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Proposes blessing labs at MIT to show faith

Aside from regular communal worship, there are few opportunities for people of faith at MIT to express the faith that undergirds the morally conscientious attitude they share with many others here. I propose a service of blessing of laboratories and facilities as a new and effective opportunity for persons of faith to act out of the understanding that science and its fruits are fundamentally good and not opposed by religion.

Far from being a superstitious or magical action, or a threat to freedom of scientific inquiry, a blessing is a prayer of thanksgiving that recognizes God's involvement with the use of the blessed object or space through the people who use it. It recognizes the presence of God in human activity, and contains a petition for guidance so that the human activity may be aligned with the divine activity.

The blessing of a laboratory would be performed by the people who work there who wish to recognize and celebrate in some public way the potential for holiness in their work and workplace. Such a liturgy of blessing would provide them with the opportunity to commit themselves and their work to cooperation with God's purposes of the care of the earth and the human good.

In a practical vein, the job of working out such a service could prove to be a formidable task if people of different religious orientations work in the facility; and while the potential for divisiveness is certainly recognized, so also is the potential for mutual understanding and enrichment. In order for a lab blessing to be carried out in the right spirit, it would seem that the dissenting views of anyone in the lab should be respected.

I welcome all thoughtful responses to this proposal.

Barbara Smith-Moran->

Student Pastor->

Episcopal Ministry