We cannot always stand upright

God, you know us to be set in the midst of so many and great dangers, that by reason of the frailty of our nature we cannot always stand upright: Grant us such strength and protection as may support us in all dangers, and carry us through all temptations; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

We cannot always stand upright. It is a relief to admit this, isn't it?

Strength and protection, support amid danger, carrying us through temptations .... these are powerful and evocative words.

Sometimes in a story, as tension rises and rises a character will suddenly simply faint, simply fall over, unable to keep standing up. Perhaps they have been walking for miles without food, perhaps they have seen a sight that overwhelms them. Perhaps they are too sick to go on. They cannot go on; they can no longer even stand.

In the best stories, someone is there to pick them up. Just yesterday I was reading a story about a young immigrant in 1920's New York who had been overwhelmed by some brutes in a bread line and was picked up by a policeman who drove him to a safe place. That's what we want, isn't it, someone to carry us to safety when we have become overwhelmed? Because there are times when we truly are just plain overwhelmed.

So this is a beautiful, comforting prayer. God knows we are frail humans trying to make our way in a big world full of things that can hurt us. God knows we can't withstand everything that is thrown our way. We cannot always stand upright. It's a relief to admit that.