‘The Irish Blessing’

Monday June 1st 2020

Singers and musicians from churches throughout the island of Ireland feature in a video, The Irish Blessing, broadcast for the first time on Pentecost Sunday (May 31).

The Irish Blessing recognises and honours the dedication of all involved in providing essential services during these challenging times.

The project was jointly organised by Philip McKinley, a Dublin-based Church of Ireland ordinand, and Fr Martin Magill, Parish Priest, St. John the Evangelist, Belfast,

Fr Magill outlined the background to the choice of hymn: “The words of the hymn ‘Be Thou My Vision’ can be traced back to fifth to ninth century Christian Ireland, to a tradition of a prayer for protection known as, ‘lorica’, (Latin for armour or breastplate.) The references in the prayer to armour and sword are thought to be inspired by some of the imagery in St Paul’s Letter to the Ephesians, 6:16–17, such as ‘shield of faith,’ ‘helmet of salvation,’ and ‘the sword of the Spirit.’  Praying for protection and blessing is particularly apt during these times,” he stated.

Philip McKinley said: “God blesses us abundantly and is present with us, even in very difficult times.

“This hymn invites us to lift our eyes, to shift our vision far beyond ourselves, to Him. Ireland is famous for its blessing; words to encourage friends, family and neighbours along the journey. We want to bless those on the frontlines with words of hope and life and relationship with the Creator of all things.”

Philip added: “This is an exciting, collaborative, video–project, designed to bless our community and encourage people to lift their vision to the Lord. In the words of the hymn we want to draw people into a greater awareness of, ‘thy presence, my light,’ in these dark and challenging times.”

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