Tonight I light the vesper candle above my desk and settle in for a time of prayer. In the midst of summer, of Ordinary Time, one week's prayers seem to melt into the next, and I have to double-check how many weeks after Trinity this Sunday is.
I pray the Collect for this day, this week--the Eighth Sunday After Trinity:
O GOD, whose never-failing providence ordereth all things both in heaven and earth; We humbly beseech thee to put away from us all hurtful things, and to give us those things which are profitable for us; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.And then I pray the Phos Hilaron, called "Hail Gladdening Light" in English. Dated from the late third or early fourth century, this vesper prayer was first taught to me at Lake Murray Community Church--not Alpine Anglican Church of the Blessed Trinity, believe it or not, although I have prayed it there--by Pastor Rollo Casiple, now senior pastor at La Vina Community Church in Miami. Here it is as Rollo taught us (this version is from the 1979 BCP):
O gracious Light,I was a little surprised to read that the English translation of the Phos Hilaron is "Hail Gladdening Light" as we sing a song by that title often at Lake Murray, usually during Communion:
pure brightness of the everliving Father in heaven,
O Jesus Christ, holy and blessed!
Now as we come to the setting of the sun,
and our eyes behold the vesper light,
we sing your praises, O God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
You are worthy at all times to be praised by happy voices,
O Son of God, O Giver of life,
and to be glorified through all the worlds.
Hail Gladdening Light, sun so brightHaving the word "hymn" function as a verb bugs me a little, but I like the song overall--it often plays in my head all week after singing it on Sunday. However, I never made the connection between the ancient vesper prayer Phos Hilaron and the modern praise song "Hail Gladdening Light."
Jesus Christ, end of night, alleluia
Hail Gladdening Light, Eternal Bright
In evening time, 'round us shine, alleluia, alleluia
Hail Gladdening Light, such joyous Light
O Brilliant Star, forever shine, alleluia, alleluia
We hymn the Father, we hymn the Son
We hymn the Spirit, wholly Divine
No one more worthy of songs to be sung
To the Giver of Life, all glory is Thine
I turn to the Vesper Prayers for today in The Divine Hours: Prayers for Summertime and pray. When I finish, I extinguish the stained glass candle, the light no longer flickering, no longer brightening the curve of the mosaic-style colored glass.
Wishing you all a blessed Lord's Day,