With a Song in my Heart – 40 Days of Sacred Songs
Day 0 – Shrove Tuesday
To Listen: One More Step Along the World
One more step along the world I go,
one more step along the world I go.
From the old things to the new, keep me travelling along with you.
And it’s from the old I travel to the new, </em
keep me travelling along with you.
Round the corners of the world I turn,
more and more about the world I learn.
All the new things that I see, you’ll be looking at along with me.
As I travel through the bad and good,
keep me travelling the way I should.
Where I see no way to go, you’ll be telling me the way, I know.
Give me courage when the world is rough,
keep me loving though the world is tough.
Leap and sing in all I do, keep me travelling along with you.
You are older than the world can be,
you are younger than the life in me.
Ever old and ever new, keep me travelling along with you.
Sydney Carter (1915-2004)
From the Scriptures:
10 For thus says the Lord: Only when Babylon’s seventy years are completed will I visit you, and I will fulfil to you my promise and bring you back to this place. 11 For surely I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for your welfare and not for harm, to give you a future with hope. 12 Then when you call upon me and come and pray to me, I will hear you. 13 When you search for me, you will find me; if you seek me with all your heart, 14 I will let you find me, says the Lord, and I will restore your fortunes and gather you from all the nations and all the places where I have driven you, says the Lord, and I will bring you back to the place from which I sent you into exile.
Every Journey begins with a single step. But some single steps are more difficult than others.
The first steps we take as toddlers can lead to disaster, if there is no anxious yet excited parent to hand waiting to catch us, but mostly they are full of joy and giggles and applause.
The steps we take later on in our lives are a mixed basket of emotions.
Excitement as you are chosen for a sports team at school and run out on to the playing field determined to do your best.
Pride (hopefully mixed with humility) as you step forward to receive the acclaim of your peers when you receive an award, or graduate, or are chosen for public office.
Overawed by love as you walk along a church aisle with you beloved on the day of your wedding.
There are other steps that we do not look forward to taking.
Fear as you wait to step into the Headteacher’s office to be punished for a misdemeanour – one of the longest lasting of my childhood memories!
Disappointment as you walk away from the Notice Board that doesn’t contain your name amongst those chosen for a part in a play or event.
Deep, deep loss as you walk behind the funeral casket of a well-loved family member or friend.
And then there is our steps towards, around, alongside, and even away from the One Who Loves us Best.
Lent is about taking steps to refresh, renew, and even restore our relationship with our Beloved. For too many of my younger years Lent has been like standing outside the Headmaster’s Study. Waiting to be punished after being found out for getting life wrong. Previous Lenten disciplines of mine have often been too much about pummelling the body instead of disciplining the soul.
No longer! In the past I have treated Lent as some kind of spiritual stocktaking, a listing of errors, for which I am to beg mercy and forgiveness. This is true enough in parts but the aim of Lent, as we will be reminded on Ash Wednesday, is to Leave the past in dust and ashes and press on towards Easter. Lent, though its dark drapes and flowerless churches may point otherwise, is not a time of looking down and backwards but a time of looking up and taking steps towards our loving Creator.
We are called, every day, to travel from the old to the new in the knowledge that our journey is both towards our heavenly home yet also our heavenly Lord travels alongside us.
Time to get our hiking boots on and see if we can remember the words of ‘The Happy Wanderer’.
God of our pilgrimage,
you sent your Son to our strange land
to bring us home to you;
give us your songs to sing,
that even in our exile
we may be filled with the breath of the Spirit
in the company of Jesus Christ our Redeemer.
(from Psalm 137)
1) Sort out your shoes. If there are some you have not worn for a while (I usually reckon a year) give them away.
2) On a blank piece of paper draw a timeline of your life in 5 or 10 year segments. For each segment write down the adjective or name you used to describe God. Then offer your timeline to God who was with you every step of the way.
Reprise: Who Would True Valour See
I’ve chosen this as today’s second hymn as it continues the theme of pilgrimage but the video (from the film ‘If’) also has overtones of Public School life with the Masters not so much singing hymns but keeping their eyes peeled for misbehaving schoolboys
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Prayers are adapted from the Psalm Prayers in the Common Worship Psalter. material from which is included here, is copyright © The Archbishops’ Council 2005
Scripture quotations are copyright © New Revised Standard Version Bible: Anglicized Edition, copyright 1989, 1995, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
These Reflections, ‘With a Song in my Heart’ are copyright © Andrew Dotchin 2022