cause for pause mansfield weekly chapel


In times of restraint and physical distancing, when the body of Christ cannot meet in one place we are finding new ways to worship together. This self-led order for evening prayer with contributions from members across the Mansfield community, invites us to slow down as we approach the end of the day. You are may conduct your worship in silence or you may use the videos included throughout.

You may wish to begin by lighting a candle in your home (if you are able) and use this time and space to reflect on the activity of the day that has just passed and commit it to God. We are then invited to contemplate the night of restoration that lies ahead, entrusting ourselves to God.

Dear God, in this time of social distancing may we come into a closer understanding of the ways we can help support and lift one another up. In this time of darkness, let us choose to see and be the light for others. Amen.

Psalm 134

A Song of Ascents.

Come, bless the Lord, all you servants of the Lord,

who stand by night in the house of the Lord!

Lift up your hands to the holy place,

and bless the Lord.

May the Lord, maker of heaven and earth,

bless you from Zion.

We gather through the Holy Spirit in our many places – house, apartment, room - and call to you, Lord God. Look upon your family gathered in your name, and graciously pour out your blessing upon us; for the sake of Jesus Christ, our Saviour and Lord. Amen.

John 21:1-14

After these things Jesus showed himself again to the disciples by the Sea of Tiberias; and he showed himself in this way. Gathered there together were Simon Peter, Thomas called the Twin, Nathanael of Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee, and two others of his disciples. Simon Peter said to them, ‘I am going fishing.’ They said to him, ‘We will go with you.’ They went out and got into the boat, but that night they caught nothing.

Just after daybreak, Jesus stood on the beach; but the disciples did not know that it was Jesus. Jesus said to them, ‘Children, you have no fish, have you?’ They answered him, ‘No.’ He said to them, ‘Cast the net to the right side of the boat, and you will find some.’ So they cast it, and now they were not able to haul it in because there were so many fish. That disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, ‘It is the Lord!’ When Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he put on some clothes, for he was naked, and jumped into the lake. But the other disciples came in the boat, dragging the net full of fish, for they were not far from the land, only about a hundred yards off.

When they had gone ashore, they saw a charcoal fire there, with fish on it, and bread. Jesus said to them, ‘Bring some of the fish that you have just caught.’ So Simon Peter went aboard and hauled the net ashore, full of large fish, a hundred and fifty-three of them; and though there were so many, the net was not torn. Jesus said to them, ‘Come and have breakfast.’ Now none of the disciples dared to ask him, ‘Who are you?’ because they knew it was the Lord. Jesus came and took the bread and gave it to them, and did the same with the fish. This was now the third time that Jesus appeared to the disciples after he was raised from the dead.


by Charlotte Moore, MSt Modern Theology (Mansfield College)

Getting on with it.

The parable of the miraculous catch of fish is often taught in Sunday school sermons on faith. It is a simple, nice story. The disciples are tired. They have been out all night. They have caught nothing. A random man on the beach at dawn shouts to them with an even more random instruction – try fishing from the other side of the boat. The bemused fishermen obey him – and they catch so many fish (precisely 153) that they cannot even haul the net into the shore. One of the fishermen immediately recognises this random man to be actually quite familiar: ‘it is the Lord!’ blurts Peter, before he dives into the sea to meet Jesus. The point is that the disciples obey Jesus before they know it is him – they have ‘blind faith’ – and so the youth worker concludes, just like our good friend Peter, we need to have faith too.

What is perhaps less obvious is the timing of this event. Literally days before, these bemused fishermen watch their innocent best friend die on a cross, before he walks back through the door three days later, nail-scars-and-all. The most significant event in the entirety of western civilisation has literally just happened – and yet the fishermen are back on the sea. They have families to feed and bills to pay.

In a not-so-dissimilar vein, we keep being told in apocalyptic language that we are living in unprecedented times. And yet strangely, for the lucky among us, life is going on. The bins still need taking out and the exams still need to be sat. I still need to Instagram my sourdough and write a zoom quiz for my granny. I realise this is a privileged perspective – and it is not much comfort to the mourning widow or the traumatised nurse whose lives may never be the same again – to know that for most of us mostly life continues. But that is also the comfort: as the days around this horrible virus go on, so do we. Getting on with it, just like the fishermen did.

Awake us, Lord, and Hasten (JS Bach, Cantata 22)

Prayers of the People

O God our Healer, show your compassion for the whole human family that is in turmoil and burdened with illness and with fear. in this time of social distancing to come into closer understanding of the ways we can help support and lift one another up. In this time of darkness, let us choose to see and be the light for others.Hear our cry, O God, Listen to our prayer.

Breathe a spirit of love and self-discipline into this world that we continually promote and protect the well-being of all. Strengthen our witness to embody examples of compassionate self-restraint. Hear our cry, O God, Listen to our prayer.

God, have mercy! Support and protect all health care workers and all who serve the sick and those at high risk of infection. We remember in particular refugees and those serving them today. Reinforce all agencies that support public health. Hear our cry, O God, Listen to our prayer.

God, have mercy! Comfort and uplift those of our Mansfield community who are alone, isolated, oppressed by solitude and anxiety. Inspire and encourage those who are weary. Hear our cry, O God, Listen to our prayer.

God, have mercy on the whole human family and on your creation, especially hear our specific prayers that have been kept in the silence of our hearts. Pause to offer up your own individual prayers. Hear our cry, O God, Listen to our prayer.

Remember in your mercy all those who have died and will die today. Hear our cry, O God, Listen to our prayer.

Trusting in your great compassion and unconditional promise always to be with us, we pray. Amen.

The Lord's Prayer

Our Father, who art in heaven,

hallowed be thy name,

thy kingdom come,

thy will be done,

on earth as it is in heaven.

Give us this day our daily bread;

and forgive us our trespasses,

as we forgive those

who trespass against us;

and lead us not into temptation,

but deliver us from evil.

For thine is the kingdom,

and the power, and the glory, forever and ever. Amen

O God, from whom come all holy desires, all good counsels, and all just works: give to us, your servants, that peace which the world cannot give, that our hearts may be set to obey your commandments; and also that we, being defended from the fear of our enemies, may live in peace and quietness; through Jesus Christ our Saviour, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, God forever. Amen.

We give thanks to you, heavenly Father, through Jesus Christ your dear Son, that you have graciously protected us today. We ask you to forgive us all our sins, where we have done wrong, and graciously to protect us tonight. Into your hands we commend ourselves: our bodies our souls and all that is ours. Let your holy angels be with us, so that the wicked foe may have no power over us. Amen.

Lord of All Hopefulness

Almighty God, Father, + Son, and Holy Spirit, bless you now and forever. Amen.

Go forth into the world to serve God with gladness; be of good courage; hold fast to that which is good; render to no one evil for evil; strengthen the fainthearted; support the weak; help the afflicted; honour all people; love and serve God, rejoicing in the power of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

God be in my head...

Thank you to all who have contributed to this order of service for evening prayer. If you would like to contribute. Please contact the Chaplain (chaplain@mansfield.ox.ac.uk). Next week's service will be available from midday on Wednesday.


Created with images by Andraz Lazic - "Feather on the lake. " • Austin Johnson - "Somewhere in the Canadian Cascades" • Kla Aphimuk - "Unforgettable moment in paradise , Koh Adang" • Jonathan Bean - "untitled image" • CHIRAG K - "untitled image" • peter bucks - "untitled image" • David Clarke - "untitled image"