In Chapter 8 (Lighting the Lamps: The House with Golden Windows”) of The Attentive Life, Leighton Ford covers the hour of Vespers. The counterpart to Lauds, Vespers “celebrates the lighting of lamps as the evening descends.” David Steindl-Rast offers additional insights on the meaning and application of Vespers:
“Vespers is the hour that invites peace of heart, which is the reconciling of the contradictions within ourselves and around us. . . . Within this evening hour, when we become festive in a new way and receive God as a guest, we stretch that compass of time beyond time and embrace the new.”
Leighton Ford then reflects on the afternoon times of our lives, noting that they could be almost any “in-between ” time, such as the time between jobs or assignments, when our energy curve seems to drop. Yet afternoon also is a time to rest and enjoy the fullness of life as well as to let go of our regrets. It is a time of renewal, not retreat, as we explore/develop new and overlooked parts of ourselves. Most especially, its the time to make fresh room for God in our hearts. David Steindl-Rast translates the words of poet Ranier Maria Rilke: “Then you, God, are the guest whom he receives in the gentle evening hours.”
Today’s question: How essential is it that we view our desert, transition time as a period of renewal, not retreat? Please share.
Tomorrow’s blog: “Our restless hearts”