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Come, Holy Spirit

Updated: 4 days ago

This Sunday we will celebrate Pentecost. Two common images used to describe the Holy Spirit in scripture(and in music) are the Holy Spirit as a dove and as a fire. In the Sequence hymn that we will sing Sunday -“Come, Holy Spirit, Heavenly Dove”- the author of the text, Isaac Watts, uses both images to convey our need for the Holy Spirit’s quickening powers. Quickening is not a word we see often in modern language. It means to make alive; we need the Holy Spirit’s enlivening power to fulfill our spiritual journey through life. Isaac Watts was an English Congregational minister who is credited with writing some 750 hymns. He was disturbed with ‘business-as-usual’ Christianity and believed that we needed to be shaken out of our spiritual lethargy by a fresh touch of the Holy Spirit. Most hymnals omit the fourth stanza of Watt’s poem, in which he contrasts our love towards God with God’s love towards us. Below is the complete text of the hymn that we will sing on Sunday. I hope the Holy Spirit will speak to us through it.



Come, Holy Spirit, Heavenly Dove

1. Come, Holy, Spirit, heavenly dove, with all thy quickening powers; kindle a flame of sacred love in these cold hearts of ours.

2. See how we trifle here below. Fond of these earthly toys: our souls, how heavily they go, to reach eternal joys.

3. In vain we tune our formal songs, in vain we strive to rise: hosannas languish on our tongues, and our devotion dies.

4. Father, and shall we ever live at this poor dying rate, our love so faint, so cold to Thee, and thine to us so great?

5. Come, Holy Spirit, heavenly dove, with all thy quickening powers; come, shed abroad a Savior’s love, and that shall kindle ours.

Words: Isaac Watts(1674-1748).

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