God the Spirit: Universal and Particular
Rev. Chandler Stokes
A sermon by Rev. Chandler Stokes on I John 4:7-21 and ‘Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee,’ continuing our series on the hymns of the church. Our hymn this week is a Beethoven tune with text by Henry Van Dyke—a Presbyterian. The theological focus of this cheerful text is the Holy Spirit. Westminster’s first pastor, Rev. Courtney Smith, was a revivalist and abolitionist called to the church in 1861. In the Van Dyke text, there’s a powerful affirmation of God as love and Spirit, there’s an intellectual coherence to the music, and there’s a revivalist joy to both the text and the music. So there’s a lot of theological room here, and that is the kind of “room” we identify with the Holy Spirit.