The dictionary definition of the word awesome is: extremely impressive or daunting; inspiring great admiration, apprehension or fear. The informal use of this word in everyday conversation has given it quite a different connotation. This pizza is awesome. That is an awesome hairdo. Do you see what I mean? I love pizza, but I don’t ever remember having a slice that I revered or approaching a fresh pie with apprehension.
I don’t think that we can even begin to imagine how truly awesome the experience of Pentecost was, but I do know how awesome it is to personally feel the Spirit moving in my heart. This Sunday, I am playing an arrangement of a spiritual that has become very special to me. I created this setting last year and dedicated it to Fourth Presbyterian Church. I played it on my last Sunday as their organist and included this note of explanation:
I [arranged] “Every Time I Feel the Spirit” because as soon as I came into this place and began to meet the people who make up this wonderful church family, I knew the Spirit had been working in my life although I had strayed so far from living a life that included God. He used you to bring me back to him. I saw his love and felt his presence in everything taking place at Fourth Presbyterian Church.
The Holy Spirit has continued to use my new church family at First Baptist to work in my life. Every time I feel the Spirit, I pray. I thank God for the many people the Spirit has used to bring me back into the family of God. Thank you for allowing God to use you in a powerful way in my life!
Here is more about the setting of “Every Time I Feel the Spirit.”
The arrangement begins with a bombastic fanfare of praise (you’ve been warned!), and moves quickly into a joyous celebration of the working of the Holy Spirit.
The second stanza includes lyrics about what has been called the Gospel Train, and I tried to depict that in the music.
The third presentation of the stanza reflects upon the wayward soul wondering through life without God and the moment the Spirit calls that lost child back into the arms of the God.
The arrangement closes with two presentations of the refrain with several key changes. This is meant to emphasize “every time” moving into a dramatic conclusion of praise. Perhaps the lyrics could be changed to “every time I feel the Spirit, I will PRAISE!”