Perils

We have a prayer "for Aid against Perils" that is said during Evening Prayer.  I usually don't pray this collect, it seems kinda lame to me because we don't necessarily face perils and dangers in the night here.  It has taken on new meaning for me now because of our friends in Lui. 

"Be our light in the darkness, O Lord, and in your great mercy defend us from all perils and dangers of this night; for the love of your only Son our Saviour Jesus Christ.  Amen."  Being defended, to me, means staying hid, shielded from the harm which is happening around them.  I think of all the images we are given of people being hidden by God. 

Like Elijah who hides in the mountains from Ahab and Jezebel and is fed by the birds.  Or the Psalms which talk about being hidden from their enemies, or the diaries of early Christianity in which the woman is hidden in the mountain away from the people who want to marry her off or harm her. 

Maybe this is a part of it too, that being defended always seemed to carry war connotations.  If you are pursuing peace this does not seem to be the way in which you want to go.  But being hidden, kept safe, covered by God's hand seems to me a more peaceful way of being defended when striving for peace to come.  It is a hard thing to keep in mind when you have been hurt by those who think they are defending their way.  Peace asks us to look harder at what we mean, and what it represents, if we are truly striving for it.