#SongInMyHeart · Bible Study · Church of England · Felixstowe · Growing in God · Lent · Prayer

With a Song in my Heart – Day 15

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

Day 15 – Friday after 2nd Sunday of Lent

To Listen:           O Thou Who Camest From Above 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R3UYybc7Xa0

O thou who camest from above
the fire celestial to impart,
kindle a flame of sacred love
on the mean altar of my heart.

There let it for thy glory burn
with inextinguishable blaze,
and trembling to its source return
in humble prayer and fervent praise.

Jesus, confirm my heart’s desire
to work and speak and think for thee;
still let me guard the holy fire
and still stir up the gift in me.

Ready for all thy perfect will,
my acts of faith and love repeat,
till death thy endless mercies seal,
and make the sacrifice complete.

 Charles Wesley (1707-1788) based on Leviticus 6:13

Spirit dove fire

From the Scriptures:

The Lord spoke to Moses, saying: Command Aaron and his sons, saying: This is the ritual of the burnt-offering. The burnt-offering itself shall remain on the hearth upon the altar all night until the morning, while the fire on the altar shall be kept burning. 10 The priest shall put on his linen vestments after putting on his linen undergarments next to his body; and he shall take up the ashes to which the fire has reduced the burnt-offering on the altar, and place them beside the altar. 11 Then he shall take off his vestments and put on other garments, and carry the ashes out to a clean place outside the camp. 12 The fire on the altar shall be kept burning; it shall not go out. Every morning the priest shall add wood to it, lay out the burnt-offering on it, and turn into smoke the fat pieces of the offerings of well-being. 13 A perpetual fire shall be kept burning on the altar; it shall not go out.

(Leviticus 6:8-13)

To Reflect:

In all the rituals about assorted offerings and sacrifices contained in the rules in Leviticus the Burnt Offering stands out as dramatically different.

The other offerings are more family affairs, even though may sometimes have been required to give a tithe to the Levites – after al even in those days the vicar couldn’t live on faith and fresh air.  Offerings are times of celebration and thankfulness.  Yes you come to the temple and make the sacrifice but you don’t leave it there.  When most sacrifices are made they are made with families and friends as well as the, too often neglected, ‘stranger who lives within your gates’.  The Law expects a sacrifice to be made, but the Law also expects the sacrifice to be followed by a banquet.  To be able to have fruits, grain, or (especially at Passover) a lamb, to sacrifice was a sign of God’s faithfulness and blessing.  God had blessed you with so much that you could afford to have a blow-out party.  For the Children of Israel worship was literally a banquet.  Except for the Burnt Offering…

No one got to eat the Burnt Offering.  It was burnt entire and completely.  A total sacrifice, often recognising personal guilt but also, and most importantly reminding the person making the sacrifice that we worship a God who provides the sacrifice, provides the means for repentance, provides the words of forgiveness, and challenges us to live lives of forgiveness as we go forward.

Today’s hymn is the most precious one in my collection.  It was sung at my ordination and I pray that it will be sung at my funeral as I step into the life after life.

Ready for all thy perfect will,
my acts of faith and love repeat,
till death thy endless mercies seal,
and make the sacrifice complete.

The older I get the soppier I get and I can’t read these words, let alone sing them, without having a little weep.  I am so blessed that the Church of God has recognised a particular call to formal ministry within me and I aim to spend every moment of my life ‘guarding the holy fire and stirring up God’s gifts’.

Sometimes, more often than I care to admit I stumble and fall.  Sometimes I say, shout even, ‘No!’  But always every day the gentle voice calls me back and reminds me that I am safe in the arms of the One Who Loves us Best and if only I could learn to stop wriggling so much I would know that God’s love is a love that will not let me go.

Wherever you are, whatever your call, may the Holy Fire burn fiercely within you.

A Meditation on the Anointing of Hands at Ordination

Bishop anointing hands

Lord, I offer you today my hands and my whole being.
You know what they have done in this life
         – what good things, what evil things.
You know how often
         I have used them to give and how often to grasp.
You know how often
         they have been used to help and how often to be selfish.
Take them today Lord,
         for your work of blessing and caring.
Make them;
                  Hands that bless,
                  Hands that point the way,
                  Hands that help the weak,
                  Hands lifted in praise to your Glorious Name!

(Andrew Dotchin – St Boniface, Germiston, South Africa – 15.xii.1985)

To Pray:

Merciful God,
purify our hearts in the flame of your Spirit
and transform our toil into an offering of praise,
that we may reject the proud rule of might
and trust in Christ alone,
for he is our Lord for ever and ever.

(Psalm 20)

  

To Do:

1)  Anonymously give away something precious (perhaps even ‘too’ precious?)  out of love for God who loves you completely and desires that you are held by Love.

2)  Write down the hymns and music for your funeral and let your nearest and dearest know where to find them.

 

Reprise:              I Heard the Lord Call my Name

Following the Call of God is intense and can, if we are not careful, become all consuming.  This song reminds me that, for the most part it is a time of joy and certainty in the company of fellow pilgrims.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MrV97eUb4sI

 

I heard the Lord call my name,
listen close you’ll hear the same.
I heard the Lord call my name,
listen close you’ll hear the same.
I heard the Lord call my name,
listen close you’ll hear the same.
Take His hand we are glory bound.

His word is Love, Love’s His word,
that’s the message that I heard…

I felt His love from above
settle on me like a dove…

And to the Father all your days
with the Son and Spirit praise…

 

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

 

Acknowledgements:

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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