During the month of May, Providence will celebrate her own birthday on May 16 (Anniversary Sunday) and the Church’s birthday on May 23 (Pentecost Sunday). These special occasions Mark time for us as the people of God – both then and now. We remind ourselves that the same Spirit that inspired the Church is still with us today, and if we are open to that Spirit, we can be filled!

As you might imagine, I have many favorite hymns. Some have earned a special place because of their rich theology, while others because of their august musical properties. Further still, and closer to my heart, are those that revive precious memories in my mind. The hymn “Sweet, Sweet Spirit” is most definitely a part of the latter group. I can hear my mother’s beautiful alto voice blending perfectly with her sisters and brothers, and I can see front porch images vividly in my mind’s eye. As I hum along with these memories, I feel the love of God and family wash over me.

There’s a sweet, sweet spirit in this place, and I know that it’s the spirit of the Lord. There are sweet expressions on each face, and I know that it’s the presence of the Lord. It’s been a while since we’ve seen each other’s sweet expressions at church. Masks cover our smiles and facial movements, but we can be confident that God’s presence is with usthe Holy Spirit filling us with God’s love. As we continue to safely worship together, may our faith lead us to hope, and may our hopes rise in glorious songs of praise.

While copyright prevents me from including the sheet music this month, perhaps these lyrics will remind you of the familiar melody … I invite you to sing, remember, and give thanks!

Sweet Holy Spirit, sweet Heavenly Dove, stay right here with us filling us with Your love.
And for these blessings we lift our hearts in praise; without a doubt we’ll know that we have been revived, when we shall leave this place.

May the peace of Christ be with you.