Ruth Cunningham wrote this setting of a Celtic blessing, a variation or simplification of the beloved St. Patrick's Breastplate, and it was brought to the MMC community by Ana Hernandez. The song works beautifully as a blessing, prayer song, or as a gentle Passing of Peace. Gestures, as modeled in the video below, can also help a community experience this prayer with their bodies.
The focus of the song can shift easily from 'me' to 'you' to 'us,' slowly widening the circle of intention. It can also be treated like a zipper/pocket song, with variations offered alongside or instead of 'Christ.'
"Christ be with me, Christ before me,
Christ to the right of me, Christ behind me,
Christ to the left of me, Christ above me,
Christ below me, Christ within me."
Love be with me...
Peace be with me...
Teaching note from Donald Schell: When I'm leading this song, I sing a minor scale (1,2,3,4,5) to myself and drop down one note (7 below 1) to find the starting note. I begin with people standing and ask them to "do what I do and sing what I sing" and I encourage large gestures - big arm motions, stepping forward, moving whole body and from center. The gestures help people learn the song including the sequence of directions'
I usually begin with singing the whole "Christ be with you" and have people echo phrase by phrase (overlapping slightly). Usually I'll do a second iteration (choosing to substitute 'me' or 'us' for 'you') still singing call and echo, phrase by phrase. Just ahead of beginning the third iteration (shifting pronoun again), I say, "sing with me" and the shift from call and echo to simple melody in unison.
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