The Spirit of God Like a Fire Is Burning (also "The Spirit of God" or "Hosanna to God and the Lamb") is one of the Hymns of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (1985). It was written by W. W. Phelps, one of the most prolific hymnwriters / musical artists of early Mormonism.
The hymn was sung for the dedication of Kirtland Temple, 27 March 1836. Although Keith W. Perkins said it was written for this occasion in the Encyclopedia of Mormonism this is probably overstating the connection. An LDS hymnal including this hymn had been published the year before. It had also been sung at many LDS meetings before the Kirtland Temple was completed.
The song continues to be sung throughout the various Latter Day Saint denominations, including The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church), Community Of Christ, and the Remnant Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. It is sung as part of the Hosanna Anthem, a special piece for the dedication of all LDS temples that includes "The Spirit of God".
Early printings of the hymn contain text only, although tune names were given twice in the church newspaper, the Messenger and Advocate. The January 1836 issue of the Messenger and Advocate specifies the tune American Star. On the other hand, the March 1836 issue specifies the tune Hosanna when it was sung for the dedication service of the Kirtland Temple. At least four tunes were associated with the hymn since it was written. While these tunes were likely familiar to many of the members of the church at the time, there is some ambiguity today as to how these tunes were sung.
J. C. Little and G. B. Gardner published an unofficial hymnal 1844 in Bellows Falls, Vermont, which is the first Latter Day Saint hymnal to include any music. "The Spirit of God," is included as the very first hymn and it is set to the tune Hosanna, which is the same tune used today—although the notes in the refrain differ slightly from modern editions, and it contained only soprano and bass instead of the four parts typical of modern editions.
Lyrics and commentaryEdit
The hymn was a last minute addition to the first church hymnal, Collection of Sacred Hymns published in Kirtland, Ohio, 1835 or 1836. It appears as the last song (hymn 90) and in a different typeset than the rest of the hymnal. This original version had six stanzas. In some cases the lyrics borrow from the words of its original tune, "The American Star."
Special Recordings / Arrangements Edit
- Sacred Hymns (2014) - Garth Smith (LDS Musician) - piano arrangement
External Links Edit
- "The Spirit of God" - First printing with music and words Music from 1844 Bellow Falls unofficial hymnal. Similar to tune used today. Hosted by Mutopia project.
- "The American Star" - four stanzas The third stanza of this printing that starts "The spirits of Washington, Warren, Montgomery..." It appears to be the most popular stanza, often by itself in other printings.
- The Spirit of God current words and music from LDS hymnal and MP3 download