Because a bishop said ‘Stay where you are,’ Malvern was established . . . Come Holy Spirit!
There has been a Christian presence in Malvern for nearly a thousand years. A monk called Aldwyn felt the call to establish a community in the wilderness that lay to the west of the Severn, but when it looked as though nothing was ever going to happen, he asked the Bishop of Worcester if he could be released to go instead to the Holy Land. Bishop Wulstan memorably replied: “Stay in your place! Believe me, if you knew what piety God will cause to arise in that place, you would rejoice indeed!”
Aldwyn obeyed, and founded Great Malvern Priory — which led to the founding of the town itself. So Malvern is built in prayer and on a promise from God!
In honour of this we have recorded something entirely different: a rendering of the beautiful ninth century hymn Come Holy Ghost our souls inspire. It is sung for us by Harmony Greenwood, who does sterling work with us in Malvern, and Patricia Corry, who I met and led to the Lord in Paris in 1976, as the result of my alarm clock failing to go off! I met her again a few years ago when the Lord told me to go to Weimar and she was present at a meeting of Christian musicians. She had been praying to get back in touch! So here they are singing this beautiful hymn together at our recent New Year recording . . .
Come, Holy Ghost, our souls inspire,
and lighten with celestial fire.
Thou the anointing Spirit art,
who dost thy sevenfold gifts impart.
Thy blessed unction from above
is comfort, life, and fire of love.
Enable with perpetual light
the dullness of our blinded sight.
Anoint and cheer our soiled face
with the abundance of thy grace.
Keep far from foes, give peace at home:
where thou art guide, no ill can come.
Teach us to know the Father, Son,
and thee, of both, to be but One,
that through the ages all along,
this may be our endless song:
Praise to thy eternal merit,
Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.