From the Music Ministry….

Lorica

Our ‘choral’ benediction for January and February is the relatively new spiritual song/hymn, God, Be the Love to Search and Keep Me (O Christ, Surround Me) written by Richard Burxvoort Colligan, adjunct Instructor in Liturgy and Christian Life at Wartburg Theological Seminary.

This hymn is a 21st-century adaptation of the traditional Celtic prayer style known as a lorica (Latin for “armor” or “breastplate”). Many such petitions for God’s presence and protection were never written down but this one is based on an example attributed to St. Patrick (hymn notes, Glory to God: Hymns, Psalms, & Spiritual Songs).

I enjoy the simple melody, folk-like chord structure, and meaningful text of this hymn. Since we are using only the first and last stanzas of this piece in our virtual worship, I thought some may find other stanzas meaningful so they are listed below.

  1.       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:

Christ, surround me;

O Christ, surround me.

  1.       Bind to myself the name of Holy,

Great cloud of witnesses enfold;

prophets, apostles, angels witness:

O Christ, surround me:

O Christ, surround me.

  1.       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.

  1.       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.

  1.       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.

© 2004 This Here Music, Worldmaking.net