It is the perfect prayer for ordination-eve. It is the perfect prayer for any time of change, of fresh challenge, of moving deeper into God’s purpose. It says that serving God will not always be easy or smooth or comfortable, but that it is the only way to be fully alive, fully human, fully ourselves.
For those about to be deaconed, there is a real sense of standing on the cusp of something at once exciting and uncertain. It has been a long road to this moment, but now the questions rush in. Am I ready? Will I be able to bear the expectations placed on me? How will it feel to wear a clerical collar? Will I still be me? How will I cope when I don’t know the words to say, the comfort to offer, or the challenge to give?
Deacons about to be priested know perhaps a little more, and have begun to work out something of what it is to be called to this place in the life of the Church. Sometimes that brings only more questions.
All of us, at different times, face uncertainty and disorientation. All of us lose our landmarks, the things we take for granted. Illness, grief, betrayal, and unemployment have that effect on each of us. So does the call to take a risk for God, to dare to love, to dare to be vulnerable.
We do not always know where God and experience will lead. But we do know that God promises to be with us in everything, redeeming what wounds us, and laughing with us when we rejoice.
This prayer reminds us that the Risen Christ is both Lord and scarred. We meet the God of our salvation. We put our trust in him. And we place ourselves at his disposal.
When self-image and laziness interrupt, we ask God to break us out of our selfishness. When we need encouragement, we ask God to fill our hearts with unexpected joy.
Archbishop Ramsey says that, in everything — in brokenness and joy, in frustration and fulfilment — he will not fear because he knows that he is safe in the hands of God. This is the prayer and the confidence he offers to those he will ordain in the morning.
Here is a prayer for everyone facing fresh adventures for the gospel. It is a prayer for those coming to terms with tragedy, for those waiting for the light of Christ to dawn, for those who feel joy bubbling within them.
This is a prayer for everyone who would take the immense risk (which is no risk at all) of giving their heart and their life back to God. “In your hands all is safe, and I am safe.”