Article of the week: Christ with me
5 September 2020
Major Howard Webber continues the series in which people reflect on a favourite prayer
EVERY time I sing the lovely words, ‘Jesus, thou art everything to me,’ (SASB 502), and ‘Christ is all, yes, all in all/ My Christ is all in all,’ (SASB 1008), I’m deeply stirred and challenged. It’s as if the Holy Spirit is asking me, ‘How true is that Howard? Is Christ your all, your everything?’
Although his father and grandfather were both churchmen, Maewyn Succat lacked any real faith when, at around 16 years of age, he was kidnapped by Irish pirates and taken from Britain to become a slave in Ireland. During the six years that followed, without a friend, deprived of comfort and with no knowledge of Gaelic, ‘I turned with all my heart to the Lord my God,’ he wrote in Confessio – his account of his spiritual journey. As a result, his experience of and love and devotion to God grew.
Inspired in a dream to escape, he was eventually reunited with his loving family, who were later horrified when he announced that he had been called by God to return to the pagan land where he had been so badly treated, to tell the people about Jesus.
St Patrick, as we know him, despite becoming God’s means of spreading the good news of Jesus throughout Ireland, never lost his lowly view of himself, ‘I am a sinner, a simple country person and the least of all believers. I am looked down upon by many.’ His focus, as his prayer (shown here in italics) suggests, was entirely on Christ Jesus.
Christ with me
To know Christ’s companionship is better than having a multitude of human friends.
Christ before me
If we let him, he will lead us along his specially chosen path for us which, even if it appears the roughest and toughest and least attractive, will turn out to have been the best.
Christ behind me
He is a wonderful vindicator and will protect our back when others might seek to do us harm.
Christ in me
Not only do we experience him entering our hearts when we accept him as Saviour, but we can experience him filling our hearts and living his life through us, if we surrender completely and allow his Spirit to fill us and keep filling us.
Christ beneath me
He holds us up and prevents us from sinking when we would otherwise be weighed down with the troubles of this life and the doubts Satan flings our way.
Christ above me
He is looking over us and would have us look upward to him and not downward at our feet of clay.
Christ on my right, Christ on my left
‘Narrow [is] the road that leads to life,’ Jesus said (Matthew 7:14). There are always two sides to that narrow road the Lord sets before us. If Satan can’t push us off one side he’ll endeavour to push us off the other. Unable to quench our love for the Lord and willingness to labour for him, Satan will present a plethora of needs he says we ought to be responding to, and have us overworking to the neglect of spending time at Jesus’ feet listening to his voice. Jesus knew when to say no, and how not respond to every need, and he will guard us from the same danger if we will only trust him and not do what we think best or what others expect.
Christ when I lie down
When we come to rest at night we can leave all the day’s failures and successes, together with tomorrow’s demands, in his hands as he stands guard over his sleeping child.
Christ when I sit down
When we relax we are at our most vulnerable and are most likely to let our guard down and be tempted. Christ must be central even in our leisure.
Christ when I arise
Unlike those who do not know him, our opening thoughts on waking are of him as we dedicate the day to him – that all we say and do might please him.
Christ in the heart of every man who thinks of me
O that everyone who thought of me would automatically think of him.
Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks of me
O that in speaking of me they would quite naturally speak of him and associate me with him.
Christ in every eye that sees me
O that in seeing me they might, far more importantly, catch a glimpse of him.
Christ in every ear that hears me
O that in every conversation I have, be it about him or any other subject, they may hear him – his attitude, his Spirit, his generosity, his honesty, his purity, his graciousness, his selflessness, his comfort, his courage, his love.
MAJOR WEBBER LIVES IN RETIREMENT IN BOURNEMOUTH