Minister's Blog

Helpful Hymn of the Week no 5 (though starting to loose track of the numbers!) 'O breath of life'


A colleague shared a very special new recording of 'O breath of life come sweeping through us' this week. It is of course Pentecost on Sunday, the one church 'festival' that nobody outside the church knows much about. You can here the hymn here:

Pentecost celebrates the pouring out of the Holy Spirit over the disciples and all gathered with them, 50 days after Easter (hence the pentecost - meaning 50th in Greek). (Acts 2:1-4)

The Holy Spirit is God's presence with us in the here and now. Jesus has promised his disciples he would go but not leave them as orphans, he'd send a comforter, or advocate, (John 14: 16-18) someone to guide them into understanding and give them power from on high (John 16:13).

Without the Holy Spirit there would have been no church, no mission, and no change of the culture of the day. Without the Holy Spirit at work in our lives and in the church, even today we would be without any power to transform into who God wants us to be. If we rely solely on our own understanding and strength, we will find we run out of steam before long.

This hymn asks for a fresh 'breath of life' to come sweeping through the church and our own hearts. As we are grappling what life after lockdown might look like, and what church after Covid-19 might look like, this prayer for a new pouring out of the Holy Spirit seems very timely. God is forever creating new worlds out of old, and can bring life out of death. May we pray this hymn for personal transformation, but also for the transformation of our churches and our society.


1 O Breath of life, come sweeping through us,

revive your church with life and pow'r;

O Breath of Life, come, cleanse, renew us,

and fit your church to meet this hour.


2 O Wind of God, come bend us, break us,

till humbly we confess our need;

then in your tenderness remake us,

revive, restore, for this we plead.


3 O Breath of love, come breathe within us,

renewing thought and will and heart;

come, Love of Christ, afresh to win us,

revive your church in ev'ry part.

4 O Heart of Christ, once broken for us,

'tis there we find our strength and rest;

our broken, contrite hearts now solace,

and let your waiting church be blest.

5 Revive us, Lord! Is zeal abating

while harvest fields are vast and white?

Revive us, Lord, the world is waiting,

equip your church to spread the light.

Words: Bessie Porter Head




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