Songs of Praise

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Thursday 21 May from All Saints' Harston

Opening Hymn

Hail the Day that sees him rise
Norwich Cathedral choir.

Otherwise known as "Hymn For Ascension Day," it was first published in 1739. The Allelujahs were added in by the Revd. G.C. White in 1852.

Risen Christ,
you have raised our human nature to the throne of heaven:
help us to seek and serve you,
that we may join you at the Father’s side,
where you reign with the Spirit in glory,
now and for ever.

Psalm of the day 

Psalm 47

1  Clap your hands together, all you peoples; •
   O sing to God with shouts of joy.
2  For the Lord Most High is to be feared; •
   he is the great King over all the earth.
3  He subdued the peoples under us •
   and the nations under our feet.
4  He has chosen our heritage for us, •
   the pride of Jacob, whom he loves.
5  God has gone up with a merry noise, •
   the Lord with the sound of the trumpet.
6  O sing praises to God, sing praises; •
   sing praises to our King, sing praises.
7  For God is the King of all the earth; •
   sing praises with all your skill.
8  God reigns over the nations; •
   God has taken his seat upon his holy throne.
9  The nobles of the peoples are gathered together •
   with the people of the God of Abraham.
10  For the powers of the earth belong to God •
   and he is very highly exalted.

God is good, and God is always good. 

Kathy has chosen the hymn 'Great is Thy Faithfulness'. “The words of this hymn have been in my mind while we have been out walking around the village during lockdown. It almost seems that signs of Spring are more abundant and wonderful this year than usual almost in compensation for the restrictions of lockdown but maybe it's just that we have had more time to appreciate them. It reminds me of God's goodness and that we can depend on Him to meet all our needs and more at a time when the world seems such a precarious place.”

Our Old Testament reading today

Isaiah 52.7-end

7 How beautiful upon the mountains
   are the feet of the messenger who announces peace,
who brings good news,
   who announces salvation,
   who says to Zion, ‘Your God reigns.’ 
8 Listen! Your sentinels lift up their voices,
   together they sing for joy;
for in plain sight they see
   the return of the Lord to Zion. 
9 Break forth together into singing,
   you ruins of Jerusalem;
for the Lord has comforted his people,
   he has redeemed Jerusalem. 
10 The Lord has bared his holy arm
   before the eyes of all the nations;
and all the ends of the earth shall see
   the salvation of our God. 

This year Ascension Day falls in a time of paradox; we are aware of the suffering around the world, but we are also aware of the goodness of God.

Joy says: "Against the backdrop of this dreadful disease and the separation from each other it has brought, the natural world’s uninterrupted pattern has brought solace and delight. On walks through the fields around Harston, I have found my senses sparked to unusual alertness by birdsong, by the soft green veil of new leaves misting the trees,  by the golden brilliance of the oil-seed rape, and by gemlike flowers casually studding the verges. 
For the beauty of the earth…
For the beauty of each hour…
John Rutter’s beautiful setting of this hymn, is food for the soul through this strange time."

Acts 1.1-11

In the first book, Theophilus, I wrote about all that Jesus did and taught from the beginning until the day when he was taken up to heaven, after giving instructions through the Holy Spirit to the apostles whom he had chosen. After his suffering he presented himself alive to them by many convincing proofs, appearing to them over the course of forty days and speaking about the kingdom of God. While staying with them, he ordered them not to leave Jerusalem, but to wait there for the promise of the Father. ‘This’, he said, ‘is what you have heard from me; for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.’
So when they had come together, they asked him, ‘Lord, is this the time when you will restore the kingdom to Israel?’ He replied, ‘It is not for you to know the times or periods that the Father has set by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.’ When he had said this, as they were watching, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight. While he was going and they were gazing up towards heaven, suddenly two men in white robes stood by them. They said, ‘Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking up towards heaven? This Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.’

Ascension Day would not be the same in Cambridge without the choir of St John's ascending to sing. Here’s an explanation by a choral student in 2018:

and here is their singing:

Christus Vincit

 ‘Thy Kingdom Come’ is the prayer season in the Church of England from Ascension day to Pentecost, asking for God’s good rule to be on our land. During this time the archbishops ask us to pray for five friends who don’t know the love of God for them, and to pray for these people.

From the Methodist Church:

God of all hope we call on you today.
We pray for those who are living in fear:
Fear of illness, fear for loved ones, fear of other’s reactions to them. May your Spirit give us a sense of calmness and peace. 
We pray for your church in this time of uncertainty.
For those people who are worried about attending worship.
For those needing to make decisions in order to care for other For those who will feel more isolated by not being able to attend. Grant us your wisdom. 
Holy God, we remember that you have promised that
Nothing will separate us from your love – demonstrated to us in Jesus Christ. Help us turn our eyes, hearts and minds to you. 

Look ye saints the sight is glorious

We conclude with an ancient song of praise:

Te Deum
I.  Praise to the Trinity
We praise thee, O God: we acknowledge Thee to be the Lord. 
All the earth doth worship Thee, the Father everlasting. 
To Thee all Angels cry aloud: the Heavens and all the powers therein. 
To Thee Cherubim and Seraphim continually do cry, Holy, Holy, Holy: Lord God of Sabaoth; 
Heaven and earth are full of the Majesty of Thy Glory. 
The glorious company of the Apostles praise Thee. 
The godly fellowship of the Prophets praise Thee. 
The noble army of Martyrs praise Thee. 
The holy Church throughout all the world doth acknowledge Thee; 
The Father of an infinite Majesty; 
Thine honourable, true, and only Son; 
Also the Holy Ghost: the Comforter. 


II.  Praise of Christ
Thou art the King of Glory, O Christ. 
Thou art the everlasting  Son of the Father. 
When Thou tookest upon Thee to deliver man: Thou didst not abhor the Virgin's womb. 
When Thou hadst overcome the sharpness of death, Thou didst open the Kingdom of Heaven to all believers. 
Thou sittest at the right hand of God in the glory of the Father. 
We believe that Thou shalt come to be our Judge. 
We therefore pray Thee, help Thy servants whom Thou hast redeemed with Thy precious blood. 
Make them to be numbered with Thy Saints in glory everlasting. 


III.  Prayers
O Lord, save Thy people: and bless Thine heritage. 
Govern them and lift them up for ever. 
Day by day we magnify Thee; and we worship Thy Name, ever world without end. 
Vouchsafe, O Lord, to keep us this day without sin. 
O Lord, have mercy upon us. 
O Lord, let Thy mercy lighten upon us: as our trust is in Thee. 
O Lord, in Thee have I trusted: let me never be confounded

The Te Deum is a Latin Christian hymn written in 387 A.D. It is central to the Ambrosian hymnal, which spread throughout the Latin Church with other parts of the Milanese Rite in the 6th to 8th centuries, and it is sometimes known as "the Ambrosian Hymn" although authorship by Saint Ambrose is unlikely. The term Te Deum can also refer to a short religious service (of blessing or thanks) based upon the hymn.

John Barber says: "I had the privilege of taking part in a performance of Bruckner’s Te Deum when I was at school.  Though I found the orchestral violin part difficult to play, I have loved it from then onwards, as well as his symphonies and his motets.  Bruckner, who was a man with a profound faith, wrote Locus iste in dedication of the new Cathedral in Linz, Austria, where he had been organist. It is a particular favourite of mine."


"The Lord bless you and keep you" by John Rutter and sung by the Westminster Abbey Choir 
"I first heard this when it was chosen by Sister Frances Dominica, the founder of Helen House Hospice, as one if her recordings on Desert Island Discs.   When Kirsty Young asked her if she could only take one record to the desert island, Sister Frances chose this one."  Mary Nash 

Thursday 14 May from St Edmund's Hauxton




Intro - theme

If you were asked to sum up what the heart of life is, what best characterises it, I wonder what you would say?

Paul, one of the early Church leaders, did just that in his letter to the Christians at Corinth. 

It was a slightly chaotic church with a lot going on and people were excited about all sorts of aspects of their faith. Paul was, in one sense, bringing them down to earth, and saying to them, 'listen, this is what is really important.'


1 If I could speak all the languages of earth and of angels, but didn’t love others, I would only be a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. 

2 If I had the gift of prophecy, and if I understood all of God’s secret plans and possessed all knowledge, and if I had such faith that I could move mountains, but didn’t love others, I would be nothing. 

13 Three things will last forever—faith, hope, and love—and the greatest of these is love.


This evening in song we will be exploring the heart of life:

Love, Joy and Peace

and our opening hymn allows us to express thanks to God for the love, the joy and the peace available to us.


Opening Hymn

Now thank we all our God 



This hymn was written during the Thirty-Years War (1618-48). (The war ended with the Peace of Westphalia, the result of which reshaped the religious and political map of central Europe.)


Text: Martin Rinckart  (1586-1649), tr. Catherine Winkworth  (1827-1878)


Now thank we all our God, 

with heart and hands and voices,

Who wondrous things has done, 

in Whom this world rejoices;

Who from our mothers’ arms 

has blessed us on our way

With countless gifts of love,

and still is ours today.


O may this bounteous God 

through all our life be near us,

With ever joyful hearts 

and blessed peace to cheer us;

And keep us in His grace,

and guide us when perplexed;

And free us from all ills, 

in this world and the next!


All praise and thanks to God 

the Father now be given;

The Son and Him Who reigns 

with Them in highest Heaven;

The one eternal God, 

whom earth and Heaven adore;

For thus it was, is now, 

and shall be evermore.





Prayer from the prayers for the festival of Matthias the apostle:


Lord God, the source of truth and love,

keep us faithful to the apostles’ teaching and fellowship,

united in prayer and the breaking of bread,

and one in joy and simplicity of heart,

in Jesus Christ our Lord.


Second Hymn


Love Divine


Love divine, all loves excelling,

joy of heaven, to earth come down,

fix in us your humble dwelling,

all your faithful mercies crown.

Jesus, you are all compassion,

pure, unbounded love impart;

visit us with your salvation,

enter every trembling heart.


Come, almighty to deliver,

let us all your grace receive;

suddenly return, and never,

never more your temples leave.

We would always give you blessing,

serve you as your hosts above,

pray, and praise you without ceasing,

glory in your perfect love.


Finish then your new creation;

pure and spotless let us be;

let us see your great salvation,

perfect in eternity:

Changed from glory into glory

till in heaven we take our place,

there to sing salvation's story

lost in wonder, love, and praise!


Charles Wesley,

chosen by Carol and Sarah.




Our Psalm today is 


Psalm 1147

1  Alleluia.

      How good it is to make music for our God, •

   how joyful to honour him with praise.

2  The Lord builds up Jerusalem •

   and gathers together the outcasts of Israel.

3  He heals the broken-hearted •

   and binds up all their wounds.

4  He counts the number of the stars •

   and calls them all by their names.

5  Great is our Lord and mighty in power; •

   his wisdom is beyond all telling.

6  The Lord lifts up the poor, •

   but casts down the wicked to the ground.

7  Sing to the Lord with thanksgiving; •

   make music to our God upon the lyre;

8  Who covers the heavens with clouds •

   and prepares rain for the earth;

9  Who makes grass to grow upon the mountains •

   and green plants to serve our needs.

10  He gives the beasts their food •

   and the young ravens when they cry.

11  He takes no pleasure in the power of a horse, •

   no delight in human strength;

12  But the Lord delights in those who fear him, •

   who put their trust in his steadfast love.


Jesus says to us today from the Gospel of John, ‘abide in me and I will abide in you.‘


and so Janet Lockwood has chosen a sung prayer on those lines



God be in my Head 

God be in my head, and in my understanding;

God be in mine eyes, and in my looking;

God be in my mouth, and in my speaking;

God be in my heart, and in my thinking;

God be at mine end, and at my departing... 




Love: Malcolm Guite




I heard the voice of Jesus say

"Come unto Me, and rest

Lay down, thou weary one, lay down

Thy head upon My breast"

I came to Jesus as I was

Weary and worn and sad

I found in Him a resting place

And He has made me glad


I heard the voice of Jesus say

"Behold, I freely give

The living water thirsty one

Stoop down, and drink, and live"

I came to Jesus, and I drank

Of that life-giving stream

My thirst was quenched, my soul revived

And now I live in Him


I heard the voice of Jesus say

"I am this dark world's Light

Look unto Me, thy morn shall rise

And all thy day be bright"

I looked to Jesus, and I found

In Him my Star, my Sun

And in that Light of life I'll walk

Till trav'lling days are done.



Choir of Manchester Cathedral

Chosen by Thomas Nixon


OT reading

Genesis 15

1 Some time later, the Lord spoke to Abram in a vision and said to him, “Do not be afraid, Abram, for I will protect you, and your reward will be great.”

2 But Abram replied, “O Sovereign Lord, what good are all your blessings when I don’t even have a son?

3 You have given me no descendants of my own, so one of my servants will be my heir.”

4 Then the Lord said to him, “No, your servant will not be your heir, for you will have a son of your own who will be your heir.”

5 Then the Lord took Abram outside and said to him, “Look up into the sky and count the stars if you can. That’s how many descendants you will have!”

6 And Abram believed the Lord, and the Lord counted him as righteous because of his faith.


And Abraham walked with God and on the instruction of God all his life, coming to know God, his star and his sun. 

Another great traveller in faith was St Francis and we have two of his prayers tonight that have been made into hymns. St Francis had a vision of the whole of creation as God’s creatures, equally loved, and Rosemary has chosen the first of St Francis’ songs of praise to God the Creator:



All creatures of our God and King

Lift up your voice and with us sing, 

Alleluia! Alleluia! 

Thou burning sun with golden beam, 

Thou silver moon with softer gleam! 



O praise Him! O praise Him! 

Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia! 


Thou rushing wind that art so strong

Ye clouds that sail in Heaven along, 

O praise Him! Alleluia! 

Thou rising moon, in praise rejoice, 

Ye lights of evening, find a voice! 



O praise Him! O praise Him! 

Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia! 


And all ye men of tender heart, 

Forgiving others, take your part, 

O sing ye! Alleluia! 

Ye who long pain and sorrow bear, 

Praise God and on Him cast your care! 



O praise Him! O praise Him! 

Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia! 


Let all things their Creator bless, 

And worship Him in humbleness, 

O praise Him! Alleluia! 

Praise, praise the Father, praise the Son, 

And praise the Spirit, Three in One! 



O praise Him! O praise Him! 

Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!...



As we went into Lockdown, it was the middle of Lent and as we came to Holy Week, not even able to go into church or meet together, we heard the words of Jesus to his disciples before he went to the cross. Great words of reassurance filling them with peace at the knowledge that they were both loved and safe in that love of God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.


NT Reading


John 15.9-17

As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you; abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. I have said these things to you so that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be complete… I am giving you these commands so that you may love one another.


We are really learning the power and pull of love, all those of our family and friends that we have to see from a distance or via a screen. It is hard because love is so tangible. Yet we know that love takes us through times of isolation, even through the experience of death. This next prayer of St Francis reminds Jane of her much-loved sister, played at her funeral. I pray tonight it will bring the joy of her memory and the peace of God’s love holding both of them.


Make me a channel of your peace 


Make me a channel of Your peace

Where there is hatred, let me bring Your love

Where there is injury, Your pardon Lord

And where there's doubt, true faith in You


Make me a channel of Your peace

Where there's despair in life, let me bring hope

Where there is darkness, only light

And where there's sadness, ever joy


Oh Master, grant that I may never seek

So much to be consoled as to console

To be understood as to understand

To be loved as to love with all my soul


Make me a channel of Your peace

It is pardoning that we are pardoned

In giving to all men that we receive

And in dying that we're born to eternal life


Oh Master, grant that I may never seek

So much to be consoled as to console

To be understood as to understand

To be loved as to love with all my soul


Make me a channel of Your peace

Where there's despair in life, let me bring hope

Where there is darkness, only light

And where there's sadness, ever joy.


Daniel O’Donnell




from St Francis who, as well as peace, knew much about joy and love. Tonight we pray some of his prayers: 


Francis had been a merchant and a soldier. He had come to faith after fighting in a long civil war of Assisi, where he was imprisoned for a year and his health failed,  

but as his physical strength failed, he started to see and understand the love of God for him.

This is a prayer at the beginning of his journey into what God had for him.


Most high, glorious God

enlighten the darkness of my heart and give me 

true faith,

certain hope, 

and perfect charity, sense and knowledge,


That I may carry out

Your holy and true command.


You are holy Lord, 

you alone art God

who does wonderful things.

You are strong,

you are great.

You are the Most High.

You are the Almighty King

you are Holy Father,

King of heaven and earth,


You are three and one, the Lord God of gods

You are the good, all good,

the highest good.

Lord God living and true.


Let nothing hinder us,

nothing separate us,

nothing come between us.


Lord’s prayer


Our Father who art in heaven,

Hallowed be thy name,

Thy kingdom come, 

Thy will be done,

on earth as it is in heaven.

Give us this day our daily bread

and forgive us our trespasses

as we forgive them that trespass against us.

And lead us not into temptation,

But deliver us from evil,

For thine is the kingdom,

the power and the glory,

Forever and ever.





chosen by Megan


O worship the King, 

all glorious above! 

O gratefully sing 

his power and his love! 

Our shield and defender, 

the Ancient of Days, 

pavilioned in splendour, 

and girded with praise.


O tell of his might! 

O sing of his grace! 

Whose robe is the light, 

whose canopy space. 

His chariots of wrath 

the deep thunderclouds form, 

and dark is his path 

on the wings of the storm.


O measureless Might, 

ineffable Love, 

while angels delight 

to worship thee above, 

the humbler creation, 

though feeble their lays, 

with true adoration 

shall all sing thy praise.


2.04 St Anne’s Belfast



Love, joy and peace are all fruits of the Spirit, the spiritual qualities that as Christian people God grows in our lives, so that they start as qualities that we enjoy and are strengthened by, and become, gradually those qualities that we can pass on to others and they can be strengthened by.


Final Hymn


We end with John Newton’s song describing the love that God showed him, a previous slave-ship captain, love undeserved but poured out, enjoyed and passed on.


Amazing Grace (Margaret Draper)



from just down the road, musicians and singers, from St Andrew the Great Church in Cambridge, sing in lockdown all in their own homes.



May God hold you in His strong-fingered hands, until you become a sacrament of strength to those whose hands you hold.

and the blessing of God Almighty...

Thursday 7th May from St Margaret’s Newton.




Welcome Everyone, to this first of a series of Songs of Praise services. I am realising how uplifting music can be at this time and so I have asked each of our churches in turn to contribute their favourite hymns, songs and music.  Tonight, it is the turn of St Margaret’s Newton and people in the congregation there have chosen tonight’s selection. 


We meet together in the name of the Father, and the Son and the Holy Spirit, do light a candle where you are.


Tonight, we are thinking about faithfulness, how God is utterly faithful to us, and how we can trust in God. 


Opening Hymn


‘Immortal, Invisible, God only wise 

Chosen by Juliet - remembering it from school days, but aware the words have not lost their powerful reassurance.


1 Immortal, invisible, God only wise,

in light inaccessible hid from our eyes;

most holy, most glorious, the ancient of days,

almighty, victorious, your great name we praise.


2 Unresting, unhasting, and silent as light,

nor wanting nor wasting, you rule us in might;

your justice like mountains high soaring above,

your clouds which are fountains of goodness and love.


3 To all you are giving, to both great and small,

in all you are living, the true life of all:

we blossom and flourish, uncertain and frail;

we wither and perish, but you never fail.


4 We worship before you, great Father of light,

while angels adore you, all veiling their sight;

our praises we render, O Father, to you

whom only the splendour of light hides from view.


Jubilate Hymns version of Immortal, invisible, God only wise Walter C Smith (1824 - 1908)


Collect Prayer

Risen Christ,

faithful shepherd of your Father’s sheep:

teach us to hear your voice

and to follow your command,

that all your people may be gathered into one flock,

to the glory of God the Father.


Tell Out My Soul

This is an adaptation of the words of Mary as she realised God’s goodness in choosing her to bear the Son of God, she, who was poor and unimportant. This song describes the heart of God for all, raising the poor and lowly to heights unimagined.

Timothy Dudley Smith (b. 1926) rendering of the Magnificat set to the tune ‘Woodlands’ by Walter Greatorex.

Chosen by Gill.

Rev Timothy Dudley-Smith was from Derbyshire. He went to Tonbridge school and Pembroke College in Cambridge. He ran the Cambridge University Mission in the East End of London. In 1973 he became Archdeacon of Norwich and in 1981 the Suffragan Bishop of Thetford for ten years. He is well-known as a writer of hymn texts and  is a member and honorary vice-president of the Hymn Society for Britain and Ireland.


Psalm 89

1  My song shall be always of the loving-kindness of the Lord: •

   with my mouth will I proclaim your faithfulness

      throughout all generations.

2  I will declare that your love is established for ever; •

   you have set your faithfulness as firm as the heavens.


Second Hymn


Love Divine

Chosen by Joe: “My Grannie's favourite and she introduced me to Christ.  Charles Wesley’s great hymn sung to the Welsh tune Blaenwern”


1 Love divine, all loves excelling,

joy of heaven, to earth come down,

fix in us your humble dwelling,

all your faithful mercies crown.

Jesus, you are all compassion,

pure, unbounded love impart;

visit us with your salvation,

enter every trembling heart.


2 Come, almighty to deliver,

let us all your grace receive;

suddenly return, and never,

never more your temples leave.

We would always give you blessing,

serve you as your hosts above,

pray, and praise you without ceasing,

glory in your perfect love.


3 Finish then your new creation;

pure and spotless let us be;

let us see your great salvation,

perfect in eternity:

Changed from glory into glory

till in heaven we take our place,

there to sing salvation's story

lost in wonder, love, and praise!


Charles Wesley



Teilhard de Chardin


Above all trust in the slow work of God,

We are, quite naturally,

impatient in everything to reach the end

without delay.

We should like to skip

the intermediate stages.

We are impatient of being 

on the way to something unknown,

something new,

And yet it is the law of all progress

that it is made by passing through

some stages of instability -

And that it might take a very long time.


And so I think it is with you.

Your ideas mature gradually -

let them grow,

let them shape themselves,

without undue haste.

Don’t try to force them on,

as though you could be today

what time (that is to say grace and

circumstances acting

on your own good will)

will make you tomorrow.


Only God could say what this new spirit

gradually forming within you will be.

Give our Lord the benefit of believing

that his hand is leading you,

and accept an anxiety of

feeling yourself in suspense and incomplete.



Third Hymn


Chosen by Val this is a favourite hymn of hers: “because of its calming effect and the way it reminds me when I’m getting het up about something that I need to take a deep breath and listen to an inner voice.” 

We often get entangled in worries and anxieties, and this can be exacerbated when there is an overarching situation around us like we experience at the moment. All the more need for us to rely on strength given to us by our faithful God who stands with each of us through every situation.


Dear Lord and Father of mankind, 

forgive our foolish ways; 

reclothe us in our rightful mind, 

in purer lives thy service find, 

in deeper reverence, praise,

in deeper reverence, praise.


In simple trust like theirs who heard, 

beside the Syrian sea, 

the gracious calling of the Lord, 

let us, like them, without a word, 

rise up and follow thee,

rise up and follow thee. 


O sabbath rest by Galilee, 

O calm of hills above, 

where Jesus knelt to share with thee 

the silence of eternity, 

interpreted by love! 

interpreted by love!


Drop thy still dews of quietness, 

till all our strivings cease; 

take from our souls the strain and stress, 

and let our ordered lives confess 

the beauty of thy peace, 

the beauty of thy peace.


Breathe through the heats of our desire 

thy coolness and thy balm; 

let sense be dumb, let flesh retire; 

speak through the earthquake, wind, and fire, 

O still, small voice of calm. 

O still, small voice of calm.




God speaks to the children of God, pleading with them to be faithful and to develop faithful habits for love of God, that God may then pour out blessing on them.


Deut 11:18-20

Put these words of mine in your heart and soul, bind them as a sign on your hand, and fix them as an emblem on your forehead. Teach them to your children, talking about them when you are at home and when you are away, when you lie down and when you rise. Write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates, 


Fourth Hymn


Be Thou my Vision

Chosen by Denise. ‘the words say it all.’


Be thou my vision, O Lord of my heart;

Naught be all else to me, save that thou art -

Thou my best thought, by day or by night;

Waking or sleeping, thy presence my light.


Be thou my wisdom, and thou my true word;

I ever with thee and thou with me, Lord.

Thou my great Father; thine own may I be,

Thou in me dwelling and I one with thee.


Riches I heed not, nor vain, empty praise;

Thou mine inheritance, now and always;

Thou and thou only first in my heart,

High King of heaven, my treasure thou art.


High King of heaven, my victory won,

May I reach heaven's joys, O bright heaven's sun!

Heart of my own heart, whatever befall,

Still be my vision, O Ruler of all.



The Letters of Paul in the New Testament are full of encouragement to us to live well, to choose to be faithful to God and to choose what is right.


Ephesians 5.15-end

Be careful then how you live, not as unwise people but as wise, making the most of the time, So do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. Do not get drunk with wine, but be filled with the Spirit, as you sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs among yourselves, singing and making melody to the Lord in your hearts, giving thanks to God the Father at all times and for everything in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.



Fifth Hymn


I Vow to Thee my Country

We are coming up to VE Day tomorrow and our next hymn is an appropriate tribute to all those who faithfully served this our country.

This was a favourite of Jane Oakes, latterly of Newton, and we play and sing it in memory of her.

It is also John Lindgren's choice.  John writes, "I was in the US when Pearl Harbour came, and was very aware of the Pacific war, so consider WWii over in August 1945. VE day is of course special and most worthy of  celebration.“

I vow to thee my country

All earthly things above

Entire and whole and perfect

The service of my love


The love that asks no question

The love that stands the test

That lays upon the altar, 

the dearest and the best


The love that never falters

The love that pays the price

The love that makes undaunted

The final sacrifice


And there's another country

I've heard of long ago

Most dear to them that love her

Most great to them that know


We may not count her armies

We may not see her King

Her fortress is a faithful heart,

 her pride is suffering


And soul by soul and silently

Her shining bounds increase

Her ways are ways of gentleness

And all her paths are peace.


Source: Musixmatch


Songwriters: Gustav Holst / Cecil Spring Rice





As we come out of this first phase of coping with a pandemic, we also realise that for a long while things will not be the same. We look back at how life was, we appreciate what we have gained by slowing down our pace, and we wonder how it will be.

This is ours for the choosing, we can continue to buy local, travel less, make the most of all our relationships, build new ones with those around us, and take note of wildflowers and birdsong.

We can also choose to live our lives more fully integrating our faith in a faithful God, who did not create a world of rushing around, in pursuit of material gain and human satisfaction. A God who did not come to us promising the earth, but reminding us of our place amongst all living things, and all people loved by God. Jesus spoke and lived out a life serving those around him; loving them and loving God.

Faithfulness, to God, to others and to ourselves is almost counter-cultural, but living faithfully and well brings huge gains.



Geoffrey Burgon - Nunc Dimittis 

This is the song of Simeon as he held the Christ child. God promised he would not die until he had seen the Messiah, and as he held that particular baby on that one unexpected day, he knew God’s faithfulness to him, and to all of us.


This was chosen by Mike who remembers it as closing music to Tinker, Taylor, Soldier, Spy in 1979.  “A Great TV adaptation and takes me back to my time at Christ’s College.”



Lord now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace

According to thy word

For mine eyes have seen thy salvation

Which thou hast prepared before the face of all people

To be a light to lighten the gentiles

And to be the glory of thy people Israel

Glory be to the Father and to the Son

And to the Holy Ghost

As it was in the beginning is now and ever shall be

World without end





A prayer of Etty Hillesum, a Jewish woman who lived and died in the Holocaust.


“Oh God, times are too hard for frail people like myself. I know that a new and kinder day will come. I would so much like to live on, if only to express all the love I carry within me. And there is only one way of preparing the new age, by living it even more in our hearts. Somewhere in me I feel so light, without the least bitterness, and so full of strength and love. I would so much like to help prepare the new age.” 


Etty Hillesum: An Interrupted Life (The Diaries, 1941-1943) and Letters from Westerbork. Holt Paperback, Henry Holt and Company, New York, page 185 


Final Hymn


The Day Thou gavest Lord is ended (tune St Clement)

Chosen by Nina: “It is a favourite of mine, as I vividly remember the times I went to the naval dockyard at Plymouth and at Dartmouth College for the sunset ceremony during the 25 years my Dad was in the Royal Navy. The work of John Ellerton - King William’s College, Isle of Man and Trinity.  Written in 1870.  Chosen by Queen Victoria on the occasion of her Diamond Jubilee 1897.”


The tune, St Clement by Rev. Clement Cotteril Scholefield (1839–1904) - Chaplain of Eton and vicar of St Trinity, Knightsbridge.


The day Thou gavest, Lord, is ended,

The darkness falls at Thy behest;

To Thee our morning hymns ascended,

Thy praise shall sanctify our rest.


We thank Thee that Thy church, unsleeping,

While earth rolls onward into light,

Through all the world her watch is keeping,

And rests not now by day or night.


As over each continent and island

The dawn leads on another day,

The voice of prayer is never silent,

Nor dies the strain of praise away.


The sun that bids us rest is waking

Our brethren 'neath the western sky,

And hour by hour fresh lips are making

Thy wondrous doings heard on high.


So be it, Lord; Thy throne shall never

Like earth's proud empires, pass away:

Thy kingdom stands, and grows forever,

Till all Thy creatures own Thy sway.


Source: Musixmatch

Songwriters: C. Scholefield / Peter Heming




And may the God of all wisdom, faithfulness and love

make us wise in our understanding,

open in our listening,

generous in our giving,

and vulnerable in our sharing

and may the blessing of God Almighty, 

the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit

be with us all now and forever