Löhe on Ephesians 4:4

seal2There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called. (Eph 4:4 NIV)

The one Holy Spirit rules all members of the Church and causes them to be children of the same Spirit and hence also be of one Spirit. They are motivated by the same spiritual tendency and motion. Furthermore the Church is called to one body too. Even if I am tempted to spiritualize this quickly, the very words “one body and one Spirit” force me to differentiate. The Church is called to be of one Spirit with all its members i.e. to be ruled by the Holy Spirit in all matters. This is a communion amongst all Christians. As St. Paul also emphasizes the “one body”, he surely does not want to repeat himself. Rather he is pointing to the physical, visible communion and togetherness characterizing the true Christian Church. It goes without saying that Christendom is splint into countless parties and groups, confessions and denominations. Yet there is a unity of all these various separated entities. They are one in contrast to the world. Everyone belonging to the Church is called to give witness to this unity of the Christian Church. The big goal of Christ’s mission is that the all the fundamentals and pillars of the Church should be promoted and highlighted and even increased and grown – so that the body of Christ may prosper and flourish. All members of the Church have also one hope in their calling, the eternal transfiguration and glorification of the Church. All her weakness here and now, will then shine forth in glorious splendor and holy magnificence.

Lord God and Father of us all, you God of peace and love! You desire that we as your children here on earth would live in unity and harmony according to your good and gracious will. We plead you: Grant us your good and holy Spirit, that he may quicken in us Christian humility, gentleness and patience. We have one faith, one baptism and one hope. Therefore help us that we would be likeminded and eager to promote the unity in your Spirit through bonds of peace until we come to your eternal peace in your heavenly kingdom. Amen. (From Diederici manuale ecclesiasticum)

But while watching, also pray To the Lord unceasing. God protects you day by day, Strength and faith increasing, So that still Mind and will Shall unite to serve Him and forever love him. (Johann B. Freystein 1671-1718)

This is a rather free translation of Wilhelm Löhe’s devotion for Thursday after the seventeenth Sunday after the high holiday and festival of the Holy Trinity. It is found on Pg. 338 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.

About Wilhelm Weber

Pastor at the Old Latin School in the Lutherstadt Wittenberg
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