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Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Christ be with me, Christ within me,
Christ behind me, Christ before me,
Christ beside me, Christ to win me,
Christ to comfort and restore me.
Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
Christ in quiet, Christ in danger,
Christ in hearts of all that love me,
Christ in mouth of friend and stranger.

“I Bind unto Myself Today” (tune: St. Patrick; Deirdre)
trans. Cecil Frances Alexander
from Glory to God: The Presbyterian Hymnal

Reading this I’m most struck by the phrase “Christ to win me.” Immediately I think of centuries of poets and mystics writing of Christ as lover, as bridegroom, as beloved. And I think of how, just as love can be as much a choice, a decision that is made, as it is a sudden expression of emotion, so too can faith be.

I choose to follow Christ. I grew up unchurched, aware of other faiths. I also grew up immersed in an environment rich in Christian culture: visual, musical, and literary. Choosing to follow Christ has been a decades-long process, one that didn’t end when I was baptized as an adult or when I was confirmed in the Episcopal church, one that may never end.

In today’s world, where many consider themselves spiritual yet not religious, yet where we who attend church still believe in the importance of being part of a community, of the importance of worshiping together, of declaring ourselves to be part of the body of Christ, how might we help Christ win those who wish to love him? How might we be Christ to others today?

I was won to Christ through the mouths of friends and strangers, through centuries of artistic expression, and through the affirmations of faith by people I admired. What are our mouths saying about Christ today?

Beloved, thank you for your love always. Thank you for the gift of grace that lets me know whose spirit was sustaining me. May I in turn always carry you within me in such a way that others may see and know your love too. Amen.

Written by Anne Ellis, Program Manager for Congregational Life

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