Midweek Vespers

Each Wednesday evening, Hixson United Methodist Church offers a Contemplative Worship service called Vespers. Through Scripture, simple music and time to listen, we seek to recognize, receive and respond to Christ, as we care for one another and those in our community.

 

Vespers now meets in the Parlor (Room 221)

 

What is Contemplative Worship?

Through days of exhausting schedules, multiple responsibilities, and critical decisions many persons are looking for a place of rest; a setting for worship that will refill and revitalize. Sometimes we find such buoyancy in praise or in the preached Word of God. We may also find such spiritual refreshment in worship which is quiet, reflective, and meditative. Contemplative Worship is a setting in which we calm ourselves in order to open our souls to the ministry and mystery of God. It is one way to hear the voice of God with our hearts. Contemplative Worship is an opportunity to be quiet and still in the midst of busyness, and practices us in the rhythm of Jesus — a rhythm of moving into prayer and communion with God before going out to engage the world. It simply implies a desire to seek God and to be open to however God might choose to move within our lives. Contemplative Worship grows us in love and devotion for God and others, as we prayerfully seek the One who loves us, gives himself for us, and calls us to share love with the world.

 

Through the ministry of Mid-Week Vespers:

  • We desire to not only know the truth of Jesus, but to live in the way of Jesus.
  • We want not only for Scripture to be read, but to be read by Scripture.
  • We want to provide silent spaces to commune with the Father and hear His voice.
  • We want to invite people to come away from rush and hurry.
  • We hope to offer a place of receptivity as opposed to productivity.
  • We seek to provide enough space and flexibility to care well for one another.
  • The agenda and topic of our conversations will be more guided than structured.
  • We do not want to say much but want to listen well.
  • We want to linger in conversations without fixing or advice giving.
  • We believe that lasting change and transformation happens best in safe, small, quiet, intimate, and unhurried spaces more than in large, loud, crowded, and busy ones.
 
* Selections from "Our Manifesto" of The Soul Care Project of Chattanooga

 

 

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HOLDEN EVENING PRAYER (Celebrated once a month)

One of the Vespers settings we use is called Holden Evening Prayer by Marty Haugen. This setting uses simple acoustic instrumentation (piano, guitar and violin) with simple vocal melody for vocals, reflective Scripture readings and a brief meditation. Click below for a sample.

 

 


It's been a frustrating 24 hours - but it's also been a great evening. By 4 PM, I'd done all the useless make-work I could ...


...and besides that, it was starting to get cold. So I went home an hour early. It wasn't a bad day - after all, nothing major had happened, no one cut me off in traffic, no controversies at work, and things at home were ok - but it was frustrating.


After dinner, I went to church to meet with some friends for a special evening service that I had fallen in love with many years before called “Holden Evening Prayer.” As we gathered that evening in the Chapel to sing and to pray, we were surrounded by the light of flickering candles glowing throughout the room. I saw people from our congregation I hadn't seen in a while – both young and old...and it was very, very good. I have no problem admitting that there were a number of times that tears trickled unbidden during the service - and I didn't mind a bit. I was surrounded by people who knew me...even a few crazy enough to hug me. But somehow, all the deep, close friends with whom I've shared the Holden Vespers Service felt just a little closer in the words of the songs, and the glow of the candles. And the presence of friends, and of Christ, brightened the evening immeasurably, enabling me to find peace with my day, and to be still" (story found in an anonymous online blog). 

 

Now as evening falls around us,
We will raise our song to you -
God of daybreak, God of shadows,
Come and light our hearts anew. Amen