The lights were dimmed, candles lit, and paintings depicting God’s amazing beauty and power displayed in creation framed our space for worship. Instead of being seated in the green chairs of the sanctuary, we were seated in the red chairs of the choir loft, creating a more intimate environment for worship and an atmosphere for a more authentic connection with God and with each other. There was a sense of the holy in our midst. We gathered to worship God; we gathered to engage in a new approach to an ancient service of worship, Evensong.
Together in prayer the congregation began,
“My soul waits for the Lord
More than those
Who watch for the morning
More than those
Who watch for the morning.”
We entreated the Lord,
“Out of the depths I have cried to You.”
“O Lord, hear my voice.”
Then there was stillness; silence creating a space to reflect on our just uttered longing for God. Softly and slowly the silence was filled: filled with the familiar sound of an acoustic guitar; filled with the familiar melody of Amazing Grace. Together the congregation sang – “I once was lost, but now am found, was blind but now I see.” The singing resonated not just from our voices, but from our souls. We believed these words.
The service continued with more prayer, more silence, more stillness, and more song. To end the service was to be torn away from a precious gift and to long for a few more moments in the presence of the Lord. To end was to leave with the assurance that we met with the Lord, that the Lord will go with us as we go from this place, and that the Lord will meet with us again as we gather next time.
Such was our first experience of God through Evensong worship on Thursday nights this past Spring. Each week during Evensong folks gathered to enter into a time of prayer, reflection, and powerfully enlivened worship, singing old classic hymns and learning new songs that invited worshippers into the presence of God. During these worship services God’s presence was felt; hurting souls were tended; dry and tired spirits received watering; and all walked away with the sure and certain knowledge we had met with the Lord. There was an electricity to our gatherings each Thursday night during Evensong and a profound sense of spirituality. Evensong represented an important moment in the worshipping life of GPC as it provided a new opportunity to authentically experience the presence of Christ. Because of the profound impact Evensong had on all who participated, it will return and will become a regular part of GPC’s worshipping life.
In the spirit of Evensong, I want to invite you to two things. First, I invite you to a new commitment to a deepened spirituality in your life. Participate in worship, read the Scriptures, engage in prayer. Experience the Holy Spirit unleashed in your life as you experience healing and wholeness and hope. Second, I invite you to remain committed to the ministry of Gardens Presbyterian Church. The ministry of GPC is to be God’s agent of pastoral care, spiritual development, and Christ-ly service for those who are lonely, scared, sick, dying, hopeless, discouraged, confused, unsure, threatened, and vulnerable. GPC is God’s means of spreading the Good News of God’s love for you – and all – in Jesus Christ. Come be a part of this beautiful gift.