Scripture Verse

Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from Heaven and filled the whole house. And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and began to speak with other tongues. Acts 2:2–4

Introduction

Words: John A. Dalles, 1983.

Music: St. Ke­vin Ar­thur S. Sul­li­van, 1872 (🔊 pdf nwc).

Alternate Tune:

  • Boundless Mer­cy folk hymn, in the Un­ion Har­mo­ny or Uni­vers­al Col­lect­ion of Sac­red Mu­sic, by Ol­iv­er Hol­den (Bos­ton Mas­sa­chu­setts: 1793) (🔊 pdf nwc)
portrait
Arthur S. Sullivan (1842–1900)

Origin of the Hymn

The text was wri­tten in 1983 for a wor­ship ser­vice of the Wa­bash Val­ley Pres­by­te­ry (North­ern In­di­ana). At that time, I was serv­ing on a Wor­ship Task Force of the Pres­by­te­ry. Oth­er memb­ers of the Task Force were not sa­tis­fied with the se­lec­tion of Pen­te­cost hymns avail­able to them.

So, Da­vid Eich­er (lat­er, pre­si­dent of the Pres­by­te­ri­an As­so­cia­tion of Mu­si­cians) and Rev. ca­rol Mc­Don­ald said to me, John, you like to work with words; why don’t you write a new hymn text for Pen­te­cost for us?

Like the bum­ble­bee that did not know he was not sup­posed to fly, I agreed, went home, and did just that. I wrote the text with Sir Ar­thur Sul­li­van’s hymn tune ST. KE­VIN in my head, be­cause I am a long time ad­mir­er of his mu­sic­al ge­ni­us. Come O Spi­rit is op­us one—my first hymn text.

John Dalles

Lyrics

Come, O Spi­rit, with Your sound
Like a wind, quick rush­ing;
Come from hea­ven and stir our hearts,
Each dis­ci­ple touch­ing!
Mold our act­ions to Your will,
You our ser­vice giv­ing;
Move with­in our fel­low­ship,
Transform now our liv­ing!

Come, O Spi­rit, with Your flame,
Leaping tongues of fire;
Come, and with Your glo­ri­ous light
All our thoughts in­spire!
Rest up­on each ser­vant’s head
Till each one is speak­ing
Of our Christ, the Ho­ly One
All the earth is seek­ing.

Come, O Spi­rit, fill Your church,
Making strong our mis­sion;
Fill Your daugh­ters and your sons
With a migh­ty vi­sion,
Till the great and glo­ri­ous day
When the whole cre­ation
Sings Your praise as Lord and King,
Giver of sal­va­tion!