This Lent I have taken on a new challenge. This was partly of my own choosing and partly under the direction of my mentor now that I am officially a paid up worker of the Church of England (scary). So for the last few weeks during Lent I have been doing Morning and Evening Prayer. For those who haven’t heard of this before (I was in your number just a few months ago), it is a basically a set of readings and some set passages from the bible that you read sandwiched around prayer for your day, the world and so on. I’ve never done anything so structured before as it all feels a bit religious but as people have been doing this for near on 2000 years I figured its possible there may be something in it so I should get off my high horse and give it a go.
One thing I have discovered is how beautiful the language is and one particular phrase really struck me from the Night Prayer (also called Compline). I really like Night Prayer because it is very calming (and a bit shorter as your pretty snoozy by that point) and one particular line of the prayer has really stuck with me:
‘Keep me as the apple of your eye
Hide me under the shadow of your wings’
Being the apple of someone’s eye basically means cherishing someone (or something) above all other things (I googled!) and it was actually appears in the bible, which is mad as it is in the early Old Testament and that is properly old and yet we still say it now! Stevie Wonder sung about it (love a bit of Stevie) and Shakespeare used the phrase in Midsummer Night’s Dream and I just love that it is right here in the Church of England’s night prayers and one of the last things I say before I go to sleep.
I know a lot of my friends and family thing I’m a real loopy one for taking on what I do in church and for even going to church in the first place. Sometimes I wonder myself! But in many ways this phrase ‘Keep me as the apple of your eye’ sums up exactly why I do it because that is honestly how I always feel when it comes to God, that I am the apple of someone’s eye. I am watched over, loved, cherished above all other things. Not that that always means things go my way or that bad things don’t happen, it’s just how I feel and you can go a long way on that feeling. You can even endure endless church meetings and feedback on notice sheets on your day off! Good job too!