Reader: Loving God, you have lived among us and you have called us friends. Inspire us through the life of your servant Aelred to create relationships that show forth the intimate embrace of sacred love. Grant that the witness of our loving relationships may draw all people into the embrace of your unbounded love, through Jesus Christ, who loved as we love.
THE FIRST LESSON
Reader: So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love,
any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy,
complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love,
being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from selfish
ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant
than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests,
but also to the interests of others.
WE SING PRAISE TO GOD
Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing
Come, Thou fount of ev’ry blessing
Tune my heart to sing Thy grace
Streams of mercy, never ceasing
Call for songs of loudest praise
Teach me some melodious sonnet
Sung by flaming tongues above
Praise thy mount! I’m fixed upon it
Mount of Thy redeeming love
O to grace how great a debtor
Daily I’m constrained to be
Let Thy grace, Lord, like a fetter
Bind my wand’ring heart to Thee
Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it
Prone to leave the God I love
Here’s my heart, Lord, take and seal it
Seal it for Thy courts above
Oh that day when freed from sinning
I shall see Thy lovely face
Full arrayed in blood-washed linen
How I’ll sing Thy sovereign grace
Come, my Lord, no longer tarry
Bring Thy promises to pass
For I know Thy pow’r will keep me
Till I’m home with Thee at last
THE GOSPEL LESSON
from John 15:9-17
Reader: Jesus said, “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full. This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.
“Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you. No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you.
“You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you. These things I command you, so that you will love one another.”
The Gospel of our Lord.
People: Praise to you, O Christ!
from Aelred of Rievaulx
Reader: “It is no small consolation in this life to have someone to whom you can be united in the intimate embrace of the most sacred love; in whom your spirit can rest; to whom you can pour out your soul; in whose delightful company, as in a sweet consoling song, you can take comfort in the midst of sadness; in whose most welcome, friendly bosom you can find peace in so many worldly setbacks; to whose loving heart you can open, as freely as you would to yourself, your innermost thoughts; through whose spiritual kisses—as by some medicine—you are cured of the sickness of care and worry; who weeps with you in sorrow, rejoices with you in joy, and wonders with you in doubt; whom you draw by the fetters of love into that inner room of your soul, so that though the body is absent, the spirit is there, and you can confer all alone, the two of you, in the sleep of peace away from the noise of the world, in the embrace of love, in the kiss of unity, with the Holy Spirit flowing over you; to whom you so join and unite yourself that you mix soul with soul, and two become one.”
Reader: Holy and life-giving God, today we give thanks for intimate friendships as we celebrate St. Aelred of Rievaulx.
God of love, you sent your Son to become one of us, and so he knew the joy of intimate friendship and human love. We pray that the Church may show forth the patient and compassionate love of your son Jesus to all people, that they may be drawn to life-giving relationships with you and with one another.
God of love, we rejoice in the company Aelred of Rievaulx and of all your saints, past, present, and future, celebrated and unknown. We commend ourselves, all those we love, and all our life, to Jesus our brother and Advocate, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.
WE SING PRAISE TO GOD
Christian Hearts In Love United
Christian hearts in love united: search to know God’s holy will
Let his love, in us ignited, more and more our spirits fill
Christ the head, and we his members: we reflect the light he is
Christ the master, we disciples: he is ours and we are his
Grant, Lord, that with your direction “Love each other” we comply
Help us live in true affection, your love to exemplify
Let our mutual love be glowing brightly so that all may view
That we, as on one stem growing, living branches are in you
Come, then, living church of Jesus, covenant with him anew
Unto him who conquered for us may we pledge our service true
May our lives reflect the brightness of God’s love in Jesus shown
To the world we then bear witness: we belong to God alone
Praise God from whom all blessings flow
Praise him, all creatures here below
Praise him above, ye heavenly hosts
Praise Father, Son and Holy Ghost
Amen, Amen, Amen
Sources for Songs:
Come Thou Fount: Words by Robert Robinson (1758). V. 3 alt. words by Bob Kauflin. Music by Asahel Nettleton (1825).
Christian Hearts in Love United: Words by Nicolaus Ludwig, Graf von Zinzendorf (1723). Tune attributed to B. F. White (1844).
The Doxology: Words by Thomas Ken (1709). Music by Louis Bourgeois (1551).