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

With a Song in my Heart – Day 24

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

Day 24 – Tuesday after 4th Sunday of Lent


To Listen:                    Angel-Voices ever Singing


Angel-voices ever singing
round thy throne of light,
angel-harps for ever ringing,
rest not day nor night;
thousands only live to bless thee,
and confess thee Lord of might.

Thou who art beyond the farthest
mortal eye can see,
can it be that thou regardest
our poor hymnody?
Yes, we know that thou art near us
and wilt hear us constantly.

Yea, we know that thou rejoicest
o’er each work of thine;
thou didst ears and hands and voices
for thy praise design;
craftsman’s art and music’s measure
for thy pleasure all combine.

In thy house, great God, we offer
of thine own to thee;
and for thine acceptance proffer
all unworthily,
hearts and minds and hands and voices
in our choicest psalmody.

Honour, glory, might and merit,
thine shall ever be,
Father, Son and Holy Spirit,
blessed Trinity.
Of the best that thou hast given
earth and heaven render thee.

 Francis Port (1832-1909) alt.

From the Scriptures: 

24 O Lord, how manifold are your works!
    In wisdom you have made them all; the earth is full of your creatures.
25 Yonder is the sea, great and wide,
    creeping things innumerable are there, living things both small and great.
26 There go the ships,
 and Leviathan that you formed to sport in it.

27 These all look to you  to give them their food in due season;
28 when you give to them, they gather it up;
    when you open your hand, they are filled with good things.
29 When you hide your face, they are dismayed;
    when you take away their breath, they die and return to their dust.
30 When you send forth your spirit, they are created;
    and you renew the face of the ground.

31 May the glory of the Lord endure for ever; may the Lord rejoice in his works
32 who looks on the earth and it trembles,
    who touches the mountains and they smoke.
33 I will sing to the Lord as long as I live;
    I will sing praise to my God while I have being.

(Psalm 104v24-33)

To Reflect: 

baldechino priory churchSometimes, looking back, it seems as if I have spent a great deal of my journey of faith singing hymns in School Chapels.  In the first days of Lent we looked at the hymns sung at the Chapel of St Mary & St Nicholas at the Royal Hospital School, Holbrook.  Today’s hymns were firm favourites of the students at St Martin’s School, Rosettenvile, Johannesburg.  The school chapel was the gloriously named Priory Church of St Peter.  It remains the only Abbey Church in Southern Africa having been built by the Community of the Resurrection (Mirfield) as their nother church in South Africa.  The CR Fathers came to Southern Africa as Theological Educators for Black Clergy (most White Clergy were still trained in England).  In Johannesburg they founded St Peter’s College with St Peter’s school next to it.  The neighbouring buildings of St Agnes School were added to the campus soon afterwards.  Many famous figures studied there and the school chaplains, originally taken from the ranks of the CR, included Bishop Trevor Huddleston CR who wrote the famous ‘Collect for Africa’

God Bless Africa
Guard her Children
Guide her Leaders
And Give her Peace
For Jesus Christ’s Sake

When the Group Areas Act came into force Black people were no longer allowed to live in Rosettenvile and the College and school were closed.  The College (which I later attended) eventually moved to Imbali in Pietermaritzburg and St Peter’s School was reopened as St Martin’s School which always pushed the boundaries of the Apartheid laws and was famous for being not only multi-racial but also welcoming children of all faith backgrounds.

After leaving St John the Divine Belgravia I became Chaplain at St Martin’s School and our three boys spent a large amount of their school careers there. Benefitting from the heritage of the past (after all Zeph Mothopeng and Hugh Masekela went to school in the same classrooms as they did) and learning to live ‘colour blind’ lives where all were valued regardless of race or colour, religion or gender.  The students knew they were different to those in the surrounding area – something made obvious every time we played any sport against anyone else.

TJD - First Day at St Martin's Junior 001

To some this made them objects of scorn as they were going to a  ‘second class’ Church School.  But that did not stop them from winning.

They won at worship as well.  It did not matter which was their home faith. It did not matter to which Christian denomination they belonged.  It did not matter that they did not own a faith at all.  When they sung in the Priory Church they sung loud, they sung together, they praised God.

From them, in moments of celebration and joy, disaster and even mourning, I learnt my theology of giving communion.  It may be controversial (to be honest I no longer care if it is controversial) but I believe it is what Jesus would do;

If a child puts empty hands in front of you, fill them!

(P.S. this works for adults as well)


To Pray:

Creator God,
send your Holy Spirit to renew this living world,
that the whole creation,
in its groaning and striving,
may know your loving purpose
and come to reflect your glory;
in Jesus Christ our Lord.

(Psalm 104)

To Do:

1)  When did you last listen to a child or young person tell you about what they did during the day?  Why not plan to do so before Easter?

2)  How does your faith community welcome children and young people?  Can you help make the welcome richer?


Reprise:                       Lord of the Dance

Amongst the students at St Martin’s School who sang this hymn with most enthusiasm were those from a Hindu culture.  Did they see in its words echoes of Shiva in the form of Nataraja?  Who knows?  All I know is that their living, studying, playing, and worshipping together with young people of many backgrounds help make them into good human beings and that is the work of God however people name the One Who Loves us Best.


I danced in the morning when the world was begun,
and I danced in the moon and the stars and the sun,
and I came down from heaven and I danced on the earth;
at Bethlehem I had my birth.

‘Dance, then, wherever you may be,
I am the Lord of the dance’, said He,
and I’ll lead you all, wherever you may be,
and I’ll lead you all in the dance’, said He.

I danced for the scribe and the pharisee,
but they would not dance and they would not follow me.
I danced for the fisherman, for James and John –
they came with me and the dance went on.

Dance, then, wherever you may be…..

I danced on the Sabbath and I cured the lame;
the holy people said it was a shame.
they whipped and they stripped and they hung me on high;
and they left me there on a cross to die.

Dance, then, wherever you may be…..

I danced on a Friday when the sky turned black;
It’s hard to dance with the devil on your back.
They buried my body and they thought I’d gone;
But I am the dance, and I still go on:

Dance, then, wherever you may be…..

They cut me down and I leapt up high;
I am the life that’ll never, never die;
I’ll live in you if you’ll live in me –
I am the Lord of the Dance said he.

Dance, then, wherever you may be…..

On a lighter note…

One of the staff of St Martin’s School was the famous singer and commentator on the South African way of life.  His song – whose formal title is ‘The Ballad of the Southern Suburbs’ –  ‘Ag Pleez Deddy’ is part of Southern African folklore.  In this version he tells a story about the school and sings a little bit of the song…


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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