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Day 3: The Practice of Crossing the Threshold

Video, Audio and Written Guides for Morning and Evening Prayer

Morning Prayer

Video podcast release May 2024

OPENING PRAYER
As we prepare to cross the threshold onto the journey of pilgrimage, we ask for guidance the way the oystercatchers guided the way for St. Brigid as she crossed the sea. We know that the doorways will be many and each one is an invitation from you, God of the dance, to cross with joy and anticipation of what is on the other side. We trust in the current of your Love.

OPENING SONG
Brigid’s Birds
Refrain:
And the stars shine bright as the fire burns low.
How can we ever go back to what we used to know.

And the stars shine bright as the fire burns low.
We’ll never come this way again, that much I know.

FIRST READING: Barbara Holmes
Portals open as the quickening steps of seekers engage a dancing God in a dancing universe. If there is any way to dialogue with the God who created a universe of vibrating and dancing “strings,” perhaps it is through dance.

SUNG PSALM OPENING
O Hope open my lips, and my mouth will declare your praise. (Repeat)

PSALM 118:19-29
Open for me the gates of righteousness,
that I may enter them
and give thanks to the LIVING GOD.
This is the gate to the HOLY PRESENCE;
the righteous shall enter through it.
I thank you that you have answered me
and you have become my salvation.
The stone that the builders rejected
has become the chief cornerstone.
This is OUR GOD’S doing;
it is marvelous in our eyes.
This is the day that the FONT OF CREATION has made;
let us rejoice and be glad in it.
Ah! HOLY ONE, help, save us!
Ah! HOLY ONE, haste, deliver us!
Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the MOST HIGH GOD.
We bless you from the house of the HOLY ONE.
The FAITHFUL ONE is God,
and she has given us light.
Bind the festal offering with ropes of branches,
up to the horns of the altar.
You are my God, and I will give thanks to you;
you are my God; I will exalt you.
Give thanks to the HOLY ONE, for she is God,
for her faithful love endures forever.

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

SCRIPTURE READING: Exodus 15:19-21
When Pharaoh’s horses and chariots and horsemen entered the sea, God made the waters of the sea flow back upon them, though the Israelites walked on dry land through the midst of the sea. Then the prophet Miriam, Aaron’s sister, took a tambourine in her hand, while all the women went out after her with tambourines, dancing; and she responded to them: Sing to God, for God is gloriously triumphant.

SILENT CONTEMPLATION

PRAYERS OF CONCERN

Holy One, it’s so easy to be distressed by current events broadcast on repeat. Who wants to go on pilgrimage amid war and rumors of war, deadly weather caused by climate change, and the continued devastation of a global pandemic? But you, Pilgrim God, are the shadow lifting light at the threshold to the next leg of our journey. Your illuminating word reminds us that you lead those who follow you to wholeness. You are our God and our guide, teach us to go with you in joy.

Sung Response – O Pilgrim God, you shimmer at the threshold.

We praise you and we thank you. Beholding your beauty at the threshold of our travels fills our hearts with gladness, and our mouths with laughter. Sing into our souls’ the map of the way ahead. Take us by the hand and dance us into the direction you would have us to go.

Sung Response – O Pilgrim God, you shimmer at the threshold.

Let our eagerness to go and the soft sounds of our footfalls as we embark be an acceptable commencement song. Stay with us, Pilgrim God. May our eyes continue to see your glory. May our ears continue to welcome your guiding voice. May we follow you with courage, grace, and gratitude. Lead us along the way.

Sung Response – O Pilgrim God, you shimmer at the threshold.

CLOSING SONG
Peregrine
Setting out, no rudder, sails nor oars.
Trusting the current, trusting the course.
Peregrine Our hearts are ready, fully ripe.
Peregrine Our hearts are ready for new life.

CLOSING BLESSING
Godde of the Threshold,
you forever reveal to us new doorways in our lives,
powerful crossing-over places filled with possibilities.
Give us courage to stay awake and alert
to all the moments when these portals appear.
Inspire us to dance and sing as we wander
into liminal spaces, where the old is stripped away
and the new is waiting to be born.
Holy midwife, sit with us in the waiting,
bring us guidance in the form of signs and symbols:
a stone, a leaf, the song of the river, a night dream,
and infuse us with the wisdom to pay attention.

SUNG AMEN

Credits

All songs and texts used with permission

Opening Prayer: Written by Christine Valters Paintner

Opening Song:  Brigid’s Birds by Margaret McLarty from the album The Soul’s Slow Ripening: Songs for Celtic Seekers

First Reading: Barbara Holmes, Joy Unspeakable: Contemplative Practice of the Black Church, Augsburg Fortress Publishers, 2004. page 41.

Sung Psalm Opening and Doxology: Richard Bruxvoort Colligan from the album Monk in the World: Songs for Contemplative Living

Psalm Translation: Wilda C. Gafney, A Women’s Lectionary for the Whole Church © 2021 Church Publishing Incorporated, New York, NY 10016, used by permission. (Year W) page 97.

Second Reading: Exodus 15:19-21. Scripture quotation is from the New Revised Standard Version Updated Edition. Copyright © 2021 National Council of Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Prayers of Concern: Written by Claudia Love Mair

Sung Response: Tune by Betsey Beckman, lyrics by Christine Valters Paintner and Simon de Voil, sung by Simon de Voil and Alexa Sunshine Rose

Closing Song: Peregrine by Richard Bruxvoort Colligan from the album The Soul’s Slow Ripening: Songs for Celtic Seekers

Closing Blessing: Written by Christine Valters Paintner to companion her book The Soul of a Pilgrim (Ave Maria Press)

Please note: All of the songs and prayer responses are published on CDs in the Abbey of the Arts collection. In addition, these songs & responses 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).  Audio and video recordings of the Prayer Cycles are available at AbbeyoftheArts.com.

Evening Prayer

Video podcast release May 2024

OPENING PRAYER
As we approach the end of the day, we gather seeking shelter and sanctuary. We long to know the presence of the divine before us, behind us, above and below, beside and within each of our hearts. We cross through the narrow gate into a deeper journey, allowing life’s storms to build our endurance for the road ahead, and we know the sacred shimmering in every moment.

OPENING SONG
Christ Within
Refrain:
Christ within, before and behind, Christ above, below, beside.
Christ every hour, every day, every night.

SUNG PSALM OPENING
O Hope open my lips, and my mouth will declare your praise. (Repeat)

PSALM 68: 4-11
Sing to God, sing praises to her Name;
exalt her who rides upon the clouds;
HOLY is her Name, rejoice before her!
Mother of orphans and defender of windows,
is God in her holy habitation!
God settles the solitary in a home bringing prisoners into prosperity;
while the rebellious shall live in a wasteland.
God, when you marched before your people,
when you moved out through the wilderness,
the earth shook, even the heavens poured down,
at the presence of God, the One of Sinai,
at the presence of God, the God of Israel.
Rain in abundance, God, you showered abroad;
when your heritage grew weary you prepared rest.
Your creatures found a dwelling in her;
God, you provided in your goodness for the oppressed.
The AUTHOR OF LIFE gave the word;
the women who proclaim the good news are a great army.

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

READING OF THE NIGHT: Desert Mothers
Amma Theodora said, “Let us strive to enter by the narrow gate. Just as the trees, if they have not stood before the winter’s storms cannot bear fruit, so it is with us; this present age is a storm and it is only through many trials and temptations that we can obtain an inheritance in the kingdom of heaven.”

CLOSING POEM
Remember
(after Theo Dorgan’s poem “The Angel of Days”)

And what did you do on earth?
I descended daily into the hush – if only for a moment,
but sometimes for blessed hours at a time.
I followed the shimmering threads which lured me
into the night, full of wonder at all that was unfolding.
I opened myself wide to gratitude,
to the delight that there was anything at all,
much less pink-petaled peonies
and generous handfuls of red berries,
the incredible sweetness of things,
or the way dawn and dusk could reveal
my own new thresholds,
how a walk by the sea can change
everything,
and that I could be so well loved, and love in return,
that I could dance on earth’s forest floor
and say “yes” to life from the belly of sorrow.

And what was the best of it?
I was saved by beauty again and again,
the golden glimmer of sunlight
across wet pavement revealing a luminous world,
and the stone ruins of churches and monasteries,
with their arches of ancient longing holding
ten thousand prayers, ten thousand paths to hope.

And what would you have changed?
Only perhaps to have worried less about what might come,
which never did
in exactly the way I imagined.
And to spend less time in front of screens,
offering more of myself to the elements of wind and rain and mud,
to roll with playful abandon in the wet grass, the way dogs do.

And what will you do now?
I will reach across the veil and whisper the word
“remember” to anyone who will listen.

CLOSING SONG
Blessing of the Elements
May the sacred earth embrace you.
May the sky help you fly.
May the water bless and refresh you.
May the fire of love every guide you.

Credits

All songs and texts used with permission

Opening Prayer: Written by Christine Valters Paintner

Opening Song: Christ Within by Richard Bruxvoort Colligan from the album The Soul’s Slow Ripening: Songs for Celtic Seekers

Sung Psalm Opening and Doxology: Richard Bruxvoort Colligan from the album Monk in the World: Songs for Contemplative Living

Psalm Translation: Wilda C. Gafney, A Woman’s Lectionary for the Whole Church © 2021 Church Publishing Incorporated, New York, NY 10016, (Year W) page 15.

Reading of the Night: Saying of the Desert Fathers, edited by Benedicta Ward, Liturgical Press, 1984. Theodora 2

Closing Poem: “Remember.” Excerpted from The Soul of a Pilgrim, copyright ©2015 by Christine Valters Paintner. Used with permission of the publisher, Sorin Books®, an imprint of Ave Maria Press®, Inc., P.O. Box 428, Notre Dame, IN 46556, www.avemariapress.com.

Closing Song: Blessing of the Elements by Betsey Beckman from the album Earth, Our Original Monastery: Singing Our Way to the Sacred

Please note: All of the songs and prayer responses are published on CDs in the Abbey of the Arts collection. In addition, these songs & responses 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).  Audio and video recordings of the Prayer Cycles are available at AbbeyoftheArts.com.