Greeting in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ! This Sunday our closing hymn will be, “There’s a Sweet, Sweet, Spirit, in This Place.”
There are few places today where we might find a “sweet spirit.” It is election season and each day something comes in our mailbox that is a “negative campaign add.” They are flyers wherein one candidate denigrates another. TV and internet advertising is worse because it is literally “in your face.” And, those already elected, have few, if any kind words for members of the other party. This is just one example of how our public discourse has become increasing sour, if not profane. Where might we find a “Sweet, Sweet, Spirit?”
Doris Mae Akers was a choir director at the Sky Pilot Church in Los Angeles in 1962 when she wrote this gospel hymn. It was the choir’s custom to pray together before worship. But on one particular morning she asked them to pray again for she felt they had not prayed long enough. The choir prayed with renewed vigor, and she was reluctant to stop the prayers. “I hate to leave this room and I know you hate to leave, you know we do have to go to the service. But there is such a sweet, sweet Spirit in this place.”
So it was that she came to write this gospel song the next day.
Doris Akers was born in 1922 in Brookfield Missouri. She wrote her first gospel song at age 10 and is known to have written more than three hundred songs. In 1992 she was honored by the Smithsonian Institution as the “Foremost Black Gospel Songwriter in the United States.” Doris Akers went to be with her Lord on July 26, 1995.
“Sweet Holy Spirit, sweet heavenly dove, stay right here with us, filling us with your love;
And for these blessings we lift our hearts in praise. Without a doubt we’ll know that we have been revived when we shall leave this place.”
See you Sunday!