If the ministry that brought condemnation was glorious, how much more glorious is the ministry that brings righteousness! (2Co 3:9 NIV)
The office of the ministry has clarity and grants clarity too. Yet those brethren carrying the yoke of this office are like Moses – the most troubled amongst people. That will be revealed one day. Then the Lord will let some of them shine like the heavens glory, then we will recognize from what dark night of dire straights and heavy burdens of sorrow and distress they were delivered to everlasting light and gladness. If I had time and space I would sing the praises of this office. Now it is but a sigh pertaining its glory and a tear shed for our sinfulness that I can offer for this wonderful passage. I know, many have not plucked the fruits of Word and Sacrament and therefore despise the office of the ministry – if they take note of it at all. However the apostle writes about the office of the ministry in the most elaborate fashion and highest praises – and the Church follows him in this as she has done throughout the ages. The saints in heaven as well as those on earth too speak the same language and are of filled with similar gratitude and joy that God has blessed them so magnificently through the precious gifts of this ministry of his and his called and ordained servants. They are all of the same mind that this delightful ministry is so precious because of the means of grace entrusted to it. That is the fruitful tree granting life and Spirit. That is their experience. This they share with those, who have ears to hear. They sing the praises of the office, which by the grace of God will remain to the very end – just like the holy Christian Church. It will serve and bless until the Lord returns in glory. It will prepare his holy bride for the eternal wedding bliss in heaven.
Merciful God, heavenly Father! We thank you from the bottom of our heart, that your Son instituted the holy office of the ministry here on earth and that you have preserved and promoted it throughout the ages even until this very time. We ask you, lead all faithful preachers and teachers in your holy Christian Church so that they would proclaim your word purely and truthfully and thus build your kingdom in this world and also among us. Through Jesus Christ, your Son our Lord. Amen. (Prussian Agenda 1895)
Come – those loyal to the king – gather under his banner and let his praises sound even in sorrow and grief. He has entrusted us the priceless treasure of his truth and love. That’s why we are gathered here – and if your afraid? – just lift your eyes and behold your King.
May he embolden our faith and purify our love, ignite our hearts and let our tongues aglow proclaim his grace amongst his people to waken those asleep. Even if our eyes don’t behold his future plans in detail yet, he leads us through the darkness to eternal light. No lock or barrier will stop his progress, so let’s sing glad and grateful. (Friedrich Spitta, 1852-1924)
This is a rather free translation of Wilhelm Löhe’s devotion for Thursday after the twelfth Sunday after the high holiday and festival of the Holy Trinity. It is found on Pg. 303 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.