The Will of God Is Always Best (LSB 758)
Albrecht von Preussen was the first ruler to establish Lutheranism as the official religion of his realm. He was convinced of the Gospel by Martin Luther during a visit to Lutheranism. His hymn is a contemplation on the 3rd Petition of the Lord’s Prayer, “Thy will be done.” We confess in Luther’s Small Catechism, “God’s will is done when He breaks and hinders every evil plan and purpose of the devil, the world, and our sinful nature…and when he strengthens and keeps us firm in His word and faith until we die. This is his good and gracious will.” Death is the ultimate question concerning God’s will. Is it God’s will that we die? We know that the wages of sin is death, but we also know that God does not desire the death of a sinner, but that he turns from his evil way and live. It was God’s will to send his Son Jesus to taste death for us everyone (Heb. 2:9). And it is this Son, who is our brother, who raised the widow of Nain’s son. It is only through Christ that we can say, “Thy will be done," because he himself fulfilled God’s will for us in his own body through death and resurrection. This hymn can only be sung with this knowledge in the back of our minds.
Lord of Glory, You Have Bought Us (LSB 851)
Seventeenth Sunday after Pentecost
In today’s Gospel, Jesus says, “Whoever receives one of these little children in My name receives Me; and whoever receives Me, receives not Me but Him who sent Me.” Lord of Glory, You Have Bought Us was chosen for this Gospel lesson because of the words in stanza 3, “Wondrous honor You have given / To our humblest charity / In Your own mysterious sentence, / ‘You have done it unto me.’” Every good work a Christian does for his neighbor his done for Christ. The Gospel lesson specifically speaks about receiving a child in Christ’s name. This means that charity is never severed from our confession of Christ as our Savior from sin. “In my name” means with Christ’s Word. By bringing children to church, baptizing them and teaching them, we are serving Christ, who desires that all be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth. The Old Adam doesn’t believe God’s Word. It needs to die and be drowned in our baptism every day so that the new man believes the Gospel and rises up to believe and know that it is more blessed to give than to receive.
Rev. Mark Preus serves as a campus pastor at St. Andrews in Laramie, WY.