STLT#27, I Am That Great and Fiery Force

Another edition of “why didn’t I know this one before?”

I am that great and fiery force
sparkling in everything that lives;
in shining of the river’s course,
in greening grass that glory gives.

I shine in glitter on the seas,
in burning sun, in moon and stars.
In unseen wind, in verdant trees
I breathe within, both near and far.

And where I breathe there is no death,
and meadows glow with beauties rife.
I am in all, the spirit’s breath,
the thundered word, for I am Life.

This is gorgeous. Everything about it is gorgeous – Hildegard of Bingen’s paean to the immanent God, the elegantly simple Renaissance tune by Josquin des Prés (Ave Vera Virginitas).

What I love most is that Hildegard has taken the God of Exodus 3 – the burning bush that declares “I am that I am” – and put that God in context with the whole of creation. Of course God is in the burning bush, because God is in everything, because God is everything, because – as she concludes – God is life.

Gorgeous. Powerful.

And for me, on a morning when I am full of doubts about my call, my spiritual life, my place in the world – this hymn has brought me home.