Opening Sentences - The Lessons - The Prayers - The Psalms

Concerning the Service

This Order provides a form of evening service or vespers for use on
suitable occasions in the late afternoon or evening. It may be used as a
complete rite in place of Evening Prayer, or as the introduction to
Evening Prayer or some other service, or as the prelude to an evening
meal or other activity. It is appropriate also for use in private houses.

Any part or parts of this service may be lead by lay persons. A priest or
deacon, when presiding, should read the Prayer for Light, and the
Blessing or Dismissal at the end. The bishop, when present, should give
the Blessing.

This order is not appropriate for use on Monday, Tuesday, or Wednesday
in Holy Week, or on Good Friday. Easter Eve has its own form for the
Lighting of the Paschal Candle.

For the Short Lesson at the beginning of the service, any one of the
following is also appropriate, especially for the seasons suggested:

Isaiah 60:19-20 (Advent)
Luke 12:35-37 (Advent)
John 1:1-5 (Christmas)
Isaiah 60:1-3 (Epiphany)
1 John 1:5-7 (Lent)
John 12:35-36a (Lent)
Revelation 21:10,22-24 (Easter)
Psalm 36:5-9 (Ascension)
Joel 2:28-30 (Whitsunday)
Colossians 1:9,11-14 (Saints' Days)
1 Peter 2:9 (Saints' Days)
Revelation 22:1,4-5 (Saints' Days)

Any of the prayers in contemporary language may be adapted to
traditional language by changing the pronouns and the corresponding
verbs.

Additional Directions are on page 142.



108    Order for Evening






An Order of Worship
for the Evening




The church is dark, or partially so, when the service is to begin.

All stand, and the Officiant greets the people with these words.

  Light and peace, in Jesus Christ our Lord.
People Thanks be to God.

In place of the above, from Easter Day through the Day of Pentecost

Officiant Alleluia. Christ is risen.
People The Lord is risen indeed. Alleluia.

In Lent and on other penitential occasions

Officiant Bless the Lord who forgives all our sins;
People His mercy endures forever.

One of the following, or some other Short Lesson of Scripture
appropriate to the occasion or to the season, may then be read

Jesus said, "You are the light of the world. A city built on a
hill cannot be hid. No one lights a lamp to put it under a
bucket, but on a lamp-stand where it gives light for everyone
in the house. And you, like the lamp, must shed light among
your fellow men, so that they may see the deed you do, and
give glory to your Father in heaven."    Matthew 5:14-16



Order for Evening    109




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

If I say, "Surely the darkness will cover me, and the light
around me turn to night," darkness is not dark to you, O
Lord; the night is as bright as the day; darkness and light to
you are both alike.    Psalm 139:10-11

The Officiant then says the Prayer for Light, using any one of the
following or some other suitable prayer, first saying

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.

Grant us, Lord, the lamp of charity which never fails, that it
may burn in us and shed its light on those around us, and
that by its brightness we may have a vision of that holy City,
where dwells the true and never-failing Light, Jesus Christ
our Lord. Amen.

O Lord God Almighty, as you have taught us to call the
evening, the morning, and the noonday one day; and have
made the sun to know its going down: Dispel the darkness of
our hearts, that by your brightness we may know you to be
the true God and eternal light, living and reigning for ever
and ever. Amen.



110    Order for Evening




Lighten our darkness, we beseech thee, O Lord; and by thy
great mercy defend us from all perils and dangers of this
night; for the love of thy only Son, our Savior, Jesus Christ.
Amen.

Advent

Collect for the First Sunday of Advent

Christmas, Epiphany, and other Feasts of the Incarnation

Collect for the First Sunday after Christmas

Lent and other times of penitence

Almighty and most merciful God, kindle within us the fire of
love, that by its cleansing flame we may be purged of all our
sins and made worthy to worship you in spirit and in truth;
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Easter Season

Eternal God, who led your ancient people into freedom by a
pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night: Grant that
we who walk in the light of your presence may rejoice in the
liberty of the children of God; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Amen.

Festivals of Saints

Lord Christ, your saints have been the lights of the world
in every generation: Grant that we who follow in their
footsteps may be made worthy to enter with them into that
heavenly country where you live and reign for ever and ever.
Amen.



Order for Evening    111




The candles at the Altar are now lighted, as are other candles and lamps
as may be convenient.

During the candle-lighting, an appropriate anthem or psalm may be
sung, or silence kept.


The following hymn, or a metrical version of it, or some other hymn,
is then sung

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 praises, 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.

The service may then continue in any of the following ways:

With Evening Prayer, beginning with the Psalms; or with some other
Office or Devotion;

With the celebration of the Holy Eucharist, beginning with the Salutation
and Collect of the Day;

Or, it may be followed by a meal or other activity, in which case Phos
hilaron may be followed by the Lord's Prayer and a grace or blessing;

Or, it may continue as a complete evening Office with the following
elements:



112    Order for Evening




Selection from the Psalter. Silence, or a suitable Collect, or both, may
follow the Psalmody.

Bible Reading. A sermon or homily, a passage from Christian literature,
or a brief silence, may follow the Reading.

Canticle. The Magnificat or other canticle, or some other hymn of praise.

Prayers. A litany, or other suitable devotions, including the Lord's Prayer.

Blessing or Dismissal, or both. The Peace may then be exchanged.


On feasts or other days of special significance, the Collect of the Day, or
one proper to the season, may precede the Blessing or Dismissal. On
other days, either of the following, or one of the Collects from Evening
Prayer or from Compline, may be so used.

Blessed are you, O Lord, the God of our fathers, creator
of the changes of day and night, giving rest to the weary,
renewing the strength of those who are spent, bestowing
upon us occasions of song in the evening. As you have
protected us in the day that is past, so be with us in the
coming night; keep us from every sin, every evil, and every
fear; for you are our light and salvation, and the strength
of our life. To you be glory for endless ages. Amen.

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.



Order for Evening    113




A bishop or priest may use the following or some other blessing or grace

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

A deacon or lay person using the preceding blessing substitutes "us"
for "you."

A dismissal may be used (adding "Alleluia, alleluia" in Easter Season)

The People respond

Thanks be to God.

In Easter Season the People respond

Thanks be to God. Alleluia, alleluia.


114    Order for Evening