As a way of celebrating and marking the Lenten season, we are gathering as a faith community on six consecutive Wednesday evenings for prayer, scripture, silence, music, reflection, and a shared ritual. These services may strike you as unusual and quite different from what we typically envision or expect out of a worship service.
In planning these vespers – a fancy word for an evening service – the staff’s hope is that participants will find the experience to be more contemplative and even a bit more spiritual, if you will, from a typical Sunday service. By design, a vesper service is quieter, moves at a slower pace, and includes “breathing space” for personal reflection.
At a recent Lenten vesper service, we shared in a ritual of mindful eating as together we ate raisins, contemplating the God who created them, the persons who cultivated the land on which they grew, the texture of the raisins as we held them in our hands, and their burst of flavor as we placed them on our tongues. Sound weird to you? A little odd for a worship service?
Sharing in this kind of practice during a worship service may be new for many of us. But I promise you that the more you experience these kind of services, the more comfortable you will feel, and the more you will want to deepen your own spiritual life and practice.