I arise today,
Through the strength of heaven:
Light of the sun, radiance of the moon.
Splendor of fire, speed of lightning,
Swiftness of wind, depth of sea,
Stability of earth and firmness of rock.
I arise today,
Through God’s strength to pilot me:
God’s might to uphold me, God’s wisdom to guide me,
God’s eye to look before me, God’s ear to hear me,
God’s word to speak for me, God’s hand to guard me,
God’s way to lie before me, God’s shield to protect me.
From the snares of devils, from temptation of vices,
From everyone who shall wish me ill,
Afar and near, alone and in a multitude.
 
St. Patrick

 

As you may or may not know, my wife and I have recently found ourselves journeying towards the Anglican tradition.  Originally, I was invited by a seminary classmate to visit their Anglican church for a service.  It only took a few visits until we were both hooked on the liturgical service and the constant immersion of the people of God into the story of the Kingdom.

Celtic Cross

One of the things I appreciated from this tradition is the emphasis on God’s Word as a part of one’s church life.  We read four chunks of Scripture in the service from four different parts of Scripture, and we are encouraged to read four chunks of Scripture at home through the guidance of the Book of Common Prayer.  With so many opportunities to be formed by the Word, one will find themselves soon caught up in the redemptive narrative of the Bible.

I have found that the above prayer of St. Patrick reflects this immersion in the narrative of God’s story.  It is rooted deeply in the Psalms and it is founded in the goodness of God’s creation.  

For the early Celtic Christians, God was near.  The Trinitarian God that is revealed in the Bible could also be seen in creation.  The Celtic cross that is so prevalent draws on this frame of reference.  Scripture and creation are inextricably tied in this one form, as the roundness of the sun and the shape of the cross are etched together.  The revelation of God that is described by Paul in Romans are tied in this symbol, since God is revealed in both nature and the Bible.  

The psalmists are so confident in their God, even when things look dark, even when things look utterly hopeless.  There was room still for God’s salvation, for he saved his people through the Exodus.  He saved his people through invasions, famines, and slavery.  And if God did it once, he can surely do it again.  That’s why Patrick could arise each day and rely on the strength of God.  

Please keep in mind though that Patrick was not more spiritually talented than you or I.  No, he had to learn to trust in God.  And through his experience, he was able to boldly proclaim the prayer above.  He was able to arise each day because he knew the God who formed the foundations of the universe also formed him and cared for him.

I pray that we would rely on this sure foundation.