For this cause left I thee in Crete, that thou shouldest set in order the things that are wanting, and ordain elders in every city, as I had appointed thee: If any be blameless, the husband of one wife, having faithful children not accused of riot or unruly. For a bishop must be blameless, as the steward of God; not selfwilled, not soon angry, not given to wine, no striker, not given to filthy lucre; but a lover of hospitality, a lover of good men, sober, just, holy, temperate; holding fast the faithful word as he hath been taught, that he may be able by sound doctrine both to exhort and to convince the gainsayers.
This might seem like an odd choice for a song text, and perhaps it is. But it was nevertheless well-executed by an anonymous author published in Rev. Paul Henkel’s 1838 Church Hymn Book for the German Evangelical Lutheran Synod of Tennessee. The author shaped it into a prayer for an ordination service.
The great Apostle gave command,
Let ev’ry Church in order stand;
Good regulations must be made,
And be by all the Church obey’d.
To answer that, so good effect,
Saint Paul himself thus did direct:
To order Deacons ev’ry where,
Who should that sacred office bear.
Let such who act the faithful part,
And have the cause of Christ at heart,
And such as are of good repute,
That needful office execute.
Is it their aim in all they do,
To raise the Saviour’s Church below!
Their faithful labours will be blest,
And Jesus’ kingdom be increas’d.
Dear Lord be with thy spirit near,
While we ordain these brethren here;
May zeal and knowledge, love and grace,
Prepare and fit them for that place.
Be thou their counsel when they need,
Their conduct bless, their labours speed;
O may they be of greatest worth,
To aid and build thy church on earth.
The Great Apostle Gave Command (Titus 1:5-9)
Anonymous | Popularized by Rev. Paul Henkel’s Church Hymn Book (1838) for the German Evangelical Lutheran Synod of Tennessee