A Service for Lughnasadh

We will be having an online communion service for Lughnasadh next Sunday (August 6, 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 Lughnasadh by clicking HERE. Looking forward to seeing many of you there!

As an aside, if you are one of the wonderful people who purchased a copy of my newly released book Psalter of the Birds, please take a moment to leave a review on Amazon. It really helps to get the word out! Thank you all for the overwhelming support you have shown.

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

The sacred theologians hand down to us
	This truth about the Mother Mary
How she is the exemplar of faith
	And of the spiritual wombs in our hearts

The mother of the Word
	Is the true and pure faith
Just as the Word who, as God
	Is by nature the creator of his mother

Who gave birth to him in the flesh
	He made her his mother
Out of love for humankind
	And accepted to be born from her as a man

So too the Word first creates faith within us
	And then becomes the son of that faith
From which he is embodied
	Through the practice of the virtues

Therefore blessed is the one
	Who through divine wisdom
Has actively made God in themself
	And who has brought to fullness

The inception of this mystery
	And who passively experiences 
Becoming God by grace
	For their contemplation will never end

By your generous dispositions
	Which were born from your heart
You nourish the Word in accordance
	With right practice and contemplation

As if from these two breasts
	You nurse the Word along
To growth in abundance of holy ideas
	And the way you live your life

So that, paradoxical as it sounds
	His own growth becomes
The deification of the mind
	Which is itself nourishing him

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 beings and allow us to participate in his timeless resurrection from the dead.

Everyone takes communion 

5 min of silence


Patron Patrick, apostle of Ireland, bright beacon of the light of Christ, when you were a slave in a foreign land, spending every day tending to sheep, you prayed regularly and with great sincerity. More and more the love of God and the fear of her grew in you. Your faith grew deeper and your spirit awakened. You spent your time in the forests and the mountains, praying all the while. In rain, hail, or snow you still rose each morning before dawn to pray. There was no evil or spiritual laziness in you. The spirit was fervent in you and a voice spoke to you in the night saying, “you have fasted well, soon you will begin the journey home.” By opening up the hidden wealth of nature and bringing it out into the open, you demonstrated what all of us are capable of. You have taught us how great the treasure hidden in our souls is. A treasure which we possess but fail to put into use. Because we do not put it to use, we forget that it exists and even come to believe it is not there at all. 

Come my friends, it is time to approach the secret places of your soul. Let everyone know themself more deeply. Let your mind itself be the judge of its own goodness. Let us be instructed by the inner teachings of the heart. Turn inward and learn about all the good qualities of your soul from no other source but the soul itself. When you do good naturally, without the imposition of an outer law, you are a law for yourself. You show that the requirements of the law are written on your heart, your conscience also bearing witness, and your thoughts sometimes accusing you and at other times even defending you. 

Patrick, what a remarkable person you were! A man of the gospels where the gospel was unknown, a man who learned the ways of God by going out into the wilderness and turning inward towards the law written on his heart, a man who brought forth the vitality of nature in order to feed his sheep. You fed them with spiritual food, the bread of heaven, and led them to the water of baptism. Pray to Jesus Christ the Son of God, dear Patrick, that the vitality of nature will be opened up within us. May the seeds of virtue sown in our hearts grow strong and produce a bountiful harvest for God. Through Christ our Lord. Amen

Short period of silence

Reader 5

The voice of the spiritual eagle can be heard 
        Echoing throughout the universal church
Wherever the gospels are being read
	For the eagle is a symbol of John the Beloved

May we hear the eagle’s fleeting words 
        With our embodied outer senses
May we penetrate their eternal meaning
	With our hidden inner mind

This is the voice of the bird 
        Who soars above all theory
Not the voice of the one 
        Who flies in the air among the clouds

It soars on the wings of the deepest theology
	Wings of unclouded intuitions 
Wings of beautiful contemplation
        Soaring high above all that is and all that is not

Not only does the eagle soar above 
        What can be thought or spoken of
But also above those things which are beyond 
        All understanding and explanation

The eagle’s mind takes off on a flight 
        One which no one can understand
He is raised up beyond everything that is
	And penetrates deep into the heart of God

John laid his head upon the breast of Jesus
	Where he heard the heartbeat of Christ
Listening to the rhythm of the love of God
	In peaceful and beautiful contemplation

The eagle’s contemplation is sharp as an arrow
	Once it has gazed upon the face of truth
No cloud can ever blind its inner eyes
	John the Eagle rose above every cloud

He was lifted up by the ineffable power
	Of wisdom in the heights of his mind
Where he entered into that which is above all else
	The secret burning sun of the Trinity

He was able to ascend to the sun
	Because he first became the sun
Just as our eyes cannot see the world’s colours
	Until they are united with the light of the sun
So the saints cannot participate 
	In the incomprehensible truth
Until they have been transformed 
	By the light of the Son of God

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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