“Spirit of Gentleness” ELW 396
Refrain: Spirit, Spirit of gentleness, blow through the wilderness calling and free; Spirit, Spirit of restlessness, stir me from placidness, wind, wind on the sea.
Vs 1: You moved on the waters, you called to the deep, then you coaxed up the mountains from the valleys of sleep; and over the eons you called to each thing: “Awake from your slumbers and rise on your wings.”
There is that word again – restlessness! If you have a hymnal at home go ahead and read through all the verses. I shared verse one which is a retelling of the Spirit’s work in the creation story. Verse two is the story of the Spirit’s work in God’s people in the wilderness and the prophets call to reorient the people to God. Verse three is a retelling of the Spirit’s work within the Christ story, and verse four is about the Spirit’s work within us.
The Spirit is named in this hymn as a Spirit of both gentleness and restlessness, isn’t that interesting? These traits aren’t contradictory, but they aren’t often named together. The restlessness of the Spirit moves as the Spirit moves, but that movement is always grounded in love, compassion, and expansive grace. The Spirit is about movement in and through creation, God’s people, Jesus, and us.
While the Spirit goes where it may, its movement is never without purpose. But what is the purpose of the Spirit? What comes to mind when you read that question? I believe there isn’t a right or wrong way to answer that question, but I trust that the Spirit is restless in her desire to move and shape us for good as the beloved community. What that looks like in your life is up to you and the Holy Spirit. Today I ask that you consider what it looks like to be led by a Spirit that is both gentle and restless, both purpose-filled and free. And then consider how the traits of gentleness and restlessness are at work within you.
In Spirit, Pastor Ruth
Let us pray:
Almighty and ever-living God, you fulfilled the promise of Easter by sending the gift of your Holy Spirit. Look upon your people gathered in prayer, open to receive the Spirit’s flame. May it come to rest in our hearts and heal the divisions of word and tongue, that with one voice and one song we may praise your name in joy and thanksgiving, through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Friend, Amen.