Reflections

A Magazine of Theological and Ethical Inquiry from Yale Divinity School

“AS OUR SOULS MOVE”: A PRAYER ON AGING

Author: 
Samuel N. Slie

Most loving and perpetually understanding and forgiving God, we lift our prayers of thanksgiving to you for renewal and sustenance in our aging. Bless us to receive and grow in self-respecting modesty, tough forgiving love, generosity, and without assuming self-righteousness. Bless all humanity to know Jesus Christ and the Church so that we may weather life’s successes and failures on our way to salvation.

May we experience each stage of aging as nobler and finer than those before it: childhood, adolescence, teenage, young adulthood, middle age, and the senior years, of giving and receiving wisdom and new learning from others. We pray for one another in our times of transitions (which are not always easy and not always short), especially when we relinquish the dynamics of earthly life so that our souls may be liberated. Here, O God, we gather inspiration from our Reformation brother Martin Luther who tells us, “My soul is silence, waiting all humble for God.” 

Bless us, O God, to age with dignity and grace. We ourselves and others often say, “It isn’t easy to grow old.” When spirit, mind, and body show the effects of decades of aging, grant us the wisdom and grace to share and relinquish the social, family, economic, legal, and other initiatives to those who care about us and who can be trusted to bear those responsibilities with us and for us. Help us to accept who we are as our souls move from creation through earthly life to eternity. Gracious God who hears every prayer of every heart, hear us. May love, forgiveness, and the salvation promised in Christ Jesus receive us. AMEN

Born in 1925, the Rev. Samuel N. Slie ’52 B.D. ’63 S.T.M. is known to generations of students at Yale and across New England as a chaplain and educator. He was a lecturer at YDS from 1965-76 and from 1980-83 and served for 11 years as associate University Pastor with William Sloane Coffin, Jr. He also served on the regional staff of the New England Student Christian Movement. He is also associate pastor emeritus of the Church of Christ at Yale. A resident of greater New Haven, he continues to pastor students and his beloved congregations, especially through YDS, the Black Church at Yale, and Dwight Hall at Yale.

Issue Title: 
Test of Time: The Art of Aging
Issue Year: 
2013