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

With a Song in my Heart – Day 26

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

Day 26 – Thursday after 4th Sunday of Lent 

To Listen:                    Be Still, for the Presence of the Lord

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Py9EDciaQ64

Be still, for the presence of the Lord, the Holy One, is here.
Come, bow before him now, with reverence and fear.
In him no sin is found, we stand on holy ground.
Be still, for the presence of the Lord, the Holy One, is here.

Be still, for the glory of the Lord is shining all around;
he burns with holy fire; with splendour he is crowned.
How awesome is the sight, our radiant King of light!
Be still, for the glory of the Lord is shining all around.

Be still, for the power of the Lord is moving in this place;
he comes to cleanse and heal, to minister his grace.
No work too hard for him, in faith receive from him.
Be still, for the power of the Lord is moving in this place.

David J. Evans

From the Scriptures:

Jacob's LadderJacob left Beer-sheba and went towards Haran. 11 He came to a certain place and stayed there for the night, because the sun had set. Taking one of the stones of the place, he put it under his head and lay down in that place. 12 And he dreamed that there was a ladder set up on the earth, the top of it reaching to heaven; and the angels of God were ascending and descending on it. 13 And the Lord stood beside him and said, ‘I am the Lord, the God of Abraham your father and the God of Isaac; the land on which you lie I will give to you and to your offspring; 14 and your offspring shall be like the dust of the earth, and you shall spread abroad to the west and to the east and to the north and to the south; and all the families of the earth shall be blessed in you and in your offspring. 15 Know that I am with you and will keep you wherever you go, and will bring you back to this land; for I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you.’ 16 Then Jacob woke from his sleep and said, ‘Surely the Lord is in this placeand I did not know it!’ 17 And he was afraid, and said, ‘How awesome is this place! This is none other than the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven.’

(Genesis 28v10-17)

To Reflect:

The Royal School of Church Music has as its aim ‘the promotion of music in Christian Worship’. Founded in 1927 it has music in the Anglican Choral tradition at its heart and is increasingly becoming a resource for churches of many different traditions.

It was at an RSCM Summer School in St Martin’s School, Rosettenvile that I first heard today’s hymn.  The leader of the Summer School was, if my memory serves me correctly, Gordon Stewart then organist at Blackburn Cathedral in England.  He spent the week teaching choristers from all over the Witwatersrand good singing and reading techniques and there was a lot of fun as well.  The Summer School ended with a Choral Evensong (what else?) that was broadcast on SABC Radio with today’s hymn being the ‘Anthem’ during the service.

This was unusual as the ‘new music’ of composers such as David Evans and Graham Kendrick, written often for guitar & keyboard not organ & choir, was sometimes looked down upon by some choristers who thought that God could only be worshipped in a set metre with a four-part SATB harmony.  That Summer the RSCM members learnt otherwise.  The singing of this song literally sent shivers down my spine and whenever I can find a Compact Cassette player (I am so very old..) I put on my copy of the service, ignore the bad chanting by the Chaplain of St Martin’s School, and revel in a moment when I knew with absolute certainty that ‘The Lord was in this place’.  This we had come to know by words and music being woven together in a tapestry of praise.

Churches with choirs who are members of RSCM know all too well the temptation to be sucked into the glory of the music and not always appreciate the worship of God that should be at its centre.  For this reason their vestry prayer before entering Church, Cathedral, or Chapel often follows this form:

RSCM CrestI will sing with the spirit
I will sing with the understanding also

Bless, O Lord, us thy servants,
who minister in thy temple.
Grant that what we sing with our lips,
we may believe in our hearts,
and what we believe in our hearts,
we may show forth in our lives.
Through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Amen.

A call not only to good singing but to godly worship as well.

Music can be very seductive.  Good music even more so.  The melodies and rhythms that music gives can capture our hearts so completely that, if we are not careful, our worship becomes performance and our praise becomes hubris.  This temptation I have found to be true wherever I have worshipped. Gothic Cathedral or Preaching House, Charismatic Conference or Convent Chapel all are places where the Lord’s Name may be praised and then taken for granted between one hymn and the next.  And yes, I know this truth because I have occasionally given in to music’s Siren Song and have been so exhilarated by worship that I have forgotten who I have been worshipping (more about this on Holy Saturday).

It would do none of us any harm if before a church service begins we imagined ourselves in the vestry alongside our church choir, music group, or soloists, and breathe these words quietly to our Beloved.

I will sing with the spirit
I will sing with the understanding also

 

To Pray:

As we sing of your love, O Lord,
anoint us with the Spirit’s seal,
that we may praise your faithfulness
and proclaim your truth from age to age;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.

(Psalm 89 – part one)

To Do:

1)  Try for the rest of Lent to read through the words of one of the hymns you will be singing each Sunday before the service and consciously remember that ‘the Lord is in this place.’

2)  Sing a worship song or hymn that is not of your own tradition and give thanks that those words and music have brought many of your Sisters and Brothers in Christ closer to the One Who Loves us Best.

 

Reprise:                                            Shine Jesus, Shine

As with our first hymn, ‘Shine Jesus, Shine’ has the ability to straddle the traditions of church music.  I have sung this in home groups, in large Christian Conferences, in Cathedrals, and in the Priory Church of St Peter at St Martin’s School.  And is included today as another requested favourite from the School Alumni.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D4hXJ9ax2FY

 

 

Lord, the light of your love is shining
In the midst of the darkness, shining
Jesus, Light of the world, shine upon us
Set us free by the truth you now bring us
Shine on me, shine on me

Shine, Jesus, shine
Fill this land with the Father’s glory
Blaze, Spirit, blaze
Set our hearts on fire
Flow, river, flow
Flood the nations with grace and mercy
Send forth your word
Lord, and let there be light

Lord, I come to your awesome presence
From the shadows into your radiance
By the blood I may enter your brightness
Search me, try me, consume all my darkness
Shine on me, shine on me

As we gaze on your kingly brightness
So our faces display your likeness
Ever changing from glory to glory
Mirrored here may our lives tell your story
Shine on me, shine on me

(Graham Kendrick)

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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