Dear Church Community,
We had so much fun at last Sunday’s Blessing of the Animals and Coffee Hour Concert benefitting the Humane Rescue Alliance. Bruce Grimes and I blessed dogs, cats, guinea pigs, and our first Bearded Dragon. The blessing certificate is good for one year, so we’ll see you next October!
Many thanks to Dorothy Mora and her friend, Pat Henry, for the delicious coffee hour goodies and delightful flute and harp music. Who knew so many old-time children’s songs disguise political figures as animal characters?!
This week I’m excited to participate in a writing workshop led by the Irish poet and theologian, Padraig O’Tuama. The experience reminds me how much I love the poetry and literature of the Hebrew Bible, and I look forward to sharing some new thoughts on Job in a sermon later this year.
In the meanwhile, here’s an ancient religious poem alternately known as St. Patrick’s Breastplate or The Deer’s Cry. It’s a good example of a lorica or “breastplate” of faith recited for the protection of body and soul against all forms of evil and likely dates from the 5th century CE. For a transcendent sung version, click here.
I arise today through the strength of heaven
Light of sun, radiance of moon
Splendor of fire, speed of lightening
Swiftness of wind, depth of the sea
Stability of earth, firmness of rock
I arise today through God’s strength to pilot me
God’s eye to look before me
God’s wisdom to guide me
God’s way to lie before me
God’s shield to protect me
From all who shall wish me ill
Afar and a-near
Alone and in a multitude
Against every cruel, merciless power
That may oppose my body and soul
Christ with me, Christ before me
Christ behind me, Christ in me
Christ beneath me, Christ above me
Christ on my right, Christ on my left
Christ when I lie down, Christ when I sit down
Christ when I arise, Christ to shield me
Christ in the heart of everyone who thinks of me
Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks of me
I arise today.
If you’re inspired by the above, you may be interested in our group of twelve (or so) members and friends of the congregation who meet online for meditation each Wednesday at 8 am. Typically, we begin with a breath meditation and guided relaxation, followed by a lectio divina or divine reading, usually a poem. During the reading, we open ourselves to whatever word or phrase calls for our attention, and after the reading we spend time in silent meditation, focused on this word or phrase. In closing, we share our experiences and reflections. Everyone is welcome (no experience necessary)! Just email me for the Zoom link: firstname.lastname@example.org.
This Sunday, October 8, we’ll welcome Josh Long, Congregational Organizer for the DMV chapter of Interfaith Power & Light. He’ll preach and lead a Coffee Hour Conversation about ways churches can address climate change. As we finish the hottest summer on record, this seems like an important discussion to have. We’re far from powerless, and Josh will help empower us!
With gratitude, I arise today,