The twelfth chapter of the first letter to the Corinthians deals with the extraordinary gifts of the Holy Spirit and also the services in which these gifts manifest themselves. In Conclusion the holy Apostle encourages his readers to desire and strive for the best gifts and the most excellent way. He therefore does not scold a humble aspiration for greater gifts if it happens with appropriate motives and is approached aptly. However this is all important: the proper motive and an apt approach. Both are qualified by love. Love is the most excellent way and the apostle goes a long way to elaborate this in the following chapter, which is today’s epistle reading for the Church. With love people have the most excellent way and without this all other gifts lose their charm and are nullified.
O Lord, let your endless mercy grant streams of love to cover us and grant to your hard pressed people the gifts of your Holy Spirit – especially in these hard and difficult times. Revive the stagnant and exhausted with your divine gifts and with them bring back to flourishing life the barren and dried out communities and let joy abound in us to honor you in your holy word and being. Let the blessings of this Sunday go with us into the night and the coming week with its work and let us abide in your peace now and forever. Amen. (Hermann Bezzel)
From my heart I hold you dear, o Lord, I ask that it may be your will to be not far from me with your kindness and mercy. The whole world gives me no delight, I do not ask for heaven and earth, if only I can have you. And even if my heart at once breaks, you are still my reassurance, my portion and my heart’s comfort, who has redeemed me through his blood. Lord Jesus Christ, my God and Lord, my God and Lord, never again let me be put to shame!
It is, Lord, your present and gift, my body and soul and what I have in this poor life. So that I may use this for your praise, for the benefit and service of my neighbour may it be your will to grant me your grace! Guard me, Lord, from false teaching, defend me from Satan’s murder and lies, sustain me in every affliction [cross], so that I may endure with patience! Lord Jesus Christ, my Lord and God, my Lord and God, comfort my soul in death’s distress. (Translation by Francis Browne, June 2003)
Translation of Wilhelm Löhe’s devotion for Sunday Estomihi (Last Sunday before Lent) as found on Pg. 110 in Lob sei Dir ewig, o Jesu! (Eternal Praise to you o Jesus!) edited by A. Schuster and puplished in the Freimund Verlag, Neuendettelsau 1949.