Sunday, July 20, 2014

Come Gracious Spirit

Monday, July 21, 2014
The high and lofty one who lives in eternity, the Holy One, says this:  “I live in the high and holy place with those whose spirits are contrite and humble.  I restore the crushed spirit of the humble and revive the courage of those with repentant hearts.      Isaiah 57:15  (NLT)

I love the hymns of the church.  These express for me much of what is an inexpressible depth of the soul’s love for God. 

In particular, I love old hymns, less-prone to mindless repetition, or slave to the driving beat.

Don’t misread this – I do love contemporary worship songs; I just prefer more than one thought per session.  I want to pray and think deeply as I worship with song.

Check out Simon Browne’s prayer to the Spirit, written in 1720:
Come, Gracious Spirit, heavenly Dove, with light and comfort from above;
be thou our guardian, thou our guide o'er every thought and step preside.
O'er every thought and step preside.
The light of truth to us display, and make us know and choose thy way;
plant holy fear in every heart, that we from God may ne'er depart.
That we from God may ne'er depart.
Lead us to holiness, the road which we must take to dwell with God;
lead us to Christ, the living way nor let us from His pastures stray.
Nor let us from His pastures stray.
Lead us to God our final rest to be with Him forever blest;
lead us to heaven, its bliss to share fullness of joy forever there.
Fullness of joy forever there.
(You can listen to The Altar of Praise Chorale sing it here)

I imagine the reason I’m drawn to hymns like these are because they call me to surrender my will to God’s.  Browne’s hymn is more than drawing me, it’s an invitation for the Spirit to show up in my life and lead me.

I need that.

I need to defer my personal choices to God’s intervention and direction in my life.
I need much more than just what I like.  I’ve found that my personal preferences and petty choices usually have little to do with what God is trying to do in me.  

I need to (like the invitation hymn intones) surrender all.

For You, Today
Is your will surrendered?
Did you make it a point to come to Christ this way today…
Just as I am, without one plea,
but that thy blood was shed for me,
and that Thou bidst me, come to thee,
O Lamb of God, I come; I come.[1]

[1] Just As I Am, Words:  Charlotte Elliot, 1835, Music:  William B. Bradbury, 1849

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