A Service for the Summer Solstice

We will be having an online communion service for the summer solstice today (Sept 25, 2023). It is open for anyone and everyone to participate. We ask that you bring your own wine/juice and bread/crackers. The Chapel zoom room will be open at 2 pm eastern time for fellowship and the service will begin at 2:15. The readings and prayers in this liturgy are a mixture of medieval and modern sources creatively woven together into a new synthesis. Some of the readings are texts which would not have originally been used in a liturgical setting. You can get onto zoom by clicking HERE. You can read more about some of the ways people honour the summer solstice by clicking HERE. Looking forward to seeing many of you there!

Call to Worship

Every generous act of giving, with every perfect gift, is from above, coming down from the Mother of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change. In fulfilment of her own purpose she gave birth to us by the word of truth, so that we would become a kind of first fruits of her creatures. Beloveds, in this moment we are God’s children; what we will become has not yet been revealed. What we do know is this: when Christ is revealed, we will be like him, for we will see him as he is. All who have this hope in him purify themselves, just as he is pure. May our prayers ascend to your throne of brightness, Lord, and let our prayer not return to us empty.

Light the candle

Reader 1

God of fire who created fire
       God of light who gives us light
God of life who is the author of life
       God of salvation who is our saviour

In case our lamps grow dim this evening
       And lose the joys of this night
Give us your light in our hearts
       Since you do not want us to die

You give two gifts to those of us
       Who are wandering from Egypt 
First you reveal the cloudy veil
       Then the light which shines in the night
You use a pillar of cloud in the day
	To give shade to people as they wander
You use a pillar of fire in the evening
	To drive out the darkness with light

You speak to your servant from within the fire
	You do not reject the thornbush
Even though you are a consuming flame
       You do not burn that which you illuminate

The cloudy beeswax, which is their bread
	Must now be consumed, burning away impurity
And the flesh of wax will start to glow
	In the radiance of the Holy Spirit

The divine honey is put away
	In the hidden recesses of the comb
You have cleansed the inner cells of the heart
	Filling them with your sweet word

So that the next generation of the swarm
	Who have been chosen by your Spirit
May leave behind every burden and win heaven
	Now that their wings are free from care 

Short period of silence

Reader 2

The observation of nature teaches us
	That all things must return to their source
Human nature must also return to its own source
	Which is the Word in whom we live

Human nature was created in God’s image and likeness
	God the common first principle of all things
We will return to where we have come from
	Because we never fully abandon God

Through sin our nature has become tarnished
	It no longer bears the likeness of God
Likeness brings us nearer to God
	Unlikeness removes us to a distance

However, it is not by paces of the foot
	That we move towards or away from God
Rather we move closer or further
	By the affections of our minds

The light of the sun is not lost because of distance
	We lose its light when we close our eyes
It is not space which separates us from health
	We are separated from health by our pain

It happens in exactly the same way
	When we leave behind the virtues
Of life, blessedness, and wisdom
	Sin is the emptiness where they once were

In the same way that skin is infected with leprosy
	So human nature is infected with sin
In this illness the soul ceases to resemble
	The likeness of Jesus Christ its maker

When the soul is cured of that leprosy
	By the medicine of the Divine Grace
It will be restored to its former beauty
	And I will tell you one thing more

The nature which is created in the image of God
	Never truly lost the blossom of its beauty
Nor did it lose the integrity of its essence
	Nor could such a thing ever happen

Short period of silence

Invitation to the thurible

Beloveds, right now we see only a reflection of Christ, as in a mirror, but one day we will see each other face to face. Now we know only in part; one day we will know perfectly, even as we are perfectly known. The Lord is Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. All of us, with unveiled faces, seeing the glory of the Lord as though reflected in a mirror, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For now faith, hope, and love remain, these three, and the greatest of these is love.

Light the thurible

We say the following prayer three times in the depths of our hearts, breathing in the first line and out the second. 

May Christ dwell in my heart through faith
       As I am being rooted and grounded in love

Short period of silence

Reader 3

Gentle Mary, noble maiden, give us help
       You are the shrine of our Lord's body
You are the jewel box of mysteries
       Queen of queens, pure holy maiden

Pray for us that our many transgressions
       May be forgiven for your sake
O merciful one, O forgiving one
       With the grace of the Holy Spirit

Pray with us to our king the fair judge 
       King of the good and fragrant clan
The fair branch of Jesse's tree 
       In the beautiful hazel wood

Pray for us until we obtain 
       Forgiveness of our many sins
Mary, splendid royal crown 
       The one who saved our race

You are a glorious noble torch
       You are the orchard of Kings
The brilliant one, the resplendent one
       Who lived in pure chastity

O fair golden illumined ark
       O holy daughter from Heaven
O mother of righteousness
       You surpass everyone else

Pray with us to your firstborn 
       To save us on the day of doom
O noble rare star, O blossoming tree
       O powerful and precious lamp

O sun that warms everyone
      O ladder of the great path
By which every saint ascends
       May you be our safeguard 
      Towards the glorious Kingdom

The noble guest was in your womb 
       For three times three months
Fair fragrant seat chosen by the King
      Glorious royal porch through which he was incarnated
The splendid and chosen sun
       Jesus, Son of the living God

For the sake of the fair babe 
       That was conceived in your womb
For the sake of the holy child 
       That is High King in every place

For the sake of his cross 
       That is higher than any cross
For the sake of his burial 
       When he was buried in a stone tomb

For the sake of his resurrection 
       When he arose before everyone
For the sake of the holy household 
       From every place until doom

O Mother Mary be our safeguard 
       In the Kingdom of the Good Lord
That we may meet with dear Jesus	
       That is our prayer
       Hail Mary full of grace

Short period of silence

Reader 4

My dearest siblings, give ear to our words
       And you may hear something which you need
That will refresh your thirsting mind
       With streams of water from the divine fountain

But do not let your thirst be quenched
       Drink but do not become satisfied
For now the fountain of life calls to you saying
       “Let the one who is thirsty come to me and drink”	

Our Lord and God Jesus Christ
	Is himself the fountain of life
The fountain calls us to himself
	So that we may drink from his living waters

The one who loves in their heart
	Drinks from Christ the fountain
And they are refreshed by the Word of God
	Lovingly adoring and longing for God

The one who drinks from the fountain
	Burns with the love of wisdom
Let us open the mouth of our inner person
	And eat the bread which has come down from heaven

Eat, my friends, of Christ the bread
	Drink as well, of Christ the fountain
The one who calls himself the living bread
	The one who gives life to this world

Look and see where the fountain flows from
	For it flows from the same place
Where the bread also came down
	Since he is the same who is bread and fountain

The only Son of God, Christ the Lord
	The one for whom we should always hunger
Although we feast on him every time we show love
	Let us always hunger and desire him

And since he is also the fountain
	Let us drink and overflow with love
Let us drink without ceasing and with deep longing
	So we may find joy in his unending beauty

Although we eat and drink of the Lord
	Let us always be thirsty and hungry
Since the food and drink which we seek
	Is unending and never runs dry

Even though Christ is eaten, he is not consumed
	Even though we drink him, he is not lessened
Because our bread exists in eternity
        And our fountain flows perpetually without ceasing

Scripture Reading (Luke 24, redacted)

On the first day of the week, at early dawn, Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the other women with them, found the empty tomb. Afterwards, Christ walked among his friends on the road to Emmaus, but they did not recognise him. Beginning with Moses and all the prophets, he interpreted to them the things about himself in all the scriptures. Then, as he was about to leave, they invited him to share a meal with them. 

When Jesus was at the table with them, he took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them. Then their eyes were opened, and they recognised him, and he vanished from their sight. They said to each other, “Were not our hearts burning within us while he was talking to us on the road, while he was opening the scriptures to us?” That same hour they got up and returned to Jerusalem, and they found the eleven and their companions gathered together. They were saying, “The Lord has risen indeed, and he has appeared to Simon!” Then they told what had happened on the road and how he had been made known to them in the breaking of the bread.  While they were talking about this, Jesus himself stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.” 

Institution narrative

Paul said to the Corinthians, I received from the Lord what I also handed on to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took a loaf of bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, “This is my body that is broken for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” In the same way he took the cup also, after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.” For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.

Epiclesis (said in unison)

Loving Mother God, from whom all things come and to whom all things will return, bless this bread and wine by your Holy Spirit that they may be for us a Celestial Medicine. Open our eyes that we may see these simple elements for what they truly are – the body and blood of Christ. May we rejoice in the gift of our own embodiment through the grace of your embodiment in this simple food and drink. As we take the body of Christ into our own bodies, may the sacred harmony of the angel song fill our hearts and minds and may we be united with your Son, who is beyond all nature and yet is the substance of all nature. Amen

Invitation to Communion

Behold, the Lamb of God who was slain before the foundation of the world. May the mixture of the body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ be salvation for all created beings and allow us to participate in his timeless resurrection from the dead.

Everyone takes communion 

5 min of silence


When the summer sun is at its height, the fullness of earth’s vitality is made manifest. The light consumes the earth, the earth becomes lush and vibrant, and a beautiful network of diversity and kinship arises. It dances to an ancient rhythm and it sings with the eternal harmony. So too, the soul who is enraptured in contemplation, expresses the fullness of her nature. The glory of God is the human being fully alive. It is the verdancy and vitality of human potential which is the image of God. We come to know God’s fullness when we come to know our own fullness. Deep calls unto deep and God’s face reflects in the water. Therefore, dear sisters and brothers, seek by the powers of reason to learn in what way and how much you already love yourself. The soul always loves itself, but sometimes it forgets. The self is the image of God and God is love, so if we ever truly see ourselves with eyes wide open we cannot help but fall in love with what we see. 

God of illumination who gives us light, God of vitality who gives us life, help us to remember the love we naturally have for ourselves, in order that our love of ourselves may be transfigured into love of you, the Ultimate Source of all Love and Selfhood. May our hearts reflect you as if they were mirrors. The mirror itself becomes light in the presence of light. May we reflect your perfect image and in so doing take the most important step towards knowledge of the truth. May we know ourselves so that we may love ourselves and may we love ourselves that we may know and love you, God of the sun and the summer. Amen

Short period of silence

Reader 5

Summer time, the best of seasons
       Splendid is colour then
Blackbirds sing a full song
       If there is a slender shaft of day

The dust coloured cuckoo calls aloud
      Welcome, splendid summer
The bitterness of bad weather is past
      The boughs of the wood are a thicket

Panic startles the heart of the deer
       The smooth sea runs swiftly
The season when the ocean sinks asleep
       Blossom covers the world

Bees with puny strength carry
       A goodly burden, the harvest of blossoms
Up the mountain side cattle take with them mud
       The ant makes a rich meal

The harp of the forest sounds music
       The sail gathers—perfect peace
Colour has settled on every height
       Haze on the lake of full waters

The corncrake, a strenuous bard, discourses
       The lofty cold waterfall sings
A welcome to the warm pool
       The talk of the rushes has come

Light swallows dart in the air
       Loud melody encircles the hill
The soft rich mast buds
      The stuttering swamp chatters

The peat-bog is as the raven's coat
       The loud cuckoo bids welcome
The speckled fish leaps up high
       Strong is the leap of the swift warrior

Humanity flourishes, the maiden buds
        In her fair strong pride
Perfect each forest from top to ground
       Perfect each great stately plain

Delightful is the season's splendour
       Rough winter has gone
Every fruitful wood shines white
      A joyous peace is summer

A flock of birds settles
       In the midst of meadows
The green field rustles
      Wherein is a rushing white stream

A wild longing is on you to race horses
       The ranked host is ranged around
A bright shaft has been shot into the land
       So that the water-flag is gold beneath it

A timorous, tiny, persistent little fellow
       Sings at the top of his voice
The lark sings clear tidings
       Surpassing summer time of delicate colours

Short period of silence


Dearly beloveds, I pray that you may be strengthened in your inner being with power through the Holy Spirit and that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith, as you are being rooted and grounded in love. I pray that you may have the power to understand, with all the saints, what is the breadth and length and height and depth and also to know the love of Christ that surpasses all understanding, so that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. The mass is completed, go in peace.

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