Lauds and Vespers

LAUDS: We Pray Not to Something, but from Something, to Which We Must Give Voice

By Reverend Davidson Loehr

We pray not to something, but from something, to which we must give voice;
not to escape from our life, but to focus it;
not to relinquish our mind, but to replenish our soul.
We pray that we may live with honesty:
that we can accept who we are,
and admit who we are not;
that we don’t become so deafened by pride and fear
that we ignore the still small voices within us,
that could lead us out of darkness.
We pray that we can live with trust and openness:
to those people, those experiences, and those transformations
that can save us from narrowness and despair.
And we pray on behalf of these hopes
with an open heart, an honest soul,
and a grateful reverence for the life which has been given to us.
We pray not to something, but from something, to which we must give voice.
AMEN.
LAUDS: We Pray to the Angels of Our Better Nature

We pray to the angels of our better nature and the still small voice that can speak to us when we feel safe enough to listen.

Help us to love people and causes outside of ourselves, that we may be enlarged to include them.

Help us remember that we are never as alone or as powerless as we think.

Help us remember that we can, if we will, invest ourselves in relationships, institutions and causes that transcend and expand us.

Help us guard our hearts against those relationships and activities that diminish us and weaken our life force.

And help us give our hearts to those relationships that might, with our help, expand our souls and our worlds.

We know that every day both life and death are set before us. Let us have the faith and courage to choose those involvements that can lead us toward life, toward life more abundant.

And help us find the will to serve those life-giving involvements with our heart, our mind and our spirit.

We ask that we may see more clearly in these matters, and that we have the will to hold to those relationships that demand, and cherish, the very best in us. Just that, just those.

Amen.
LAUDS: To Full Remembrance of Our Greater Calling

May the life of our minds and breath of our being bring us once more to full remembrance of our greater calling. Strangely do we walk through the days of our years, unseeing, unhearing, inattentive, and the glory of life is all about us and we do not know that it is there. We wrap ourselves up in the petty and the trivial, and sometimes even in the mean and sordid, shutting out life’s promise. We are afraid of life – afraid of its truth and goodness and its mighty claim upon us – and we wall ourselves in, thinking to be safe: and so we scarcely live at all.

Oh, may the walls be broken down! Let winds that have swept the far horizons blow now upon the barriers that we have built to keep us paltry! Let them all be swept away! That the light of the heavens may light our lives, the vision of good enlarge our minds, and the love of all that is noble and true find room in our hearts.

How vain are all our hopes, how empty all our prayers, until we ourselves are ready to fulfill them.
VESPERS: The Prayers of Those Who Love Us Best

Let us pray that the prayers of those who love us best will be answered.

Our best friends pray that we will be people of good character. They hope we will hold ourselves to high standards, and welcome constructive criticism when we stray.

Let us hope their prayers are answered.

Those who care about what is best in us pray that we will honor what is best in us. They hope we will listen to the angels of our better nature, not the angels of our lesser selves.

Let us hope their prayers are answered.

And those close to us know, as we know, that what we really believe, the gods we really serve, will be judged by our actions – not our words, but our actions, whether noble or ignoble, loving or mean. And they hope and pray, those who love us best, that we will serve, and be defined by, those angels of our better nature. That’s how we know they love us best. Let us pray that their prayers are answered.

Amen.
VESPERS: Let Us Gather Up Our Souls

Let us gather up our souls.

1. From personal interactions, let us gather up our souls:

– from relationships where we have accepted duplicity rather than integrity, let us gather them.

– from those places where we have promised to be true, but have not delivered on our promise, let us reclaim our integrity.

2. From our roles at work and in business dealing, let us gather up our souls:

– from those days when we return home grateful that we can have higher standards in our personal lives than we do at work, let us reclaim what must be ours.

– rather than playing mute and compliant roles in businesses we know to be cutting ethical corners, let us speak up, however we can, to wonder whether we can’t all do our work with more integrity, so we don’t all have to check our souls at the door.

3. And from our nation’s actions at home and abroad, let us gather up our souls, rendering to Caesar only what is Caesar’s, and keeping for our own souls what is most holy and inviolate.

– When we find high words being used to achieve low ends, let us look into our hearts and find a way to speak out.

In all that we are and do, we need to come from a place of integrity and authenticity that is only available to people who have taken care to own their own souls. It is that center from which we need to live, and which we seek.

So let us gather up our souls from all the places where they have become misplaced or dissipated, like strangers to us. Let us gather up our souls.

Amen.

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