Hymn Summary: Seventeenth Sunday after Trinity

See Where You May to Find a Way (LSB 557) 

Trinity 17

George Weissel 1590-1635 was a pastor in Koenigsberg, Prussia. His hymn, “Seek Where You May” is a wonderful hymn that describes the Gospel of Christ as the only way for our salvation.  The connection to the Gospel lesson is sparse, but we can say that the Pharisees looked for their righteousness in the observance of the Law (in this case, the Sabbath), while Jesus fulfilled the law of love on our behalf to heal us.  They hymn is full of great dogmatic assertions, such as “His Word is sure, / His works endure,” and “We’re justified / Because He died.”   The entire hymn is didactic, that is, it teaches and applies dogmatic truths to our souls.  Who is this Jesus?  “The God-man and none other.”  He is the one who serves us as our King, and his goal is to lead us all to heaven.

Triune God Be Thou our Stay (LSB 505) 

Eighteenth Sunday after Pentecost

Today’s Gospel in Mark 9 talks about the horrible punishment for those who cause believers to fall away from Christ.  The spiritual surgery that Christ requires leaves us practically disemboweled.  This is why we appeal to the name of the Triune God in which we are baptized.  This is the protection we need in the battle against sin and causing offense.  Martin Luther wrote this hymn to encourage us in our fight against the flesh, so that we do not rely at all on our natural powers but entirely on the grace of God.  For the Church to sing this hymn after hearing this Gospel lesson makes a lot of sense.  The only cure for the infection of sin is the grace of God. 

Rev. Mark Preus serves as a campus pastor at St. Andrews in Laramie, WY.

Hymn Summary: Sixteenth Sunday after Trinity

The Will of God Is Always Best (LSB 758)

Trinity 16

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.

Hymn Summary: Fourteenth Sunday after Trinity

From God Can Nothing Move Me (LSB 713)

Trinity 14

Ludwig Helmbold (1532-98) wrote this hymn after a deadly plague had wiped out 4000 of the inhabitants of Erfurt. The hymn was written on the occasion of his friend and family leaving the city to escape the plague. Though death and other things can take friends away from us, “From God Can Nothing Move Me.” This hymn is born out of a deep devotion on the part of Helmbold, who eventually had to leave his prestigious position (and many friends) at Erfurt to stay true to his Lutheran convictions. The situation of the lepers in today’s Gospel was such that they were “moved” or divided from normal society. But they were not divided from Jesus, who was their God. The hymn is a wonderful encouragement to bear our cross with the knowledge that God’s will is good and gracious towards us in Christ Jesus. This life carries with it many sorrows, “But time we spend expressing / The love of God brings blessing / That will forever last.” 

Praise the Almighty, My Soul Adore Him (LSB 797)

Fifteenth Sunday after Pentecost (Proper 18)

In the hymn Praise the Almighty, John Daniel Herrnschmidt (1675–1723) provides a beautiful summary of Psalm 146, which speaks of God as the true ground of faith because of all his merciful works towards us. So in today’s Gospel Jesus has mercy on the Syro-Phoenician woman and on the deaf-mute. No one could help them—only Jesus. He is the one who “executes judgment for the oppressed.” (Psalm 146:7) Just as Jesus could not silence those who proclaimed his great deeds in Mark 7, so we do not keep silence about the mercy God has shown to us, and which we see so clearly portrayed for us in the woman whose daughter was demon possessed and the man who could neither hear nor speak. 

Rev. Mark Preus serves as a campus pastor at St. Andrews in Laramie, WY.