#SongInMyHeart · A Trysting Place · Church of England · Felixstowe · Growing in God · Lent · Prayer · Rumer Godden

With a Song in my Heart – Day 31

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

Day 31 – Wednesday after 5th Sunday of Lent


To Listen:                             Calm me, Lord


Calm me, Lord, as you calmed the storm;
still me, Lord, keep me from harm.
Let all the tumult within me cease;
enfold me, Lord, in your peace.

Last time:
Lord enfold me in your peace.

David Adam

From the Scriptures: 

The apostles gathered around Jesus, and told him all that they had done and taught. 31 He said to them, ‘Come away to a deserted place all by yourselves and rest a while.’ For many were coming and going, and they had no leisure even to eat. 32 And they went away in the boat to a deserted place by themselves. 

33 Now many saw them going and recognized them, and they hurried there on foot from all the towns and arrived ahead of them. 34 As he went ashore, he saw a great crowd; and he had compassion for them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd; and he began to teach them many things. 35 When it grew late, his disciples came to him and said,  ‘This is a deserted place, and the hour is now very late; 36 send them away so that they may go into the surrounding country and villages and buy something for themselves to eat.’ 37 But he answered them, ‘You give them something to eat.  They said to him,  ‘Are we to go and buy two hundred denarii worth of bread, and give it to them to eat?’ 38 And he said to them, ‘How many loaves have you? Go and see.’ When they had found out, they said, ‘Five, and two fish.’ 39 Then he ordered them to get all the people to sit down in groups on the green grass. 40 So they sat down in groups of hundreds and of fifties. 41 Taking the five loaves and the two fish, he looked up to heaven, and blessed and broke the loaves, and gave them to his disciples to set before the people; and he divided the two fish among them all. 42 And all ate and were filled; 43 and they took up twelve baskets full of broken pieces and of the fish. 44 Those who had eaten the loaves numbered five thousand men

(Mark 6:30-44)

To Reflect:

When we returned to live in Suffolk for the first two years I couldn’t settle into a regular personal prayer routine.  I was distracted. So many new things were happening around me.  So many more possibilities to say, ‘Here I am, send me.’ So many chances to be involved in things that put ‘me’ instead of God at the centre of things… Knowing me I knew that this new part of the call, even though in a very familiar place, needed some routine.

After a while I worked out that what I was missing was a Trysting Place’. Somewhere which was unerringly a place where I would be met by the One Who Loves us Best, as was Moses on the Mountain, face to face.  For me such places are few and far between.  I need a regular place on ‘the other side of the lake’ away from the crowds so that I can listen to my Beloved more closely.  I have found that I am a creature of habit and for the first few years back in the Church of England I couldn’t settle in any of the local retreat houses.  Nothing seemed to be able to take the peaceful place of reflection and prayer that the OHP Sisters had provided at St Benedict’s House in Rosettenville.

Pilgrims Way Holy Island

Until, in desperation, early one September, I got in my car and drove the length of the A1 North towards Berwick on Tweed and took the first of many trips over the Causeway to the Holy Island of Lindisfarne (where David Adam who wrote today’s song was once vicar).  As the tide came in I realised that I was encircled by God’s great love and somewhere during that time I would hear words that I longed to hear from the very beginnings of this call but am always worried that I am unworthy of them;

“Andrew, you are mine and I love you.”

Silly old fool that I am I sit here typing these words with tears in my eyes at God’s enormous love and generosity.  I know I get things wrong.  I know I have a short temper and sometimes appear uncaring.  And I also know many other things (as I suspect do we all) about myself of which I am ashamed yet seem unable to put away.  And in the middle of this God calms the storms of my life and whispers words of love.

We are fools if we think we can serve God in our own strength alone.  Very soon the well runs dry and we are empty.  Even Jesus took time out (though it didn’t last long) to seek rest and refreshment can we do any less?.  If we are serious about following the Call of the Beloved there will always be moments when we are called upon to feed people (‘You give them something to eat.’) be it with bread that fills stomachs or Bread that fills Souls.  We cannot feed others without first having been fed ourselves.

Prayer of the TidesCovid Lockdown has been hard on everyone and usual patterns of prayer and retreat have been disrupted.  For me two of the places where I used to stay on Holy Island have closed their doors but I am fortunate to have been gifted another trysting place on the Isle of Bute. Some of you reading this may have found it difficult to get back into the old rhythms of prayer and worship and retreat. Please, beloved friends, as far as you are able, take up our Lord’s words and, ‘Come away to a deserted place all by yourselves and rest a while.’ For in rest we will find we are loved and cherished and in being loved we are able to go out and love and cherish a sin-sick world more deeply.


To Pray:  

God our shepherd,
in all our wanderings and temptations,
teach us to rest in your mercy
and trust in your defence;
through him who laid down his life for us,
Jesus Christ our Lord.

(Psalm 78 – part 2)


To Do:

1)  Read a book written by David Adam.

2)  Lent is often a time when we may find new ways of spending extra time in the presence of our Beloved.  As Lent draws to a close what is there to prevent you from making your ‘Trysting Place’ into a regular Date Night with God?

Reprise:                       Like a Candle Flame

When I am on retreat I turn the night hours into times of prayer and on Holy Island I will often be found in the wee hours inside the always open Old Boiler House of the United Reformed Church which is now a place of quiet and contemplation.  There I will light a  candle and sit and pray as it burns and may even sing this song…


Like a candle flame,
flickering small in our darkness,
uncreated light shines through infant eyes.

God is with us, alleluia,
come to save us, alleluia,

Stars and angels sing,
yet the earth sleeps in shadows;
can this tiny spark set a world on fire?

Yet his light shall shine
from our lives, spirit blazing,
as we touch the flame or his holy fire.

Graham Kendrick (b. 1950)

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

2 thoughts on “With a Song in my Heart – Day 31

  1. I still miss St Benedict’s in Rosettenville – after more than 20 years away from Johannesburg. Although I have been on retreat at Worth Abbey and at St Colunba’s in Woking, and the Cursillo weekend at Cold Ash near Thatcham, I haven’t yet found the peace of St Benedict’s. Thank you for the reminder of the love and peace found there – especially one retreat staying in the Conductor’s room next to the chapel with my second baby only a couple of months old! Blessings and peace to you Andrew! Mary

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It was so lovely to see that Stacey Dooley chose OHP Whitby for her ‘get thee to a nunnery’ documentary. Almost all the sisters from South Africa are now in the heavenly choir. I used to meet Erika and Gillian when General Synod was in York and I hope one or two make it there this July

      Liked by 1 person

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