Beyond these walls of worship,
in the stress and joy of life
Source: Singing the Faith: 547
Words: Ian Worsfold, Paul Wood
Music: Ian Worsfold, Paul Wood arr Nicola Morrison
Ideas for use
As this hymn draws upon Romans 12, consider pairing a reading from that chapter with the singing of these words.
This is a text that can be accompanied by different sorts of reflection on the way we live our daily lives:
- During a service, ask individuals to bring forward symbols of their daily work e.g. a tool, a product, or part of uniform (anything from work boots or overalls to a clerical collar!)
- A small group might use this hymn (and the Romans reading) as the springboard for a discussion around the gifts and challenges of “being God’s people” in diverse contexts
- Invite members of a congregation to speak about their sense of Christian vocation in the jobs they do through the week (this would be especially appropriate as one part of worship on Vocations Sunday)
This text was originally intended for inclusion in a Singing the Faith section, later removed, headed “Faith in life and work”. It was written in recognition of the way a worshipping congregation is made up of individuals, each of whom has a life “beyond these walls” – as a banker, mother, shop assistant, doctor… “It’s about whole life discipleship”, says Ian; “that sense that your faith matters after an hour of worship is over”.
Referring to Paul’s letter to the Christians in Rome, Ian admits that Paul’s challenge can be a tough one: “I appeal to you therefore, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God…” (Romans 12) “I didn’t want to be a living a sacrifice”, Paul says, but he has come to understand that phrase as about “attempting to live every moment for God – we’re not always conscious that whatever we do, in thought, words and deed, we do it for God”.
The hymn reflects with honesty on the realisation that this is sometimes easier said than done – for example “when the people that surround us deny that [God] is there” (v.2) For that reason, our prayer is for strength “to make the whole of life our worship as we witness to your love”, so transforming our everyday lives and work into the kind of sacrifice that makes God’s presence known in the communities within which we live.
Also see Ian’s hymn You showed us mercy (StF 488)
Paul Wood and Ian Worsfold are both Methodist ministers. Paul is serving currently as Coordinator for Ministry Development for the Discipleship and Ministries Learning Network and Ian is the Free Church chaplain at City University, London. Known to many as co-leaders of worship at Methodist Conference for a number of years, Paul and Ian have been enthusiastic promoters of Singing the Faith since its publication. Both men were members of the Singing the Faith music group and Paul chaired the Singing the Faith Reference Group from its inception in 2011 until 2016, when Ian took up the role. Paul and Ian were the prime movers behind the production of the Singing the Faith piano accompaniment CDs.
Paul and Ian talk about what motivates their hymn writing and worship leading in Faith sung and shared.