#SongInMyHeart · Amy Grant · Bible Study · Church of England · Felixstowe · Lent · Prayer

With a Song in my Heart – Day 1 – Ash Wednesday

 With a Song in my Heart – 40 Days of Sacred Songs
Day 1 – Ash Wednesday

To Listen:           I’ve Got the Joy, Joy, Joy, Joy


I’ve got the joy, joy, joy, joy
Down in my heart
Down in my heart
Down in my heart
I’ve got the joy, joy, joy, joy
Down in my heart
Down in my heart to stay

And I’m so happy, so very happy
I have the love of Jesus in my heart
Yes I’m so happy, so very happy
I have the love of Jesus in my heart

I’ve got the peace that passes understanding
Down in my heart
Down in my heart
Down in my heart
I’ve got the peace that passes understanding
Down in my heart
Down in my heart to stay

From the Scriptures:

10 Say among the nations, ‘The Lord is king!
    The world is firmly established; it shall never be moved.
    He will judge the peoples with equity.’
11 Let the heavens be glad, and let the earth rejoice;
    let the sea roar, and all that fills it;
 let the field exult, and everything in it.
Then shall all the trees of the forest sing for joy
 before the Lord; for he is coming,
    for he is coming to judge the earth.
He will judge the world with righteousness,
    and the peoples with his truth.

Psalm 96v10-13

To Reflect:

This is the very first Sacred Song I ever remember singing.

Aggie_Logo_CMYK_FINAL-600x425+largeI learnt it in an unprepossessing rickety prefab hut on the edge of a bombed-out piece of land in Tipner, Portsmouth.  In my Primary School years it was here that I learnt at the gentle hands of the workers of Aggie Weston’s Royal Sailor’s Rest, about a faith that inspired people to give their lives away for others.  I lapped up the stories of A London Sparrow’, rejoiced in the dedication of David Livingstone, and wondered, if I ever met or touched one of these shining saints, if I would become good for ever.

It was a magical time.  Sent to Sunday afternoon Sunday School with my brother to get us out from under mum’s feet (Dad was often at sea) it was my first taste of being ‘grown up’ and expected, as the eldest, to see that my brother behaved.  Oh the power of control!

But at the gentle hands of the workers from Aggie’s I learnt a different sort of power.  The power of service, of doing things for others just because you could and not because you expected anything back.  Although the occasional bag of sweeties for winning the Sword Drill competition[1] did help.

Joy and the JoystingsBut this song sticks in my heart most after hearing it sung in a hall outside what was then Victory Barracks in Portsmouth at a concert held by the Salvation Army Joystrings.  Looking back I think this little nine-year-old was just a tad starstruck and had a crush on the girls in the group.

They were aptly named The Joystrings.  Joy seemed to permeate out of every pore of their bodies and the atmosphere was charged with a holy electricity as they sang.  Taking William Booth’s edict of, ‘Why should the devil have all the good music’ to heart they were able to gather together a heaving mass of matelots (given the night of chapel if they attended the concert) into a unity of people who, though life was difficult for many of them knew that they were loved.  You could hear a pin drop when one or another of the group gave their testimony.

Watch a short newsreel about the Joystrings here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lpz3gW4RJIM&list=PLI-uA5jfDPKIFsqABMJ6Tmlrnlpc05ATX&index=10

Since then joy has been the fuel of my journey home to the One Who Loves us Best.  There have been times when I have thought, wrongly, that God was ‘out to get me’, and I still have to fight the heresy and contradiction in terms of a God of love whose home room is anger and judgement.

No! joy, joy, joy, joy is where my faith begins, continues, and (please God) will be perfected in Paradise.  Just as we read in the Scriptures, and sing in today’s song, of a ‘Peace that passes understanding’ so to it is with joy and with love.

In places of praise and thanksgiving, joy is our gift to God

In times of trouble and despair, joy is God’s gift to us

As we begin Lent today, so often portrayed as a dreary dour difficult time, may we seek Joy.  After all the whole point of Lent is to remind us that we are, as Amy Grant sang, All Going Home’, and that is only ever something about which to be joyful.


To Pray: 

Take away, good Lord, the sin that corrupts us;
give us the sorrow that heals and the joy that praises
and restore by grace your own image within us,
that we may take our place among your people;
in Jesus Christ our Redeemer.

(Psalm 51)

To Do:

1)  Go out of your way to make someone happy today

2)  Look back on your life to a time of joy and give thanks to God for it.


Reprise:     Give me Oil in my Lamp

 Along with getting ‘joy, joy, joy, joy down in our hearts’ at Sunday School many will have also spent their time ensuring they had plenty of oil in their lamps.  It was only later as I read more of the Scriptures that I had any idea as to why I always needed a lamp full of oil, but that didn’t stop me from singing this at the top of my voice.

Enjoy this Bluegrass version of a cracking tune. 



Please Note:  These reflections are also published on my blog: suffolkvicarhomes.com on Twitter as @SuffolkVicar, and on my public Facebook page Rev Andrew Dotchin

If you would like them as a daily email please send a request to vicar@felixparish.com




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

[1] At Aggies, and I am sure elsewhere, Sword Drill was a game we played with our Bibles (the Word of God is a living and active sword).  We would each hold our bibles closed in the air and, once a Scripture verse was announced by the leader, we would rush to find and read the verse out loud.  The first one to read it correctly won sweets.  Which we were encouraged to share with others….

One thought on “With a Song in my Heart – Day 1 – Ash Wednesday

  1. Thank you, Andrew – what a glorious way to begin the holy season of Lent. Such well loved songs … and once on YouTube, of course, I found a number of others to rejoice in. “… My soul will sing your praise unending ” (Matt Redman) for example.
    May your Lent be as blessed as the blessings you dish out!


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