Strength, obedience, service

I arise today (I bind unto myself this day)

Through the strength of the love of cherubim,

In the obedience of angels,

In the service of archangels,

In the hope of resurrection to meet with reward,

In the prayers of the patriarchs,

In the predictions of prophets,

In the preaching of apostles,

In the faith of confessors,

In the innocence of holy virgins,

In the deeds of righteous men.

Saint Patrick’s Breastplate, Third stanza (For complete prayer, click Lent 2016: Saint Patrick’s Breastplate)

 

I don’t bind unto myself or arise through strength or in obedience and service in general: I do so through the strength of the love of cherubim, in the obedience of angels, and in the service of archangels. Strength, obedience, and service to all that is holy and compassionate can transform the world, bringing creation closer to the heart of God. Strength, obedience, and service to anything less can break the spirit and bring devastation to the universe. I must be careful what I bind unto myself and what gives me the strength to arise.

Cherubim, angels, and archangels live before God and for God. They see and serve the Mystery of the Creator and Sustainer. If I ever encounter one, I’ll be frightened by my own helplessness in the presence of such power (I’ll definitely need a “fear not”). But they come from the God who loves me and will not harm me. Instead of annihilation from such strength, obedience, and service, I arise because of it.

But I don’t live before and for God with my whole self. I am capable, willing even, to seek partial power for myself rather than rest in the holiness of God. I seek my own good at the expense of others. I cannot wish good things for my enemies, or even my friends, unless the love of God surrounds me.

But I dare to arise because others have arisen. Not completely, not without mistakes, but arisen nonetheless: patriarchs, prophets, apostles, confessors, holy virgins, and righteous men who dared to live in and for God’s love.

Now, it’s my turn.

 

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Johnna

I am a Christian educator and writer.I have worked in churches, denominational offices, and seminaries. I have a PhD in Theology from Princeton Theological Seminary, with a focus on Practical Theology and educating in faith. In 2010, my book, "How the Other Half Lives: the challenges facing clergy spouses and partners," was published by Pilgrim Press. I believe that words can build doorways that lead to encounters with God through the Spirit.

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