Sunday, July 3, 2016

As a Gracious Shower Descend

For the Sundays after Pentecost (which will continue until Advent), a hymn of the Holy Spirit is never inappropriate.

Spirit, come, dispel our sadness;
Share your fire by day and night.
Come, O source of joy and gladness,
Breathe your life, and spread your light.
From the height which knows no measure,
As a gracious shower descend,
Bringing down the richest treasure
We can wish, or God can send.

Author of the new creation,
Come, anoint us with your power.
Make our hearts your habitation;
With your grace our spirits shower.
Hear, O hear our supplication,
Blessed Spirit, God of peace!
Rest upon this congregation
With the fullness of your grace.

Paul Gerhardt, 1648
tr. John C. Jacobi, c.1725; alt.
Frank M. Davis, 1878

Paul Gerhardt (1607-1676) is ranked second only to Martin Luther as a hymnwriter for the Lutheran church.  However, Gerhardt's firm belief in the primacy of God's love has ensured that his hymns have been widely sung across many other denominations as well.

Rather than choosing a German chorale tune or something equally predictable, I have instead matched this text with a tune by the gospel song writer Frank Marion Davis. Davis wrote both texts and tunes, sometimes together and sometimes not, but I think this lively tune works well with Gerhardt's text on the generous gifts of the Spirit.

Three Years Ago: Charlotte Perkins Gilman

Eight Years Ago: Charlotte Perkins Gilman

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