14th 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.

Opening

Mondays: From Psalm 72,  Deus, judicium

Give our government your justice, O God, *
and your righteousness to our civil service;
that they may rule your people righteously *
and the poor with justice;
that the mountains may bring prosperity to the people, *
and the little hills bring righteousness.
We shall defend the needy among the people, *
rescuing the poor and crushing the oppressor.

In our time shall the righteous flourish; *
there shall be abundance of peace till the moon shall be no more.
We shall have pity on the lowly and poor *
and shall preserve the lives of the needy.
We shall redeem their lives from oppression and violence, *
and dear shall their blood be in his sight.
May there be abundance of grain on the earth, *
growing thick even on the hilltops.
Blessed are you, Lord God, the God of Israel, *
for you alone do wondrous deeds!
And blessed be your glorious name for ever *
and may all the earth be filled with your glory. Amen. Amen.

Reflection: Lucy of Syracuse


Lucy lived so long ago that many details of her life are unknown to us. We do know that she came from the island of Sicily and that she died in the year 304. We have proof that she was beloved by the early Christians because her name is prayed in the first Eucharistic Prayer at Mass.

There are many stories and legend about this young woman. Tradition tells us that she decided to never marry. Instead, she made up her mind to devote her life entirely to prayer and service to the Lord. Her mother tried to arrange for Lucy to marry a pagan man, but Lucy refused and gave the money her mother had saved for her dowry away to the poor. The scorned man suspected that Lucy had refused him because she was a Christian.

Being a follower of Christ in Sicily was a crime. Someone—perhaps the man she would not marry—reported Lucy to the governor. Lucy was arrested. Even though she was tortured, she refused to give up her belief in Christ. She was sentenced to death and martyred for her love of the Lord.

The Church honors Lucy as a saint, and she is the patron saint of those who are blind or vision-impaired. Her name means “light.” When we think of Lucy, we can remember that she teaches us to follow Jesus, the light of the world. She lived these words of Christ: “Your light must shine before others, so that they may see your good deeds and glorify your heavenly Father” (Matthew 5:16).

In some Scandinavian countries, young girls still dress as St. Lucy on her feast day. They wear wreaths with candles on their heads and serve pastries and coffee to their families. In Italy there are special pastries and foods that mark her feast day.

MAGNIFICAT

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.

PRAYERS
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.

COLLECTS
Stir up our prayers, Lord, and hear us: that they who are sorrowful and suffering may rejoice at the Advent of your only-begotten Son; who lives and reigns with you, 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 .