With a Song in my Heart – 40 Days of Sacred Songs
Day 29 – Monday after 5th Sunday of Lent
To Listen: Will You Come and Follow Me (The Summons)
Will you come and follow me if I but call your name?
Will you go where you don’t know, and never be the same?
Will you let my love be shown, will you let my name be known,
will you let my life be grown in you, and you in me?
Will you leave yourself behind if I but call your name?
Will you care for cruel and kind, and never be the same?
Will you risk the hostile stare should your life attract or scare,
will you let me answer prayer in you, and you in me?
Will you let the blinded see if I but call your name?
Will you set the pris’ners free, and never be the same?
Will you kiss the leper clean and do such as this unseen,
and admit to what I mean in you, and you in me?
Will you love the `you’ you hide if I but call your name?
Will you quell the fear inside, and never be the same?
Will you use the faith you’ve found to reshape the world around
through my sight and touch and sound in you, and you in me?
Lord, your summons echoes true when you but call my name.
Let me turn and follow you, and never be the same.
In your company I’ll go where your love and footsteps show.
Thus I’ll move and live and grow in you, and you in me.
John L Bell (b. 1949) and Graham Maule (b. 1958)
From the Scriptures:
Peter turned and saw the disciple whom Jesus loved following them; he was the one who had reclined next to Jesus at the supper and had said, ‘Lord, who is it that is going to betray you?’ 21 When Peter saw him, he said to Jesus, ‘Lord, what about him?’ 22 Jesus said to him, ‘If it is my will that he remain until I come, what is that to you? Follow me!’ 23 So the rumour spread in the community that this disciple would not die. Yet Jesus did not say to him that he would not die, but, ‘If it is my will that he remain until I come, what is that to you?’
It is Boxing Day in the year 2000 and the Dotchin family finds themselves boarding an aeroplane at, the now, O.R. Thambo Airport to the East of Johannesburg to move (yet again) to a new home in East Suffolk. At least for the Father of the family this is familiar territory as they return to the Diocese of St Edmundsbury & Ipswich where he was confirmed at the Royal Hospital School, but for the four African members of the Dotchin Clan this was unchartered territory.
We need not have worried.
Arriving at the Vicarage in St Peter’s Holton we found that the good and godly people of the Blyth Valley had, at their own expense, filled our house with furniture, topped up the heating oil tank in the garden – a Godsend for those moving from a South African Summer to a Suffolk Snowbound Winter – and provided our pantry with a month or two of produce.
We went on to spend the best part of four extremely happy years in The Blythings as we found ourselves welcomed to the family and learnt once again that the Church of God, is at its best, indeed like a body with each member valuing and cherishing the other.
Our worship there, over nine village churches, centred on the Market Town of Halesworth, was rich and diverse moving from formal Book of Common Prayer Communion, sung to the much loved Merbecke, to Village Praise accompanied by two clarinets and a Yamaha Keyboard. It was all good and godly and helped us realise how much community affected worship.
In South Africa we had not come across the Iona Community and the Wild Goose Worship material produced by John Bell and the late Graham Maule so there was a whole new hymnody to learn – today’s songs are but two of them.
Along with this we learnt that whenever a group of Christians decide to cross barriers and live together wholesome worship follows.
This was seen in the fruits of the Taizé Community and Brother Roger’s vision of a church without Denominations, the Fisherfolk (following Sounds of Living Waters) in the Community of Celebration using worship to encourage people to experience the blessings of the Holy Spirit, and in the Iona Community who are determined to witness against a world that pillages Mother Nature for selfish gain.
Whenever the Church finds her voice she sings!
Which song is your fellowship group singing today and how can you help it proclaim God’s Good News more clearly?
Lord God, just and true,
you make your salvation known in the sight of the nations;
tune the song of our hearts to the music of creation
as you come among us to judge the earth;
through our Saviour Jesus Christ.
1) Sing a Song of High Revolt! Well, perhaps not something that will get you arrested, but do try to sing a hymn or song that looks forward to a time when the Reign of God is known to all and everyone shall confess that Jesus Christ is Lord!
2) To which Christian communities do you belong? A Church? A home group? A Zoom meeting? If the words you share can be turned into worship, sing them!
Reprise: She Sits Like a Bird (Enemy of Apathy)
Once a month in the Blyth Valley about a dozen of us, mostly vicars and their ‘persuaded’ children, would attend Village Praise on a dark Sunday evening. This was one of the songs which lifted our hearts….
She sits like a bird, brooding on the waters,
hov’ring on the chaos of the world’s first day;
she sighs and she sings, mothering creation,
waiting to give birth to all the Word will say.
She wings over earth, resting where she wishes,
lighting close at hand or soaring through the skies;
she nests in the womb, welcoming each wonder,
nourishing potential hidden to our eyes.
She dances in fire, startling her spectators,
waking tongues of ecstasy where dumbness reigned;
she weans and inspires all whose hearts are open,
nor can she be captured, silenced or restrained.
For she is the Spirit, one with God in essence,
gifted by the Saviour in eternal love;
she is the key opening the scriptures,
enemy of apathy and heav’nly dove.
John L Bell (b. 1949) and Graham Maule (b. 1958)
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