Shared Prayers

Longest Night Mass

8 December 2020

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Longest Night Mass
with Holy Eucharist
according to the Book of Common Prayer (p. 355ff.)

Preparing for the Liturgy

During this season of coronavirus infections, please demonstrate your love for your friends and neighbors by:

  1. Wearing a mask (covering both mouth and nose)
  2. Remaining six feet apart from anyone you don’t live with
  3. Refraining from touching, hugging and shaking hands – even during the Peace
  4. Singing is only permitted outdoors, six feet apart, wearing masks
  5. Service bulletins you have touched must be taken home
  6. After the service everyone must disperse with no lingering
  7. No sharing of common objects such as pens, paper, water bottles, etc.

If you are feeling ill or think you may have been exposed to someone ill within the last two weeks, please stay home and participate with us online instead of in person.

About the Longest Night

The winter solstice happens around 21 December every year. This is the longest night of the year, before the nights start getting shorter and the days longer. The Advent and Christmas seasons can feel like long, dark nights for those who find themselves out of step with the persistent and often artificial “cheer” of the season that assaults us from every side. The backdrop of traditions and cheeriness can remind us of our own losses and sadness. The added stresses of pandemic, politics, unrest, and visible injustice have added to our weight of sadness in 2020. The absence of the sun during this time of year doesn’t help either!

The Nativity of our Lord was a time for rejoicing, but it also involved much fear, sadness, anxiety, and terror. The Incarnation of our Lord meant that God in the flesh would experience the full range of human emotions, joining us in our mourning as well as in our joy.

The Longest Night Mass is intended to bring balance to our Advent and Christmas observances, making space for those emotions which don’t fit into the advertisers’ profit motive, but are very much a part of our lives. Sadness, emptiness, and even depression are valid, important emotions for Christians. They are God-given and correspond to the very real challenges and brokenness in our lives. You are welcome here.


We Gather in God’s Name

BCP 355

The people stand as able.

Greeting

Officiant:

Blessed be God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

People:

And blessed be God’s kingdom, now and for ever. Amen.

The Collect for Purity

Officiant:

Almighty God, to you all hearts are open, all desires known, and from you no secrets are hid: Cleanse the thoughts of our hearts by the inspiration of your Holy Spirit, that we may perfectly love you, and worthily magnify your holy Name; through Christ our Lord. Amen.

There will be no singing tonight due to the dangers of the pandemic. You are invited to sit and to listen quietly and meditatively as the hymns are played.

Hymn of Praise

O Come, O Come Emmanuel

Salutation and Collect

Officiant:

The Lord be with you.

People:

And also with you.

Officiant:

Let us pray.

Presider:

O God of peace, who has taught us that in returning and rest we shall be saved, in quietness and confidence shall be our strength: By the might of your Spirit lift us, we pray you, to your presence, where we may be still and know that you are God; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

The people are seated.

We Hear God’s Word

The First Lesson Isaiah 40:1-8, 27-31
Lector:

A reading from the prophet Isaiah.

Comfort, O comfort my people,
says your God.
Speak tenderly to Jerusalem,
and cry to her
that she has served her term,
that her penalty is paid,
that she has received from the Lord’s hand
double for all her sins.
A voice cries out:
‘In the wilderness prepare the way of the Lord,
make straight in the desert a highway for our God.
Every valley shall be lifted up,
and every mountain and hill be made low;
the uneven ground shall become level,
and the rough places a plain.
Then the glory of the Lord shall be revealed,
and all people shall see it together,
for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.’

A voice says, ‘Cry out!’
And I said, ‘What shall I cry?’
All people are grass,
their constancy is like the flower of the field.
The grass withers, the flower fades,
when the breath of the Lord blows upon it;
surely the people are grass.
The grass withers, the flower fades;
but the word of our God will stand for ever.

Why do you say, O Jacob,
and speak, O Israel,
‘My way is hidden from the Lord,
and my right is disregarded by my God’?
Have you not known? Have you not heard?
The Lord is the everlasting God,
the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He does not faint or grow weary;
his understanding is unsearchable.
He gives power to the faint,
and strengthens the powerless.
Even youths will faint and be weary,
and the young will fall exhausted;
but those who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength,
they shall mount up with wings like eagles,
they shall run and not be weary,
they shall walk and not faint.

The word of the Lord.

People:

Thanks be to God.

The Psalm 121
Levavi oculos

1 I lift up my eyes to the hills; *
from where is my help to come?
2 My help comes from the Lord, *
the maker of heaven and earth.

3 He will not let your foot be moved *
and he who watches over you will not fall asleep.
4 Behold, he who keeps watch over Israel *
shall neither slumber nor sleep;

5 The Lord himself watches over you; *
the Lord is your shade at your right hand,
6 So that the sun shall not strike you by day, *
nor the moon by night.

7 The Lord shall preserve you from all evil; *
it is he who shall keep you safe.
8 The Lord shall watch over your going out and your coming in, *
from this time forth for evermore.

The people stand as able.

The Holy Gospel John 1:1-5, 14
Deacon:

The Holy Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ according to John.

People:

Glory to you, Lord Christ.

Deacon:

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being. What has come into being in him was life, and the life was the light of all people. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it.

And the Word became flesh and lived among us, and we have seen his glory, the glory as of a father’s only son, full of grace and truth.

The Gospel of the Lord.

People:

Praise to you, Lord Christ.

The people are seated.
A brief homily, spiritual conversation, or moment of silence may be placed here.
Silence follows the homily.

We Respond in Faith

The people stand as able.

A Litany of Remembering

Presider:

We light this first Advent candle to remember those persons who have been loved and lost. We pause to remember their names, their faces, their voices. We give thanks for the memory that binds them to us this during season which anticipates Christmas.

People:

May God’s eternal love surround them.

Presider:

We light the second candle to redeem the pain of loss: the loss of relationships, the loss of jobs, the loss of health. As we gather up the pain of the past, we offer it to you, O God, asking that into our open hands you will place the gift of peace.

People:

Refresh, restore, renew us, O God, and lead us into your future.

Presider:

We light this third candle to remember ourselves this Christmas time. We pause and remember the past weeks, months and for some of us, years of difficult times. We remember the poignancy of memories, the grief, the sadness, the hurts, the pain of reflecting on our own mortality.

People:

Let us remember that dawn defeats darkness.

Presider:

This fourth candle is lit to remember our faith and the gift of hope which God offers to us in the Christmas story. We remember that God, who shares our life, promises us a place and time of no more pain and suffering.

People:

Let us remember the one who shows the way and who goes with us into our tomorrows.

The Christ candle will remain unlit as a sign of waiting for a future that is yet unknown to us, toward which God beckons us.
The priest will light a candle of remembrance and place it in the basin on the altar. The basin will be brought around to each pew. If you so desire, you may light your candle from one of those already in the basin, and place it in the basin to represent a memory, concern or burden of heart that you wish to place on the altar for God’s tender ministrations.

The Apostles’ Creed

Officiant and People together, all standing

I believe in God, the Father almighty,
creator of heaven and earth.
I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord.
He was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit
and born of the Virgin Mary.
He suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, died, and was buried.
He descended to the dead.
On the third day he rose again.
He ascended into heaven,
and is seated at the right hand of the Father.
He will come again to judge the living and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Spirit,
the holy catholic Church,
the communion of saints,
the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body,
and the life everlasting. Amen.

The Prayers of the People

Leader:

In the spirit of this season let us now confidently ask God for all the things we need; for ourselves as we participate in whatever way we can this Christmas: God, hear our Prayer.

People:

And in your mercy answer.

Leader:

For our families and friends that they may continue to help and support us: God, hear our prayer.

People:

And in your mercy answer.

Leader:

For the people we have loved that have died. For all the losses that we know, that all may be redeemed by your Easter promise: God, hear our prayer.

People:

And in your mercy answer.

Leader:

For all our family and friends that they may know love and peace and happiness in you: God, hear our prayer.

People:

And in your mercy answer.

Leader:

For the peace proclaimed by the Christmas angels, to come throughout the whole world: God, hear our prayer.

People:

And in your mercy answer.

Presider:

God of great compassion and love, listen to the prayers of these your people. Grant to all, especially the bereaved and troubled ones this Christmas, the blessing we ask in the name of Christ. Amen.

The people stand as able.
Passing the Peace is primarily a liturgical practice, not a social one. While the threat of Covid-19 is prominent, the peace will be brief. Please do not move around or make contact (shaking hands, hugs) with others. Instead you are invited to look to the person on either side of you and wish them peace with a bow or a wave.

The Peace

Presider:

The peace of the Lord be always with you.

People:

And also with you.

We greet one another in the name of the Lord.
The people are seated.

The Announcements

We Offer Ourselves to God

The people sit. No offering plate will be passed; you are invited to drop any donations into the receptacle at back on your way out.

Offertory Hymn

A stable lamp is lighted

The people stand as able.

The Great Thanksgiving: Eucharistic Prayer D

Presider:

The Lord be with you.

People:

And also with you.

Presider:

Lift up your hearts.

People:

We lift them to the Lord.

Presider:

Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.

People:

It is right to give God thanks and praise.

The Presider continues:

It is truly right to glorify you, Father, and to give you thanks; for you alone are God, living and true, dwelling in light inaccessible from before time and for ever.

Fountain of life and source of all goodness, you made all things and fill them with your blessing; you created them to rejoice in the splendor of your radiance.

Countless throngs of angels stand before you to serve you night and day; and, beholding the glory of your presence, they offer you unceasing praise. Joining with them, and giving voice to every creature under heaven, we acclaim you, and glorify your Name, as we say,

Sanctus

Presider and People:

Holy, holy, holy Lord, God of power and might,
heaven and earth are full of your glory.
Hosanna in the highest.
Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.
Hosanna in the highest.

The people stand or kneel.

Then the Presider continues:

We acclaim you, holy Lord, glorious in power. Your mighty works reveal your wisdom and love. You formed us in your own image, giving the whole world into our care, so that, in obedience to you, our Creator, we might rule and serve all your creatures. When our disobedience took us far from you, you did not abandon us to the power of death. In your mercy you came to our help, so that in seeking you we might find you. Again and again you called us into covenant with you, and through the prophets you taught us to hope for salvation.

Father, you loved the world so much that in the fullness of time you sent your only Son to be our Savior. Incarnate by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, he lived as one of us, yet without sin. To the poor he proclaimed the good news of salvation; to prisoners, freedom; to the sorrowful, joy. To fulfill your purpose he gave himself up to death; and, rising from the grave, destroyed death, and made the whole creation new.

And, that we might live no longer for ourselves, but for him who died and rose for us, he sent the Holy Spirit, his own first gift for those who believe, to complete his work in the world, and to bring to fulfillment the sanctification of all.

When the hour had come for him to be glorified by you, his heavenly Father, having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end; at supper with them he took bread, and when he had given thanks to you, he broke it, and gave it to his disciples, and said, “Take, eat: This is my Body, which is given for you. Do this for the remembrance of me.”

After supper he took the cup of wine; and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them, and said, “Drink this, all of you: This is my Blood of the new Covenant, which is shed for you and for many for the forgiveness of sins. Whenever you drink it, do this for the remembrance of me.”

Father, we now celebrate this memorial of our redemption. Recalling Christ’s death and his descent among the dead, proclaiming his resurrection and ascension to your right hand, awaiting his coming in glory; and offering to you, from the gifts you have given us, this bread and this cup, we praise you and we bless you.

Celebrant and People:

We praise you, we bless you,
we give thanks to you,
and we pray to you, Lord our God.

The Celebrant continues:

Lord, we pray that in your goodness and mercy your Holy Spirit may descend upon us, and upon these gifts, sanctifying them and showing them to be holy gifts for your holy people, the bread of life and the cup of salvation, the Body and Blood of your Son Jesus Christ.

Grant that all who share this bread and cup may become one body and one spirit, a living sacrifice in Christ, to the praise of your Name.

Remember, Lord, your one holy catholic and apostolic Church, redeemed by the blood of your Christ. Reveal its unity, guard its faith, and preserve it in peace.

Remember those whom we now name, silently or aloud: all who have died in the peace of Christ, and those whose faith is known to you alone; bring them into the place of eternal joy and light.

The people are invited to call aloud names they wish to add to the prayer.

Remember those whom we now name, silently or aloud: those who yet live, from whom we are separated in body or in heart; bring us into a reconciliation or renewal of those relationships which are precious to us.

The people are invited to call aloud names they wish to add to the prayer.

And grant that we may find our inheritance with the Blessed Virgin Mary, with patriarchs, prophets, apostles, and martyrs, with Blessed Thomas, and all the saints who have found favor with you in ages past. We praise you in union with them and give you glory through your Son Jesus Christ our Lord.

Through Christ, and with Christ, and in Christ, all honor and glory are yours, Almighty God and Father, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, for ever and ever.

Celebrant and People:

AMEN.

The Lord’s Prayer

Presider:

And now, as our Savior Christ has taught us, we are bold to say,

Officiant and People:

Our Father, who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy Name,
thy kingdom come,
thy will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory,
for ever and ever. Amen.

The Breaking of the Bread

Presider:

Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us.

People:

Therefore let us keep the feast.

Presider:

The Gifts of God for the People of God.

We Receive the Gift of God

Communion Hymn

Of the Father’s love

Receiving Communion during Covid:

Please remain where you are, standing or seated in prayer. After the presider has received the Sacrament in both kinds, donned a mask, and carefully sanitized hands, the presider will bring the sacrament to each person in turn.

If you wish to receive communion physically:

  1. Hold out your cupped hands to receive the bread. The presider will drop the host into your hands without making contact. (If you prefer to receive gluten-free bread, please tell the presider so.)
  2. Wait until the presider has moved away to remove your mask, consume the host, and replace you mask.
  3. Communion will be offered in one kind only (just the bread). This is still full communion.

If you do not wish to receive communion physically:

  1. Cross your arms over your chest. The presider will offer you a blessing instead, again without touching.
  2. You are invited to utter the Prayer for Spiritual Communion while communion is being distributed.

Prayer for Spiritual Communion

In union, O Lord, with your faithful people at every altar of your Church, where the Holy Eucharist is now being celebrated, I desire to offer to you praise and thanksgiving. I remember your death, Lord Christ; I proclaim your resurrection; I await your coming in glory. Since I cannot receive you today in the Sacrament of your Body and Blood, I beseech you to come spiritually into my heart. Cleanse and strengthen me with your grace, Lord Jesus, and let me never be separated from you. May I live in you, and you in me, in this life and in the life to come. Amen.

(from The Prayer Book for the Armed Services)

If a person desires to receive the Sacrament, but, by reason of extreme sickness or physical disability, is unable to eat and drink the Bread and Wine, the Celebrant is to assure that person that all the benefits of Communion are received, even though the Sacrament is not received with the mouth. (BCP, 457)

BCP 498

The Post-communion Prayer

Presider:

Let us pray.

Presider and People:

Almighty God, we thank you that in your great love you have fed us with the spiritual food and drink of the Body and Blood of your Son Jesus Christ, and have given us a foretaste of your heavenly banquet. Grant that this Sacrament may be to us a comfort in affliction, and a pledge of our inheritance in that kingdom where there is no death, neither sorrow nor crying, but the fullness of joy with all your saints; through Jesus Christ our Savior. Amen.

The Blessing

Procession Hymn

Silent Night

The Dismissal

Deacon:

Go in peace to love and serve the Lord.

People:

Thanks be to God.

In order to minimize the possibility of infecting others,
please exit the campus immediately.


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