The Spirit of God
Richard James of Kirtland, OH, USA
A shoot shall come out from the stump of Jesse, and a branch shall grow out of his roots. The spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord. His delight shall be in the fear of the Lord. He shall not judge by what his eyes see, or decide by what his ears hear; but with righteousness he shall judge the poor, and decide with equity for the meek of the earth. -Isaiah 11:1-4a
I have been a tour guide at the Kirtland Temple for several years. We normally start with a brief film, lead people through the three floors of the Temple, and end with singing “The Spirit of God like a Fire Is Burning,” which was written for the Temple dedication in 1836.
I led a tour the other day with just one young man. He had some disabilities, and he stuttered; because of this, he relied on his older parents. Due to time constraints, the parents only wanted to watch the video. He, however, only wanted to see the Temple.
So I took him over to the building to visit the main floor, or House of Worship. I told him of the special events that took place there and then mentioned the hymn, “The Spirit of God like a Fire Is Burning.”
As soon as I said, “The Spirit of God,” he began to sing without a stutter. It often happens that people with speech issues sing clearly, but it still surprised me. What stood out the most was the joy in his eyes.
I joined him in the chorus, two men singing our favorite hymn. I have heard this hymn sung many times since I have been here and have heard some of the most beautiful voices-but this day this young man, with a deep croaky voice sang with joy that I have not heard before. I like to believe that he got as much joy from singing as I did watching him sing from his heart. The Saints of the 1830s said they heard angels singing along with them at the dedication; today I like to think I heard another angel singing.
Peace, be still (Mark 4:39).
In the contemplative tradition, silent prayer is about cultivating a quality of inner stillness. You may visualize the story of Jesus calming the storm as a way of entering into this quality of prayer. Notice how churned up the waters of your soul are currently. As you breathe deeply, imagine a sacred stillness forming within you. What might it look like to engage all your relationships and daily tasks from this place of inner stillness? As you move through your day, notice when you feel stirred up and when you experience inner calm. Take note of patterns and themes. Invite all of your noticing into prayer as you continue to grow deeper in God as the source of your life and action.
Today’s Prayer for Peace
Engage in a daily practice of praying for peace in our world. Click here to read today’s prayer and be part of this practice of peace.