“O Spirit of the Living God, Thou Light and Fire Divine” by Henry Hallam Tweedy
In the story of Pentecost, the Holy Spirit's presence is perceived through three images: a mighty rushing wind, tongues of fire, and speaking in many tongues (Acts 2:2-4). The first three stanzas of this hymn elaborate on each image, as a request that the fire of God purify our hearts, that the wind of God strengthen our knowledge, and that we may speak abroad God's love to people of all nations. The final stanza is a picture of the new earth.
“And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, 'Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!'” (Luke 2:13-14 ESV) This hymn describes the awesome spectacle this angelic concert must have been, and elaborates on its meaning – exultation over the arrival of the King of kings. In the final stanza, we join in that song as it echoes through our time, and we declare the good news of our Savior's birth.
The stanzas and refrain of this hymn present a contrast between the buried Jesus and the risen Jesus. In the stanzas, He was buried, awaiting the appointed time of resurrection, and there was nothing that could keep Him in the grave – the guards tried, and Death tried, but they were no match for our Lord. The refrain is a jubilant celebration of the Resurrection. Jesus is risen! He is risen indeed! Hallelujah!
Revelation 5:9 describes this eschatological scene of joy and glory: “And they sang a new song, saying: ‘You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals, because you were slain, and with your blood you purchased for God members of every tribe and language and nation.’” In the glorious hymn, “Alleluia! Sing to Jesus!” author William C. Dix invites us to sing that new song of praise to our ascended Savior. This hymn is a declaration of Jesus’ victory over death, and his continued presence among his people.
Sometimes during His earthly ministry, Jesus would withdraw to a secluded place to pray (Mark 1:35, Luke 5:16, etc.). The early church followed His practice of regular prayer (Acts 2:42), and Paul encouraged its continuance in some of his letters. He wrote, “Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving” (Colossians 4:2 ESV). This hymn is an expression of the joy that can come when believers, individually and corporately, pray regularly.
Volunteers added or edited the following hymnals:
"Hymns for the Living Age" published by The Century Co., New York, in 1923
"His Voice of Love" published by James D. Vaughan, Lawrenceburg, Tenn., in 1924
"Joyful Praise" published by Jennings & Pye, Cincinnati, in 1902
"New Songs of Praise and Power, 1-2-3 combined" published by Hall-Mack Co., Philadelphia, in 1922
"Hymns of the Heart" published by Methodist Book Concern, New York, in 1914
"Millennial Revival" published by James D. Vaughan, Lawrenceburg, Tenn., in 1928
"Sifted Wheat" published by Lorenz & Co., Dayton in 1898