Friday, 24 June 2011

A Liturgy For the Ordering Of Studies and Other Rooms of Labour

Something a little light-hearted for the weekend. Written at the suggestion of Revd John Bridge - so blame him. 

A Liturgy For the Ordering Of Studies and Other Rooms of Labour

                The Gathering

                  The president greets the people using these or other suitable words
                         In the name of Christ, we welcome you.
                        We have been called out of messiness into God’s marvellous tidiness.
                        Grace and peace, and a keen supply of black sacks be with you
All              All                and also with you

The need for the order of Lord has been poured into our hearts,
through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us in our places of toil and cogitation:
we dwell in him and he lives in us, when we allow him space amid the mess.
Give thanks to the Lord and call upon his name:
All                make known his deeds among the piles of paper.
Sing to God, sing praises to his name:
All                and speak of all his marvellous flat surfaces.
Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord God almighty:
All                who was and is and is to come, but only in a tidy realm.

The Collect
Silence may be kept.
Heavenly Father,
you granted your people studies to weigh the merits of our earthly ministries. Anoint our studies and rooms of work with the same Holy Spirit,
that we who share your Son’s suffering and victory
may conquer the miscellany of books, paper, poor translations and USB cables;
through Jesus Christ, your Son our Lord,
who is alive and reigns with you
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.
All                Amen.

                 The Liturgy of the Word

                    First Reading
                              Deuteronomy 23: 12-14

                    Second Reading
                              Roman 14: 14

Gospel Reading
Alleluia, alleluia.
You, child, shall be called the prophet of the Ordered Temples of Labour
for you will go before the Lord to prepare his ways.
When the Gospel is announced the reader says
Hear the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ according to Matthew.
All                Glory to you, O Lord.
Matthew 5: 48 [DC Version 2011]

Your study therefore must be tidied, as your heavenly Father’s study is tidy.

At the end
This is the Gospel of the Lord.
All                Praise to you, O Christ.

Sermon – The Rt. Revd Kim O’Naggy, Bishop of Stoppit and Tidyup in the Diocese of Blacksax

¶                 Prayer

God the Father, your will for all people is tidiness and feng shui.
All                We praise and bless you, Lord.
God the Son, you came that we might have life,
and might have it more tidily.
All                We praise and bless you, Lord.
God the Holy Spirit, you make our studies
     the temple of your orderly presence.
All                We praise and bless you, Lord.
Holy Trinity, one God, in you we re-arrange and move and have our dusting.
All                We praise and bless you, Lord.
Lord, grant your healing restoration to all who are imperilled by piles of books and paper, injured or disabled by collapsing files and ring-binders,
that they may be made whole in tidiness and neatness.
All                Hear us, Lord of life.
Grant to all who are messy, the disordered and slum-lords
a knowledge of your will and an awareness of your way of sorting out rooms.
All                Hear us, Lord of life.
Grant to all who advise those who are trying to tidy
wisdom and skill, sympathy and patience and tea in due season.
All                Hear us, Lord of life.

Let us pray.
A period of silence follows.
O Lord our God, accept the fervent prayers of your people;
in the multitude of your mercies look with compassion
     upon the untidy and all who turn to you for alphabetised shelves;
for you are gracious, O lover of dust free spaces,
and to you we give Mr Sheen, a duster, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit,
now and for ever.
All                Amen.

Tidying and Making Tidy
Polish for polishing is brought before the president.
Our cleaning is in the name of the Lord
All                who has made heaven and earth.
Blessed be the name of the Lord:
All                now and for ever. Amen.
Blessed are you, sovereign God, gentle and merciful,
creator of heaven and earth.
Your Word brought tidiness out of chaos,
and daily your Spirit renews the face of our studies.
When we turned away from you in sin,
your anointed Son took our nature and entered our mess
to bring  a sense of order to those in slovenly discontent.
He broke the power of unkempt ways and set us free from dust and cobwebs
that we might become partakers of his shining new tidiness.
His apostles rendered order in the face of messy disorder in your name,
bringing cleanliness and space to messy places.
By your grace renewed each day
you continue the gifts of tidiness in our studies
that your people may not have their letters and papers lost for ever.
By the power of your Spirit may your blessing rest
on those who are polishing with sprays in your name;
may they be made tidy in desk, shelf and floor.
Hear the prayer we offer for all your people.
Remember in your mercy those for whom we pray:
direct the slovenly, raise the files, strengthen the broken shelves
and enfold in your love the fearful and those who have no dusters of bin bags.
In the fullness of time complete your gracious work.
Reconcile all things in Christ and make them clean,
that we may be restored in your image, renewed in your love,
and serve you as sons and daughters in our tidy studies.
Through your anointed Son, Jesus Christ, our Lord,
to whom with you and the Holy Spirit
we lift our voices of thanks and praise:
All                Blessed be God, our order and our cleanness,
now and for ever. Amen.

The laying on of hands is administered to the scattered articles, using these or other suitable words
In the name of God and trusting in his might alone,
receive Christ’s tidying touch to make you tidy.
May Christ bring you cleanliness and order
of desk, shelf and floor,
deliver you from every random pile of paper and scatterings of computer paraphernalia,
and give you his tidiness.
All                Amen.
Polishing may be administered. The minister says
Desk, I polish you in the name of God who gives you a lustrous sheen.
Receive Christ’s removal of coffee rings and discarded staples.
May the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ
grant you the riches of visibility,
his freshness and his non-stickiness.
All                Amen.

                 The Sending Out
God who said: ‘Let tidiness reign out of untidiness’
All                has caused bags of detritus to depart from us
to give the light of the polished surface of the glory of God
All                revealed in the clean surfaces and dust-free books about Jesus Christ.
We have this treasure in our little rooms, about ten-feet square
All                to show that the ministry of ministers can minister to the ministered.

The Peace and Dismissal
God has made us tidy in Christ.
He has set his dusters beside us
and, as a can of Pledge for what is to come,
has given the Spirit to dwell in our cells of contemplation.
The peace of the Lord be always with you.
All                and also with you.
A minister says

Go in the tidiness of Christ, and take those bags out to the bin when you go.
All                Thanks be to God.

Copyright acknowledgement (where not already indicated above):

Some material included in this service is ridiculous: ©  1276 National Council of the Untidy Study Wranglers
Initial dialogue ©  Rt Revd Dr Bill N Benn
Some material included in this service not copyright: ©  The Vernacular Curate 2011
Rubric: Silence may be kept ©  The Archbishops' Council 2005, which is just stupid
Gospel Acclamation (Tidyeth of the Manse) ©  The Archbishops' Council
Some material included in this service is tongue-in-cheek: ©  The Rt Revd Dr David M Cloake (never to be)


  1. God, I hope this is one of those liturgies where the priest does all the work and the people sit and watch......

    Is there a prayer for papercuts and discarded staple stabs?

  2. Love it, particularly the use of the correct Gill Sans typeface, red rubrics, and copyright notice: I expect it to be in the next edition of 'New Patterns of Worship'!

  3. Galatians 5:12 (paraphrase) - I wish all those girly neat freaks would go tidy themselves away.

  4. this was just what I needed after looking through the order of service for next Sunday when I am Deacon of the rite for the ordination of deacons!!

    thanks - simply brilliant!!



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