Come, Holy Ghost: A Wesleyan perspective on the Spirit
Come, Holy Ghost, our hearts inspire, let us thine influence prove; source of the old prophetic fire, fountain of life and love.Revealer of truth John Wesley often called himself a “man of one book.” That book, of course, was the Bible. Wesley was an ardent student of the Scriptures. He knew that the same Spirit that inspired the authors would also move in the hearts of readers centuries later, revealing God’s truth to us. The sermon states that the Holy Spirit is “a light to discern the fallacies of flesh and blood, [and] to reject the irreligious maxims of the world.” In the second verse of “Come, Holy Ghost, Our Hearts Inspire,” Charles prayerfully asks the Holy Ghost to come to reveal God’s word to us.
Come, Holy Ghost (for moved by thee the prophets wrote and spoke), unlock the truth, thyself the key, unseal the sacred book.Bearer of New Creation Having the Holy Spirit among us, a sign of that future day of restoration, also gives us the ability to live as people of that future now. Through the Spirit we see the world not only as it is, but as it will be, and are invited to participate in the work of reconciliation. In the sermon we read that the Holy Spirit “is some portion of, as well as preparation for, a life in God, which we are to enjoy hereafter. The gift of the Holy Spirit looks full to the resurrection; for then is the life of God completed in us.” When we sing verse 3 of Charles’ hymn, we pray for that day to come. Using an allusion to the presence of God’s Spirit moving over the face of the deep before the first day of Creation (see Genesis 1:2), we long for the new creation.
Expand thy wings, celestial Dove, brood o'er our nature's night; on our disordered spirits move, and let there now be light.Assurance of salvation If you have ever wondered if you are really saved, you are not alone. Many Christians, including John Wesley, have gone through seasons of similar struggles. This sermon points to evidence in the gifts we see in our lives. In "On the Holy Spirit" we read, “[W]here that divine Guest enters, the laws of another world must be observed.” A shift the Spirit brings to our priorities is then described. Where we once were primarily concerned about ourselves, the Spirit enables us to focus on our love of God and others. In verse four of “Come, Holy Ghost, Our Hearts Inspire,” Charles Wesley writes how love flowing through us is evidence of the Spirit living in us.
God, through the Spirit we shall know if thou within us shine, and sound, with all thy saints below, the depths of love divine.It may be difficult for some of us to articulate a relationship with one described as fire, water, wind, or a dove. What we need to know is that the Spirit is the presence of the Holy in and around us each day, enabling us to live into the people God created us to be and will be restored to one day. Learn more about the spiritual gifts described in the New Testament, and take an online assessment to help you discover and cultivate your gifts. *Joe Iovino works for UMC.org at United Methodist Communications. Contact him firstname.lastname@example.org or 615-312-3733.
Resources for Vital Congregations
GBHEM Leadership Resources
A Disciple’s Path; A Guide for United Methodist
RESOURCES TO CONNECT WITH THE COMMUNITY:
The Appalachian District Church Vitality Team has been prayerfully seeking ways to help support you and the ministries of your local congregation during this COVID-19 pandemic. Together they have diligently researched and connected with others throughout the conference and our denomination to identify resources and offer them to you. We hope they will be helpful to you and bless you greatly in leading your churches and communities through this unprecedented time. We are very grateful to the District Vitality Team and other contributors for their great work on this resource.
This faithful team has created three documents, two of which you are receiving today. They include:
- Family Home Worship – designed to help families establish a regular worship space within their homes as well as a time where they can worship together.
- Tech Strategies – to help guide you in selecting effective tools and resources within your budget to best communicate in the digital world.
We believe these resources will be of great benefit to you. Also know that the District Vitality Team is available to answer any questions you might have in regards to the documents attached. If you have questions, you may email Rev. Howard Fleming at email@example.com.