I am asking you to set the table for me,
and to help me extricate myself
from these heavy moulded plates
that have shielded my tender heart
from the harsh and desolate sorrow
I find without and within.
It frightens me to bare my breast once more
to those fiery arrows
of truly outrageous fortune, and, worse,
of malevolent intent,
that wills to crush the heart from me
to leave me in frozen despair,
With your help, I want to drop
that numbing burden of self-protection
because You will guard my heart as I learn to rest, afresh, in you.

I am asking you to set the table for me
and to help me lay to rest this impressive array of weapons,
tried and fairly true:
they’ve been solid in my hands and quick in impact as I’ve faced
one foe after another,
tried to shield myself and my dear ones
from utter tragedy, senseless waste and
the many and varied threats of this culture.
Dragging myself from one battle to the next,
because I had to do something,couldn’t leave them or myself
But now, You are doing the fighting.
In theory I’ve known this,
but now battle-scarred and too weary
to even make a fist,
I will choose to trust and see that you are my
Strong Protector, my Champion,
my Mighty Saviour and Redeemer.

I am asking you to lay the table for me.
It is too hard a thing by myself to remove
a helmet that is so perfectly shaped
to scaffold my thoughts, my sense of self –
that it is almost invisible,
protecting me from the sheer naked terror
of not knowing, not seeing.
I’m trying to let go of all these threads
I’ve woven together and fixed,
to allow my perilous escape
inch by terrifying inch,
from nihilism’s deathly tower.
This helmet has served me well,
and yet has no place here,
where wisdom is a loving person
wanting to sit at table,
sharing daily light and nourishing truth.

“Lord of unimaginable hospitality”*,
you have prepared a table for me,
on solid ground, even in the
presence of my enemies.
You coax me from this rusting pile
of heavy armour,
of strong but costly weapons –
inviting me to bare my soul
in the warm candle light,
to rest myself and be restored
by your generous provisions,
to dare to feel the warmth
of your gracious company,
to know myself in the Safest Place,
until you, the Victor, finally
bring the battle to its end.

(* quoted from Diane Vincent)
c. Nerida 21/12/17, after prayer with Rose and Darryl