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Friday, 21 August 2009 11:05

Prayer Service: In Praise of Hands

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Introduction
Our hands are an important part of who we are. We use the symbol hands to focus the work we do: our pain, our passion and our promise. With its focus on hands, this prayer service focuses on our hands introduces an image of God that may not be familiar to young people.

Set-Up
Materials
A copy of the closing prayer for all the participants (provided)

Worship space
This prayer could be done indoors or outdoors. Be sure that the room is well lighted so people can see their hands.

Ministers Needed
• Leader
• Reader

Order of Service
Call to Worship
LEADER: Our hands are an important part of who we are. We use the symbol hands to focus the work we do: our pain, our passion and our promise.

Let us reflect for a moment on these questions as we begin our prayer. Who have my hands touched today? For what have my hands reached out? With what have they been filled?

Reading
The New Woman
Kurinji Nathan of Sri Lanka

The hands which gently tend the leaves(1)
Will now help to banish gloom;
They'll work hard to put down evil,
And to raise up for all, new life.

The hands which gently tend the leaves
Will help nourish all that is good;
They'll work hard to weed out poverty,
And bring new culture and art.

The hands which gently tend the leave
Will show new ways for humankind;
They'll work hard to build those structures
In which truth and right will be found.

(1) Refers to the tea leaves on the bushes in the tea plantations of Sri Lanka, which are tended and plucked by Tamil women workers.

A Hand Blessing
LEADER: Look at your hands. Notice their power and gentleness. Let us bless these hands together. I invite you to repeat each phrase after me.

Blessed be the works of your hands, O Holy One.
Blessed be these hands that have touched life....
Blessed be these hands that have been creative....
Blessed be these hands that have felt pain and tiredness....
Blessed be these hands that have embraced others....
Blessed be these hands that have closed in anger....
Blessed be these hands that have planted new seeds....
Blessed be these hands that have cleaned, washed, mopped, scrubbed....
Blessed be these hands that have thrown a football....
Blessed be these hands that have written homework assignments....
Blessed be these hands that have carried books home from school....
Blessed be these hands that have reached out....
Blessed be these hands that hold the promise of the future....
Blessed be the works of your hands, O Holy One....

Closing Prayer
Distribute copies of the Closing Prayer, "BakerWoman God" on the next page. Invite all to join in prayer. Another prayer may be used if it is more suitable.

BakerWoman God

Bakerwoman God, I am your living Bread.
Strong, brown, Bakerwoman God.
I am your low, soft, and being-shaped loaf.
I am your rising bread, well-kneaded by some divine and knotty pair of knuckles,
by your warm earth-hands.
I am bread well-kneaded.

Put me in fire, Bakerwoman God,
put me in your own bright fire.

I am warm, warm as you from fire.
I am white and gold, soft and hard, brown and round.
I am so warm from fire.

Break me, Bakerwoman God!
I am broken under your caring Word.
Bakerwoman God remake me.

 

Copyright - Center for Ministry Development, PO Box 699, Naugatuck CT 06770, USA, 203-723-1622;
www.cmdnet.org
Used with permission, all rights reserved

 

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