With a Song in my Heart – 40 Days of Sacred Songs
Day 34 – Saturday after 5th Sunday of Lent
To Listen: King of Our Life Story
King of our life story
Friend, steadfast and sure
God is with us
Yesterday, today, forevermore
Lord of our salvation
Walking by our side
All sufficient, all sustaining
Faithful friend and guide
Love that knows no ending
Truth to hold unchanging
Strength for every season
Grace when we fall
Light for ever shining
Hope in us abiding
Faith and full assurance
Peace over all
God of all our journey
With each step we take
Be our way, our truth and our life
In every choice we make
Author of creation
We will follow you
Steer our path and be our vision
All our lifetime through
(Andrew & Wendy Rayner)
From the Scriptures:
When they had come near Jerusalem and had reached Bethphage, at the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two disciples, 2 saying to them, ‘Go into the village ahead of you, and immediately you will find a donkey tied, and a colt with her; untie them and bring them to me. 3 If anyone says anything to you, just say this, “The Lord needs them.” And he will send them immediately.a]”>[a]’ 4 This took place to fulfil what had been spoken through the prophet, saying,
5 ‘Tell the daughter of Zion,
Look, your king is coming to you,
humble, and mounted on a donkey,
and on a colt, the foal of a donkey.’
6 The disciples went and did as Jesus had directed them; 7 they brought the donkey and the colt, and put their cloaks on them, and he sat on them. 8 A very large crowdb]”>[b] spread their cloaks on the road, and others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. 9 The crowds that went ahead of him and that followed were shouting,
‘Hosanna to the Son of David!
Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord!
Hosanna in the highest heaven!’
10 When he entered Jerusalem, the whole city was in turmoil, asking, ‘Who is this?’ 11 The crowds were saying, ‘This is the prophet Jesus from Nazareth in Galilee.’
Not many of us will sing this hymn on Palm Sunday though it would be an appropriate one. It is not well known outside of Suffolk as it was written by a Felixstowe couple to mark the centenary of the creation of our Diocese of St Edmundsbury & Ipswich in 2017. It picks up themes of pilgrimage down the ages to the ancient Abbey at Bury St Edmunds where Edmund, King of the East Angles and sometime Patron Saint of England was buried. It marks the life and hope of a king who refused to announce his faith in the King of Kings before Viking invaders. It also calls his successors in Suffolk to faithfulness in the years to come. And for me? It was sung when I was given the living of the Parish of St John the Baptist with St Edmund King & Martyr, which will in all likelihood, be my final post before retirement.
Is it about endings or is it about beginnings? I suspect both but most of all it is about the journey. We have travelled this journey in song together for the last six weeks and we are about to enter the deepest, darkest, and richest part of the pilgrimage. It begins with a regal proclamation and the week will end with a desolate group of disciples and a stone-cold tomb. We know the pilgrimage will go further from there, as did the Marty King Edmund, but do those around us know this?
This coming week, Palm Sunday and Holy Week that follows, are an opportunity for us to give up on the hurly-burly of life and keep our eyes firmly fixed on Jesus. Depending on the rhythm of your prayer life this may mean some even earlier times of morning quiet or (as it will be for me) some much later night vigils.
Let us do two things in these seven days;
Make plans to be closer to God and the people of God through extra time in corporate worship (in a church building or via the internet) and prayer.
Be determined to do as Jesus did this week ahead, wash feet, forgive, welcome, and offer hope to any and all we meet be they fellow pilgrims or not.
In doing this we will prove that Jesus is indeed ‘King of our Life Story’.
King of the universe,
you show the bright glory of your reign
in acts of mercy and enduring love;
raise the spirits of the downcast
and restore those who have fallen away,
that we may sing for ever of your love;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.
1) Deep breath – can you double the amount of time you usually spend in prayer this week? If circumstances prevent that why not watch a movie about the last week of Christ’s earthly life? There are many to choose from. Here is a list.
2) If you found one of your Lenten promises didn’t quite work out the way you had hoped there is no reason why you can’t take a Mulligan and have another go at it for Holy Week. Go on, you can do it.
Reprise: We Cannot Measure
On Thursday in a short homily at St Edmund’s Church in Langer Road, Felixstowe this week we discussed the raising of Lazarus. How Jesus had three best friends in the home at Bethany and we can be a Best Friend of His as well. Also how Lazarus went on to die again and was not physically healed of bodily death a second time. In our talk we spoke about what to pray for when someone is sick and we don’t know what to pray for. The words of his two sisters make a good prayer for those whom we love. Like them we can bring them to mind in prayer and say to our Saviour, ‘Lord, the one you love is sick’. For we cannot measure how God heals but we do know that God will heal us and all Creation and Holy Week is the road he travels to make this possible.
We cannot measure how you heal
or answer every sufferer’s prayer,
Yet we believe your grace responds
where faith and doubt unite to care.
Your hands, though bloodied on the cross
survive to hold and heal and warn,
to carry all through death to life
and cradle children yet unborn
The pain that will not go away,
the guilt that clings from things long past,
the fear of what the future holds,
are present as if meant to last.
But present too is love which tends
the hurt we never hoped to find,
the private agonies inside,
the memories that haunt the mind.
So some have come who need Your help
and some have come to make amends,
as hands which shaped and saved the world
are present in the touch of friends.
Lord, let Your Spirit meet us here
to mend the body, mind and soul,
to disentangle peace from pain
and make Your broken people whole.
(John Bell and Graham Maule)
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