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Evensong in the dark

13 March 2015

March 12, 1915

THE Bishop of Lincoln [the Rt Revd Edward Lee Hicks], in offering counsel to his clergy as to preaching and services in war time, urges that care should be taken not to let sermons degenerate into mere recruiting addresses or denunciations of our enemies. "I beg you," he says, "to preach a gospel of charity and generosity, and to check any talk of retaliation or revenge." And in view of the fact that many of the East Coast clergy are instructed by the military authorities not to light the churches, the Bishop says:-"I see no reason for giving up the evening service, even though we may not light up the church. Can we not hold our service even in a darkened church? A glimmering night-light or shaded lamp here and there will suffice in most cases, if we really mean business. A night-light for the priest, and perhaps for one other, will usually be enough. Let us choose hymns of which all know the words and the tunes. We can read all the Psalms, like the Lessons. The people know the responses by heart. The text and the sermon need no light, except that of the Spirit. We are, I feel sure, much too completely dependent on books; we trust too little to memory. I preached at a place near the sea the other night, where (I think) only one glimmering light was employed. We sang our hymn and some Psalms in the dark, and I preached my sermon without any light. We felt kinship with SS. Paul and Silas at Philippi (Acts xvi., 25). We live in extraordinary times. We cannot meet our difficulties in ordinary ways. To be commonplace just now is almost to be self-condemned." [Books]

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