St. Patrick’s Prayer
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.
Caught up in stocking up with groceries in preparation for the self-sequestering with my family, I forgot to buy traditional St. Patrick’s meal of corned beef and cabbage. Like a lot of you, I’m a little distracted these days.
St. Patrick’s Breastplate prayer was written in a difficult time, too. A local chieftain had placed a price on his head. As legend has it, the chieftain’s troops were hot on Patrick’s tail, when he invoked this prayer of protection. All Patrick’s pursuers heard was the cry of a deer bounding across the trail.
Patrick’s prayer affirms an ever-present, dynamic God. God is a circle whose center is everywhere and whose circumference is nowhere. God is above us, below us, around us, within us. Wherever we are, God is with us. We are always centered in God, and God centers us. And, also wherever we go, God’s circle of love surrounds us.These are wise words in a time of pandemic. We are tempted to see the Coronavirus as all-powerful and ourselves without any agency or power. The Coronavirus becomes our god, not the One True God. Yes, Coronavirus is real and potentially dangerous to persons and our social and economic order. But, Coronavirus is not the ultimate reality. It is finite, not Infinite; temporary, not everlasting; contingent, not necessary.
Let us place ourselves in the circle of God’s love, knowing that wherever we are – and whatever happens – God will be with us – in life and death and beyond.
Holy One, remind me that I am always in the circle of your love. Nothing can separate me from your love. Loved by you, let me practice kindness regardless of life’s circumstances. Amen.
Bruce Epperly is a Cape Cod Pastor, Professor, and Author of over 50 books including “Finding God in Suffering: A Journey with Job,” “Process Theology: Embracing Adventure with God,” and “Angels, Mysteries, and Miracles: A Progressive Vision.”