Litany to the Holy Spirit – Hurford (1930-2019)

This article was included in the June 2020 issue of our parish magazine, and once again, because it was distributed predominantly digitally, there are plenty of links to music!

Before his Ascension, Jesus promised his disciples that he would not leave them as orphans, but instead gave them a Comforter. This is of course the Holy Spirit.

“Litany to the Holy Spirit” is a beautiful setting of the first three verses of the Herrick poem:

In the hour of my distress,

When temptations me oppress,

And when I my sins confess,

Sweet Spirit, comfort me!

When I lie with my bed,

Sick in heart and sick in head,

And with doubts discomforted,

Sweet Spirit, comfort me!

When the house doth sigh and weep,

And the world is drown’d in sleep,

Yet mine eyes the watch do keep,

Sweet Spirit, comfort me!

It is some time since I have sung this – or indeed heard it sung. It isn’t the most celebratory of Pentecost anthems, but is reassuring in it’s confidence that the Holy Spirit is always with us, giving comfort when needed, even in our darkest hour. I hope that Maggie’s Music Makers with agree to sing it when we are back together.

In the meantime, you can listen to “Litany to the Holy Spirit” here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fl05xS9m_fI

For those of you with a preference for a more upbeat celebration of the Holy Spirit, may I direct you to the Pete James 2018 song for Thy Kingdom Come, which I wrote about this time last year: https://stmargaretsprestwich.com/2019/06/01/your-kingdom-come-p-james-h-jessop/

This year, his offering for Thy Kingdom Come is set to a very familiar tune: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CWhL6v8oQZ0&feature=youtu.be

Carol P

*For those of you receiving this issue by post, I’ll play these pieces to you when we’re all back together again.


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