Lord, Thee I Love with All My Heart (LSB 708)
Martin Schalling's hymn is one of the most loved among confessional Lutherans today because it places the Christian’s praise squarely in the midst of the struggle between the Spirit and the flesh that rages on in us. In the Gospel lesson for today Jesus teaches us the greatest commandment, which is to love God with all our heart. How can we do this? Only through faith in Christ, and not by our natural powers. There is nothing greater than the first commandment. It contains all theology in it, and Schalling does a masterful job showing how a Christian should meditate on this commandment.
Our Father, By Whose Name (LSB 863)
This hymn takes a Trinitarian approach to asking God to bless our families. The Gospel lesson deals both with divorce and with training children up in the true faith, and so it is fitting to pray to God for protection and help in preserving marriage and family, which are so attacked these days. God does not in love proclaim that each family is his own as if each family has his grace and favor. Only those who trust in Christ know God as their Father. But we must understand these words in stanza 1 of today’s hymn of the day to mean that the love of God expressed in the Law claims the right to the love and obedience of every family. Christians come to know God through his Son Jesus, who says, “Let the little children come to me,” teaching us that our highest priority in preserving marriage and family is to teach God’s Word in our homes, so that faith, love, and hope may abound there.
Rev. Mark Preus serves as a campus pastor at St. Andrews in Laramie, WY.