt’s behavior and the subsequent dispute between his uncles Ermias and Gregory over his upbringing and the administration of his parent’s property, took refuge in the monastery of Phlavianae near his hometown.  There, he applied himself to learning the Psalter and other monastic duties and the practice of godly virtues and was distinguished by his abstinence, humility and obedience, in which he surpassed his sixty or seventy fellow monks.  Foreshadowing Sabbas’ holiness, God graced him with unshakable and miraculous faith:  on one occasion he entered a burning oven armed with the sign of the Cross, and emerged safe and unhurt, carrying the clothes that the baker had left therein.

Do such stories provoke you to hope and wonder?
Could you imagine unshakable faith?


1 My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord,*
my spirit rejoices in God my Saviour;
2 for he has looked with favour on his lowly servant;*
from this day all generations will call me blessed.
3 The Almighty has done great things for me* and holy is his name.
4 He has mercy on those who fear him* in every generation.
5 He has shown the strength of his arm;*
he has scattered the proud in their conceit.
6 He has cast down the mighty from their thrones*
and has lifted up the lowly.
7 He has filled the hungry with good things,*
and the rich he has sent away empty.
8 He has come to the help of his servant Israel,*
for he has remembered his promise of mercy,
9 the promise he 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 shall be for ever.  Amen.

We have been afraid of the fierceness of your love, which sears our hearts as with a laser. Lord, have mercy upon us.
We have refused to believe that you are gentle in judgment, that your hands loosen the knots of our bitterness. Christ, have mercy upon us.
We have failed to see that your eyes are wise in discernment, that your justice restores us and heals. Lord, have mercy upon us.

Lord’s Prayer
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. Do not bring us to the time of trial, but deliver us from evil. For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours, now and for ever. Amen.

Stir up your power, Lord, and come: that, with you as our protector, we may be rescued from our sins; and with you as our deliverer, we may be set free; for you live and reign with God the Father, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, world without end. Amen.

 Lord God almighty, come and dispel the darkness from our hearts, that in the radiance of your brightness we may know you, the only unfading light, glorious in all eternity. Amen.

The God of hope fill us with all joy and peace in believing:
through the power of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

A priest and poet in the Scottish Episcopal Church, exploring the workings of the Holy Spirit in Banchory .