March 12, 2018
Spirit of Gentleness
Refrain: Spirit, Spirit of gentleness, blow through the wilderness, calling and free;
Spirit, Spirit of restlessness, stir me from placidness, wind, wind on the sea.
You moved on the waters; you called to the deep;
then you coaxed up the mountains from the valleys of sleep;
and over the eons, you called to each thing:
“Arise from your slumbers and rise on your wings.” (Refrain)
You swept through the desert; you stung with the sand;
and you goaded your people with a law and a land;
and when they were blinded with idols and lies,
then you spoke through your prophets to open their eyes. (Refrain)
You sang in a stable; you cried from a hill;
then you whispered in silence when the whole world was still;
and down in the city, you called once again
when you blew through your people on the rush of the wind. (Refrain)
You call from tomorrow; you break ancient schemes.
From the bondage of sorrow all the captives dream dreams;
our women see visions; our men clear their eyes.
With bold new decisions your people arise. (Refrain)
Text: James K. Manley, b. 1940.
Some melodies cause me to get teary-eyed, and I have trouble singing some hymns for this reason—even though they are my favorites. This hymn is one of them. It spans the Holy Bible. It begins with Creation (“you moved on the waters...you coaxed up the mountain”), travels through the Exodus (“you swept through the desert….you goaded your people with a law and a land”), the Prophets (“you spoke …to open their eyes”), Christ’s Nativity (“you sang in a stable” ), Jesus’ crucifixion (“you cried from a hill”), and finally Pentecost (“down in the city…when you blew through your people on the rush of the wind”).
Men and women of every period in history have faced stereotypes and barriers, “ancient schemes,” if you will, put in place by those holding the most power. The bondage of slavery, injustice based on race, religion, or gender, discrimination in education, housing, employment, voting fights—all still exist in 2018. All the captives (still) dream dreams. Those who are being wronged need the help and support of those who are at a better place in life.
As Christians, do we just read and believe the teachings of Christ or do we become his hands in our world? It is easy to sit back and be placid; it is hard to live out our faith in our daily lives. Do we speak up for someone in our workplace or school? Do we write a letter, sign a petition, make a phone call to an elected official? Do we write a check or spend hours of our time working side-by-side with others? Do we welcome a stranger to worship?
Throughout the ages, the Holy Spirit has never stopped moving—whether in the physical transformation of mountains and oceans—or within the minds and hearts of men and women. The Holy Spirit is restless, and we are called upon to stir from our placidness and arise with bold new decisions.
Ruth Ann Koepsel
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