Cherry blossoms

For Lo, the Winter Is Past and the Time for Singing has Come!


A Celebration of Alban Eiler, the Spring Equinox

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Preparation

Set up a small table in the center of your space facing East. If you like, set up four smaller tables (plant stands or other flat surfaces at each of the four directions. Otherwise, the main table can be used alone.

You will need seven candles: yellow, red, blue, green, orange, purple, and white. I use white or ivory votive candles in colored holders. Place the yellow, red, blue, and green candles in the East, South, West, and North, respectively. The others go on the main altar, white in the center, orange on the left, and purple on the right. You can also add seasonal decorations (flowers, statues or images, etc.) as you like. (You can place all the candles in their respective places on the main table, if that works better for you.)

When you are ready, take a moment to quiet and center yourself.

Approach

In the name of God, the Three-in-One, the One-in-Three,
One holy and blessed Trinity,
Now and ever and unto Ages of Ages.
Amen.

Prayer for Peace

Deep within the still center of my being may I find peace.
Silently, within the quiet of the grove may I share peace.
Gently with the greater circle of all creation may I radiate peace.
Through the Strength of Heaven,
Light of Sun,
Radiance of Moon, 
Splendor of Fire,
Speed of Lightning,
Swiftness of Wind, 
Depth of Sea,
Stability of Earth,
and Firmness of Rock,
May there be peace in the North and in the South,
May there be peace in the West and in the East,
May there be peace in the Land, the Sea, and the Sky,
May there be peace throughout the world.

Prayer

Grant, O God, Thy Protection,
And in Protection, Strength,
And in Strength, Understanding,
And in Understanding, Knowledge,
And in Knowledge, the Knowledge of Justice,
And in the Knowledge of Justice, the Love of it,
And in the Love of Justice, the Love of All Existences,
And in that Love, the Love of God, our Maker,
Mary, our Mother,
All the Angels and Saints,
All Creation that nourishes and sustains us,
And all Goodness.
Amen.

— adapted from The Druid’s Prayer, attributed to Iolo Morganwg

Come, Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful,
And kindle in us the fire of your love.
O God, send out your Spirit
and renew the face of the earth.

Greeting the Four Directions

All praise and honor are yours, O God.
Angels and Archangels sing your praise,
And all creation proclaims your glory.
The four corners of the earth honor you
And bring us your radiance and power.
With the Hawk of Dawn soaring in the clean, pure air,
We turn to the East, toward the rising Sun,
Ever grateful for the new day and the potential it brings.
We ask St. Ita, St. Patrick and St. Aidan to pray for us 
That we may hear and be receptive to the Word of God.
With the great Stag in the heat of the chase,
We turn to the South, toward the FIRE of the noonday Sun,
Ever grateful for the transformation it brings.
And we ask St. Brigid, St. Columcille, and St. Columban to pray for us, 
that the fire of God's love may burn within us. 
With the Salmon of Wisdom,
Dwelling in the WATERS of the sacred pool,
We turn to the WEST, toward the setting Sun, 
Ever grateful for the journeys on which we find ourselves 
And we ask St. Brendan the Navigator and St. Fiacre to pray for us, 
That we may find healing of body, soul, and spirit, 
That we may learn compassion and love.  
With the great Bear of the starry heavens,
And the deep and fruitful EARTH,
We turn to the NORTH, toward the midnight sky,
Ever grateful for the beauty and bounty of this world.
And we ask St. Kevin, St. Francis of Assisi, and St. Hildegard to pray for us,
That we might be strengthened in generosity,
That we may find God in everyone and everything we encounter. 
We give honor and praise to the Most Holy Theotokos,
The Mother of Light through whom heaven is united to earth.
All creation rejoices in you, O full of grace, and we bless you.
We give honor and praise to Christ, our Savior,
The Word of God through whom all things were made.
Most Holy Begotten One of God,
Receive our prayer.
For the fertile Earth and the warm breezes,
For the waxing light and the nurturing rains,
For the new life springing up all around us,
All praise and honor to God, Eternal Spirit, Maker of all that is;
To Jesu, the Christ, Bearer of our humanity;
And to the Holy Spirit, Awen and Breath of life.
Now and ever and unto Ages of Ages.

AMEN.

The Word of God

Psalm 65:9-13

Ant: You make the sunrise and sunset shout for joy!

You nourish and water the land-
greatly you have enriched it.
     The streams of God are full of water;
     you provide us with grain as you ordained.
Thus have you prepared the land:
drenching its furrows,
     breaking up its clods, softening it with showers,
     blessing its yield.
You have crowned the year with your bounty
and your paths overflow with a rich harvest;
     the untilled meadows overflow with abundance,
     and rejoicing clothes the hills.
The fields are covered with flocks
and the valleys are blanketed with grain.
     They shout and sing for joy!

Glory to God our Maker, and to Jesu the Christ, and to the Holy Spirit;*
     now and ever and unto Ages of Ages. Amen.

Ant: You make the sunrise and sunset shout for joy!

First Reading

Ecclesiastes 3: 1-8

For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:
a time to be born, and a time to die;
     a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted;
     a time to kill, and a time to heal;
a time to break down, and a time to build up;
a time to weep, and a time to laugh;
     a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
     a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together;
a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
a time to seek, and a time to lose;
     a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
     a time to rend, and a time to sew;
a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
a time to love, and a time to hate;
     a time for war, and a time for peace.
— New Revised Standard Version (Catholic Edition), Bible Gateway
For the Word of God in Scripture,
For the Word of God among us,
For the Word of God within us.
Thanks be to God

Gospel

Matthew 6: 31-34

“Stop worrying, then, over questions such as, ‘What
are we to eat,’ or ‘what are we to drink,’ or ‘what are we
to wear?’ Those without faith are always running after
these things. God knows everything you need. Seek first
God’s reign, and God’s justice, and all these things will be
given to you besides. Enough of worrying about tomor-
row! Let tomorrow take care of itself. Today has troubles
enough of its own.

The Inclusive Bible: The First Egalitarian Translation, Copyright © 2007, Priests for Equality
For the Word of God in Scripture,
For the Word of God among us,
For the Word of God within us.
Thanks be to God

Meditation

Take a few moments to reflect on the readings, focusing on the idea of balance. Think about the balance of light and dark at this time of year. Explore the interwoven web of life and how everything moves around in a sort of cosmic dance. How can you relate this to your life? Is your life in balance or do you overemphasize some areas? Some of us focus so much on work – getting ahead, making money – that our personal life suffers. Some of us focus so much on spirituality that we have a hard time living in the real world. Some of us are so worried about what the future may bring that we forget to live in the moment. The Teacher in Ecclesiastes tells us that everything has a time and a season and Jesus tells us to stop worrying about everything, but rather to seek God and let go of our anxieties. This is a lot easier said than done, and we need grace: grace to accept God’s leading and grace to forgive ourselves and others when we let the pressures of life get to us.

Canticle: A Springtime Rhapsody

Song of Songs 2:8-13

The voice of my beloved!
    Behold, he comes,
leaping upon the mountains,
    bounding over the hills.
My beloved is like a gazelle,
    or a young stag.
Behold, there he stands
    behind our wall,
gazing in at the windows,
    looking through the lattice.
My beloved speaks and says to me:
“Arise, my love, my fair one,
    and come away;
for lo, the winter is past,
    the rain is over and gone.
The flowers appear on the earth,
    the time of singing has come,
and the voice of the turtledove
    is heard in our land.
The fig tree puts forth its figs,
    and the vines are in blossom;
    they give forth fragrance.
Arise, my love, my fair one,
    and come away.
–New Revised Standard Version (Catholic Edition), Bible Gateway
Glory to God our Maker, and to Jesu the Christ, and to the Holy Spirit;*
     now and ever and unto Ages of Ages. Amen.

Prayer

God of the Moon, God of the Sun, who ordained to us the Sun of mercy. Blessed Mary, bringing balance to life, birthing the Incarnate God. Love, Life, and Light brought into the world, physical and spiritual, rhythm restored, balance brought back. All praise, glory, and honor to you through Christ our Savior, who with you and the Holy Spirit, one holy and undivided Trinity, now and ever and unto Ages of Ages. Amen

— adapted from The Celtic Year, by David Cole.

If you wish to celebrate the Eucharist, stop here and use the Eucharistic liturgy, starting with the Creed. Otherwise continue with the following.

Prayers

Intercessions

Help us, O God our Savior; Deliver us and forgive us our sins. 

Look upon your congregation; Give to your people the blessing of peace. 

Declare your glory among the nations; And your wonders among all peoples. 

Do not let the oppressed be shamed and turned away; Never forget the lives of your poor. 

Continue your loving-kindness to those who know you; And your favor to those who are true of heart. 

Satisfy us by your loving-kindness in the morning; So shall we rejoice and be glad all the days of our life.
  • The members of this group
  • Those who suffer and those in trouble
  • The concerns of the local community
  • The world, its people, its leaders
  • The Church, its members, ministers, those in formation for ministry, and those charged with guidance and leadership
  • Those who have died
  • Any other prayers you hold in your heart.

Prayer of St. Francis

O God, make me an instrument of Your peace;
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
Where there is injury, pardon;
Where there is doubt, faith;
Where there is despair, hope;
Where there is darkness, light;
And where there is sadness, joy.

O Divine One,
Grant that I may not so much seek
To be consoled as to console;
To be understood, as to understand;
To be loved, as to love;
For it is in giving that we receive,
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
And it is in dying that we are born to Eternal Life.
Amen.

The Prayer of Jesus

from the New Zealand Prayer Book

Eternal Spirit, Earth-maker, Pain-bearer, Life-giver,
Source of all that is and that shall be,
Father and Mother of us all,
Loving God, in whom is heaven:
The hallowing of your name echo through the universe!
The way of your justice be followed by the peoples of the world!
Your heavenly will be done by all created beings!
Your commonwealth of peace and freedom sustain our hope and come on earth.
With the bread we need for today, feed us.
In the hurts we absorb from one another, forgive us.
In times of temptation and test, strengthen us.
From trials too great to endure, spare us.
From the grip of all that is evil, free us.
For you reign in the glory of the power that is love,
now and for ever.
Amen.

Leave-taking

The Oath of Peace

We swear by peace and love to stand 
Heart to heart, and hand in hand. 
Mark, O Spirit, and hear us now. 
Confirming this, our sacred vow. 

Final Blessing

Christ, as a light illumine and guide me. 
Christ, as a shield overshadow me. 
Christ under me; Christ over me; 
Christ beside me on my left and my right. 
This day be within and without me, 
lowly and meek, yet all-powerful. 
Be in the heart of each to whom I speak; 
in the mouth of each who speaks unto me. 
This day be within and without me, 
lowly and meek, yet all-powerful. 
Christ as a light; 
Christ as a shield; 
Christ beside me on my left and my right. 
— Adapted from St. Patrick’s Breastplate, Northumbria Community 


Header Image by Arno Smit on Unsplash

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