I am standing in the dappled shade of shallow woods. Through the low-hanging branches, I see liquid diamonds sparkle as ripplets bounce off the partially submerged sand rock in the creek. The stream slowly winds its way, in no hurry, to join a rushing great river. I am still barely breathing; I ignore the tickle by the side of my nose. My elbow is nudging a scaly sycamore; it holds me steady as I lean toward the scene before me.
A young doe is inching her way down the steep bank this very early morning. She sniffs the air, checking for signs; she slowly turns her head toward me. We are each captured by the other’s stare, I blink; she is released and turns away; her safety is assured; the water calls and she continues on her downward way. I ponder as sleep evaporates; the dream loses its grasp, and I awaken.
This morning, in the aftermath of the vision (?) an old Celtic praise song is compelling me to worship; along the way it leads me to scripture:
As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, my God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.” Psalms 42:1-2a (NIV)
God uses the gentle deer and all nature to bring glory to Himself.
The background story goes: Saint Patrick composed this powerful prayer in the year 433. He was aware that there was an ambush to try to kill him and his group en route to the King’s court. It was during the march that they chanted the sacred Lorica or The Deer’s Cry ~ later known as St. Patrick’s Breastplate. (Ephesians 6: 10-18) As the druids lay in hiding, ready to kill, they saw not Patrick and his men, but a gentle doe followed by twenty fawns; St. Patrick and his men were saved.
~So, I seek the words and melody that dwell in the chant (transformed to music) of an ancient Irish saint. With modern technology, I find it; I care not that it is delivered on the edge of the unknown. I just give myself to it and allow worship to wash through my ears to the heart of me. In my spirit, I stand with one foot in heaven and in the flesh one foot is under my computer desk. I praise along with the moving melody, and desire God’s protection and presence. “Hear my cry too, oh Lord, just as you hear… ”
“The Deer’s Cry”
I arise today through the strength of heaven
Light of sun, radiance of moon
Splendor of fire, speed of lightning
Swiftness of wind, depth of the sea
Stability of earth, firmness of rock
~ These words astound me, He is in all nature; He protects, uses, surrounds and blesses me with all He is.
I arise today,
through God’s strength to pilot me:
God’s might to uphold me,
God’s wisdom to guide me,
God’s eye to look before me,
God’s ear to hear me,
God’s word to speak for me,
God’s hand to guard me,
God’s way to lie before me,
God’s shield to protect me,
God’s host to secure me:
against snares of devils,
against temptations of vices,
against inclinations of nature,
against everyone who shall wish me ill,
afar and a near,
alone and in a crowd.
~The rendition is hauntingly beautiful; it causes to me be aware: all Godly attributes are blessings, and all nature has God in its heart. God can speak through all He has made or breathed into existence, and man and nature respond.
Psalms 19:37-40 “Blessed is He who comes, the king in God’s name! All’s well in heaven! Glory in the high places!” they shouted.
Some Pharisees from the crowd told him, “Teacher, get your disciples under control!”
But he said, “If they kept quiet, the stones would do it for them, shouting praise.”
~And there is more…
Psalms 19:1-4 (CEV) “The heavens keep telling the wonders of God and the skies declare what he has done. Each day informs the following day; each night announces to the next. They don’t speak a word, and there is never the sound of a voice. Yet their message reaches all the earth, and it travels around the world.”
~The song’s refrain picks up in intensity. It moves and rolls like a rip~tide throwing the ocean on to the shoreline and dragging everything (our sin) back to bury in the deeps. This reflects the never-ending strength of our heavenly Father, who loves and protects His own.
The plea, the prayer, and the song goes on…
Christ to protect me today,
Christ with me,
Christ before me,
Christ behind me,
Christ in me,
Christ beneath me,
Christ above me,
Christ on my right,
Christ on my left,
Christ in breadth,
Christ in length,
Christ in height,
Christ in the heart of every man who thinks of me,
Christ in the mouth of every man who speaks of me,
Christ in every eye that sees me,
Christ in every ear that hears me.
~We, the deer and I, are well covered to live this day in God’s gracious care.