To God the Holy Spirit Let Us Pray (LSB 768) — 1 yr
The first stanza of this leisen hymn (each stanza ending with “Lord, have mercy,” Kyrieleis in German) is from the 12th century, from a sermon by Berthold of Regensburg; Martin Luther penned the other three stanzas. The first stanza points to three truths which can perplex man: 1) the Holy Spirit IS God and deserving of prayers like the Father and Son, 2) the Holy Spirit is the giver of the true Christian faith, which faith later is defined as knowing aright the Lord Jesus Christ who bought us [st. 4], and 3) saints on earth are exiles. Not only are Christians to believe in Christ as Lord and Savior, they are—as forgiven sinners—called upon to live in love with each other [st. 2]. While the church militant fights against devil, world, and flesh, she receives comfort and strength for the battle [st. 3]. Finally, by the Lord who bought her, the pilgrim church will cross the Jordan to enter the promised land of heaven [st. 4]. While now we cry out, “Lord, have mercy,” in need and with trust, then we triumphant saints will proclaim the merciful works of the Triune God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit (Psalm 118:17). Lord, have mercy!
Rise to Arms! With Prayer Employ You (LSB 668) — 3 yr
This “battle hymn” by Wilhelm Erasmus Arends (1677-1721) has its roots in the sixth chapter of Ephesians. Saints in this world should rely on the Spiritus Gladius, the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God. Christians are often told by the world that there is no devil, no real foe against them. He is often pictured as a lame comic figure with horns and a pitchfork. His weakness or absence could not be further from the truth! He is a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour (1 Peter 5:8). The Spirit’s gift of faith also grants bravery and wisdom to stand against this foe. Focus on Christ the savior is the main thing needed by baptized and fed Christians. Finally, after the spiritual battles on earth, the believers in Christ will be taken to dwell with Christ in heaven. Glory be to God alone!
Rev. Thomas E. Lock serves as Kantor/Assistant Pastor at Trinity Lutheran Church, Denver, Colorado.