#SongInMyHeart · Bible Study · Church of England · Churches Together in Britain · Felixstowe · Growing in God · Lent · Prayer · Sermon

With a Song in my Heart – Day 13

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

Day 13 – Wednesday after 2nd Sunday of Lent


To Listen:           The Celebration Song


For our life together, we celebrate.
Life that lasts forever, we celebrate.
For the joy and for the sorrow,
yesterday, today, tomorrow, we celebrate.

For Your great creation, we celebrate
For our own salvation, we celebrate.
For the sun and for the rain,
Through the joy and through the pain we celebrate.

Ah! There’s the celebration!
Ah! There’s the celebration!
Ah! There’s the celebration!
Celebrate the whole of it! 

For His body, broken, we celebrate
For the word He’s spoken, we celebrate.
For the feasting at His table,
By His grace we are able to celebrate.

For the Lord above, we celebrate
For our Father of love, we celebrate.
For the Son who is our brother,
For His Spirit, for the three together, we celebrate

Ah! There’s the celebration!
Ah! There’s the celebration!
Ah! There’s the celebration!
Celebrate the whole of it! 

(Jonathan Asprey & Tim Whipple)

From the Scriptures:

O sing to the Lord a new song;
sing to the Lord, all the earth.
Sing to the Lord, bless his name;
tell of his salvation from day to day.
Declare his glory among the nations,
his marvellous works among all the peoples.
For great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised;
he is to be revered above all gods.
For all the gods of the peoples are idols,
but the Lord made the heavens.
Honour and majesty are before him;
strength and beauty are in his sanctuary.

Ascribe to the Lord, O families of the peoples,
ascribe to the Lord glory and strength.
Ascribe to the Lord the glory due his name;
bring an offering, and come into his courts.
Worship the Lord in holy splendour;
tremble before him, all the earth.

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;
12     let the field exult, and everything in it.
Then shall all the trees of the forest sing for joy
13     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 96)

To Reflect:

The South African Church in the 1970s and 80s, as with many other parts of the Church, saw the wind of the Holy Spirit sweep through it.  The Charismatic Renewal in mainline denominations was a wonderful thing that gave new vigour and confidence to many everyday Christians.  Of course manifesting the gifts of the Holy Spirit was not a new thing, the mostly Black Pentecostal Churches in the USA had found great succour in the Spirit’s comfort through centuries of slavery and oppression which spilt over into enthusiastic and ecstatic worship.  This seemed far beyond the reach of those whose worship was contained within the pages of the New English Hymnal or the Methodist Hymn Book until the Charismatic Renewal blossomed.

Church of the RedeemerFor Anglicans the community that brought the wind of change to worship across the world was the Church of the Redeemer in Houston, Texas as they introduced liturgically-based and shaped revival.  The Fisherfolk were the example of how to be Charismatic without going over the top – I remember being strictly warned at one Revival to not, in all our enthusiasm, sing worship songs whose tempo was faster than the human heart rate!

Over the top it wasn’t.  Yes there was a little bit of singing in tongues, an occasional Word and Interpretation, and prayer for physical and emotional healing.  But no shouting in ‘the Mighty Name of Jesus’, no falling under the Power of the Spirit (the Toronto Blessing was yet to come).  It was gentle, it was accessible, it was easy to learn the songs, and in South Africa it broke down barriers between races and gender and language and colour.  There was no pressure to perform or comply.  Only a desire to bring people consciously into the Spirit’s presence and leave Her to do Her work within them.  After all ii it not the Spirit who gives the gifts of ministry rather than the church who distributes them…? (1 Corinthians 12v11)

But above the Charismatic movement was welcoming.  For my beloved Lesley-Anne and I it was a place where we were welcome to grow deeper in the faith and gave us the strength to trust for a future following a call to ordained ministry.  All this we could do only because we knew we belonged to the Body of Christ and could Celebrate our life together.

gifts of the SpiritDiscerning vocation and gifts for ministry is never easy and many a young bud has been snapped off by a routine and perhaps over-organised church structure.  The Charismatic Movement at its best introduced a gentleness to growing in God.  Realising that the Body of Christ was more a family than a hierarchy gave people the space to try out the gifts they felt had been given to them.  If their tentative steps were fruitful the family encouraged them.  If what they tried went down like a lead balloon the family of God picked them up, tended their wounds, and encouraged to keep on searching.

In almost all churches we have become very systems obsessed.  Yes, everything needs to be done decently and in order and there is nothing remotely holy people about setting people up for a fall, but we can be gentler.  Over the years I have been privileged to help guide several people into ordained ministry and I carry their names deep within my heart.  The ones I cherish most though are the ones to whom the Church said ‘no’.

It seems that many churches have an ‘all or nothing’ approach to ministry as if the Holy Spirit doles out ministry gifts with the label Bishop, Priest, or Deacon.  Any other service can all too often be seen as a second best.

To those who have heard the Lord Call their Name but the Church was deaf,
To those whose love is too big or radical for a sometimes, loveless Church,
To those who following God’s way doesn’t fit into the Church’s plan,

Know this,
I see you,
you are loved,
you are cherished,
you are family.


To Pray:

Lord God, you draw us by your beauty
and transform us by your holiness;
let our worship echo all creation’s praise
and declare your glory to the nations;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.

(Psalm 96)

To Do:

  • Sounds of Living WatersYou know you want to. Dig out an old copy of Songs of Living Waters or Mission Praise and belt one out at the top of your voice (or whisper it gently).  Muscle and faith memory will tell you that no song is sung unless you have sung it three times.
  • If you are on Social Media why not post a video of that song sung by yourself or another and make your devotion into someone else’s hope of salvation?


Reprise:              He is Exalted

The Fisherfolk were the forerunners of many new expressions of worship in mainline denominations.  The next step for us was the Maranatha Singers who threw away the acoustic guitar and went full ‘Wall of Sound’ with worship songs.  More about them in future days but for now here is something to tickle your ears.


He is exalted,
the King is exalted on high;
I will praise him.

He is exalted,
for ever exalted
and I will praise his name!

He is the Lord;
for ever his truth shall reign.
Heaven and earth rejoice
in his holy name.

He is exalted,
the King is exalted on high.

Twila Paris

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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