In this post we’re continuing on the Fall miniseries on liturgical prayer. Last week we looked at 5 of my favorite prayer books, and next week we’ll look at the other half of our prayer book collection. Today we’ll focus on just one prayer, a prayer for the upcoming Fall holiday, Michaelmas.

 

 

Closely related to the practice of liturgical daily prayer is walking through the calendar year by preparing for and celebrating Holy days.  The whole Church year is supposed to walk you through what it means to be a faithful follower of Christ. There a multiple ways of doing this. The main way is that from December to May the whole Church walks through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus, starting with the season before Christmas (Advent) and going all the way through Easter and 50 days later to Pentecost. In addition to this six month long passion play we’re all invited to, there are also various Saints Day, Feasts, Fasts, and commemorations.  Evan and I have been trying slowly to incorporate more of these days into our lives.

 

 

Last year was the first time we celebrated Michaelmas. “Michaelmas” is a short version of the “Feast of St. Michael and All Angels.” It falls on September 29, and in English history was conveniently also the end of one of the year’s quarters. So it functioned a bit like a cross between modern American Thanksgiving and Tax Day: the harvest was coming in, the year was 3/4 over, and you’d pay up what you owed.  Theologically, it centers on the role of the angels in the defeat of evil, and the promise that a risen Christ will one day wipe away all tears. So it’s a day to eat good food, take stock of where you are and where you’re going, and celebrate with friends the promised, ultimate victory of good over evil.

 

 

Last year we celebrated with our small group. It was a very sweet occasion.  Evan and I cooked everyone breakfast and took them on one of our favorite hikes. Our leader, Curt, had just started dating this wonderful woman, Meriwether, whom he brought along.  And another couple, Lauren and Josh, had just announced they were expected a baby in May. With full hearts, we walked through the ragweed filled clearings, forded small streams, and climbed a beautiful hill under a large, clear sky. We stood in a circle on the top of the hill and prayed together from little printed copies of a liturgy we pulled together from our various books. This year I’m looking forward to being with them again on Sunday.

 

 

We have different things to look forward to this year, Curt and Meriwether’s wedding in a few months, Lauren and Josh’s beautiful four-month old baby girl, and only 10 weeks left of Evan’s student teaching.

Below is a simple mid-day prayer for Michaelmas based on the one that we prayed on that hilltop last year. May you take a moment this week and celebrate God’s faithfulness to you. May you look back to where you were in previous Falls and look forward to knowing that wherever the next Falls take you that you’ll be in good hands.

 

 

The Call to Prayer

 

Bless the LORD, you angels of his, you mighty ones who do his bidding*

and hearken to the voice of his word.

Bless the LORD, all you his hosts*

you ministers of his who do his will.

Bless the LORD, all you works of his,*

in all the places of his dominion.

 


 

The Request for Presence

 

Be seated on your lofty throne, O Most High;*

O LORD, judge the nations.

 

 

The Greeting

 

Not to us, O LORD, not to us, but to your Name give glory;*

Because of your love and because of your faithfulness.

 

 

 

 

A Reading (from Daniel 12:1-3)

 

“At that time Michael, the great prince, the protector of your people, shall arise… At that time your people shall be delivered… Many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake.”

 


 

The Midday Refrain

 

On this day the LORD has acted;*

We will rejoice and be glad in it.

 


 

The Midday Psalm (from 148)

 

Praise the Lord! Praise the Lord from the heavens;*

praise him in the heights!

Praise him, all his angels;*

praise him, all his host!

Praise him, sun and moon;*

praise him, all you shining stars!

Praise him, you highest heavens,*

and you waters above the heavens!

Mountains and all hills,*

fruit trees and all cedars!

Praise the Lord!

 

The Midday Refrain

 

On this day the LORD has acted;*

We will rejoice and be glad in it.

 


 

The Cry of the Church

 

Let us praise the Lord, whom the Angels are praising, whom the Cherubim and Seraphim proclaim: Holy, Holy, Holy

 


 

A Reading (from Revelation 12:7-10)

 

“And war broke out in heaven; Michael and his angels fought against the dragon. The dragon and his angels fought back, but they were defeated, and there was no longer any place for them in heaven… Then I heard a loud voice in heaven, proclaiming, ‘Now have come the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God and the authority of his Messiah.”

 

 

The Midday Refrain

 

On this day the LORD has acted;*

We will rejoice and be glad in it.

 


 

The Small Verse

 

In the sight of the Angels I praise you. I adore at your holy temple and give praise to your name.

 


 

The Gloria

 

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit. *

As it was in the beginning, is now, and will be forever. Amen+

 


 

 

The Lord’s Prayer

 

Our Father, who art in Heaven, hallowed be thy Name. Thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil; for thine is the kingdom, and the power and the glory forever and ever. Amen

 


 

The Concluding Prayer of the Church

 

Everlasting God, who have ordained and constituted in a wonderful order the ministries of angels and mortals: Mercifully grant that, as your holy angels always serve and worship you in heaven, so by your appointment they may help and defend us here on earth; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen+

 


 

Have you ever celebrated Michaelmas? 

 

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