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
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
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
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
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.”
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
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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