There’s a spirit in the air (StF 398)

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There’s a spirit in the air 

Source: Singing the Faith: 398
Words: Brian Wren
Music: “Lauds” by John Wilson
Metre: 77.77.
Verses: 7

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Brian Wren wrote this text for use on Pentecost Sunday at Hockley Church, England, where he was serving as pastor. He was aiming for simple language that was suitable for all ages.

Some StF+ users have noted a change of words in this popular hymn from the recurring phrase “We can see his power today” (as in Hymns & Psalms 326) to “Live tomorrow’s life today”. This is a change that Brian Wren himself has made.

Brian has revised many of his texts over the years as his understanding of God and of the language we use about God has changed. Increasingly he has become uncomfortable with the attribution of power to God in a way that is too redolent of the way we use power as humans and nations. “There’s a spirit in the air” was one of his earlier texts, which he revised and published in his collection, Faith Renewed (1995). This and other of his texts in Singing the Faith have been published from the revised versions at his request.

(An anthology of all Brian Wren’s texts in their revised versions up to 1996 has been published: Piece Together Praise: a theological journey.)

Categories: 77.77., Lauds, Pentecost, The Gift of the Holy Spirit, Wilson, John, Wren, Brian.

3 Responses to There’s a spirit in the air (StF 398)

  1. Steve Clark says:

    It seems a shame that the author decided to remove the lines “we can see his power today”, when it is clearly a Biblical concept (eg. Acts 1:8). One could argue that a powerless God and a powerless Church are not much use to the world! No-one I’ve asked understands what “live tomorrow’s life today” actually means! Perhaps not ideal singing something people don’t understand.

  2. Rev Andy laird says:


    My music copy does not have the correct music for StF 398 There’s a Spirit in the air. It has a single sheet head LAUDS but the music is ‘Optional descants for vv4 and 7′. The words in the music bear no relation to vv 4 and 7 words. Is this just an error in my copy?

    • Editor says:

      Hi Andy – thanks for being in touch. Yes, the layout for this hymn does take a moment or two to get you head around. In fact, all the correct melody is there in the full keyboard part (i.e. the two staves BELOW the descant line, which – as you say – is optional). I hope that helps.

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