by Carla Long, Independence, MO
From the Peace Colloquy 2013 session: “Singing Through Life in Community”
The hymn Touch Me, Lord, With Thy Spirit Eternal has always been a favorite of mine. Yes, of course, I love the minor chords and the way that the song seems to flow, but most of all, the words speak to my desire to teach and be filled by God. Recently, though, I was moved by just eight little words in this song, eight little words that are laden with a deep sense of how I make decisions. They are, “Stir my soul to respond to thy call.”
Throughout my life, I have felt these soul stirrings. I have felt big soul stirrings and small soul stirrings. The big ones have moved me all over the world to volunteer and work for the church—from Malawi and Kenya to The Philippines to Australia to California and in the last two years, to Europe. These big soul stirrings have shaped and formed me into the person I am today and the person that I feel continually called to become. I am so grateful for these big soul stirrings.
But it is also the small soul stirrings that keep pushing me forward to know more about who God is and who I’m called to be. For me, these small soul stirrings come at times when I am not expecting them. Perhaps they bubble up in a conversation at a Sr. High Church camp, or maybe when I hear a song that speaks to me in a new way, or when a stranger says something unexpected, something that I needed to hear. These small soul stirrings are everywhere, and I remember one of them very clearly.
When I lived in The Philippines, I became friends with a young adult named Stan. Stan would help out in the house where I lived, and we would cook and talk together often, although sometimes we would still have a bit of trouble communicating. One evening, Stan and I had a conversation that changed me. We both spoke of things that deeply mattered to us and we both became vulnerable in a way that I hadn’t experienced before. At the end of the conversation, Stan touched his hand to his chest and said to me, “Sister Carla, you have touched me deeply in my…” and then he paused while he searched for just the perfect word, “arm.” While part of me wanted to giggle at his mistaken English, the other part of me just said, “Me, too!” And I threw my arms around him in a big hug!
It was in that moment that the course of my life veered just a little bit. I knew that I wanted to have more conversations like that one. I wanted to be vulnerable with people and I wanted them to know what it was like to be vulnerable, too. While I didn’t understand it at the time, I would come to realize in the next year that my dream of being a mathematics professor and textbook writer was quickly ebbing away. I was feeling the soul stirrings to move my life in a completely different direction.
And the rest is history.
So, what is God stirring in your soul today?
Touch Me, Lord, with Thy Spirit Eternal
Touch me, Lord, with thy Spirit eternal;
stir my soul to respond to thy call.
Words: Don C. Rawson, 1932– , alt.; adapt. from R. Romanov, P. Rogozin; Sp. tr. Clair E. Weldon, 1928–2007; Fr. tr. Winifred Sarre, 1931–2004
Music: Russian melody; arr. Alexander Efimov
Words © 1979 Community of Christ
http://www.CofChrist.org/hymnal **Due to copyright restrictions we are unable to post the entire song lyrics. Please refer to the song number listed in your Community of Christ Sings hymnal.