Daily Hymn Project: Pentecost Edition. Week 3, John 7:37-39

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I (Cabe) have a distinct memory of the choir at the church I grew up in singing the song "Spirit of the Living God." I don't remember when or how often they would sing it, but I do remember this simple prayer floating gently from their voices and into my ears - and heart. This song is a prayer for the fresh action of God's Spirit to work in us and on us, and even through us. That makes it a great song to accompany you and your family through the month of May, the month when Pentecost often occurs.

Pentecost is both the day we celebrate the gift of the Spirit and mark the beginning of the church. A lot of congregations will read the story of Acts 2 this year on May 20 and hear how the Spirit first descended on those gathered in Jerusalem so many years ago with wind and tongues of fire. The hymn for this month  consider how the Spirit falls upon us afresh us. 

Sing "Spirit of the Living God" (Daniel Iverson)

Spirit of the living God,

Fall afresh on me.

Melt me, mold me, fill me, use me.

Spirit of the living God,

Fall afresh on me.

Read John 7:37-39

 

"On the last and greatest day of the festival, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.” By this he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to receive. Up to that time the Spirit had not been given, since Jesus had not yet been glorified." (NIV)

Devotional

 

How full of the Holy Spirit are you? Somedays I feel like I'm 20% full, and other days when I pray really well it can even goes up to about 80%. This line of the song sounds like I'm asking the Spirit to fill me so I can be closer and closer to that 100% goal. But what will happen when I think I'm feeling really full  - will any sort of jostling cause some to spill out? It sounds like it might be a difficult thing balancing a full cup of the Spirit!

Thankfully that is not how it works. In John's gospel we’re told the Spirit's filling is more like a 'river of living water' that 'will flow within them.' So instead of being in lack or being full Jesus is saying this will be like a filling that flows. It's not a cup that's half full or kind of full but a river that flows through us giving us life and strength, power and witness. Instead of worrying about some Spirit spilling out, a kind of overflowing is exactly the point. It won't be something to balance in your hands, but something that passes within you and through you.  Asking the Spirit to fill us isn't just asking for it to be more present in our lives. Instead, we're asking the Spirit to flow within us. This is no stagnant puddle - it's a flowing stream! So as we thirst for God's in our lives may we remember: we're not asking for a cup of water but asking for a filling that flows.

Group Activity

With a pitcher fill a cup of water to how full you feel with the Spirit. Then fill it to the brim and try to walk around the room with it. After doing that hold the cup over a bowl or the sink and fill it with the pitcher without stopping. Just let it overflow from the cup. How do each of the images change how you think of being full of the Holy Spirit?