There seems to be a lot of talk about getting things back to normal. People seem impatient, understandably so. There is speculation about what life will look like as we slowly return to our various activities. But it isn’t time yet. We need to gather up our endurance in order to complete this task, to finish what we’ve started. We are weary, but we must be wise. Renewal is needed, not to get us back to where we were, but to help us continue to accomplish what is best for all. Look for those things that renew your spirit, and stay strong until we have completed this most challenging task.
This is the time of year where I start to get weary. As a musician and teacher, it is close, but not quite the end of another busy year. I can feel myself losing patience with, and sometimes interest in, the various projects, jobs, activities – and even people – I am involved with. I suspect this kind of weariness is completely normal and very common.
So, we look for ways to rejuvenate. Sometimes we just need a break. Sometimes we need to make adjustments to find balance. Sometimes we need to look beyond the day to day and find fresh perspectives and renewed vision. This hymn speaks, in a very simple way, about just that. It doesn’t provide answers, it merely suggests that we seek guidance and support; asking for replenishment from a valued source.
Spirit of the living God, fall afresh on me.
Spirit of the living God, fall afresh on me.
Melt me, mold me, fill me, use me.
Sprit of the living God, fall afresh on me.
In this case, the Holy Spirit is invoked to provide this renewal. Personally, I like the definition of the Holy Spirit as a paraclete. This word, originally from the Greek, means advocate, helper, sometimes counsellor, and has been commonly associated with the Holy Spirit in Christianity. There is some comfort in knowing that we have access to a helper. Something beyond ourselves that can provided a freshness that molds and fills us; renews our usefulness.
Increasingly, it seems that we are a weary society. We are tired of how things are. Many people want change. There is something exciting about this – possibilities and opportunities opening up for those previously disregarded; reparations being made to those historically denied. But this thirst for change also brings many things that are horrifyingly frightening – a desire to return to ideals and practices of the past that served some and destroyed others. Visions of tremendous personal benefits, with a complete lack of regard for the backs on which they are built. It is a strange time of division. It is a scary time when philosophies of greed and discrimination are cleverly disguised as beneficial and reparative, and even morally superior. Our weariness is easily manipulated. Easily swayed.
The words “melt me, mold me, fill me, use me” are interesting. The idea that when we seek out guidance and advocacy, it has the power to do these things. It is here that I find myself asking, what am I allowing to melt and mold me? What am I being filled with? For whom will I be useful?
I believe God to be immense. I do not believe we can fully understand what God is. This is the mystery and wildly inspirational nature of God. To me, God is not small enough to fit within our explanations or traditions, rituals or practices. So, when I consider the Spirit of a living God, it is with great care that I do so. Because it requires me to open myself up to the reality that I know so little about this advocate, helper and counsellor. I must listen carefully to those around me and across our planet to catch a glimpse of this wisdom. To my neighbours, to scientists, to artists, to givers, to carers, to writers, to thinkers and those who possess deep spiritual understanding.
And how refreshing that can be. There is a wealth of knowledge and wisdom and creativity and joy being expressed in every corner of this world. It is alive. It cannot be hidden in the shadow of the filth that we hear spoken in many quarters these days, by those mouths that should inspire, rather than defile our human experience. This beauty that is everywhere should be celebrated and upheld. It should guide our steps. We should seek it when we’re weary and be renewed.
Whether we believe in God or simply in the possibility of human goodness, there are many options in which we can find inspiration to carry on in our weary lives. They are often not at the forefront of our news, social media or conversations – so we must work hard to seek them out. Renewal emerges from the persistent consumption of what is good. Difficult when we are weary, but refreshing when we insist.
May this spirit of renewal colour your life. May you look for where it lies and allow it to fall upon you.