Thursday, September 25, 2008

Morning Prayers

This is the most beautiful thing in Boston: Morning Prayers, the 15-minute, daily worship service in the Appleton Chapel at Harvard's Memorial Church.

On the rare occasions when I show up, Morning Prayers are the richest 15 minutes of my day. Here is the order of worship: a Psalm reading, followed by a brief choral interlude. The celebrant, either a Harvard minister or a seminarian, reads a Bible passage, and then a visitor - a "celebrity," a student or, yes, a member of the Harvard maintenance staff - delivers a five-minute homily. You sing a thumping hymn, recite the Lord's Prayer, and you're on your way by 9.

Back in the day, all Harvard undergraduates were required to attend morning prayer, and the service ended in time for their first class. That day ended in 1886. Now about a couple of dozen people attend regularly.

Alex Beam in the Boston Globe.

I was not one of the couple of dozen. Another thing I missed at Harvard.