When you need to hear gospel again

Every moment, it seems, I need it again, a reminder of the truth that He can be trusted. That Christ comes behind me, covering and healing all the places I fail. That He goes before me, guiding and protecting and calling me every moment to begin again to trust. That (hear this) grace never runs out!

 

This morning, gospel is whispered through the words of a man whose bones lie shattered in a hospital bed after a truck raced down the wrong side of the road and crushed his car. “Are you angry?” “No, I know I am being transformed, so we will see what comes!” He knows God holds him, holds those he loves, holds the future. Knows that it’s what God is doing that matters. So he forgives. And trusts.  And he does it by the power of Spirit within him, not by his own strength.

 

This afternoon, as I feel myself utterly inadequate for what I’m called to, gospel shouts to me in Paul’s words: “God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him. It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God—that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption.” (1 Corinthians 1:27-30) Do you hear it, the gospel truth that sets us free? In God’s upside-down kingdom, everything rests on His accomplishment, not on our achievement.

 

And, this evening, needing to hear it yet a third time, I pick up the half sheet of card stock lying with my journal since it was handed out in church two months ago, soak once more in the truth of being enfolded by love. I share it here in case you, too, are longing to crawl deep, deep into the love offered, and rest there.

 

 

“Christ behind me

Christ before me

Christ beside me

Christ beneath me

Christ above me

Christ within me

 

Christ behind me

In the past, all that has been good is in His keeping. I need no regrets, no mementos. 
I can let go of all that was good, knowing that it is precious to Him.
 (Give thanks to God for all His goodness.) 
All that was bad, hurtful, shameful, I consign into the depths of His mercy.

All the hurt which I have caused, all the hurt which others have caused me,
 I lay at the foot of His Cross. May the Lord have mercy on us all.

 

Christ before me

He is the Way stretching before me 
from where I am now, 
from this actual situation I am in,
 right home to our Father’s house.
 He is the Way: the Way prepared. 
He has gone ahead into tomorrow to make it ready.
 The future is a journey home.
 Through all the dark valleys He will guide, 
and He will provide times when my cup of happiness will overflow.
 I face the future knowing the Way.

 

Christ beside me

“I am with you always.”
 He is in this situation sharing it with me now.
 His strong shoulder is under the burden I carry.
 Every joy and every sorrow He shares with me.
 He will not fail me nor forsake me.
 Nothing can separate me from His love.

 

Christ between us

To sever and to reconcile. To shield us
 from the sin in one another.
 To bless all that is good and true. To cleanse from pride, possessiveness, 
lust. To give laughter, tears, understanding and peace.

 

Christ beneath me

Underneath are the everlasting arms, 
cherishing, upholding.
 When I fall, it is into His arms that I fall, 
and He will lift me up again.
 His strength undergirds my weakness.

 

Christ above me

As a hen gathers her chicks, 
so His love is spread over me,
 comforting me, shielding me.
 I claim His protection from all attack and oppression.
 Under the shadow of His wings I am safe,
 and in Him will I trust. 
(At evening: I will sleep in peace under the shadow of the Almighty).

 

Christ within me

I live, yet not I, but Christ lives in me.
 My body is Christ’s body, 
bone of His bone, flesh of His flesh.
 By the bread broken and the wine poured out,
 I know that you, Lord, are in me and I in you.
 You will accomplish the work you have for me to do, 
and Your grace is sufficient for me.

 

Christ behind me in the past, before me in the future, beside me in the present, beneath me to support me, above me to shield me, within me filling my life. Thus enfolded, armed and led, I go forth in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen.”  (This meditation, written by the Reverend Ian Cowie of the Christian Fellowship of Healing, Scotland, is based on St. Patrick’s Breastplate.)