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With a Song in my Heart – Day 3

With a Song in my Heart – 40 Days of Sacred Songs

Day 3 – Friday after Ash Wednesday


To Listen:  Will Your Anchor Hold



Will your anchor hold in the storms of life,
when the clouds unfold their wings of strife?
When the strong tides lift, and the cables strain,
will your anchor drift or firm remain?

We have an anchor that keeps the soul
steadfast and sure while the billows roll;
fastened to the rock which cannot move,
grounded firm and deep in the Saviour’s love!

Will your anchor hold in the straits of fear,
when the breakers roar and the reef is near?
While the surges rage, and the wild winds blow,
shall the angry waves then your bark o’erflow?

Will your anchor hold in the floods of death,
when the waters cold chill your latest breath?
On the rising tide you can never fail,
while your anchor holds within the veil.

Will your eyes behold through the morning light,
the city of gold and the harbour bright?
Will you anchor safe by the heav’nly shore,
when life’s storms are past for evermore?

Priscilla Jane Owens (1829-1899)

From the Scriptures:

18 …so that through two unchangeable things, in which it is impossible that God would prove false, we who have taken refuge might be strongly encouraged to seize the hope set before us. 19 We have this hope, a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul, a hope that enters the inner shrine behind the curtain, 20 where Jesus, a forerunner on our behalf, has entered, having become a high priest for ever according to the order of Melchizedek.

(Hebrews 6v18-20)  

To Reflect:

So far, in my 66 years of life I have lived for varying amounts of time, in 35 different homes.  We hope that God does not have too many moves left for us before we finally return to our heavenly home.  When we moved to Belgravia in Johannesburg it was our eldest son Tim (then 5 years old) fifth home.  Wandering around what was for him a sprawling Rectory he gazed up at the ceilings in wonder and said aloud, ‘I like this house!  I hope the Lord gives us a nice year here.’  We managed six.

lindisfarne-mapAll of us long to be anchored.  To our homes, in our places of work and worship, within our families, and in our relationship to the One Who Loves us Best.  If there has been one thing that has anchored, or more correctly called me back again and again it is the sea – remember I am named after a submarine.  Whenever I am close to the sea I know I am close to ‘home’.  The best times of retreat I have are on islands such as Lindisfarne and the Isle of Bute.  The times when God can blow the fidgets out of my faith often happen on a seaside walk in a fierce wind (I call it Heathcliff weather).  There is something about the sea that strips me bare and leaves me naked and in the hands of God who always only ever wants to tell me that I am loved and lovely regardless of how ugly I feel in or about myself.

I need to feel anchored.

However it has not always been an easy journey to come to this place of certainty.  Sometimes I have felt that faith is about earning favour, doing things to please (or even appease) God.  I want to anchor my faith and not allow it to drag at all.  For too many of my younger years faith meant holding on for dear life and trying not to slip out of God’s grasp. I was the one doing all the heavy lifting and watching as best as I could that my anchor, my faith, did not drag.

I have come to learn that this is thinking about faith the wrong way around.

Our faith, our holding on is not the anchor, Christ is the anchor!  Our faith is not about holding on but about being held.  We do not hold on to the anchor, the anchor holds on to us.

let go let God netLooking back, much as I love the hymn, ‘Will Your Anchor Hold’ it seems to have misread the imagery of the text from Hebrews.  Of course our anchor will hold because our anchor is Christ and not something we struggle to lay hold on to ourselves.  We do not hold the anchor; the anchor holds on to us!

Learning to live this way is difficult.  Occasionally I still hedge my bets on a self-made faith; bargaining with God that if I do ‘this’, then will you please reward me with ‘that’.  Old habits die hard.  However as I learn that we do indeed ‘have an anchor that keeps the soul’ I am set free for the fear of failure and able to follow the Beloved’s call to put out into the deepand go in search of a richer, fuller harvest.

Anchored in Christ and set free to proclaim the Good News of God’s Love.  This may sound like a little bit of an oxymoron.  However it is the only antidote to being snared in a holy huddle and instead be set free to seize the hope set before us’.


To Pray:

O living Christ,
rescue us from foolish passion
and still the storms of our self-will;
and, as you are our anchor in this life,
so bring us to the haven you have prepared for us;
for your mercy’s sake.

(Psalm 107)

To Do:

1)  The next time there is some fierce ‘Heathcliff’ weather, wrap up warm and go outside for a walk and allow God to blow the fidgets out of your faith

2)  Knowing that you are anchored safe by the Beloved take one step out in faith to do that one thing that the Holy Spirit has been nudging you to do


Reprise:     Eternal Father, Strong to Save

Because I am a Navy Brat of course the Navy Hymn would find its way into these Reflections.  This version, sung by a Socially Distanced Quarter of voices in Windsor Great Church, was the one used at the funeral of HRH Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh.

If you are a seafarer my greeting to you is ‘Fair winds and following seas.’ 


Eternal Father, strong to save,
whose arm doth bind the restless wave,
who bidd’st the mighty ocean deep
its own appointed limits keep:
O hear us when we cry to thee
for those in peril on the sea.

O Saviour, whose almighty word
the winds and waves submissive heard,
who walkedst on the foaming deep,
and calm, amid its rage, didst sleep:
O hear us when we cry to thee
for those in peril on the sea.

O sacred Spirit, who didst brood
upon the waters dark and rude,
and bid their angry tumult cease,
and give, for wild confusion, peace:
O hear us when we cry to thee
for those in peril on the sea.

O Trinity of love and pow’r,
our brethren shield in danger’s hour.
From rock and tempest, fire and foe,
protect them whereso’er they go,
and ever let there rise to thee
glad hymns of praise from land and sea.
William Whiting (1825-1878) alt.

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

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