Come and sing with us and prepare for the Easter joy of the resurrection.
It is a tradition to come to Lenten Wednesday worship services at St. Mark. This year we will sing and pray with the help of Holden Evening Prayer service. This beautiful service was written by Marty Haugen. Holden Village is a Lutheran retreat center in the Cascade Mountains of Washington state. It operates under a special wilderness use permit issued by the U.S. Forest Service. Anyone is welcome to attend Holden Village as a guest or volunteer.
To get yourself to Holden, you must first travel to north central Washington, and to be specific, Chelan, a town at the southern end of Lake Chelan. Drop off your car and catch the Lady of the Lake and head north on this winding fjord-like waterway nestled in the Cascades. Stay on the boat after it stops at 25-Mile Creek. Later, get off at the Holden boat dock at Lucerne, and you will be met by an orange school bus or two depending on how many of your fellow sailors are heading up to Holden. Try to get in the first bus; the road is dusty. Hang on to your seat as the bus navigates its way along an old mining road, 12 sharp switchbacks, and heads up the valley of Railroad Creek. During your 11-mile journey, you can look down to Domke Lake on your left, and up to Buckskin Mountain and Copper Peak. You will arrive at the Village (elevation 3200 feet) to cheers of welcome from people already there.
“Each guest and staff bed in the Village is covered with a handmade quilt made by Holdenites near and far. Every quilt in the Village tells a story and is a piece of Holden history in its own right.” Loving Christians have put their mark on Holden over the years in so many ways.
Holden Evening Prayer was composed by Marty Haugen while on sabbatical in the Village during the winter of 1986.
“Holden Evening Prayer (or “Vespers ’86” as it is still known at Holden Village) was written during the winter of 1985- 86 when I was living with my family at Holden. As each part of the vesper service was written, it was prayed with the community as part of evening worship. The final version represents a very real collaboration with the winter community at Holden. I believe that one of the reasons it continues to be used is because it reflects the very real prayer of a particular community.”
When we sing Holden Evening Prayer, it’s engaging to think of the winter setting in the Cascade Mountains that inspired it. It’s very fitting that we use it in the wintertime for Lent. Much like the twists and turns of the scenic, mountain switchbacks one travels to get to Holden Village, Haugen’s creation has followed an unusual journey to be in our hands each Lent.