E-votions 18-I arise today! St. Patrick’s Breastplate

29 02 2012

My favorite songwriter-poet, Jim Croegaert, has introduced me to St. Patrick’s Breastplate through his music.  (I must confess if I hadn’t “googled” it, I would have credited the beautiful words to him!)  As it is, I can only thank him for the wonderful power of his music added to this first section of verse.  I recommend reading each phrase slowly.  It may sound a bit hokey, but indulge me—close your eyes and take a breath after each line.  If, like me, you love being in nature and drinking in all its power, serenity and beauty, I believe this poetry Jim has sung will also sing in your being this day.  As you consider the rock, pound your fist for emphasis, as Jim does the piano keys:  I arise today!

I arise today

Through the strength of heaven

Light of sun

Radiance of moon

Splendor of sky

Speed of lightning

Swiftness of wind

Depth of sea

Stability of earth

Firmness of rock


I arise today!

I have added below another section of this amazing prayer…


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.
God’s host to save me


From snares of devils,
From temptations of vices,
From everyone who shall wish me ill,
Afar and anear,
Alone and in multitude

May this “breastplate” empower your strength this day!

 + One lovely expression of St. Patrick’s Breastplate can be found at: http://www.allsaintsbrookline.org/celtic/breastplate.html

 + Jim’s extensive music repertoire can be explored at his website:  roughstonesmusic.com

E-votions 18 — Efb 6-27-11



“Ready When Jesus Comes”

29 02 2012


There are four pregnant young women in our congregation. It’s hard not to think about the coming of a new baby! “How do you feel?” they are asked. Nauseated, nervous, excited, can’t wait, it will change our lives. Will it hurt? I have so much to do; we have to get the room ready; I wish I hadn’t had those drinks before I knew I was pregnant. Am I exercising enough? How will this affect my relationships–with my husband, parents, in-laws?
I remember my own pregnancies—anticipation and fear, elation and the giving out of my right leg at times. Purchasing basic tee shirts at the local Penney’s when the labor pangs started with my second, because I didn’t already have them!
Are we ever really ready? The baby comes when he or she is ready, regardless!
Sunday’s sermon at my church mentioned that Advent, which means “coming,” is a time of preparation. I first thought of the presents, parties, Christmas cards, meals, cookies, charitable activities…I have a couple gifts purchased already, a new world’s record for me, who needs snow to “get in the spirit” and three shopping trips to get an idea, price it, then purchase that perfect gift for someone dear.
The song was, “I wanna be ready…I’m making preparations for the great celebration…I wanna be ready when Jesus comes!”
When will Jesus come? I think of the immediate Christmas holidays—the celebration of Christ’s birth, with feasting, gathering, gifts, special worship programs. It is legitimate, I think, to do LOTS of extra stuff—it’s a very special time, and especially opportune for telling the story to our children.
Certainly, believers in God and the Bible believe Jesus will come on the Last Day, the Day of Judgment. The parable of the wise virgins with extra oil, ready when the bridegroom comes, was shared to illustrate the need for readiness, and the consequence of a lack of preparation. The coming has been described as a “thief in the night,” not as someone who will be taking something from us, but again to illustrate the need for readiness and watchfulness.
Well, we surely know that we DON’T know either when that baby is coming! We pack the suitcase and set it in easy reach. We make a list of whom to call, both to let them know we won’t be in to work, to arrange child care, prayers and anticipate the big event with us. A backup plan if a spouse is far away. Then we wait—ready.
But when will Jesus come to us personally? Today? Tomorrow? Have we really taken in the news of great joy? Have we yet received it? What preparations are needed for that life-changing arrival?
What gift shall we bring? How will we know when we are ready?
The little drummer boy gave something of himself. The psalmist said of God that a broken and contrite heart God would not despise. The prophet Micah wondered aloud what gifts to bring: burnt offerings, year-old calves, a thousand rams with ten thousand rivers of oil, even his firstborn! Then he writes, “…what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” There is no material gift sufficient!
In exploring ways to worship, including song, dance and hand movements, I have found that to hold my hands out, palms up, gives me a feeling of readiness—readiness to receive. There is also a feeling of not holding on to anything else—I need to let go of presents, cooking equipment, ornaments or wallet. I can have nothing in my arms when I sit quietly with open hands. The gifts we give one another often involve a flurry of activity, with expenditures of time and resources, and things to present to loved ones. The gift we make ready for Jesus, and that which is desired, is us!
As a woman prepares for the baby, the room, the classes, the car seat, the doctor check-ups; she also prepares her self with rest, nourishment, thinking and praying. So also is the balance with us. The gifts, decorating and celebrating are good and appropriate, but so also is the inner preparation. In a moment, we can open our hands and be quiet. And in that moment, we begin our preparations, begin to be ready.