O Christ, Surround Me

This summer while at Middle School Montreat, I was introduced to the most beautiful prayer.  I had intended to blog about it and then proceeded to get distracted and forgot about this enchanting hymn.  Flash forward five and a half months and I'm sitting in worship looking at the bulletin.  There, listed as the final hymn, I see O Christ, Surround Me.  I think to myself, "I feel like I know that song, but that's not a Baptist hymn I grew up on."  So, I flip to the page and begin to read the words.  Spilling from my heart, the tune comes back and I am again overwhelmed by the beauty of this hymn, this prayer. O Christ, Surround Me isn't actually a staple in the Presbyterian hymnal.  In fact, it is one of the new hymns introduced in the Glory to God hymnal that was recently released.  In 2004, Richard Colligan wrote the hymn inspired by the breastplate prayer of St. Patrick. Colligan penned the song as he was working on his masters thesis.  I love how he blends spiritual formation with congregational singing in this hymn.

God be the love to search and keep me God be the prayer to move my voice God be the strength to now uphold me O Christ, surround me O Christ, surround me

For me this opening verse is very humbling.  I more and more find myself needing to ask God to guide my voice.  As an extrovert I am quick to speak.  For me, beginning my day asking God to guide my voice means that I will speak the truth in LOVE.  That I will use my words to build up.  That when people hear my voice, they would hear a word from God.

Bind to myself the name of Holy
Great cloud of witnesses enfold
Prophets, apostles, angels witness
O Christ, surround me
O Christ surround me
The words of the Shemah echo as I start to sing these words.  The Lord is our God, the Lord alone.You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your might. (Deut 6:4-5) I do want to bind myself to that reminder daily, with the many who have gone before me.
Brightness of sun and glow of moonlight
Flashing of lightning, strength of wind
Depth of the sea to soil of planet
O Christ, surround me
O Christ, surround me
All around us, if we are looking, we can be reminded that God is with us.  With this verse, I feel a prayer rise asking God to open my eyes to that very reminder.
Walking behind to hem my journey
Going ahead to light my way
And from beneath, above, and all ways
O Christ, surround me
O Christ, surround me
This verse is a summation of Psalm 139.  As a college student trying to figure out my vocation, I really struggled with where I was going.  What step was next?  For me the verses of the Psalmist were a comfort.  Although, I am confident I am following God's call, I often need the reassurance that God is hemming me in, that God was there, is here now, and will go ahead of me.
Christ in the eyes of all who see me
Christ in the ears who hear my voice
Christ in the hearts of all who know me
O Christ, surround me
O Christ, surround me
I'm grateful for all the verses of this hymn, however for me, this verse IS IT!  This is the prayer I want to offer over and over again.  These words move me to tears, because of how beautifully they express the cry of my heart.  I want others to see God instead of me, I want them to hear God in my voice, I want them to know God because of the way I live.  So, today, I pray again, that Christ would surround me.