1 Holy Spirit, ever dwelling
in the holiest realms of light;
Holy Spirit, ever brooding
o'er a world of gloom and night;
Holy Spirit, ever raising
those of earth to thrones on high;
living, life-imparting Spirit,
you we praise and magnify.
2 Holy Spirit, ever living
as the church's very life;
Holy Spirit, ever striving
through us in a ceaseless strife;
Holy Spirit, ever forming
in the church the mind of Christ:
you we praise with endless worship
for your gifts and fruits unpriced.
3 Holy Spirit, ever working
through the church's ministry;
quick'ning, strength'ning, and absolving,
setting captive sinners free;
Holy Spirit, ever binding
age to age and soul to soul
in communion never ending,
you we worship and extol.
What is the church? Some would say, a nonprofit organization; others might say it's a social club of sorts. But fundamentally, the church is the body of Christ. The church is the people, living in Christian community, striving to be Christ-like in their communities and around the world. As the second verse of this hymn says, the Holy Spirit forms within the church the mind of Christ. In the church, what Christ wants, who Christ loves--this is all collected and curated, and becomes who the church is. So, rather than "What is the church?" a more appropriate question would be "Who is the church?"
Just think for a moment: Just as any individual person does, the church prays, the church gives, the church acts, the church protects, and the church embodies Christ in the world--which is exactly what we as individuals are all called to do.