Good Friday: Lent 2011

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You are encouraged to pray the prayer, pause, read the scripture, pause, read the reflection, and then pray the prayer again.

The Breastplate Prayer

May the yoke of the Law of God be upon this shoulder,
The coming of the Holy Spirit be on this head,
The sign of Christ be on this forehead,
The hearing of the Holy Spirit be in these ears,
The smelling of the Holy Spirit in this nose.
The vision that the people of heaven have be in these eyes,
The speech of the people of heaven in this mouth,
The work of the Church of God in these hands
The good of God and of neighbour in these feet.
May God dwell in this heart,
And this person belong entirely to God the Father.

‘And let me belong entirely to God the Father’

Jeremiah 24

5 “This is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says: ‘Like these good figs, I regard as good the exiles from Judah, whom I sent away from this place to the land of the Babylonians. 6 My eyes will watch over them for their good, and I will bring them back to this land. I will build them up and not tear them down; I will plant them and not uproot them. 7 I will give them a heart to know me, that I am the LORD. They will be my people, and I will be their God, for they will return to me with all their heart.

Our prayer has been that we might have a deep connection with God from waking to sleeping, and we have seen that God is one who can truly fill the whole of life – not just parts of it.

That wide vision of a God encircling every aspect of my life is reflected the beautiful hymn ‘Be Thou My Vision’ which recalls another famous prayer from the past:

Be Thou my vision,
oh Lord of my heart.
Naught be all else to me,
save that Thou art.

Thou my best thought
in the day and the night.
Waking or sleeping,
Thy presence my light.

Be Thou my breastplate,
my sword for the fight.
Be Thou my armour
and be Thou my might.

Thou my soul’s shelter,
and Thou my high tower.
Raise Thou me heavenward,
O Power of my power.

The very image of the breastplate is of a garment that embraces my whole body, heart, lungs and vital organs in order to save my life. It is a very powerful image of what God wants to give me as I commit myself to Him.

At root, this belonging must begin first and foremost in my attitude of heart and mind. I must become like a person entirely caught up in adoration of their beloved and as a lover of God I must hold on tightly to that first love.

Jeremiah tells me to seek God with all my heart. Revelation tells me to be hot – not cold or lukewarm. Paul says I should offer myself to be a living sacrifice. And Jesus tells me outright to love God with all my heart, soul, mind and strength.

And so I will pray: ‘And let me belong entirely to God the Father’