Marquand Chapel normally offers in-person worship on weekdays during the academic year. Due to COVID-19, in-person worship was suspended in March 2020. Daily weekday worship continued with online videos during the rest of the spring semester. I had the opportunity to provide the welcome and opening prayer for Marquand worship on April 15, 2020.
I wrote these Prayers of the People for worship in Marquand Chapel at Yale Divinity School on September 23, 2019. There was a sung response after each paragraph. This YouTube video (video is not from Marquand) includes the corresponding song.
Send me Jesus. God we ask you to send us out into this world, beyond the YDS community. Be with us in our daily interactions around New Haven and all of those we come into contact with. Through our supervised ministries, through our doctor’s visits and car appointments and send us Jesus, into the grocery store and coffee shops. Be with us in those mundane spaces we might not think of as holy and sacred. God send us your Spirit to accompany us and guide us. Send us Jesus. Send me Jesus.
Lead me Jesus. This gathered community are leaders. Some of us are in training to go out and lead others to find you Jesus. Some in this community are teachers leading students to find you. And some are just following on the journey not sure where it is leading. Help us God to continue to follow the lead of our brother Jesus. Help us to remember to follow in the footsteps of all of those wise leaders who have come before us. Lead us Jesus. Lead me Jesus.
Fill me Jesus. God it is Monday morning and we need to be filled! We come before you at the start of this new week. We ask you to fill us with lessons in the classroom. Fill us with wisdom from our readings. Fill us with your Divine grace and love. God we know that you will fill us until our cup overflows. Fill us Jesus. Fill me Jesus.
Send me, lead me, fill me. God we come before you with so many demands. We are bold enough to ask one more. When we feel like the world rests on our shoulders, that we are the only one who can fix the situation, help us to rest. God remind us that we do not have to do it alone. Taking rest is sacred and necessary. Help us to find our rest in you. We lift up all of these prayers in your name, Amen.
This ritual of blessing was first used in a Sunday morning worship service at Spring Glen Church in Hamden, Connecticut during the time of Pastoral Prayer.
This morning I want to invite you all to help me in lifting up these joys and concerns. As we close this time of prayer, we will do a small ritual to bless one another.
As we begin, join me in placing your hands over your heart. Feel its precious beating. We thank God for the gift of life. Each gift of life is filled with countless blessings and challenges. As we feel the beat of our physical hearts, consider the stirring of your spiritual heart, and let compassion and wisdom radiate into your receiving hands. We ask God to attune our hearts to God’s still speaking voice.
Keep your hands over your heart and hear these words of blessing:
“Hands, when in service to the human spirit, have the power to bless.
With touch that heals
Touch that comforts
Hands, when pledged in covenant to serve to our neighbor, have power to transform
Through service that strengthens
Service that liberates.“*
I invite you now to extend your hands out in front of you, palms facing down, over those around you.
Let us send out this healing spirit inside each of us to be a blessing to this gathered community. So that we might lend a hand to those in need. Offer a comforting hug. Or simply presence. As our hands are extended in blessing, we also remember that we should not overextend ourselves.
I invite you now to turn your hands over, maybe rest them on your lap, with your palms facing up, in a posture of receiving. We have sent our blessing out over this gathered community and beyond. But let us also receive. We sit for a moment of silent prayer to be nourished by the prayers, the joys and concerns. Let us be restored by God’s overflowing love, present here today. Amen.
*This liturgy was inspired by a Laying on of Hands written by Keith Goheen found online here.