In today’s Gospel we see a picture of the kind of person Jesus is: one who loves people and enjoys being with them. Matthew tells us, “Jesus went throughout all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the good news of the kingdom, and healing every disease and sickness.” Furthermore, Matthew tells us that Jesus looked out at the people and felt compassion for them because they were like sheep without a shepherd. If you have ever felt like a sheep without a shepherd, this week’s hymns and lessons will speak directly to your heart.
The Processional Hymn this week is “O Worship the King.” (Those of you who are subscribers to my blog will need to click on the title of this blog to see and hear the YouTube videos of these hymns. For some reason they do not survive the trip to most subscribers in-boxes.)
I love the tempo of this version and the fact that it includes the final verse — although it omits some other verses.
I don’t like the tempo of this version, or that it leaves out the last verse — but it does include all the others.
The Scriptures for Proper 6-A are Exodus 19:2-8, Romans 5:6-15, and Matthew 9:35-10:8. In the Exodus lesson, the people of Israel have arrived an Mount Sinai and are about to receive the 10 Commandments from Moses. In lovely, poetic language, God reminds them that He whisked them away from slavery in Egypt and brought them to Himself. Now He is about to make a covenant with them and bind them to Himself. This is the Mosaic Covenant, the Law of God. God says, “Now therefore, if you will indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant, you shall be to me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.” The people promise “All that the Lord has spoken, we will do.” Of course, they did not.
Romans 5:6-15 builds on the reading from Exodus 19:2-8 by reminding us, “God showed His love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since, therefore, we have been justified by His blood, how much more shall we be saved by Him from the wrath of God.”
In Matthew 9:35-10:8 we see how God the Son looked out at the people and loved them: they looked like sheep without a shepherd. There were so many of them, and He had come to die for their sins and give them His holiness, but How would they hear this good news of what He had done? So He said to His disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest.” Jesus called His twelve disciples and gave them power to preach, to heal, and to defeat the enemy. These disciples went out and, following the Resurrection, for the rest of their lives they traveled and preached and taught until the day they died. That was how Jesus loved the people. He told the disciples first to go to the people of Israel and proclaim that the Kingdom of God was so close they could reach out and touch it. Then, on Ascension Day, Jesus would send His followers to all the world to let everyone know what sin and death were and what Jesus had done to make it possible for salvation to be delivered to them. As disciples of Christ, you and I are likewise sent to our relatives and neighbors.
The Hymn of the Day is “Spread, O Spread Almighty Word”.
This first hymn is to the tune that we will sing on Sunday: GOTT SEI DANK:
This second version includes the WORDS that we will sing; we will NOT sing the words to the tune you will hear below:
The Distribution Hymn is “All Mankind Fell in Adam’s Fall” (which is the reason why they could not keep their part of the Covenant made with them at Sinai).
This hymn was written by Lazarus Spengler (1479-1534), a town councilman in Nurnberg. Luther met Spengler when he passed through Nurnberg in 1518 on his way to Augsburg. Spengler became a leader in the Reformation work at Nurnberg. Along with Luther and others, he was condemned by name in 1520 in the Bull of Excommunication of Pope Leo the Tenth. The Town Council of Nurnberg ignored the Bull and sent Spengler as a representative to the Diet of Worms in 1521. In 1525 Spengler helped Luther and Melancthon turn the Benedictine Cloister in Wittenberg into an Evangelical school. He upheld strict Lutheranism at the Diet of Augsburg in 1530 and worked to improve church services, printing an authorized liturgy in 1532. He wrote much sacred and secular verse but only two of his hymns are known. Today’s hymn was first published in Wittenberg in 1524 and was very popular as a confessional and entirely Scriptural hymn of Evangelical faith.
The Recessional hymn is “O Zion Haste.”
What a wonderful worship service to begin “The Long Green Season” in the Church’s life. I hope to see you at worship this week.