With a Song in my Heart – 40 Days of Sacred Songs
Day 23 – Monday after 4th Sunday of Lent
To Listen: Ukuthula
Ukuthula – Peace
Kulumhlaba we zono – In this (broken) world of trouble
Igazi lika Jesu lin yenyez’ – The blood of Jesus flowed
(so that we could have:)
Ukuthula – Peace
Usindiso – Redemption
Ukubonga – Praise
Ukutholwa – Faith
Ukunqoba – Victory
Induduzo – Comfort
From the Scriptures:
In the morning, while it was still very dark, [Jesus] got up and went out to a deserted place, and there he prayed. 36 And Simon and his companions hunted for him. 37 When they found him, they said to him, ‘Everyone is searching for you.’ 38 He answered, ‘Let us go on to the neighbouring towns, so that I may proclaim the message there also; for that is what I came out to do.’ 39 And he went throughout Galilee, proclaiming the message in their synagogues and casting out demons.
How do you know when it’s time to go?
How do we know when our part in a task is complete?
When is it time to pass on the baton?
How does each of us know when the call of God requires that we be faithful in a different place?
As I mentioned previously I have had many many homes in my life and, on average, have stayed for 2 years and 2 months in each of them. Many of these moves have been because of circumstances and going to live wherever the Royal Navy had decided to park which ever submarine my Dad was serving on.
But as our family grew we stayed longer and longer in different posts and it was tempting to think that we had moved on a little from the time our eldest boy said ‘I hope the Lord gives us a nice year in this house’ to some sort of plan for a settled life…
In common with many colleagues I have come to learn that not many clergy are called to long-term posts. It seems as if ministering to a congregation is ‘seasonal work’. A new vicar arrives with a particular set of skills to meet particular parochial needs at a particular time. If all goes well and all work together there will come a time (often when you are just getting comfortable with each other!) when, the congregation having grown in faith, there now needs someone with a different set of skills to lead them deeper. My bowdlerised Passover reading ‘A wandering Anglican Priest was my father.’ rings true again and again and again. It’s almost as if, borrowing a word from Bishop Anthony Russell’s book The Country Parish, that Church leaders are ‘necessary incomers’. We arrive for a season and are only able to shake things up and nudge a parish in different directions because everyone knows that, after a while, we will leave.
So if vocation is about ‘seasonal work’ how do we know the season has drawn to a close and it is time to move on, as I did during my younger days in the fields around my home town of March. Moving seamlessly from digging up potatoes, to topping carrots, to picking strawberries?
In our family we have always used three different versions of Gideon’s fleece. We would seek a ‘word’ about the next steps on our journey in the Words of the Scripture, amongst the prayers of trusted friends, and in the indwelling ‘Seven Year Itch’ which the Holy Spirit visits upon each of us from time to time. If all three said ‘yes’ to moving (or to staying) then we had peace – expressed so beautifully in today’s song. Having this confirmation we could look to what the future would bring secure in the knowledge that wherever we were we had consciously placed ourselves in the hands of the One Who Loves us Best. And if we can’t find peace there is there anywhere we can find peace?
Christ our wisdom,
give us delight in your law,
that we may bear fruits of patience and peace
in the kingdom of the righteous;
for your mercy’s sake.
1) Spend time looking at how you discern God’s will for your life and talk to God about any Call on your life that has not yet been answered by you.
2) How frequently do you ask God what you are being called to do next? Plan a regular time – perhaps once a year on a significant day – to consciously place yourself in God’s presence and ask for guidance on the next steps towards the Celestial City.
Reprise: Thuma mina
An advantage to discerning God’s will about the future is that when you step out onto a new venture this can be done in a secure faith and with a song in your heart
Thuma mina. Thuma mina, thuma mina, (Send Me x3)
thuma mina Somandla. (Send Me, Almighty One)
Send me, Jesus (x3) send me, Lord.
Lead me, …
Fill me, Lord, …
Thuma mina, …
Traditional South African
If you got the time – and a passion for Jazz Music, listen to Hugh Masekela’s version of this….
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
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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