Evening Prayer – June 8, 2021

Silence and Centering – Pause for 2 minutes of Silence  

“Be still, and know that I am God; – Psalm 46:1

Confession: 

Merciful God, we confess that we have sinned against you in thought, word, and deed. We have not loved you with our whole heart and mind and strength; we have not loved our neighbors as ourselves. In your mercy, forgive what we have been, help us amend what we are, and direct what we shall be, so that we may delight in your will and walk in your ways, to the glory of your holy name. Amen.

FIRST READING: Psalm 108


God, my heart is steady.
    I will sing and praise you with all my being.
Wake up, harp and lyre!
    I will wake up the dawn.
Lord, I will praise you among the nations;
    I will sing songs of praise about you to all the nations.
Your great love reaches to the skies,
    your truth to the heavens.
God, you are supreme above the skies.
    Let your glory be over all the earth.

Answer us and save us by your power
    so the people you love will be rescued.
God has said from his Temple,
    “When I win, I will divide Shechem
    and measure off the Valley of Succoth.
Gilead and Manasseh are mine.
    Ephraim is like my helmet.
    Judah holds my royal scepter.
Moab is like my washbowl.
    I throw my sandals at Edom.
    I shout at Philistia.”

10 Who will bring me to the strong, walled city?
    Who will lead me to Edom?
11 God, surely you have rejected us;
    you do not go out with our armies.
12 Help us fight the enemy.
    Human help is useless,
13 but we can win with God’s help.
    He will defeat our enemies.

SECOND READING: 1 Samuel 16:14-23

14 But the Lord’s Spirit had left Saul, and an evil spirit from the Lord troubled him.

15 Saul’s servants said to him, “See, an evil spirit from God is troubling you. 16 Give us the command to look for someone who can play the harp. When the evil spirit from God troubles you, he will play, and you will feel better.”

17 So Saul said to his servants, “Find someone who can play well and bring him to me.”

18 One of the servants said, “I have seen a son of Jesse of Bethlehem play the harp. He is brave and courageous. He is a good speaker and handsome, and the Lord is with him.”

19 Then Saul sent messengers to Jesse, saying, “Send me your son David, who is with the sheep.” 20 So Jesse loaded a donkey with bread, a leather bag full of wine, and a young goat, and he sent them with his son David to Saul.

21 When David came to Saul, he began to serve him. Saul liked David and made him the officer who carried his armor. 22 Saul sent a message to Jesse, saying, “Let David stay and serve me because I like him.”

23 When the evil spirit from God troubled Saul, David would take his harp and play. Then the evil spirit would leave him, and Saul would feel better.

REFLECTION:

In the reading today we begin to see the effects of Israel’s determination to have a human king. Saul, who was the first king chosen to rule Israel, has become increasingly tormented. When you read the details of his story you see him becoming more and more power hungry, paranoid and arrogant. It’s like the fact that the people chose him over God has gone to his head and, as power often does, corrupted him. It may be disturbing to read that the “tormenting spirit” was “from God”, but this simply reflects the beliefs of the writer who lived at a time when everything, both good and evil, was believed to originate in God.

It’s important to keep this cultural framework in mind and resist the temptation to read this passage literally as God sending evil on someone. What is fascinating about this story, though, is how the praise of David casts the darkness out of Saul’s soul. David, the psalm-singing shepherd, was a musician and songwriter who wrote and played worship music. Many of his songs can still be found in the book of Psalms. It was almost certainly this music that David played, and the worship it expressed restored Saul’s clarity of mind and brought him back into connection with God. It makes sense that Saul, who had begun to feel and act god-like, would find peace of mind when he was reminded that there was a God who was much greater than he.

Perhaps in those moments, away from the responsibility of being king, he could submit himself to God again, and give his allegiance to God’s Reign. Perhaps it was this humility and submission that brought him peace and healing. Is there any area of your life where you are becoming stressed because you take too much control or responsibility, or where you are struggling to keep faith? Could it perhaps bring you peace to take a little more time to worship and re-affirm your allegiance to God’s Reign today?

DO: The practice of praise is the best way to remember that there is a God, but we are not that God. When we immerse ourselves in the presence of God and in a vision of God’s greatness and love, we usually find relief from any confusion or darkness in us. Try it today.

PRAY: I praise you, O God, for your truth and light and for the clarity and freedom they give me.

PRAY: Today, help me to live, O God, with hospitality, service and patient, joyful endurance.

As I listen for your voice, O God, so I become more alert to the signs of your coming.:

Faithful God Hear our Prayer.

For all who suffer, that they may find comfort through their faith, we pray.

For all those who minister to the sick, that they be signs of God’s love we pray.

For doctors, nurses and caregivers, that their actions be done with love we pray.

For Ourselves, that we always believe that God holds us gently we pray.

Gracious Father, we pray for your Church. Fill it with all truth, in all truth with all peace. Where it is corrupt, purify it; where it is in error, direct it; where in anything it is amiss, reform it. Where it is right, strengthen it; where it is in want, provide for it; where it is divided, reunite it; for the sake of Jesus Christ your Son our Savior. Amen.

Our Father which art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. For yours is the kingdom, the power, and the glory forever, Amen.

Look with favor, O God.

On all our needs

And hear our pleas when we cry out to you.

Grant to us, the faith of the centurion,

That we might give you glory

For the mercy and compassion

That lifts us up with your Son, our Lord Jesus Christ,

Who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,

One God, for ever and ever Amen!

God, I thank you for all that you helped me accomplish during this day. Thank you for giving me the strength and energy, as well as the focus and ability to do all the things that got done today. Thank you for blessing me with people in my life today who were funny or encouraging or helpful. Thank you for your favor and care for me throughout the day. And now, I thank you for sweet rest throughout the night. Amen.

Conclude with 5 Minutes of Silence

The Our Father (slowly pray this)
Our Father which art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. For yours is the kingdom, the power, and the glory forever, Amen.

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