Right now a long-time friend from Parkdale lays in an ICU, his fate uncertain. Joanna and I went to see him yesterday. Though we don’t know if he was aware of us, we spoke to him, touched his head and arms and prayed.

We also went to visit someone who’s little apartment had become disastrous. Without the freedom of mobility, it is becoming near impossible for our friend to manage the space. We cleaned up what we could, feeling limited in our capacity to help as much as we’d like.

There is a story in the Toronto Star today about a man who was found murdered in the downtown core. We knew him. Knowing how deeply impacted our friends at Sanctuary are by this loss, we decided to head there after our morning drop-in. The grief is raw and heavy.

I find myself thinking of a poem I believe was written by the Puritans around the time of World War 1. I don’t always understand or like the paradox this piece of writing describes, but I believe it to be true. As I linger in the valley I discover that blessing is indeed housed here, the kind that Jesus describes in His Sermon on the Mount where he begins, “Blessed are the poor in spirit…”

The Valley of Vision

Lord, High and Holy, Meek and Lowly,
You have brought me to the valley of vision,
where I live in the depths but see you in the heights;
hemmed in by mountains of sin I behold your glory.

Let me learn by paradox that the way down is the way up,
that to be low is to be high,
that the broken heart is the healed heart,
that the contrite spirit is the rejoicing spirit,
that the repenting soul is the victorious soul,
that to have nothing is to possess all,
that to bear the cross is to wear the crown,
that to give is to receive,
that the valley is the place of vision.

Lord, in the daytime stars can be seen from deepest wells,
and the deeper the wells the brighter your stars shine;

Let me find your light in my darkness,
your life in my death,
your joy in my sorrow,
your grace in my sin,
your riches in my poverty,
your glory in my valley.

2 thoughts on “The Valley of Vision

  1. It a very Celtic type prayer. Yet it is Puritan. Interesting. From Saint Patrick’s Lorice (shield) Forgive the Occasional sexism; he was a man of his day.

    I summon today all these powers between me and evil,
    Against every cruel merciless power that opposes my body and soul,
    Against incantations of false prophets,
    Against black laws of pagandom,
    Against false laws of heretics,
    Against craft of idolatry,
    Against spells of women and smiths and wizards,
    Against every knowledge that corrupts man’s body and soul.
    Christ shield me today
    Against poison, against burning,
    Against drowning, against wounding,
    So that reward may come to me in abundance.

    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 when I lie down, Christ when I sit down,
    Christ in the heart of every man who thinks of me,
    Christ in the mouth of every man who speaks of me,
    Christ in the eye that sees me,
    Christ in the ear that hears me.

    I arise today
    Through a mighty strength, the invocation of the Trinity,
    Through a belief in the Threeness,
    Through a confession of the Oneness
    Of the Creator of creation

    St. Patrick (ca. 377)

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