cause for pause mansfield weekly chapel


Week 2

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.

God, in our prayer, in our learning, and in our living, be present with us. Enlighten us by your Holy Spirit who is our teacher and source of all wisdom. Amen.

Psalm 23

The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.

He makes me lie down in green pastures; he leads me beside still waters; he restores my soul.

He leads me in right paths for his name’s sake.

Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I fear no evil; for you are with me;

your rod and your staff—they comfort me.

You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;

you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life,

and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord my whole life long.

Lord Jesus Christ, our good shepherd, you give us new birth in the waters of baptism, you anoint us with oil, and you nourish us at your table with heavenly food. In your goodness and mercy, dispel the shadows of evil and death, and lead us along safe paths, that we may rest securely in you and dwell in the house of the Lord now and forever. Amen.

Matthew 20:17-28

While Jesus was going up to Jerusalem, he took the twelve disciples aside by themselves, and said to them on the way, ‘See, we are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be handed over to the chief priests and scribes, and they will condemn him to death; then they will hand him over to the Gentiles to be mocked and flogged and crucified; and on the third day he will be raised.’

Then the mother of the sons of Zebedee came to him with her sons, and kneeling before him, she asked a favour of him. And he said to her, ‘What do you want?’ She said to him, ‘Declare that these two sons of mine will sit, one at your right hand and one at your left, in your kingdom.’ But Jesus answered, ‘You do not know what you are asking. Are you able to drink the cup that I am about to drink?’ They said to him, ‘We are able.’ He said to them, ‘You will indeed drink my cup, but to sit at my right hand and at my left, this is not mine to grant, but it is for those for whom it has been prepared by my Father.’

When the ten heard it, they were angry with the two brothers. But Jesus called them to him and said, ‘You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones are tyrants over them. It will not be so among you; but whoever wishes to be great among you must be your servant, and whoever wishes to be first among you must be your slave; just as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life a ransom for many.’


by Rev'd Sarah Farrow, Chaplain (Mansfield College)

The Life of the Servant

Jesus persistently points out that God’s Kingdom will be an upside-down reflection of this worldly kingdom. In our ‘earthly’ ways, we honour status and titles, wealth and power, high marks and high salaries. In God’s Kingdom, all of these things are meaningless. In God’s Kingdom forgiveness, love and grace is the currency and it is freely given away. ‘In [God’s] kingdom, we are invited to discover our true humanity and the meaning of our lives in and through the good we do and receive from those around us.’

Christ, the servant king, continues to teach us that ‘greatness’ is not the big house on the hill or how much power we can wield over others. Christ teaches us that it’s not about ‘being great’ at all. The titles and status are meaningless. Where you sit at the table is not important; what is important is ensuring there is a space for everyone.

We could mistakenly assume that in our current circumstances, the coronavirus is the great leveller – it is a virus that does not care about your status or money. However, we are sadly seeing the inequalities of our societies magnified. Those without have even less, the excluded are pushed even further to the margins, the foreigner is even more harshly vilified and the downtrodden are being stamped on even deeper into struggle.

But we are called to be partners in the kingdom of God. To ‘discover our true humanity and the meaning of our lives in and through the good we do and receive from those around us.’ We are called to respond - to reach out to those who are struggling (and to share our own struggle). In this time when we must lean on one another, though far apart, we expose our own humanity. We expose our own need and see the need of others. We can see each other as children of God – to hold one another as Christ holds us.

A Moment for Reflection

Prayers of the People

For the health workers tending the seriously ill

for the scientists working on a vaccination

for the researchers analysing data and identifying trends

for the media outlets working to communicate reality

for the supermarket workers, hygiene and sanitation providers

for the good news stories of recoveries and effective planning

for the singing from balconies by locked-down communities

for the recognition that isolation doesn’t need to mean loneliness

for the notes through letterboxes offering help and support

for the internet and telephones and technology that connects

for the awakened appreciation of what is truly important

Thanks be to God.

For those who are unwell and concerned for loved ones

for those who were already very anxious

for those immune suppressed or compromised

for those vulnerable because of underlying conditions

for those in the ‘most at risk to coronavirus’ categories

for those watching their entire income stream dry up

for those who have no choice but to go out to work

for those who are afraid to be at home

for those who are more lonely than they've ever been

for those who are bereaved and grieving.

God be their healer, comfort and protection, be their strength, shield and provision, be their security, safety and close companion.

And raise up your Church to be your well-washed hands and faithful feet

to be present to the pain

to respond with love in action

if even from a safe distance.

God, in your mercy, Hear 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.

Let us bless the Lord. Thanks be to God.

The peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, keep our hearts and our minds in Christ Jesus. Amen.

A Final Moment to Pause

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. " • 童 彤 - "Grazing in a Field" • Akshay Paatil - "Touch of the other world" • Paul Jarvis - "Windswept meadow" • CHIRAG K - "untitled image" • Anton Darius - "Setting sun over a meadow" • Duncan Kidd - "untitled image"