Evensong continues a tradition of contemplative worship at Sunnyvale Pres that began in 1996. It will be familiar to those who attended “Early Light,” on Sunday mornings prior to the pandemic. Like Early Light, Evensong features Taizé-style music, prayer, silence, reflection on scripture, and holy communion.
Contemplative worship is a centuries-old tradition. In the words of Thomas Merton, “Contemplation is the highest expression of man's intellectual and spiritual life. It is that life itself, fully awake, fully active, fully aware that it is alive. It is spiritual wonder. It is spontaneous awe at the sacredness of life, of being. It is gratitude for life, for awareness, and for being. It is a vivid realization that life and being in us proceed from an invisible, transcendent and infinitely abundant Source. Contemplation is, above all, awareness of the reality of that Source.”
At Sunnyvale Presbyterian Church contemplative worship consists of a two-fold movement: a journey inward, followed by the return to daily life. Through the inward journey, we get in touch with that which—or the One who— is ultimate, our source, the living flame that enlivens and directs us, and is Love itself. The inward journey is our home, our place of origin, where we find rest, restoration, and direction—all ways in which we receive the love of God. The outward journey is our way of bringing the love we have received outward to allow it to expand beyond ourselves.