Come, Holy Ghost, Creator Blest

 Come, Holy Ghost, Creator Blest

Hymn of the Month for May

This Pastor's Pen article continues Pastor Cowell's "Hymn of the Month" series in which he shares a brief commentary on the theology and history behind some of the hymns we enjoy singing from the Lutheran Service Book.  The full text of the hymn is included at the bottom of the post.  
Stained glass window at Trinity Lutheran Church, Algona Iowa, LCMS.  Photo by Erik M. Lunsford, June 10, 2018.
© 2018 The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod.
Our hymn of the month for May is one of the most significant hymns in the history of the Christian Church. Lutheran Service Book: Companion to the Hymns boldly asserts of Come, Holy Ghost, Creator Blest: “Next to the Te Deum, this text is most praised of the ancient Latin hymns (p. 425).”

Although the author of the hymn is uncertain, the hymn is documented as having been sung all over Europe at the ordination of pastors and on the Day of Pentecost from the eleventh and twelfth century onward.  You will notice that in our hymnal, Come, Holy Ghost, Creator Blest appears as both hymn 498 and 499.  Hymn 499 is the traditional plainsong chant tune.  Hymn 498 is the simplification of that tune into a syllabic pattern. 

This hymn is the perfect hymn for both the Feast of Pentecost and the Feast of the Holy Trinity because in it we confess and pray to the Holy Spirit as God: coeternal and coequal with the Father and the Son.  Although we most commonly pray to God the Father through His Son Jesus Christ, it is absolutely correct and appropriate to pray: “Come, Holy Ghost”.  It is also good and right to call God the Holy Spirit Creator, since He is a person of the Holy Trinity.  This we do in the first stanza: “Come, Holy Ghost, Creator blest, And make our heart Your place of rest; Come with Your grace and heav’nly aid, And fill the hearts which You have made.”

Here are a few of the other doctrines we confess and praise in this hymn:

  • Stanza 2: We sing to the Holy Spirit as our Counselor, as Jesus calls Him in John 14:26 when He says: “The Helper [Counselor/Paraclete], the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, He will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.”

  • Stanza 3: The graces sevenfold is a reference to Isaiah 11:1-2: “The Spirit of the LORD shall rest upon [the shoot from the stump of Jesse], the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and might, the Spirit of knowledge and the fear of the LORD [the seventh gift, piety, is listed in the Greek and Latin translation of the Old Testament]”.  

  • Also in stanza 3: We acknowledge the work of the Holy Spirit when He descended on the Apostles with tongues of fire in Acts 2.  

  • Stanza 4: We pray for the sanctifying power of the Holy Spirit as Romans 8:5-11 teaches us we receive from Him.  

  • Stanza 5: This is our prayer to the Spirit for protection against the evil one, a work of the Spirit described especially in John chapters 15-17.  

  • Stanza 6: We praise the work of the Spirit of teaching and enlightening us to the truth of God, as 1 Corinthians chapters 2 and 3 describes.  

  • Stanza 7: We appropriately conclude with a doxology to the Holy Trinity. 

As you can see, Come Holy Ghost, Creator Blest is a great hymn of praise as well as a great Bible study! God be with you as our hymn of the month blesses your worship of God the Holy Spirit and God the Holy Trinity.

Used throughout this devotion is content from Lutheran Service Book: Companion to the Hymns, Vol. 1 (CPH: 2019), p. 425-430.
Come, Holy Ghost, Creator Blest, LSB 498

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!

Text and tune: Public domain
Posted in

Thomas Cowell