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Appreciating Our Lutheran Hymns

Come, Oh, Come, Thou Quickening Spirit

A Pentecost Hymn

#226 in The Lutheran Hymnal

The Orders of Morning Service in The Lutheran Hymnal begin with this direction: “A hymn of invocation of the Holy Ghost or another hymn shall be sung.”

As we begin our Sunday worship together, we invoke the Holy Spirit. We pray to Him, asking that He would be present with us during our service, working in our hearts as we hear the Word. We ask Him to lead us to repent of our sins as we hear God’s holy law. We ask Him to strengthen our faith in Jesus through the Gospel, giving us peace and joy in the forgiveness of sins and eternal salvation. We ask Him to work in us the desire and the strength to do the will of God in our lives.

Our hymn is a fine ‘hymn of invocation’ of the Holy Ghost, appropriate not just for Pentecost, but also for any Christian worship service. With it we glorify the Holy Spirit as the third Person of the Trinity, confessing that we are in constant need of His indwelling with His gifts.

The hymn recalls various passages of Scripture which teach of the Spirit and His work. For example, stanza 4 recalls Romans 8:15-16, which teaches that the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of adoption who bears witness with our spirit that we are the children of God. Stanza 5 paraphrases Romans 8:26, a verse that assures us of the help of the Holy Spirit when we pray, even when we are unable to put our needs into words. The hymn closes with a prayer for the Spirit to preserve our faith in the hour of our death.

The author, Heinrich Held, lived in Germany in the seventeenth century during the time of the Thirty Years War. Those were times of severe trials and suffering for believers. Those trials led Held to the Scripture where he found comfort and strength in the knowledge of God the Holy Spirit.

We will find the same comfort in our trials and strength for our lives in this hymn of invocation of the Holy Ghost.

–Pastor John Klatt