Why We Sing "Holy Spirit Come & Fill This Place"
Some have asked the question, “Why are we singing the hymn Holy Spirit Come and Fill This Place following the Gospel?” I would like to share why we do this.
For thousands of years, Christians have been inviting the Holy Spirit to come to us, to manifest God’s presence among us, and to minister through us with His power in the world.
The hymn Come, Holy Spirit, helps us to realize how much this has been part of our faith.
• Since the earliest days of the Church until today, in all the different ways we can say it, sing it, or pray it, the Church has been saying, “Come, Holy Spirit – fill your Church with power!”
• “Come, Holy Spirit” is a prayer that has been prayed since ancient times, in many variations and ways, as a welcoming prayer that sits at the beating heart of the empowered Church of Jesus Christ.
When we come to the world as Gospel people, like St. Paul, we want to come with a Gospel of power rather than one of words (1 Cor. 4:20). Every generation has found ways to pray this prayer.
Here are just a few examples:
• In the early 200s, early theologian Hippolytus wrote an Invocation of the Holy Spirit that says, “…And we pray that you would send your Holy Spirit.”
• In the 800s, a Frankish Monk, Rabanus Maurus, wrote a song called, Veni Creator Spiritus, or “Come, Creator Spirit.” The prayer begins, “Come, Holy Spirit, Creator, come….”
• In the 1200s, the prayer “Come, Holy Spirit,” or Veni Sancte Spiritus took on fresh life and became a common prayer in the Western church. This historic prayer begins with the powerful words, “Come, Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of Thy faithful and enkindle in them the fire of Thy love.”
From ancient times to today, the Catholic Church, as well as the Church of England, the Orthodox Church, and Protestant Churches throughout the world all regularly pray this prayer in some way, shape, or form.
In the Church, when we pray “Come, Holy Spirit,” we are inviting God with open hearts to manifest His Presence, to do what He wants to do in our gatherings.
Fr. Mike Moroney
Fr. Mike Moroney