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Monday, May 11, 2020
Teach me to love thee as thine angels love,
one holy passion filling all my frame;
the baptism of the heaven-descended Dove,
my heart an altar, and thy love the flame.
“Spirit of God, Descend upon My Heart” (v. 5) by George Croly
Hymn 688, Glory to God: The Presbyterian Hymnal
In this season when we are awaiting the arrival of God’s Spirit on Pentecost, this hymn’s beautiful fifth verse helps invoke the sort of self-transformation that will mark the Spirit’s arrival: a fiery, passionate love meant to fill our frames. Although we typically associate the presence of the Spirit in our lives with that of impromptu inspiration, perhaps we would be just as well served thinking about the Spirit’s arrival through this lens of transforming our hearts, rather than listening for a muse. To be filled with the Spirit is to be overcome by love—a love for self, neighbor, and God—and that sort of expansion within our hearts is one of the greatest gifts that God offers to us.
Our world is perpetually in need of people whose hearts have been filled by love—and for me, one of the most uplifting things that I’ve seen over these past few months is recognizing how much the Spirit seems to be at work in our world, even in a time when many of us feel stretched to our breaking point. I’ve seen extraordinary generosity from strangers and neighbors, loving messages and cards written by children within our congregation, and an outpouring of donations of masks, food, and supplies to our church and others. Recognizing these things as the ongoing work of the Spirit is part of our theological challenge as Christians—as is cultivating that same fiery love of the Spirit burning deep within our hearts.
God, may you indeed “teach me to love thee as thine angels love,” and may your “holy passion fill all my frame.” Overcome by the depth of your love, may our reflections of your love overcome whatever challenges lie before us. Amen.
Written by Matt Helms, Associate Pastor for Children and Family Ministry
Reflection and Prayer © Fourth Presbyterian Church
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