Please turn your hymnals to number 130 and join with the saxophones in, “Holy Spirit, Truth Divine”.
First Line: Holy Spirit, Truth Divine
Name: SONG 13.
Meter: 7 7, 7 7.
Music: Orlando Gibbons, 1583-1625
Text: Samuel Longfellow, 1819-92
Clarinet Arrangement: 130b-HolySpiritTruthDivine
Since this is the last hymn for Pentecost, I thought it might be a good idea to explain it a bit.
Pentecost Sunday (June 4) marks the day most Christians believe the Holy Spirit descended on the followers of Jesus after his death, resurrection and ascension. The story comes from the New Testament Book of Acts: “Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.” Jesus’ followers were amazed — they could speak languages they never knew before and they could understand others they had never heard. The Apostle Peter stood up and preached his first sermon — so many Christians think of this holiday as the “birthday” of the church.
I’ve always thought Pentecost was a little “psychedelic”, what with the speaking in tongues and flames over people’s heads.
So, I had an idea to try to make this arrangement a little psychedelic. I don’t think I quite got to psychedelic, it’s a bit more ritualistic or new wave-ish. Sort of a more relaxed version of something Killing Joke would do. Anyway.
I wrote a drum part in the arranging program I use, MuseScore, exported it to a midi file, then imported the midi track into Garageband. Then I did the same with an electric bass part. The nifty thing about midi instruments is a) you don’t have to buy them b) you don’t have to play them c) you don’t have to respect the physical limitations of the instrument or the player. So, yeah, that bass guitar part is about an octave below what a “normal” electric bass guitar can play.
The text for this hymn was written by Samuel Longfellow, who was a Unitarian pastor and hymn writer, and they are quite nice and not particularly specifically religious.
Holy Spirit, truth divine,
Dawn upon this soul of mine;
Word of God, and inward light,
Wake my spirit, clear my sight.
Holy Spirit, love divine,
Glow within this heart of mine;
Kindle every high desire,
Perish self in thy pure fire.
Holy Spirit, power divine,
Fill and nerve this will of mine;
By thee may I strongly live,
Bravely bear, and nobly strive.
Holy Spirit, peace divine,
Still this restless heart of mine;
Speak to calm this tossing sea,
Stayed in thy tranquility.
Holy Spirit, right divine,
King within my conscious reign;
Be my law, and I shall be,
Firmly bound, for ever free. Amen.
A bit more about Samuel Longfellow:
Samuel Longfellow was born June 18, 1819, in Portland, Maine, the last of eight children of Stephen and Zilpah (Wadsworth) Longfellow. His older brother was the poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. He attended Harvard Collegeand graduated in 1839 ranked eighth in a class of 61. He went on to study at Harvard Divinity School, where his classmates included Thomas Wentworth Higginson and Samuel Johnson, with whom he would later collaborate in his hymn writing.
He is considered part of the second-generation of transcendentalists; after becoming a Unitarian pastor, he adapted the transcendental philosophy he had encountered in divinity school into his hymns and sermons.