Giver of life

There’s a phrase in the Nicene–Constantinopolitan Creed identifying the Holy Spirit as the “Giver of life.” This phrase often gets unpacked in ancient hymns that expand on the Holy Spirit as the source of all the glorious life in the world around us. These examples below are not the most effusive, but I noticed them today as this kind of expansion upon the key phrase in the creed. At the bottom, I’ve also placed a few passages from the Beauty of the Infinite by David Bentley Hart that remind me of this phrase as well. When I come to this phrase in the midst of prayer and worship it often overwhelms me with a sense of gratitude and wonder that isn’t reducible to words (something of joy and awe at God’s loving presence pouring out life so abundantly, graciously making and remaking as I take breath after breath amid it all—a constant gift).

And I believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the Giver of life.

Nicene–Constantinopolitan Creed.

With the Holy Spirit every gift is good; for He doth shine forth together with the Father and the Son; and in Him doth all creation live and move.

Verily, all the riches of honor are of the Holy Spirit. And of Him too is grace and life for all creation. Wherefore, He is to be praised with the Father and the Word.

A couple of the ancient hymns from today’s Orthros service.

As God is Trinity, in whom all difference is possessed as perfect peace and unity, the divine life might be described as infinite music, and creation too might be described as a music whose intervals, transitions, and phrases are embraced within God’s eternal, triune polyphony.

…For Christian thought, …true distance is given in an event, a motion, that is transcendent: a pure prolation in which all patterns are “anticipated,” in an infinitely fulfilled way that allows for every possibility; it even makes space for the possibilities of discord, while also always providing, out of its analogical bounty, ways of return, of unwinding the coils of sin, of healing the wounds of violence (the Holy Spirit is a supremely inventive composer).

…One might best characterize the properly Christian understanding of being as polyphony or counterpoint: having received its theme of divine love from God, the true measure of being is expressed in the restoration of that theme, in the response that submits that theme to variation and offers it back in an indefinitely prolonged and varied response (guided by the Spirit’s power of modulation).

…Within such an infinite, the Spirit’s power to redeem discordant lines is one not of higher resolution but of reorientation, a restoration of each line’s scope of harmonic openness to every other line.

…In short, it is a “thematism of the surface;’ not a thematic “content” more essential than created difference: a style of articulation, a way of ordering desire and apprehending the “shape” of being, its proportions, dimensions, and rhythms. Being is a surface of supplementarity, an expressive fabric forever filling itself out into ever greater adornments of the divine love, a porrection of the gifts of the Holy Spirit, to creation and, thereby, to the Father.”

The Beauty of the Infinite: The Aesthetics of Christian Truth by David Bentley Hart.

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