Day 4: Work

Video, Audio and Written Guides for Morning and Evening Prayer

Morning Prayer

OPENING PRAYER

We gather this morning to remember the value of our labors. We commit to bringing ourselves fully present to the work we do, whether paid or unpaid, and holding a heart of gratitude for the ability to express our gifts in the world in meaningful ways.

OPENING SONG

Blessing to the World

 

FIRST READING: Joan Chittister

In Benedictine spirituality, work is what we do to continue what God wanted done.  Work is co-creative. Keeping a home that is beautiful and ordered and nourishing and artistic is co-creative.  Working in a machine shop that makes gears for tractors is co-creative.  Working in an office that processes loan applications for people who are trying to make life more humane is co-creative. . .We work because the world is unfinished and it is ours to develop.  We work with a vision in mind. . . Work is a commitment to God’s service.

SUNG PSALM OPENING

O Grace, open my lips and my mouth will declare your praise. (Repeat)

PSALM 40

I have trusted You, Holy One

and waited for You.

When I was mired in misery

you touched me with your spirit.

You pulled me out

and set me on solid ground.

You put a song in my heart and work in my hands.

I praise you.

I know what you want from me,

and where the meaning of my life lies—

Not in rituals, offerings, sacrifices, or creeds,

just my heart; open to others, and open to You.

I try and live that way.

I fail often but you nudge and beckon and I follow.

I pray that my words, my song, my life

show forth your light and light others’ way.

May all who seek you find you.

Touch us with your spirit, that we may be glad.

 

SUNG DOXOLOGY

Glory to the Maker, Lover, and Keeper; as ago, in this breath, and will be ever. Amen, Amen.

SECOND READING: Matthew 20:1–16

For the kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out early in the morning to hire laborers for his vineyard. After agreeing with the laborers for the usual daily wage, he sent them into his vineyard. When he went out about nine o’clock, he saw others standing idle in the market-place; and he said to them, “You also go into the vineyard, and I will pay you whatever is right.” So they went. When he went out again about noon and about three o’clock, he did the same. And about five o’clock he went out and found others standing around; and he said to them, “Why are you standing here idle all day?” They said to him, “Because no one has hired us.” He said to them, “You also go into the vineyard.” When evening came, the owner of the vineyard said to his manager, “Call the laborers and give them their pay, beginning with the last and then going to the first.” When those hired about five o’clock came, each of them received the usual daily wage. Now when the first came, they thought they would receive more; but each of them also received the usual daily wage. And when they received it, they grumbled against the landowner, saying, “These last worked only one hour, and you have made them equal to us who have borne the burden of the day and the scorching heat.” But he replied to one of them, “Friend, I am doing you no wrong; did you not agree with me for the usual daily wage? Take what belongs to you and go; I choose to give to this last the same as I give to you.

SILENT CONTEMPLATION

PRAYERS OF CONCERN

We offer prayers now for all that is on our hearts.

Holy One, our world is one so full of injustice where some have work that is meaningful and satisfying whilst other toil simply to survive. Forgive us when we ignore the human cost of our luxuries and conveniences.

Sung Response – O God of Love, bless us in our labor

 

Have mercy on those who work and yet see no reward, on those who are without work and without hope and for those caught up in modern day slavery. Help us find the compassion we need to work for a more just society.

Sung Response – O God of Love, bless us in our labor

Help us speak up for those who have no voice so that all may find joy in the work of their hands. May we find you in the common task and see your face in those we encounter along the way. May we know that the work of our hands is Holy.

Sung Response – O God of Love, bless us in our labor

Please add the prayers you are longing to express.

Sung Response – O God of Love, bless us in our labor

 

CLOSING SONG

Prayer of St Francis

 

CLOSING BLESSING

God who labors within and through us,

help bring our full attention to our work in the world

as we enter into an act of co-creation with you.

Show us how all the ways we work have dignity and purpose

whether paid or unpaid, whether our heart’s true calling

or just to be able to support ourselves.

Guide us in challenging systems that exploit and enslave people

through their labor and help us to build communities

where everyone can thrive by the work of their hands.

Support us in the endeavor to do everything with love,

remembering that each small act of compassion

is woven together into a great tapestry of kindness.

Bless our hands as we offer our gifts

in service to your unfolding grace.

 

SUNG AMEN

Credits

All songs and texts used with permission

Opening Prayer written by Christine Valters Paintner

Opening Song: Blessing to the World by Karen Drucker

First Reading from Joan Chittister, Wisdom Distilled in the DailyHarperSanFrancisco (1990).

Sung Psalm Opening and Doxology by Richard Bruxvoort Colligan

Interpretation of Psalm 40 by Rev. Christine Robinson

Second Reading from Matthew 20:1–16 (NRSV)

Prayers of Concern written by Polly Burns

Sung Response by Betsey Beckman

Closing Song: Prayer of St. Francis by Simon de Voil

Closing Blessing: written by Christine Valters Paintner

 

Please note: All of the Opening and Closing Songs are published on CDs in the Abbey of the Arts collection. In addition, these songs have accompanying gesture prayers and/or dances created by Betsey Beckman that can be found on the corresponding DVD (each album has a DVD companion).  The Psalm Opening, Doxology, and the Response to the Prayers of Concern also have accompanying congregational gestures. The audio and video recordings of these are available at AbbeyoftheArts.com.

Evening Prayer

OPENING PRAYER

We reflect now on how we brought out gifts into the world in concrete ways. What were the things we made, the relationships we strengthened, the art we created, the ideas we welcomed? Let us give thanks for all the ways our work has been sanctified this day and help us to release it so we can enter into the peace of night and renew ourselves for tomorrow.

OPENING SONG

Viriditas

SUNG PSALM OPENING

O Grace, open my lips and my mouth will declare your praise. (Repeat)

PSALM  45

My heart overflows! I have done work

of which I am proud. I have followed

my calling, and it is good!

I have been anointed with the oil of gladness

and turn to share it with others.

Thank you!

God says, Gladly! And now,

Let go of the past.

Embrace what is to come.

Joys and trials await you in the future—

triumphs, service and reward.

Be not afraid..

Open your heart.

 

SUNG DOXOLOGY

Glory to the Maker, Lover, and Keeper; as ago, in this breath, and will be ever. Amen, Amen.

 

READING OF THE NIGHT: Rule of Benedict

When they live by the labor of their hands, as our ancestors and the apostles did, then they are really monastics.

SILENT CONTEMPLATION

POEM: Crossing the Divide

She walks, as if from a dream, into your life,
ribboned hair unraveling, brown eyes
like cups of tea, come to whisper
a secret into your trembling ear.

You try hard not to listen, clinging
to your calendar, your achievements,
your loneliness, until the silver ache
of it all spreads through your limbs

and she holds out her hand across
the ravine, and you see how the chasm
is not empty, but filled with a rushing
river, and you can swim until

you become fish and flow, until
you are the ancient stream

emerging from stone,

until her face becomes yours.

 

CLOSING SONG

May What I Do

 

SUNG AMEN

Credits

All songs and texts used with permission

Opening Prayer written by Christine Valters Paintner

Opening Song: Viriditas by Betsey Beckman

Psalm Opening and Doxology by Richard Bruxvoort Colligan

Interpretation of Psalm 45 by Rev. Christine Robinson

Reading of the Night from The Rule of St. Benedict. Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press (1980).

Closing Poem by Christine Valters PaintnerThe Wisdom of Wild Grace. Paraclete Press (2020).

Closing Song: May What I Do by Richard Bruxvoort Colligan

 

Please note: All of the Opening and Closing Songs are published on CDs in the Abbey of the Arts collection. In addition, these songs have accompanying gesture prayers and/or dances created by Betsey Beckman that can be found on the corresponding DVD (each album has a DVD companion).  The Psalm Opening and Doxology also have accompanying congregational gestures. The audio and video recordings of these are available at AbbeyoftheArts.com.