It's Sunday morning on Vine Street, and the church buildings are full of people of all ages. There's chatter and laughter on the steps and in the hallways, singing, prayer, and music in the sanctuary - lots of energy, from early in the morning until the last after-worship conversation over coffee has ended. Sunday is a day of worship and learning, nurturing relationships and making new friends, a day of celebration and sabbath rest.
A few weeks ago the Elders created a sanctuary of a different kind, a window to sabbath rest in the middle of the week. We used to use our chapel only for worship on Sunday morning and on occasion for a small wedding or funeral. Now we gather there every Wednesday evening at 5:30 p.m. for Evening Prayer, led by one of our Elders.
The chapel is especially beautiful at that time of day. The sun is low, and the mild light pours through the windows, bathing the entire space in a warm glow. It is wonderful to just sit there and enjoy the peaceful silence.
Evening Prayer is a brief service, lasting only about thirty minutes, of responsive readings from the book of psalms, a reading from scripture or a short meditation, the Magnificat, a. k. a. the song of Mary from Luke 1:47-55, prayers of intercession, and the Lord's Prayer.
You could wait for a particularly hurried week to come by the chapel on Wednesday evening to immerse yourself in the peace of God, or you could just come next Wednesday to sit and rest, to pray for the church and the world.
Sometimes I cannot participate in this midweek Evening Prayer, but whenever I do, I leave enveloped by that light, and with a sense of deep joy.