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What is a Vespers Service?
Wednesday, December 30, 2009 • Posted December 30, 2009

Recently, the Order of Saint Luke, began holding Vespers services on the first Wednesday of each month in the sanctuary. So, what exactly is a vespers service? The term "vespers" simply means evening. It is a daily prayer service that is part of an ancient tradition of services or offices that occur at different times each day. Members of the Order of Saint Luke, will typically pray six or seven times daily. To put vespers in its proper place, the order of offices goes something like this: A morning service called lauds, followed by three shorter services spaced throughout the day usually mid morning, noon, and afternoon called diurnal offices, then a vespers service in the evening, followed by an office known as compline before bed.

So, what can you expect if you decide to attend a vespers service? A vespers service is designed for prayer, confession, meditation on the scriptures, and more prayer. There is no sermon or message. The emphasis is on reflection and meditation.

We open with quiet personal prayer followed by a prayer of Thanksgiving to God. And, because incense has been a long tradition within the Jewish and ancient Christian church associated with prayer, we will burn incense and recall the scripture in Revelation 8:3-4, "An angel, holding a golden censer full of incense, stood before the altar. The smoke of the incese went up before God, mingled with the prayers of the people." We will make ample time for confession together as well as silent confession. You can expect to hear a reading from the Psalms, followed by Old and New Testament readings with significant time between each reading to meditate on God’s Word. We will then pray for each other and pray with confidence and conviction for God’s blessing on the concerns we have and give thanksgiving for the joys and blessings He has given us.

This is the type of service that strives to create an atmosphere in which we are able to set aside outside influences and really connect with our God. It was following this type of service that Father John Wesley, the founder of the Methodist movement, attended a Bible meeting in which he had his Aldersgate conversion experience that influenced his ministry from that day forward. In his words, John Wesley declared that he felt his heart strangely warmed and, "an assurance was given me that He had taken away my sins, even mine, and saved me from the law of sin and death."

Next Vespers service: January 6

Everyone is invited to attend. From Mason, take Highway 87 South toward Fredericksburg about ten miles, then turn right onto Ranch Road 783 and continue about 4 miles and turn left onto Loeffler Ln. The church is just at 6:00 PM at Hilda United Methodist Church.

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