cause for pause mansfield weekly chapel


Week 6: Celebrating Pentecost

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 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.

O God, on this day you open the hearts of your faithful people by sending into us your Holy Spirit. Direct us by the light of that Spirit, that we may have a right judgment in all things and rejoice at all times in your peace, through Jesus Christ, your Son and our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

Psalm 104:24-34, 35b

O LORD, how manifold are your works!

In wisdom you have made them all; the earth is full of your creatures.

Yonder is the sea, great and wide, creeping things innumerable are there, living things both small and great.

There go the ships, and Leviathan that you formed to sport in it.

These all look to you to give them their food in due season; when you give to them, they gather it up; when you open your hand, they are filled with good things.

When you hide your face, they are dismayed; when you take away their breath, they die and return to their dust.

When you send forth your spirit, they are created; and you renew the face of the ground.

May the glory of the LORD endure for ever; may the LORD rejoice in his works—who looks on the earth and it trembles, who touches the mountains and they smoke.

I will sing to the LORD as long as I live; I will sing praise to my God while I have being.

May my meditation be pleasing to him, for I rejoice in the LORD.

Let sinners be consumed from the earth, and let the wicked be no more.

Bless the LORD, O my soul. Praise the LORD!

God of majesty, we are constantly surrounded by your gifts and touched by your grace; our words of praise do not approach the wonders of your love. Send forth your Spirit, that our lives may be refreshed and the earth may be renewed, until the new heaven and new earth resound with the song of resurrection in Jesus Christ, our Saviour and Lord. Amen.

Acts 2:1-21

When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. And suddenly from heaven there came a sound like the rush of a violent wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. Divided tongues, as of fire, appeared among them, and a tongue rested on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages, as the Spirit gave them ability.

Now there were devout Jews from every nation under heaven living in Jerusalem. And at this sound the crowd gathered and was bewildered, because each one heard them speaking in the native language of each. Amazed and astonished, they asked, ‘Are not all these who are speaking Galileans? And how is it that we hear, each of us, in our own native language? Parthians, Medes, Elamites, and residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya belonging to Cyrene, and visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes, Cretans and Arabs—in our own languages we hear them speaking about God’s deeds of power.’ All were amazed and perplexed, saying to one another, ‘What does this mean?’ But others sneered and said, ‘They are filled with new wine.’

But Peter, standing with the eleven, raised his voice and addressed them: ‘Men of Judea and all who live in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and listen to what I say. Indeed, these are not drunk, as you suppose, for it is only nine o’clock in the morning. No, this is what was spoken through the prophet Joel:

“In the last days it will be, God declares, that I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams. Even upon my slaves, both men and women, in those days I will pour out my Spirit; and they shall prophesy. And I will show portents in the heaven above and signs on the earth below, blood, and fire, and smoky mist. The sun shall be turned to darkness and the moon to blood, before the coming of the Lord’s great and glorious day. Then everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.”


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

During this pandemic, you may have heard the phrase that while we are all weathering the same storm, we are not all in the same boat. As this virus has highlighted the disparity and inequality in our societies, we find that we live in a broken world – we are not all in the same boat. And as the church marks Pentecost this week – the pouring out of the Holy Spirit often portrayed as the breath of life, I cannot help but hear the final words of Eric Garner and George Floyd, ‘I can’t breathe.’ The senseless killing of Mr Garner and Mr Floyd and of many other black men at the hands of those meant to serve and protect communities in the US, the racism and violence used to exert power – indeed, we are not all in the same boat. Too often, in order to keep oneself afloat, others have been left to sink.

This inequality and this injustice may give rise to anger and despair. We may cry out in frustration, ‘When will this end? When will things change? Where is the hope?’ But as we see in the universality of the work of the Holy Spirit, the answer returned may be an uncomfortable one – we are the ones to make it end, we are the ones to bring about change, we are the hope for the future. Just as the early disciples were moved by the Holy Spirit to speak about God’s deeds of power, the church today continues to be called by the Holy Spirit to speak about God’s deeds of power. But it is not a power well-understood by today’s society. It is not a power wielded through oppression and domination, it is a power exercised by lifting up and serving others.

The church is called, through the Holy Spirit, to speak the hope and love of God into those places where love and hope have been withheld. To share the life-giving breath of the Holy Spirit in those places where torture and silence have snuffed out too many lives. To proclaim Christ, the living Word of mercy and grace, in those places where the Word is used as a mere prop in a photo opportunity.

On the first Pentecost, the Holy Spirit filled those gathered together and stirred them to speak about God’s work. This is the power of the Holy Spirit, the Holy Spirit which transcends difference – God does not wipe difference away. The power of the Holy Spirit that brings people together – God does not divide and conquer. The power of the Holy Spirit opens our eyes to see, our hearts to recognise, and our mouths to declare the human dignity of each and every person. The Holy Spirit that emboldens us to open our mouths and testify the good news of Christ.

And that good news of Christ is what brings us hope in these times of anger, frustration, and despair. It is the good news of Christ that we cling to as our God who comes to be in and among us in the pain and hurt. It is Christ, through the Holy Spirit among us, who continues to make incarnate God’s embrace of all people. Regardless of gender, age, or place in life, the God gives the Holy Spirit to all people to comfort and sustain us, to embolden and strengthen us, to participate in God’s solidarity with our neighbours. This is hope, this is truly a life-giving breath – a hope and life that cannot be kept inside ourselves but has no other choice but to spill out, overflowing to our neighbour.

A Moment for Reflection

Come, Holy Ghost by Thomas Attwood (1765 - 1838)

Translated by Bishop J. Cosin (1594-1672), based on Veni Creator Spiritus, the Office hymn for Pentecost, attributed to Rabanus Maurus (c. 780-856).

Prayers of the People

Lord God, heal the sick, deliver the suffering, bind up the brokenhearted, and comfort those who mourn. We especially remember today those unable to be with loved-ones during times of pain and suffering - may your Holy Spirit unite and bind us in love.

Lord God, we pray for the students of Mansfield College. May wisdom enter their hearts and knowledge fill them with joy. May wise choices watch over them and may understanding keep them safe.

Lord God, for those looking for work, surround them with your never-failing love; free them from restlessness and anxiety; and renew them in facing the opportunities and challenges of daily life and work.

Lord God, when we despair at the racism, injustice and inequality we see in this world, stir up your Holy Spirit to move every human heart to destroy the barriers dividing us, to eliminate hatred, and to seek equality for all. May all of creation live in justice and peace.

Hear our cry, O God. Listen to our prayer.

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

'The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free…' (Luke 4:18)

May we go forward with the Spirit of the Lord upon us, bringing good news to the poor, proclaiming release to the captives, sight to the blind, and freedom to the oppressed. 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 of Music

Einleitung und Fuge by Ernst Bauer (1833 – 1897)

Notice the complexities of the several strettos in the Fugue as an illustration of many people speaking in tongues.

Thank you to all who contributed to this order of service for evening prayer. If you would like to contribute, please contact the Chaplain, Rev'd Sarah Farrow (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. " • Marek Okon - "It has always been a dream to travel to Micronesia, but it’s a whole other story to get the opportunity to go, and dive the biggest graveyard of WWII ships in the world. The place I am speaking of is Chuck Lagoon of the Federated States of Micronesia, located about 1,000km south east from Guam on the Pacific Ocean. This is the remains of one of the merchant ships that sunk during Operation Hailstorm that took place in 1944." • CHIRAG K - "untitled image" • Jon Tyson - "untitled image" • Tadej Skofic - "A colorful sunrise from a small hill in the village of Jamnik"