Monday, August 5, 2019

Spirit of the Living God

Henry Tweedy was born in 1868 and was a prolific hymn writer and professor at Yale Divinity School.  We will have the treat (Sunday) of hearing one of Tweedy's hymns with the musical combo of vocals, piano and cello.  I am looking forward to that!

The hymn to be played is called Spirit of the Living God (probably not the one you know).  It is a beautiful classical/Celtic piece that expresses a prayer for God's guidance and a unity only God can bring.  The hymn is very Wesleyan.

On Sunday the message will revolve around the Scripture embedded in this song.  Chapter 3 of the Gospel of John recounts a meeting between Jesus and Nicodemus.  Nicodemus came to Jesus by night, probably because he was a member of the Sanhedrin, the ruling council of the Jews.  Jesus conveys to Nicodemus the nature of the person of the Holy Spirit.  Here are a few of Jesus' points:

1. The indwelling of the Holy Spirit is a required 'birth' of every Christian.  "No one can enter the Kingdom of God unless they are born of water [human birth] and the Spirit [spiritual birth] (3:5)."

2. This birth of the Spirit is what should be meant by the term "born again" as this passage about Nicodemus is the origin of that term.

3. This indwelling of the Spirit is God-directed and, by human standards, is a bit 'wild' ("the wind blows wherever it pleases.  You hear its sound but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going.  So it is with everyone born of the Spirit" (3:8)."

Tweedy's song expresses the wildness and power of God's Spirit as we, the Church, allow the Spirit to do some amazing and God-led things.  Things like driving out the sin in human hearts.  Things like preaching to all God's great Good News, bringing 'commom-wealth' (prosperity/unity/harmony) to the Church.  Things like bringing God's goal to fulfillment ... the goal of bringing us to a perfection in love.  I love the song.  I love the prayer.  As you listen Sunday feel free to hear the Spirit-led lyrics.  If you are in the 2nd service, turn to hymn 539.  You may be surprised that this hymn is here, but it is both appropriate and fitting.  Tweedy's words are needed direly as we try to navigate the waters of all that is opposite and opposed to Tweedy's vision of God's will being done on earth as it is in heaven.

"Blow wind of God with wisdom blow, until our minds are free, from mists of error, clouds of doubt, which blind our eyes to Thee, burn winged fire inspire our lips, with flaming love and zeal, to preach to all Thy great Good News, God's glorious commonweal!"  Amen!  Randy

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