Come, Creator Spirit

By: Diane Chandler
Wednesday, June 8th, 2011

In the ninth century, the well-known hymn Veni Creator Spiritus was penned in Latin and later set to music.  Since then, this beautiful hymn is sung around the world, most often on Pentecost and at ordinations, signifying the invocation of the Spirit to bless the people of God. Celebrated fifty days after Easter, Pentecost commemorates the coming of the promised Holy Spirit, as recorded in Acts 2:1-13. This week provides a fresh opportunity to call upon the Holy Spirit to outpour anew in our lives in order to bless the nations.  Later in this blog, you’ll have an opportunity to learn more about the Global Day of Prayer that will take place this Sunday, May 12, 2011.

The author of the Veni Creator hymn is believed to have been Rhabanus Maurus, an Abbot and later Archbishop of Mainz in Germany. In light of this coming Sunday, June 12, 2011 being Pentecost Sunday, Christians (including evangelical and Pentecostal believers who may be unfamiliar with the hymn) might appreciate the richness of the words that breathe out a lyrical prayer to the Holy Spirit to come, anoint, rekindle, strengthen, protect, and draw us into a deeper relationship with Father, Son, and Spirit. You can view and listen to one rendition of the Veni Creator Spiritus hymn in Latin, followed by an English adaptation, by clicking here.

Centuries later, composer Gustav Mahler (1860-1911) used the hymn as the first choral of his eighth symphony, known as Symphony of a Thousand. And the Spirit-filled Preacher to the Papal Household, Raniero Cantalamessa, utilized the hymn as his roadmap to write the book, Come, Creator Spirit: Meditations on the Veni Creator on the dynamism, creativity, love of the Holy Spirit. A Roman Catholic brother, Cantalamessa has the privilege of preaching and ministering to the Pope and others at the Vatican.

The Veni Creator lyrics are sublime in their simplicity (translated into English below and taken from Cantalamessa’s book, p. 5):

“Come, Creator Spirit, visit the minds of those who are yours; Fill with heavenly grace, the hearts that you have made. You who are named the Paraclete, gift of God most high, living fountain, fire, love and anointing for the soul. You are sevenfold in your gifts, you are finger of God’s right hand; You, the Father’s solemn promise, putting words upon our lips. The enemy drive from us away, peace then give without delay; with you as guide to lead the way, we avoid all cause of harm. Grant we may know the Father through you, and come to know the Son as well, and may we always cling in faith to you, the Spirit of them both.”

These lyrics remind me that the Holy Spirit is not only Creator, Comforter, and the Giver of gifts, but that God is to be experienced not just in knowledge and understanding but through intimate relationship. As Cantalamessa notes, intimacy comes from the Latin word intus, meaning “inside.” The Holy Spirit longs to dwell inside of us and to turn humanity’s hearts toward God in order to pour forth His love:  “And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us” (Rom 5:5).

This Sunday (Pentecost Sunday) also is the Global Day of Prayer (GDP), an annual event that began in South Africa in the year 2000, with the purpose of calling the church worldwide to a time of repentance and prayer in order to work together for the healing of the nations.  This GDP link provides the history, values, vision/mission, and accompanying resources for this event.  The Spirit is moving all around the world, drawing all peoples to God as we cry out for God’s forgiveness, grace, and mercy.

As we prepare our hearts for Pentecost Sunday, might you consider joining this Global Day of Prayer initiative in your home or church as we echo together, “Come Creator Spirit?”

Tags: , ,

Diane Chandler
This entry was posted by on Wednesday, June 8th, 2011 at 5:00 am and is filed under Church History, Church Ministry, Theology, Uncategorized. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

Comments are closed.