Jesus, Thy Boundless Love to Me (LSB 683)
Paul Gerhardt (1607–76) scarcely needs an introduction among Lutherans, who for generations have loved his hymns. Today’s hymn of the day is actually a summary of Gerhardt’s original, written by the founder of Methodism, John Wesley (1703–91). He uses a different meter than what Gerhardt chose, and from that summary the LSB contains four verses. Gerhardt’s original had sixteen verses. One such missing verse, which I have gathered from a translation other than Wesley’s goes like this:
My Savior, Thou in love and grief
Didst go to peril, death and loss,
Yea, as a murderer and thief,
Mocked, spat on, wounded on the cross;
Ah, let Thy wounds pierce deep in me
That I Thy love may always see.
The hymn speaks of God’s love, which is shown in the actions of the Good Samaritan of today’s Gospel. Jesus is the Good Samaritan who does what the Law cannot, binds up our wounds and places us in the church to be taken care of. There is no love that we can show to our neighbor without knowing Christ’s love first. While interpreting Wesley’s summary, we should keep in mind that faith receives this love by means of God's Word, as Gerhardt originally described.
By Grace I’m Saved, Grace Free and Boundless (LSB 566)
In LSB we have six of ten marvelous stanzas of Christian Ludwig Scheidt’s (1709–61) comprehensive hymn on grace. Scheidt was actually a lawyer but clearly a pious Christian who understood the grace of God. Growing up and living in the midst of pietism, he still shows a clear regard for the objective promises of the Gospel from which the Pietists unfortunately turned in their inward focus on enlightenment and conversion. He clearly speaks of the free nature of God’s favor towards us in Christ, lambasts reason and points to Scripture as the source of our certainty of salvation.
Grace is for those who feel their sins and mourn over it. It gives them certainty despite all their anguish of conscience. The hymn concludes with these beautiful words, “I cling to what my Savior taught / And trust it, whether felt or not.”