Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Happy Saint Patrick's Day!

During this Lenten season, having finished up a Wednesday study with both, Main Street United Methodist and Heartland Nazarene, on the "Means of Grace," I felt that we ought to spend our Wednesdays in prayer.  So, having discussed both, extemporaneous and written prayers, I have been leading the churches in, first, praying the Daily Office, followed by a time of extemporaneous prayer.  Main Street, which meets at 1:30 in the afternoon, is praying Morning Prayer, and Heartland is praying Evening prayer.  The text that we are using is a blending of the new Anglican Church in North America office and Wesley's The Sunday Service.  (Perhaps I will survey the people and report back in another post how they have been affected by these prayer times.)

I have included in the Daily Office, at the point of the "sermon," a time of reflecting on the "feast day" of a particular "saint," either from The Episcopal Church's Lesser Feasts and Fasts, or from the material provided by the Order of St. Luke.  -  Today, we anticipated by one day, the Feast of St. Patrick. 

As most people know, St. Patrick's Day is March 17. It is a day when we celebrate all things Irish and when everyone gets to wear green, my favorite color. (I'll either wear my green clergy shirt or my Green Lantern shirt!)  - Still, the day is about more than the color green!
On this Feast Day we remember Patrick's inspired 5th Century missionary work. - As a boy, Patrick was kidnapped and enslaved as a shepherd in Ireland. After his escape back to Britain several years later, he was ordained a Presbyter (i.e., Elder or Priest) and consecrated a Bishop. Then, God amazingly called Patrick back to Ireland, where, by God's grace, he was used to convert much of Ireland to Christ. In this process, Patrick "Christianized" Pagan sacred places and objects.  (One can see this as either the triumph of Christianity over paganism, or as a great example of God's prevenient grace.)
Of course, Patrick is also said to have used the three-leafed clover to teach about the Holy Trinity.  It was an interesting, though insufficient illustration.  (Cf., our Lutheran brothers' quite funny video about the deficiency of Patrick's illustration, here.)
One of the most powerful prayers attributed to Patrick is The Lorica, or St. Patrick's Breastplate. It is likely that it was not actually written by the good bishop.  Still, it is said to be well expressive of his faith.
The Nazarene hymnal, Sing to the Lord, includes an abbreviated form of the Breastplate.  I have included, below, the more complete version.  

I bind unto myself today
the strong Name of the Trinity,
by invocation of the same,
the Three in One, and One in Three.

I bind this day to me forever,
by power of faith, Christ’s Incarnation;
his baptism in the Jordan river;
his death on cross for my salvation;
his bursting from the spiced tomb;
his riding up he heavenly way;
his coming at the day of doom:
I bind unto myself today.
I bind unto myself the power
of the great love of cherubim;
the sweet “Well done” in judgement hour;
the service of the seraphim;
confessors’ faith, apostles’ word,
the patriarchs’ prayers, the prophets’ scrolls;
all good deeds done unto the Lord, and purity of virgin souls.
I bind unto myself today
the virtues of the starlit heaven,
the glorious sun’s life-giving ray,
the whiteness of the moon at even,
the flashing of the lightning free,
the whirling wind’s tempestuous shocks,
the stable earth, the deep salt sea,
around the old eternal rocks.
I bind unto myself today
the power of God to hold and lead,
his eye to watch, his might to stay,
his ear to hearken to my need;
the wisdom of my God to teach,
his hand to guide, his shield to ward;
the word of God to give me speech,
his heavenly host to be my guard.
Against the demon snares of sin,
the vice that gives temptation force,
the natural lusts that war within,
the hostile men that mar my course;
of few or many, far or nigh,
in every place, and in all hours
against their fierce hostility,
I bind to me these holy powers.
Against all Satan’s spells and wiles,
against false words of heresy,
against the knowledge that defiles
against the heart’s idolatry,
against the wizard’s evil craft,
against the death-wound and the burning
the choking wave and poisoned shaft,
protect me, Christ, till thy returning.
Christ be with me, Christ within me,
Christ behind me, Christ before me,
Christ beside me, Christ to win me,
Christ to comfort and restore me,
Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
Christ in quiet, Christ in danger,
Christ in hearts of all that love me,
Christ in mouth of friend and stranger.
I bind unto myself the Name,
the strong Name of the Trinity,
by invocation of the same,
the Three in One, and One in Three.
Of whom all nature hath creation,
eternal Father, Spirit, Word:
praise to the Lord of my salvation,
salvation is of Christ the Lord.  
(This article is based on a previous post.)

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