Augsburg Fortress

O Christ, Surround Me

O Christ, Surround Me

This contemporary hymn in the tradition of Irish Lorica prayer is given a new arrangement by David Sims for choir and piano that is lyrical and gentle. The choral parts are accessible and allow choirs to practice legato singing, text shaping, and dynamic nuance.
  • In stock

$1.95

  • Publisher Augsburg Fortress
  • ISBN 9781506422107
  • Brand St. Olaf Choral Series
  • Format Sheet Music
  • Dimensions 7 x 10.25
  • Pages 12
  • Season/Occasion General
  • Voicing Piano; SATB/4-part mixed
  • Difficulty Medium
  • Publication Date October 17, 2016

Composer Commentary

Richard Bruxvoort Colligan wrote the text and tune for "O Christ Surround Me" in the midst of his MA in Theology and the Arts at United Theological Seminary of the Twin Cities in 2004, as part of his masters thesis on congregational song and spiritual formation. The text follows the ancient Lorica, often attributed to St. Patrick, which is a prayer of protection with the sense of incantation resonating through: “Christ before me, Christ behind me, Christ above me, Christ below me, Christ within me.”

The sense of the symbol "Christ" may be taken to represent the whole of the Trinity, acknowledging Jesus Christ particularly, but also bringing forth the mystery of the indwelling Holy Spirit of Christ in every particle of creation. With the many references to the created world, the Creator facet of God is represented, with transposition of the text emphasizing life-long spiritual formation and the mystical presence of Christ in community as well as the individual. Images from Hebrews 12 portray God’s presence in connection to the faith heritage of Judeo-Christian ancestors, and the reference to Psalm 139 calls to mind the intimacy of God’s presence for the individual.

The tune GREEN TYLER is named for the composer's street when he was in seminary, and began as a lullaby for his newly born son.

I wrote this arrangement shortly after seeing Richard's hymn "O Christ, Surround Me" in the sample material preceding the publication of Glory to God, the 2013 PC(USA) hymnal. The melody has a beautiful shape, and by raising the key up to E-flat it gave more room for four choral parts underneath. Because the text is so reminiscent of the Irish prayer "I Bind Unto Myself Today," I wove several quotations of that text's traditional hymn tune, ST. PATRICK'S BREASTPLATE, into the fabric of the piano accompaniment. The final phrase, echoed at different intervals by each voice part, threads together a texture that surrounds the listener with sound.
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