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Lenten Prayer Vigil

All Saints Lenten Prayer Vigil

Thursday, March 16

10am - 3:30pm

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Click on the image above to download the Prayer Vigil Booklet

Click on the image above to download the Prayer Vigil Supplement Booklet

Meditation #1

Tending our Sacred Space in our Relationship with God


As the Deer  (Carol Barker, Soloist)



John 15:5 I am the vine; you are the branches.

John 15: 9 As the father has loved me, so I have loved you: Abide in my love.



This meditation, Tending our Relationship with God, is taken from words of Scripture, writings from biblical scholars and thoughts provoked. Scriptures from John 15: I am the vine, you are the branches, and As the father has loved me, so I have loved you. Abide in my love, speak to our relationship with God. What I hear in these words is how we are already connected to God. We are  of God, we are to love and live in God’s love. Our relationship with God is, in fact, initiated by God, who extends outstretched loving arms and hands to embrace and hold us in union. Always, the choice to reach back has been ours. God is planted, if you will, not going anywhere, instead always present, patiently waiting for us.Theologian and Bible scholar, Marcus Borg, wrote: “God loves us already and has from our very beginning. Christian life is not about believing or doing what we need to believe or do, so we can be saved. Rather, it’s about seeing what is already true, that God loves us already and then beginning to live into that Love. It is about becoming conscious of and intentional about a deepening relationship with God.” Henri Nouwen, theologian, spiritual teacher and author said, “God loved us long before we could give love to anyone. Whenever we opt for and not against one another we make God’s unconditional love visible”.

God’s ever-abiding presence and constant love for us, names and claims who we are, God’s Beloved Children. In our Baptismal celebration we are sealed by the Holy Spirit and marked as Christ’s own forever. However, in our everyday lives, do we really acknowledge and live our identity as God’s own? 14th century mystic theologian and philosopher, Meister Eckhart’s words speak of God’s already faithful presence to us, while also suggesting question about our presence: “God is at home”, he wrote. “It is we who have gone out for a walk”. This reminds me of the children’s book by Margaret Wise Brown, The Runaway Bunny: Once there was a little bunny who wanted to run away. So he said to his mother, “ I am running away”. “If you run away” she said, “ I will run after you. For you are my little bunny”. Like this mother bunny, God claims us and is always seeking us and calling us to Him. The question is How do we answer?

In life we learn that relationships are best maintained through communication, spending time and sharing who we are with each other, so as to become known and to know the other. Relationships are established in marriage, with family and friends, in our work and play, in churches we attend, and in communities, clubs and organizations to which we belong. We learn about the essential necessity to show up in these relationships, and what happens when we don’t. We learn that if not attended to and nurtured in an on-going fashion, our closest and most meaningful relationships are at risk to wither, suffer and even die. Most likely, we all have experienced this in one way or another. Shantee Grossett, founder of a Christian Blog called Daily She Pursues, wrote that “relationship with God is a personal relationship, just like a relationship with anyone else in your life. It is fellowship, love and trust between you and God. It’s much more than just going to church or even reading the Bible.” Father Richard Rohr, Franciscan Catholic priest, spiritual teacher and author, stated “ Connectedness is fundamental to our reality. Relationship, he said, is something all life requires. Our vitality depends upon the connections we establish and the communion we share”. Rohr  goes on, “It is the nature of love to flow. The vine gives life and coherence to the branch, which the branch makes visible what the vine is…the whole and the part live together in mutual, loving reciprocity, each belonging to the other and dependent on the other to show forth the fullness of Love”. We’re like planted seeds. Nurtured and cared for, we can grow into blossoms, beautifully reflecting God’s presence and love. For a moment, imagine God’s love being reflected to another through you. Also, imagine those times when it’s not.

How Do We Take Our Place in Relationship with God?

Throughout history, guidance has been given to us:  God has spoken and continues speaking to us in many ways; through Creation, the Prophets, the Commandments, the gift of Jesus and His apostles, teachings, stories and learnings from the Bible, our Creeds, the Book of Common Prayer, our clergy, children, art, music, one another and spiritual teachers. The two Great Commandments alone, you shall love God with all your heart, with all your soul and with all your mind, and you shall love your neighbor as yourself are like flashing neon road signs pointing the way for our response to God’s love for us. In Micah, chapter 6:8  requirements of us are clearly stated:  And are put to music in this song, The Offertory, now to be sung by Carole Galli.

Howard Thurman, another acclaimed theologian and spiritual teacher, and Richard Rohr, have spoken and written about how our relationship with each other reflects our relationship with God, suggesting that the way we connect with each other informs us about our connection with God. Thurman said, “Man’s relation to man and man’s relation to God are one relation”. Rohr’s interpretation of Jesus’ teaching in Matthew 25:40 “whatever you do to others, you do to me” is the following: “How you treat other human beings” Rohr interpreted  “is how you treat Jesus”. Each seems to explain that when we are in relationship with God, we move toward our fellow man. When we are in relationship with our fellow man, we move toward God. We are to move toward God and each other, not away from.

Nouwen, in his writings, shed light on living into relationship with God: “Nothing really changes when being the beloved is little more than a beautiful thought or a lofty idea. To become the beloved in the common places of my daily existence, and bit by bit, to close the gap of everyday life is required. Becoming the beloved is pulling the truth revealed to me from above down into the ordinariness of what I am thinking of, talking about, and doing from hour to hour”.

In the poem Nearer, C.S. Lewis, Anglican Lay theologian and author, instructs us on the necessity for movement toward that which we desire:

“If you want to get warm, you must get close to the fire. If you want to get wet, you must get into the water. If you want joy, power, peace, eternal life, you must get close to, or even into the thing that has them”. These words describe what is possible when we move toward, when we reach for God’s extended hand. From John5:15 we learn that when we join with God, and God with us, the relation between us becomes intimate and organic, and the harvest from that relationship is sure to be abundant. When we keep God’s commands, we can become intimately at home as instruments in the flow of God’s love.

And now in this season of Lent, we are provided a time to still ourselves in prayer, reflection and self examination, to take a deeper look at ourselves, our lives, and our relationship with God, a time to lean into God’s love for us and our response to it. As we look to Easter Joy,  Lent invites time for moving toward God and toward our true selves, God’s beloved children. In doing so, we can discover what this means for us and the lives we live. My wonderment about and preparation of this meditation, brought me to this; perhaps the simplest way  to join in the flow of God’s Love is to do as Jesus modeled and as Bishop Michael Curry has admonished us time and again, that is, to choose Love as the Way of our lives. Mindfully, we can pay attention to and catch the very small ways in which we connect with and disconnect from one another. In Doing so together, we can help each other know and feel where we are in our relationship with God, when we are joining God and when we are not, when we are living into the promise of our Baptismal Identity as bound to God’s service. In closing, I’ve included a statement found in Preaching This Week from David Lose followed by two questions: “To be Christian” Lose stated “is not to have that hole, that need, that awareness of finitude erased once and for all. Rather, to be human is to accept that we are, finally created for relationship with God and with each other”.


2 Questions to ponder:

1) What meaning does relationship with God have for you?

2) In what ways Is your relationship with God reflected in your life?

And now a CLOSING PRAYER….Borrowed from one of our hymns, Be Thou My Vision, and words from Walter Brueggemann: LET US



Almighty and ever loving God, Be thou my wisdom and thou my true word,

I ever with thee and thou with me, Lord;

Thou my great Father, thine own may I be;

Thou in me dwelling, and I one with thee. Pursue and catch us, Good Shepherd-Embrace us in your love. Help us to trust you and desire you more than anything else, that we may know the joy and freedom of life in you…Amen.



Take my life and let it be consecrated Lord to thee,

Take my moments and my days, let them flow in ceaseless praise,

Take my hands, and let them move at the impulse of thy love,

Take my heart, it is thine own; it shall be thy royal throne

Take my voice and let me sing always, only for my king

Take my intellect, and use every power as thou shalt choose.

Take my will, and make it thine; it shall be no longer mine

Take myself, and I will be ever, only, all for thee.



Meditation #3

Tending our Sacred Relationship to Children

Nancy Tillinghast and Jen Adams



Matthew 5:6-7…Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.

Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called sons of God.

Mark 9:36-37…He took a little child whom he placed among them. Taking the child in his arms, he said to them,

“Whoever welcomes one of these little children in my name welcomes me; and whoever welcomes me does not welcome me but the one who sent me.”

Psalm 8:2 “Through the praise of children and infants you have established a stronghold against your enemies, to silence the foe and the avenger.”


We open our meditation with the song, Jesus Loves Little Children, to be sung by all:

Opening Music: Jesus Loves Little Children (ALL SING)

Jesus loves the little children,

All the children of the world.

Every color, every race,

All are covered by His grace,

Jesus loves the little children of the world.


Jesus died for all the children

All the children of the world

Every color, every race,

All are covered by His grace,

Jesus died for all the children of the world.


Jesus loves all the children

All the children of the world

Every color, every race,

All are covered by His grace,

Jesus loves all the children of the world.


Today’s meditation reflects upon three aspects of tending the sacred in our relationship to children: what children are to us; what we are to children and why; and what All Saints Episcopal Church is to children.


What children are to us—

Children are a most precious and deeply sacred gift from God—just as Jesus, conceived by God’s Holy Spirit, was a most sacred gift to Mary and to us-- born to dwell among us to teach and guide us and ultimately, to die for us on the cross.

Our Savior came to us in the form of a baby—naked and vulnerable--- the human embodiment of God’s love, pure in heart and soul. Have you ever asked yourself why God sent us his only son in the form of a seemingly powerless baby? An innocent vulnerable being? He was not the king expected by most people of his time!


We hear in Matthew’s gospel, “Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God”. Can any being on this earth be closer to God, more pure in heart and soul than a baby? Children embody God’s love and give us such deep and abiding joy. They lead us to rediscover ourselves and the world around us through their eyes of wonder and delight! A child’s joy is returned to us tenfold when they see a rainbow, catch a snowflake or learn to giggle and laugh. What a joy to witness their delight at seeing a butterfly or a colorful bird the first time!


Children become our teachers in their world of love, relationship, and imaginary play. As their young minds develop, they are filled with never-ending questions that give us a fresh appreciation for the complexity of God’s creation and the world in which they are growing up. Their questions push the bounds of our imaginations, causing us to learn and grow alongside them. How did stars get in the sky? What is war? What are those funny dots on strawberries? What happens when we die?

Children ground us and temper us in times of turmoil and tension. Simply by their loving presence and innocence, they have the capacity to calm and create peace within families and communities. Psalm 8:2 “Through the praise of children and infants you have established a stronghold against your enemies, to silence the foe and the avenger.”


A child’s imagination will reawaken in us a sense of mystery and magic as they contemplate their world. How else to explain how Santa squeezes down the chimney with a bundle of presents on this back, or, how one can hear the ebb and flow of the ocean in a conch shell, or see fireflies light up the yard on a late summer’s night?


Children demand a lot from us---patience, security, love, nutrition, guidance, sharing of ourselves. I sometimes wonder if children aren’t God’s own guiding hands teaching us how to learn and grow in tending all our sacred relationships.


Let’s now join together in singing a childhood favorite:

This Little Light of Mine

This little light of mine, I'm gonna let it shine.                            

This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine.                           

This little light of mine, I'm gonna let it shine,                                      

Let it shine, let it shine, let it shine.

Won't let Satan blow it out.
I'm gonna let it shine.
Won't let Satan blow it out.
I'm gonna let it shine,                                                               

Won’t let Satan blow it out, I’m gonna let it shine,                         

Let it shine, let it shine, let it shine.

Let it shine til Jesus comes.
I'm gonna let it shine.
Let it shine til Jesus comes.
I'm gonna let it shine,                                                                    

Let it shine til Jesus comes. I’m gonna let it shine,                        

Let it shine, let it shine, let it shine.

Hide it under a bushel - NO!
I'm gonna let it shine.
Hide it under a bushel - NO!                                                       

I’m gonna let it shine.                                                               

Hide it under a bushel- NO! I'm gonna let it shine,                      

Let it shine, let it shine, let it shine.

Let it shine over the whole wide world,
I'm gonna let it shine.                                                                  

Let it shine over the whole wide world,                                       

I’m gonna let it shine
Let it shine over the whole wide world, I'm gonna let it shine,     

Let it shine, let it shine, let it shine.


What we are to children and why—

Proverbs 22, verse six tells us “Train up a child in the way they should go and when they are old, they will not depart from it.” We represent to children (and they to us) the circle of life. We come into the world as vulnerable, dependent babies, grow through youth into adulthood, and return to the childlike stage of dependency as we approach death.


At every stage of growth, children need trustworthy, caring adults in their lives. From us and from God’s creatures in nature, they learn how to nurture, love and protect through personal experience and play--both real and imaginary. Children depend on adults to provide age-appropriate structure to their day, thereby enabling them to learn, play, rest, experience nature and just to be on a daily basis. Children assimilate behaviors and foundational values of the heart, mind and spirit from those who surround them in their families, schools, communities and the natural world. These acquired behaviors and foundational values help them navigate the world around them.


The following are examples of children who don’t have these basic building blocks for healthy growth and development.

Children who are hurt will believe violence is love.

Children who are ignored will believe they are not valued.

Children who are neglected will believe they do not matter.


May we be their protectors, their nurturers, their guides, their cheerleaders, their mentors, their coaches, and their teachers. May we truly listen with our hearts whenever we engage with children. May they see the love of God in action in every interaction we have with them. May our eyes be open and our hearts ready to see the ones who are lacking and who are hurting. May our words, our actions, and our policies foster a world where they never know need or neglect. May the seeds we sow today reap a harvest of healthy, well-grounded, and loved children tomorrow.


What All Saints Episcopal Church is to Children—

All Saints offers weekly Sunday children’s chapel.  Our parish has long been a sponsor to Scout Troop # 222. These boys and girls assist in Scout Sunday services, special parish events, and seasonal grounds maintenance projects. In addition, the scouts sponsor an annual fundraiser selling Christmas wreaths, table centerpieces and decorative greens to parishioners.


This fall, our church will offer a new ministry when we open the doors to the All Saints Child Development Center intended to serve a diverse population of families that work and live in our community.  The Center will offer full day childcare to 3 and 4 year olds. Our program strives to meet children where they are and help them get to where they need to be through a state approved curriculum, positive relationships, and weekly Chapel. Partnering with state agencies, the All Saints Center will provide an engaging, high quality learning environment at little or no cost to families through childcare vouchers and state-funded 4K tuition. Our goal for the children is to leave our program with a solid educational and spiritual foundation. At the same time, our goal for their families is to come to identify our new center as a valuable resource.  For more information about the new child development center, contact us at the email listed in today’s prayer vigil supplement.


While you listen to the last song in this meditation on tending the sacred in our relationship to children, we invite you to ponder two questions:

  • What am I doing?

  • As a community are we doing enough?


SOLO by Suade Anderson

“The Greatest Love of All”, song recorded by Whitney Houston

Meditation #4

Relationships with Neighbors


Scripture- John 15:12-13  This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. 13 No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.



Heavenly Father, I know that in and of myself I cannot love others in the same way that Christ loved me, unless I surrender my life completely into Your hands. I pray that Your Spirit of love may flow through me to others so that I can love them as You have loved me.  In Jesus’ name, Amen


1.Who is our neighbor? What does scripture tell us?

Luke 10:27 And he answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind and, your neighbor as yourself.” This may seem easy to say but who is our neighbor?  When asked this question by a religious scholar, Jesus answers by telling the Parable of the Good Samaritan.  We remember in the story that a man was attacked by robbers. A priest and a Levite religious man walked by him, not offering any help. It was the Samaritan who helped him by taking care of his wounds and then paying for his care at an Inn.  Jesus asks the question.“What do you think? Which of the three became a neighbor to the man attacked by robbers?”  “The one who treated him kindly,” the religious scholar responded. Jesus said, “Go and do the same.”  These are words meant for all of us. This parable is an instruction from Jesus on how to live our lives.  The Parable challenges us to be a neighbor to others. As followers of Jesus, we are charged to love God and love our neighbor.

2.How can we be a neighbor?

Being a neighbor is to be present for others, to listen deeply to the concerns of others (spoken and unspoken), and show the love that Jesus has given to us and shown us. Jesus commands us to love one another as he loves us.  All we need to do is to look to scripture for direction and instruction. 1 Thessalonians 5:11 says, “Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, as indeed you are doing.” It is easy to encourage, build up, listen, and be present for people who are present for us. This may include family, friends, and others, as well as, our faith community and the community in which we live. In our own developing journey, we must remember that God is present in our lives and that it is up to us to be present to others. As we are present for others, others will be present for us, building us up and encouraging us.  Richard Rohr states. “God is faithful on this developing journey, ever seducing us along the way, to remember who we are and from where we come. We are daughters and sons of God, called to reflect the face of God in a suffering world.” Being called to reflect the face of God to the people closest to us is not so hard but what about God’s children with whom we disagree and don’t always get along? How can we reflect the face of God to all people?

Solo- For the One


3.How do we show care and love to people that are not kind, who hurt us, or have different opinions than our own?

This is perhaps what Jesus is challenging us to do when he says in John 15:12-13 This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. 13 No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. The word, friends, refers to neighbors and all of God’s children.  Jesus calls us and challenges us. Be a neighbor to the neighbor.  Bishop Michael Curry writes, “Show compassion. Show mercy. Help the neighbor. Help the stranger. Love the Lord your God. And love your neighbor as yourself.” This is Agape Love, the highest form of love and charity. The love that is unconcerned with ourselves and wants to do what is best for others. The love that teaches us how to forgive and be generous in spirit to others. This love is for all God’s children not just for those who we as human beings find easy to love. Jesus tells us to love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us. Perhaps we need to imagine what it would be like to be in someone else’s skin or to a walk a mile in their shoes. Can this be difficult? Of course, but with prayer and scripture we can strive to do better, to be the reflection of God that we are asked to be. This is Martin Luther King Jr.’s Beloved Community, “where all humans are loved equally, valued equally, and respected equally.”


4.How can we show love to our community? How can we be present for people in need?

A poem by St. Teresa of Avila reminds us what our charge here on earth is.

“Christ has no body now on earth but yours, no hands, no feet but yours.  Yours are the eyes with which Christ looks out his compassion to the world. Yours are the feet with which he is to go about doing good. Yours are the hands with which he is to bless us now.”


Being a neighbor to our community and the world takes thought, energy, and time.  Some of us are blessed with the sense of always knowing what is needed. While some us need to be pointed in the right direction and be encouraged to step out of our comfort zones or out of our boxes to help others. American theologian Walter Brueggemann suggests that full faithfulness means reaching beyond one’s comfort zone to care for the other.  How are we challenged to do this? We all can open our eyes more to see the world around us and deeply listen to where we are needed.  This takes thoughtful consideration. The love we give to others comes back to us, tenfold. It brings us closer to God and our faith. When we welcome a stranger, we welcome Jesus.

Bishop Michael Curry in his book, Love Is the Way, asks these questions. “Can you take fifteen minutes a day to check in with family or a member of your community to find out how they are and whether you can help?  Can you commit weekly or monthly time to a goal that benefits others?”  He continues to say, “Seek to perform regular service for others and for the world. You don’t get stronger by doing it when you feel like it. Make a formal commitment to an individual or organization, because it will help you follow through over time.” Many opportunities for us to do this can be found in our local community and in our church community. One step at a time to step out of our comfort zones, remembering that God is in these communities giving us courage to show up.


Finally, a quote by Howard Thurman reminds us to,

“Listen to the long stillness:

New life is stirring,

New dreams are on the wing,

New hopes are being readied:

Humankind is fashioning a new heart

Humankind is forging a new mind

God is at work.

This is the season of Promise.”


What is stirring in me? What am I doing?  Are we as a community doing enough?


Hymn:  Here I Am, Lord

All sing together.

Here I Am, Lord

1. I, the Lord of sea and sky, I have heard my people cry.

All who dwell in dark and sin my hand will save.

I who made the stars of night, I will make their darkness bright.

Who will bear my light to them? Whom shall I send?

Here I am, Lord. Is it I, Lord?

I have heard you calling in the night.

I will go, Lord, if you lead me.

I will hold your people in my heart.


2. I, the Lord of snow and rain, I have borne my people’s pain.

I have wept for love of them. They turn away.

I will break their hearts of stone,

give them hearts for love alone.

I will speak my word to them. Whom shall I send?

Here I am, Lord. Is it I, Lord?

I have heard you calling in the night.

I will go, Lord, if you lead me.

I will hold your people in my heart.


3. I, the Lord of wind and flame, I will tend the poor and lame.

I will set a feast for them. My hand will save.

Finest bread I will provide till their hearts are satisfied.

I will give my life to them. Whom shall I send?

Here I am, Lord. Is it I, Lord?

I have heard you calling in the night.

I will go, Lord, if you lead me.

I will hold your people in my heart.

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