Organ Recital: “The Holy Spirit: Our Comforter”

Gathering and preparing the music for an organ concert is often a spiritually enriching experience. In this case, I have been asked to prepare a concert that centers on the themes of Ascension Day and Pentecost, celebrating the reign of Jesus Christ and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. It’s common for Christians to think about praying in the Spirit or through the Spirit, but not praying or singing to the Spirit. And yet there is no shortage of wonderful psalms and hymns that specifically address the vital role of the Holy Spirit in the believer’s life. Psalms 25 and 42, although not specifically directed to the Spirit, come to mind as beautiful testimonies to the comforting work that the Spirit performs in believers’ hearts.

If you’re in the New York metropolitan area, consider coming out to St. John’s Lutheran Church in Sayville on May 27 to enjoy this music live–a rare treat in the age of coronavirus. Attendance is free, but you’ll need to sign up at this link since capacity is limited to 65. If you’re not able to make it, look up some translations and Internet recordings of the pieces below, and meditate on the incomprehensible gift of the Spirit.

Program:

  • Fantasia super “Komm, heiliger Geist,” BWV 651/Johann Sebastian Bach, 1685–1750
  • Fantasie Psalm 25:1/Willem Hendrik Zwart, 1925–1997
  • Orgelbüchlein, Pentecost section, BWV 631-633/Johann Sebastian Bach
  • Fantasie over Psalm 42:3, 5/Feike Asma, 1912–1984
  • Overture from “St. Paul”/Felix Mendelssohn, 1809–1847
  • Chorale prelude on “Liebster Jesu, wir sind hier,” BWV 731/Johann Sebastian Bach
  • Improvisation on MELITA (Navy Hymn)/Michael Kearney, 1995–
  • “Finlandia,” Op. 26/Jean Sibelius, 1865–1957

Unto me, O Lord Jehovah,
Show thy ways and teach thou me;
So that, by thy Spirit guided,
Clearly I thy paths may see.
In thy truth wilt thou me guide,
Teach me, God of my salvation;
All the day for thee I bide,
Lord, with eager expectation.

trans. Samuel G. Brondsema, 1931

–MRK

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