Monday 4 April: 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.

‘May the speech of the people of heaven be in this mouth’

Colossians 3:16-17

16 Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. 17 And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

Which people of heaven might we hoped to emulate in our own speaking?

Paul? In every town, in prison and on trial Paul’s speech was always full of Christ’s coming and dying and rising again; of his own journey of conversion – his forgiveness and healing and receiving of the Spirit.

Peter? Full of the Spirit on the day of Pentecost, Peter’s bold speech told of Christ’s coming and dying and rising again. It affirmed the need for conversion, forgiveness and the gift of the Holy Spirit. On trial he asserted that he must always tell of his own journey too: Of all that he had seen and heard.

Stephen? His final words unfolded the whole story of salvation, from the call of Abraham to the crucifixion of Christ.

Our children, today, learn about Beowulf, a poem rooted in the Saxon mythology from the same time as our prayer.  Saxons loved their epic tales of toils and danger; stories of demonic temptations and snares – all heroically faced and overcome. The Celts, too, loved their stories of pilgrimages to foreign lands; accounts of miracles and healings, of fearlessness and God-sent deliverance. And so, originally, our prayer calls of the same recounting of a testimony. Why, from where and how had the believer come to be here?

But our aim is always to unfold the most powerful saga of all – the pilgrimage of God’s own Son: from heaven, to womb, to earth; to a Cross, to a tomb, to the earth; to the sky and, at last, to the right hand side of God’s throne in heaven. Here is a story full of demonic adversaries, miraculous healings and God-sent deliverance – even from death itself.

Today we take our stand before God and ask again for  ‘the speech of the people of heaven to be in this mouth’.


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