Keep watch, dear Lord, with those who work, or watch, or weep this night, and give thine angels charge over those who sleep.
Tend the sick, Lord; give rest to the weary, bless the dying, soothe the suffering, pity the afflicted, shield the joyous; and all for thy love’s sake. Amen.
–The Book of Common Prayer
This simple prayer is a favorite of mine, because it covers so much, with so few words. I am curious about the line, shield the joyous. I find myself wondering, from who or what do the joyous need to be shielded: cynicism, despair, worry, fear, all of the above, or more?
This Sunday, as our Angels Among Us series continues we’ll hear the story of the visit of Gabriel to Joseph. Usually, we connect joy with Mary’s visit from a heavenly messenger. It seems as if Joseph might have been experiencing the opposite of joy. To become the father of the son of God, in uncertain times, would indeed be anxiety producing. In our own uncertain times, in a week of wildfires, elections, scandal, and violence, can we, like Joseph, find joy in the midst of anxiety?
Come hear the story again, and sing the songs of joy and hope! Hear our choir offer their voices raised in joyful song! Find joy in the midst of hustle, bustle, grief, violence, and chaos.
I’ll see you on Sunday,