Living in Gratitude
“Spirit, spirit of gentleness
Blow through the wilderness, calling and free.
Spirit, spirit of restlessness,
Stir me from placidness.
Wind, wind on the sea.”
Refrain: "Spirit of Gentleness"; James K. Manley (1978)
Now and then, a hymn plays in my head. Usually, it's one we've sung in church recently. The lyrics play over and over as though there were a choir inside me. I have learned to listen, and wonder what part of me sings hymns when the rest of me is working, or walking the dog, or doing a million other ordinary things. I was introduced to this exquisitely beautiful hymn in the 1990's by Rev. Renae Koehler, who was, at the time, in seminary at Emory. Renae was young, and so passionate in her faith. She choreographed many dances to express sacred music. When we danced to Spirit of Gentleness, I experienced what it really means to be “moved by the music.”
But this time, we had not sung the hymn in church. I was curious as to why it was playing in my head, so I pulled up the lyrics and studied them a little bit. Here are the first and last verses of Spirit of Gentleness:
“You moved on the waters
You called to the deep.
Then you coaxed up the mountains
from the valley of sleep.
And over the eons, You called to each thing,
'Wake from your slumbers, and rise on your wings.'
You call from tomorrow.
You break ancient schemes.
From the bondage of sorrow, the captives dream dreams.
Our women see visions.
Our men clear their eyes.
With bold new decisions,
Your people arise.”
Sometimes, poets best describe the reality of our world. I think the choir inside my head is reminding me that the same Source that created this universe is alive and well, and still in control. That same Spirit that moved over the deep, still calls us to stir from sleep to wakefulness. We get so caught up in the little wedge of time and earth we occupy, we forget that we are but a blip in the vastness of creation. It was here long before us, and will continue long past this present moment. Let us choose to live in gratitude while we are passing through.
In the Spirit,