American Pentecost

We are white and Black, my Lord,
and every color seen,
Native, or just from the port,
new money and has-been,
colonizer, unwashed horde,
and all things in-between,
yet we hear your holy Word,
and we know what you mean.

How is it that you speak to us
in every language known?
We are torn, Lord, each of us
from every other one.
When you came to preach you,
we made the cross your throne;
still you see and reach for us
through all divisions sown.

Sow again your piercing seed
and harrow up our earth;
show again the grace we glean
by springing up to serve.
Flourished wheat and sprouting weed
to you have precious worth:
Turn us all a springtime green,
the color of new birth.
By Niccolò da Bologna –, Public Domain,

Blow the Trumpet, Zion

It shall come to pass I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your old men will dream dreams, your young men will see visions. Even upon your male and female servants, in those days, I will pour out my spirit. I will set signs in the heavens and on the earth, blood, fire, and columns of smoke; The sun will darken, the moon turn blood-red, Before the day of the LORD arrives, that great and terrible day.

Joel 3:1-4

For Pentecost, to the Ralph Vaughan Williams tune, KING’S WESTON:

Lord, send out your Spirit,
and awake our hearts.
Though we cringe and fear it,
rouse our drowsing parts,
lest we fail to hear it,
that your Word imparts:
Your judgment is nearing.
Even now, it starts.

Blow the trumpet, Zion;
weep this dreadful day.
Weep, for Judah's lion
comes to judge his prey.
All that we rely on
he will cast away.
Our hearts, standing trial,
bow beneath his sway.

Spirit, fall like lightning,
flaring down this night.
Come, our vision bright'ning
toward the dawning light.
In your thunders fright'ning
you have shown your might.
Come, Spirit, enlight'ning;
teach us truth and right.
By Stefan Lochner –  Last Judgment, c. 1435. Wallraf-Richartz Museum, Cologne. Postcard, Public Domain,

How Many Are Your Wonders

Send forth your spirit, they are created, and you renew the face of the earth.

Psalm 104:30

For Pentecost, tune the tune ES IST EIN ROS ENTSPRUNGEN (“Lo, How a Rose E’er Blooming”).

How many are your wonders,
the world your works unfold:
Heaven your glory thunders;
by stars your tales are told,
but we in darkness bold
are tearing all asunder
your wonders manifold.

You, Lord, have made us mighty;
indeed, we fear no fall.
Proud clamor of our fighting
drowns out the orphan's call.
But you, who made us all
call us to be uniting
our pow'r to serve the the small.

Come, Spirit, world renewing;
come, touch us with your grace,
creation reimbuing,
your light on every face.
And all through time and space,
reach out, our hearts pursuing:
Catch us in your embrace!
Ingeborg Psalter, Public Domain,

Night Prayer to the Holy Spirit

To the tune of “All Through the Night” (ARD HYR Y NOS):

Spirit, brooding o'er the waters,
draw softly near.
Be our comfort; courage foster;
drive out our fear.
Though the night is swift-descending,
your protection never-ending,
as the flames at Pentecost were,
rests on us here.

Through the night-watch hours of darkness,
hover beside:
sick'ning fears and famine-starkness,
still be our guide.
Lonesome work or sleep's forgetting,
keep us by your sweet abetting.
Walking paths unknown and markless,
Spirit, abide!

Courage for the dawn ascending,
give us at day.
Your compassion, mercy's tending,
show us the way.
Guide the steps we will be taking;
lead us through the day soon breaking.
Every breath on you depending,
give us, we pray.
Representation as both dove and flames, Ravensburg, Germany, 1867 By Fidelis Schabet – Self-photographed, Public Domain,

The Spirit Comes

Jesus said to his disciples:

“If you love me, you will keep my commandments.

And I will ask the Father,

and he will give you another Advocate to be with you always,

the Spirit of truth.

John 14: 15-17

This comes out of an online retreat I did this weekend. It looks forward to Pentecost, and is written for the tune of “The King Shall Come When Morning Dawns.”

The Spirit comes, as promised us
by Christ before he left,
to lead us into holiness
and leave us not bereft.

Not as of old in wind and flame,
but signs and wonders still
are born in us when we proclaim
God's promises fulfilled.

As we were promised light and life
and sharing in Christ's joys,
the Spirit comes to still our strife
and let us hear God's voice.

As we were promised pain and death
upon our crosses all,
the Spirit comes to give us breath
in answer to God's call.

And when the promised day shall come,
when Christ shall come again,
the Spirit gives us back to him
to join the great Amen.
Detail of a statue at St Bartholomew’s Church in Orford, photo By Ziko-C – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0,