Thursday, March 17, 2011

St Patrick

saint-patrick-its-my-day Today is the feast day of St Patrick.  Although for most people it is is just an opportunity to drink green beer, and pinch people who don’t dress in the appropriate colour, it is also the day we remember Saint Patrick.

Interestingly enough, today is the day scheduled for me to start my week of talking about the Breastplate of Righteousness over at FISH for Lent.

Why is that interesting?

Because apart from driving all the snakes out of Ireland, and using the shamrock as a symbol of the trinity, Saint Patrick is possibly best known for a poem called…


I arise today
Through a mighty strength, the invocation of the Trinity,
Through the belief in the threeness,
Through confession of the oneness
Of the Creator of Creation.
I arise today
Through the strength of Christ's birth with his baptism,
Through the strength of his crucifixion with his burial,
Through the strength of his resurrection with his ascension,
Through the strength of his descent for the judgment of Doom.
I arise today
Through the strength of the love of Cherubim,
In obedience of angels,
In the service of archangels,
In hope of resurrection to meet with reward,
In prayers of patriarchs,
In predictions of prophets,
In preaching of apostles,
In faith of confessors,
In innocence of holy virgins,
In deeds of righteous men.
I arise today
Through the strength of heaven:
Light of sun,
Radiance of moon,
Splendor of fire,
Speed of lightning,
Swiftness of wind,
Depth of sea,
Stability of earth,
Firmness of rock.
I arise today
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.
I summon today all these powers between me and those evils,
Against every cruel merciless power that may oppose my body and soul,
Against incantations of false prophets,
Against black laws of pagandom
Against false laws of heretics,
Against craft of idolatry,
Against spells of witches and smiths and wizards,
Against every knowledge that corrupts man's body and soul.
Christ to shield me today
Against poison, against burning,
Against drowning, against wounding,
So that there may come to me abundance of reward.
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 in the heart of every man who thinks of me,
Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks of me,
Christ in every eye that sees me,
Christ in every ear that hears me.
I arise today
Through a mighty strength, the invocation of the Trinity,
Through belief in the threeness,
Through confession of the oneness,
Of the Creator of Creation.

So, today we remember a very Faithful FISH, and the prayer named after him.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Ash what?

Lent?  Ash Wednesday?  Fasting?

Do you do any of it?

As a member of a fairly traditional mainstream church, I grew up assuming that everyone followed the same traditions as I/we did.  It was only as I got older that I realised that many (most?) believers and churches don’t bother with things like Lent.

cake-or-death-cartoon-41-7-feb-2008The word Lent comes from the Anglo-Saxon word lencten, meaning ‘Spring’, and also was the word for ‘March’ when lent was usually held to begin.  In the early church, new believers were baptised on Easter Sunday, and so they observed a time of fasting for 40 days prior.  It became traditional for the whole church to fast with them, recognising that they were being baptised into the Church as a body.  From this we have the modern tradition of 40 days of lent.  The 40 days were supposed to represent the 40 days that Christ fasted in the desert before beginning his public ministry.

250px-Ashcross It was also common for believers who were returning to the church to be re-admitted on the Easter Sunday.  They would traditionally make a full confession of their sins before beginning lent, and would make a mark of an Ash Cross on their forehead to symbolise their repentance.  Again, members of the early church chose to do the same thing, and began signing themselves with a Cross of Ash to symbolise that they also needed to repent and return to the Lord.

This is the origin of Ash Wednesday, where believers may choose to have a cross of Ash imposed on their forehead as a reminder of their decision to turn from sin, and follow Christ.  Tonight I will be attending an Ash Wednesday service at my church, and will be beginning a time of Lenten discipline. 

I will not be talking about Lent, or my journey, on this blog, because for those who do not follow it, it might be pretty boring.  Instead, I will be doing a daily post on my other site, FISH for Lent.

It would be great if you came over and visited me there.