Since moving to Atlanta, several senior communities have invited me to speak at their Vespers’ Service. The title comes from a Latin word meaning “evening.” Technically, the worship service occurs at the 6th canonical hour in the late afternoon. In common usage, however, it refers to any evening prayer service.
The Anglican tradition calls the service “evensong” which appeals to the poet in me. The United Methodist Book of Worship takes a more prosaic approach with the title: “An Order of Evening Praise and Prayer.” More descriptive, certainly, but not nearly as lyrical.
An ancient prayer from the 4th century, Syrian church declares:
We praise and thank you, O God,
for you are without beginning and without end.
Through Christ, you created the whole world;
through Christ, you preserve it.
You made the day for the works of light
and the night for the refreshment of our minds and bodies.
Keep us now in Christ; grant us a peaceful evening,
a night free from sin; and bring us at last to eternal life.
Through Christ and in the Holy Spirit,
we offer you all glory, honor, and worship,
now and forever.