Rector's Reflections - 17 May

Rector’s Reflections    Friday 17th May 2024

Come, Holy Ghost, Our Souls Inspire

I wonder:  if someone were to ask you what you needed live a happy and fulfilled life,  what answer would you give? 

The second verse of our hymn provides us with some possibilities. The words of the verse are as follows:

Thy blessed unction from above

Is comfort, life, and fire of love;

Enable with perpetual light

The dullness of our blinded sight.

This verse suggests four ways in which we can ask the Holy Spirit to work in our lives.

To start with, we can ask the Holy Spirit to comfort us. We might take the word comfort in its old meaning of “strengthen” – there are always times when we need to be strengthened in order to face the challenges and uncertainties of life. Or we might take the word in its modern meaning, asking the Holy Spirit to be a reassuring presence,  like a warm duvet on a  cold night.

We might also ask the Holy Spirit to give us the gift of life. It might be that we are facing the danger of death, and are praying earnestly that we will stay alive.  Fortunately such extreme situations are rare. We might not be worrying about the prospect of our imminent death,  but thinking more in terms of the quality of the life we are living. In such situations we are praying not for life as such, but for life in all its fulness. Perhaps we are fleeing overwhelmed or downhearted.  At such times we can ask the Holy Spirit to bring us back to life – to fill us with a sense of joy and purpose, to put a spring back into our step.

And there are those times and situations where do not feel particularly loving. We know that we ought to show love towards others, but sometimes we find it incredibly difficult to do this. Perhaps we are simply too tired, or too hurt, to love.  At times like these, we can ask the Holy Spirit to kindle the fire of love.  It is as if the materials are there, but they are waiting to be lit. We  are too tired or too frightened to light the fire of love ourselves. We need an external agency to get the fire started – and this is where the Holy Spirit comes in.

And then there are those times when we simply need to be able to see things as they really are.  Everything seems confused, and we can’t see the wood from the trees. We can see, but not clearly –  in the words of the hymn, our sight is blinded. In such situations, we can pray for the Holy Spirit to enable with perpetual light the dullness of our blinded sight.

So these are four particular needs which we might have. We might need to be comforted. We might need to be refreshed and renewed. We might need to kindle or re-kindle the fires of love. And we might need help to see things clearly. In all of these situations, we can pray to the Holy Spirit  for help and assistance.

There are of course many other situations and many other types of need.  In all of them, we can pray to the Holy Spirit for help and assistance.

I wonder what you and I need to pray for today?  What are our greatest needs? How might the Holy Spirit be able to help?

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