When the Gospel according to St. Matthew tells the story of Jesus’ feeding of the 5,000, (Matthew 14:13-21) Matthew stresses how generously God provides for all our needs, both of body and of soul. All of today’s lessons and hymns have to do with God’s bountiful provision of all that we need, both here and in eternity. This emphasis on God’s bountiful care for all in His creation is part of the reason why two of today’s hymns are so popular on Thanksgiving: Praise and Thanksgiving, and For the Fruit of All Creation.
This week’s lessons include not only the Feeding of the 5,000 (Mt 14:13-22), but also the wonderful lesson from Isaiah 55:1-5 in which God calls, “Come everyone who thirsts, come to the waters; and he who has no money, come, buy and eat! Come buy wine and milk without money and without price…Listen diligently to me, and eat what is good, and delight yourselves in rich food.” These readings from scripture also include Romans 9:1-5 in which St. Paul laments that “his kinsmen” have not all recognized Christ as the long-expected Messiah. But it is Psalm 136 that captures the essence of all the readings: “Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good. for His mercy endures forever … He gives food to all creatures, for His mercy endures forever. Give thanks to the God of heaven, for His mercy endures forever.”
This week’s Processional Hymn is Soul Adorn Yourself with Gladness We are singing praises to the One who feeds our souls and we are rushing with joy to greet Him as a bride rushes to meet her groom. “Love incarnate, I adore You! Come and leave your loved one never; dwell within my heart forever.”
The Hymn of the Day is Praise and Thanksgiving. In this hymn, we thank God for all of His bounty to us. We also ask Him to teach us to give away what we have, with concern for our neighbor and faith in Him. God is showing us that He will do great things with whatever we give to Him. After all, had the disciples not handed over to Jesus that lunch of five loaves and two fish, all of those people would never have been fed, and the disciples would not have collected twelve baskets of leftovers.
The Distribution Hymn is I Trust, O Christ, in You Alone.This hymn (Allein zu dir) was written by Konrad Hubert (1507-1577), a Reformed theologian and assistant to Martin Bucer. Hubert sometimes sided with Reformed theology over Lutheran theology, but his hymns have long been part of the Lutheran heritage of chorales and were used by J.S. Bach in his church cantatas. I Trust, O Christ, in You Alone is a cry of the soul to God for His grace. The third verse is a prayer for a devout, faithful life.
The Recessional Hymn is For the Fruit of All Creation
It is my strong hope and prayer that these Thursday blogs help you as you prepare to worship the God who loves you so tenderly and watches over you so providentially. See you in church!