URC Daily Devotion: 13th February

There’s a spirit in the air
Brian Wren 
Rejoice and Sing 329 

There’s a spirit in the air,
telling Christians everywhere:
‘Praise the love that Christ revealed,
living, working, in our world!’

2 Lose your shyness, find your tongue,
tell the world what God has done:
God in Christ has come to stay.
Live tomorrow’s life today!

3 When believers break the bread,
when a hungry child is fed,
praise the love that Christ revealed,
living, working, in our world.

4 Still the Spirit gives us light,
seeing wrong and setting right:
God in Christ has come to stay.
Live tomorrow’s life today!

5 When a stranger’s not alone,
where the homeless find a home,
praise the love that Christ revealed,
living, working, in our world.

6 May the Spirit fill our praise,
guide our thoughts and change our ways.
God in Christ has come to stay.
Live tomorrow’s life today!

7 There’s a Spirit in the air,
calling people everywhere:
Praise the love that Christ revealed,
living, working, in our world.

Acts 10:34-48 

Then Peter began to speak to them: ‘I truly understand that God shows no partiality, but in every nation anyone who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him. You know the message he sent to the people of Israel, preaching peace by Jesus Christ—he is Lord of all. That message spread throughout Judea, beginning in Galilee after the baptism that John announced: how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power; how he went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with him. We are witnesses to all that he did both in Judea and in Jerusalem. They put him to death by hanging him on a tree; but God raised him on the third day and allowed him to appear, not to all the people but to us who were chosen by God as witnesses, and who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead. He commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that he is the one ordained by God as judge of the living and the dead. All the prophets testify about him that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.’

While Peter was still speaking, the Holy Spirit fell upon all who heard the word. The circumcised believers who had come with Peter were astounded that the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out even on the Gentiles, for they heard them speaking in tongues and extolling God. Then Peter said, ‘Can anyone withhold the water for baptizing these people who have received the Holy Spirit just as we have?’ So he ordered them to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. Then they invited him to stay for several days.

Reflection

One of the best-known of Brian Wren’s hymns, it was written in June 1969 for Pentecost while Wren was minister at Hockley Congregational Church. When published in 1983 in his collection Faith Looking Forward Wren noted that he wrote it “to try and celebrate the Holy Spirit ‘Working in Our World’”. Wren further revised the words in 1987 and 1989, and it is the 1989 version which appears in Rejoice and Sing. It is most frequently sung to John Wilson’s tune ‘Lauds’, which dates from the 1969 Hymns & Songs collection of the Methodist church.

The words use vivid imagery to capture a sense of Pentecost through phrases like “Spirit in the air.” Other phrases such as “find your tongue,” “change our ways” and “tell the world,” call all Christians to a concern for social justice, to feed the hungry, or to house the homeless as a sign of the Holy Spirit’s work in the midst of the world.

 

Prayer

Holy One,
send your Spirit of inclusion upon all that we do.

Make us mindful of the present day
and the realities of the world in which we find ourselves.

May the love that Christ revealed
always be the cornerstone of how we build the coming Kingdom.

Amen

Today’s Writer

Philip Jones is an Elder of Wilbraham St Ninian’s URC in Chorlton, South Manchester.

Bible Version

New Revised Standard Version, Anglicised Bible: Anglicised Edition, copyright © 1989, 1995 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved

Copyright © 2017 United Reformed Church, All rights reserved.