INVOCATION and READING
Holy Spirit, Truth divine,
dawn upon this soul of mine.
Voice of God, and inward Light,
wake my spirit, clear my sight. Samuel Longfellow
Acts 1: 1-5
1 In my former book, Theophilus, I wrote about all that Jesus began to do and to teach 2 until the day he was taken up to heaven, after giving instructions through the Holy Spirit to the apostles he had chosen. 3 After his suffering, he presented himself to them and gave many convincing proofs that he was alive. He appeared to them over a period of forty days and spoke about the kingdom of God. 4 On one occasion, while he was eating with them, he gave them this command: “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. 5 For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.”
Glory be to the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit!
During Eastertide, as Jesus further prepares his followers for a life that overcomes death, he teaches his disciples the importance of accepting the inspiration of the Holy Spirit in continuing his ministry on earth. And so, as we move toward Christ’s Ascension and the Day of Pentecost, we too renew our openness to the Holy Spirit to see and reflect God’s will in our daily lives. The hymn “Holy Spirit, Truth Divine” (UMH #465) sprang to mind as reflecting the desire to have the Holy Spirit guide every facet of our beings. I had not realized that it was the younger brother of poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow that wrote this hymn.
Samuel Longfellow (1819-1892) was educated at Harvard College and Harvard Divinity School. He was ordained as a pastor in the Unitarian Church and was also known as a hymn writer and editor. “Holy Spirit, Truth Divine” was written with six stanzas (though most hymnals only contain four of them), and each one highlights the ways we ask for the Holy Spirit’s guidance, and how we may respond. The hymn is most often sung to the tune CANTURBERY, which was adapted from music composed by a well-known English composer, Orlando Gibbons (1583-1625).
Here’s a choral arrangement sung by Dutch vocal group CRK”Voices”, and is pleasingly set to a contemporary accompaniment:
Dear Heavenly Father, as you ready the call for your risen Son to join you at your right hand, we pray that your great gift of salvation, now fulfilled by Christ’s death and resurrection, be ever present in our hearts and minds. Let us be with the disciples as they wait for God’s gift of the Holy Spirit, that we may also find renewed vision and truth to carry out your Kingdom in the world today. We pray for discernment to use these gifts not to shore up our vanities and prejudices, but to reflect your love as your Son has taught us. In your gracious name we pray, Amen.
Offered by Joche Wilmot, Director of Music Ministries