Our steps are made firm by the Lord, when he delights in our way; though we stumble, we shall not fall headlong, for the Lord holds us by the hand.
For me, certain songs sustain my faith by recalling memories of important moments in my life. As I sing the words, they become a prayer but also are bittersweet as I recall the place and people recalled in this memory. The words of verse four are particularly poignant in my life as a Pastor. They read as follows: “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.” We sang these words at closing worship of my New Pastor’s support group in 2017. For over three years, these fellow pastors also newly ordained gathered for support, education, and worship. In this space, I had begun to discern God was calling me away and to seek a new call. That awareness was raising anxiety and fear as I was trusting God to control that search and giving up such control isn’t always easy. But as we sang this song together, having had deep and caring conversations with one another about what was next for me, I handed the search to God. I trusted these verses to be true in my own life and wouldn’t you know what church was on the horizon that winter to begin discerning together if was God calling us together?
O Christ surround me, surround me with your love, your strength and your light as we enter this day, this new year. In singing such songs of faith, we offer to you to truly guide our lives and hopefully, we’ll accept the joy and unexpected gifts such guidance can provide. Lord of all, may it be so, Amen.