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Music of the Month: The Wind Blows Where It Wills

This year, May 31 is Pentecost Sunday, the day the Church celebrates the Holy Spirit coming to the disciples after Christ's resurrection and ascension. In preparation for the day and coming season of Pentecost, a new piece by Rev. Stephen P. Starke and Jacob B. Weber has been released. The piece includes a beautiful, lyrical melody and an optional flute part, which adds variety and structure to the tune. 

On the Day of Pentecost, Jesus’ apostles were together in a house when a rush of wind from heaven filled the space. Then tongues of fire appeared above the apostles’ heads, and they were filled with the Holy Spirit. They went out to Jerusalem, speaking many different languages, and witnessed to people of all nations who were there (Acts 2:1–11).

Starke’s text is especially appropriate for the Day of Pentecost and the season following it as it reads: 

The wind blows where it wills, we hear its sound,

We cannot tell its source or where it goes;

And so it is with all those born of God,

All those upon whom God has placed His name:

Come, Holy Spirit, Breath of grace, O Wind divine.

 

Your mercy will not break the trampled reed

Nor will You snuff the dimly burning wick;

With tender care, Lord, bind our broken lives

And fan again our smold’ring faith to flame:

Come, Holy Spirit, Breath of grace, O Wind divine.

Text copyright © 1997 Stephen P. Starke; admin. Concordia Publishing House

The Text

Starke’s text in this anthem describes the wind that filled the apostles on the Day of Pentecost. This wind is active and powerful and has divine intent; it blows where it wills. We hear the sound of this wind when we hear the Word of God, just as the apostles heard the heavenly wind filling the house they were in on Pentecost.

This wind is the Holy Spirit. It led the apostles on Pentecost as they went out to preach the Gospel to the nations. That day, a multitude of people heard the Word of God in their own language.

This wind’s power may be a mystery to us. We don’t always know how God will use His Holy Spirit to spread His Word. We don’t know how He may use us, filled with His Spirit, to witness to His life, death, and resurrection.

But because we know Holy Scripture is indeed God’s Word and that He will preserve that Word through the power of His Holy Spirit, we know that Word does not return void. The acts of the apostles on the Day of Pentecost bear witness to this power.

At the same time, this powerful and almighty wind of God’s Word and Holy Spirit is full of mercy and gentleness. It comes to us when our lives are trampled, dim, and broken. Out of divine love, God’s Word gently fans to flame our smoldering faith. Thanks be to God for the gift of His Holy Spirit and infallible Word; the same Spirit and Word that filled the apostles on Pentecost fifty days after our Lord’s resurrection.

The Music

Composer Jacob B. Weber has arranged Starke’s Pentecost text for SATB choir, piano accompaniment, and optional flute. The delicate melody and arrangement depicts Starke’s reflective text in a moving way.

The female voices sing the first verse of the anthem in unison, and this melody along with the flute descant illustrate the blowing wind that entered the place the apostles were on Pentecost.

The male voices join in harmony at the end of the first verse for the refrain: “Come, Holy Spirit, Breath of grace, O wind divine.”

The anthem unfolds into four-part harmony for the second verse and gently reflects the tender mercy of God through His Holy Spirit. On the whole, the anthem is introspective of the power and mystery of the Holy Spirit.

Parish choirs should find this anthem fitting for the Day of Pentecost, and if a flautist is available to play the optional flute part, its effect on the piece is rewarding. This anthem would also be appropriate to use throughout the Church Year as an invocation of the Holy Spirit whenever God’s people gather around His Word and Sacraments.


Order this new piece for Pentecost below to encourage your congregation to let the Holy Spirit guide them through God’s Word. 

Order the music

Written by

Nathan Grime

Nathan Grime is from Fort Wayne, Indiana. He is a senior at Hillsdale College studying rhetoric, public address, and journalism. While attending school, he also plays the organ for St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Hillsdale, Michigan. He was previously an intern for Concordia Publishing House in the marketing department.

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