These gifts are not our ordinary gifts, but something very special. They are spiritual – they are his and the apostles wants to enlighten us concerning these so that we’re not in the dark about them any longer. There are regular and extra-ordinary gifts of the Holy Spirit. The ordinary ones are those, that are required for eternal life. They are prerequisites for salvation. They are part of the very bare necessities of a Christian life. They need to be held in high esteem and we need to be very grateful for them too. In the extra-ordinary and special gifts of the Holy Spirit many think of the gifts of various languages, healing and prophecy – and believe that that’s that and that they were solely for the purpose of getting the Church on track initially. Yet next to these miraculous gifts the apostle mentions some more extra-ordinary gifts, which are required for Church governance and leadership in the congregation. That is why everyone, who cares for the Church, who loves her and bears her well-being in his mind and heart, should pray that these spiritual gifts not be taken from the Church, but rather bestowed on her in richest measure – for the benefit of many and the glorification of the heavenly Father. Wherever you find these gifts in the Church, there she is well taken care of and she has holidays and good times, because she has God’s treasures and riches in abundance. Blessed is such a Church. Then it is like the city on the mountain – shining far into the land with its luminous splendor and beauty. If however the Church lacks these special gifts and has too few gifted men of God, then she’s facing hard times indeed and should pray even more fervently that the triune God in his great mercy would send them deliverance and gracious outcomes, pour out his spiritual gifts in richest measure to graciously overcome our poverty and misery – even if we do not deserve anything like that at all.
We thank you o Lord, our triune God, that you have kept us this Sunday by your grace and mercy. You have feed us most satisfactorily with your most holy and precious word. Please protect us through this coming night, keep our soul in holy communion with you. We long to be with you – o Lord. Let us remain with and in you. Bless our rest, so that we may see the coming daylight once again and finally after this holy Sabbath come to celebrate that eternal Sabbath with you in your kingdom. (General Prayerbook 1928)
Come, Holy Ghost, Creator blest, and make our hearts your place of rest; Come with Thy grace and heav’nly aid, And fill the hearts which Thou hast made.
To Thee, the Counsellor we cry; To Thee, the Gift of God most high; The Fount of life, the Fire of love, The soul’s Anointing from above.
In you with graces sev’nfold, We God’s almighty hand behold; While you with tongues of fire proclaim to all the world his holy name.
Thy light to every sense impart, And shed Thy love in every heart; Thy own unfailing might supply To strength our infirmity.
Drive far away our wily foe, And Your abiding peace bestow; With You as our protecting guide, no evil can with us abide.
Teach us to know the Father, Son, and You, from both, as Three in one that we Your name may ever bless and in our lives the truth confess.
Praise we the Father and the Son and Holy Spirit, with them One, And may the Son on us bestow the gifts that from the Spirit flow! Amen. (Rabanus Maurus, 776-856 tr Ecward Caswall, 1814-1878)
This is a rather free translation of Wilhelm Löhe’s devotion the tenth Sunday after the high holiday and festival of the Holy Trinity. It is found on Pg. 285 in Lob sei Dir ewig, o Jesu! (Eternal Praise to you o Jesus!) edited by A. Schuster and published in the Freimund Verlag, Neuendettelsau 1949.