September 7, 2021
Greetings in the name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ,
Our Hymn of Invocation for this last Sunday, The Fourteenth Sunday after Trinity, was “O Holy Spirit, Grant Us Grace.” TLH 293“The hymn’s three stanzas form a prayer to ‘God the Holy Spirit to bestow His grace upon the Church in life and death.
Stanza 1 is a plea to the Holy Spirit to grant us Christians His rich grace that we may embrace Jesus by faith. Such a faith is living and active, enabling us to ‘truly serve Him ever’; for by God’s grace, the Holy Spirit applies the forgiveness obtained from Jesus’ cross to the lives of the baptized, creating eternal hope for all who believe.
The second stanza asks that the Holy Spirit continue to grant His grace to the Church in Word and Sacrament, producing the fruits of good works, ‘which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them’ (Ephesians 2:10). In this stanza, the Church prays that she would always hear the Holy Spirit’s grace-bearing, creative voice in His inspired Word so that, like Mary, she might treasure ‘up all these things, pondering them in her heart’ (Luke 2:19). The Church also sings her prayer for ‘new grace in richest measure,’ as found in the bread of life and received in the true body and blood of Jesus in the Holy Eucharist. Finally, at the font, eternally bound by Baptism into the death and resurrection of Jesus, those baptized die to sin and are raised to new life in Christ. The Church sings her prayer that through this daily baptismal dying and rising, she might bear the flourishing fruits of faith.
The last stanza echoes the apostle Paul, who wrote ‘I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved His appearing’ (II Timothy 4:7-8). Ringwaldt’s text leads the faithful to pray that the Holy Spirit would complete at the hour of death the work of salvation begun in Holy Baptism ‘until we gladly may commend our souls into our Savior’s hand, the crown of life obtaining.” LSB Companion to the Hymns1. O Holy Spirit, grant us grace that we our Lord and SaviorIn faith and fervent love embrace and truly serve Him ever,So that when death is drawing nigh, we to His open wounds may fly and find in them salvation.
2. Help us that we Thy saving Word in faithful hearts may treasure;Let e’er that Bread of Life afford new grace in richest measure.Yea, let us die to every sin, for heaven create us new within that fruits of faith may flourish.
3. And when our earthly race is run, death’s bitter hour impending,Then may Thy work in us begun continue till life’s ending,Until we gladly may commend our souls into our Savior’s hand to rest in peace eternal.
God’s peace,Trudy J. SchmalzDirector of Music
September 7, 2021