Among the many possible ways of Christian worship, the service of Evensong, also known as evening prayer, is remarkable both for the centuries-old liturgical tradition it represents and for the atmosphere of contemplative devotion that enables it to remain deeply meaningful for worshipers today.
The liturgy traces its origins to the daily rites of the medieval church and has been said or sung regularly in its current form since the sixteenth century. All the words have been shaped and refined by long use and by renewed attempts to express the mysteries of God.
For some people it is music, not words, that carries them into the presence of God; and for others it is silence. Most of us need all three - words, music and silence - to lead us into the spirit of worship. So this service provides a liturgical, architectural and musical space in which one may gather the preoccupations and anxieties of life, and hold them together with a recollection of the God whose saving acts we celebrate.
Many find that through participation by silent attention while ministers and choir speak and sing in their name, they make the words and music their own. Once you have quietly offered those preoccupations which may be cluttering your mind, you are free to go on to offer to God all that you are. It is then that this service is experienced for what it is - an act of worship, in the Spirit, expressing our thanksgiving and hopes to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Let all be silent before him.