Hymns and Lessons for Proper 17 (Cycle C)

Winston Churchill once described an opponent as “a very humble man, with much to be humble about.” Jesus teaches about humility in today’s Gospel — that virtue few of us seek and even fewer manage to acquire. After all, we want others to know about and appreciate our accomplishments. Jesus, however, encourages us to practice humility, and by His life and death, He models how. Maybe if we knew “how much” each one of us truly has “to be humble about”, true humility might be easier for us to practice. The truth is, when it comes to faith and salvation, we have “much to be humble about;” we have no achievements to be puffed up about when it comes to deserving salvation. Jesus, and He alone, has earned our salvation through His suffering and death. Thanks and honor be given to Jesus!

The Processional Hymn this week is “Praise Let Us Render.” This is a hymn by the great Lutheran pastor and hymnist Paul Gerhardt. It has never been translated into English, and so Pastor Mike did the translation we will be singing today. It is to the tune LOBET DEN HERREN,ALLE. Those of you who are subscribers to my blog will need to click on the title in order to see and hear the YouTube videos of this week’s hymns. The following video is in
German (because no English translation except Pastor Mike’s exists of this wonderful hymn.)
These are the words we will be singing: 1) Praise let us render, honor to God’s splendor. Gladsome hosannas to His altar bringing. Hallow His great name, sacred measures singing. Praise let us render. // 2) God, who life give us, lovingly preserves us, stands guard at nightfall till dawn’s radiant greeting. Morn bears glad tidings of our joyful meeting. Praise let us render. // 3) By Your direction, heavenly protection, help us, dear Lord to walk the way unhindered. And above all, to Your true grace surrendered. Praise let us render. // 4) O mighty Guardian, ever flowing fountain, help us to move in Your abundant goodness, through day and night, receiving from Your fullness. Praise let us render.

In the Prayer of the Day we pray: “O Lord of grace and mercy, teach us by Your Holy Spirit to follow the example of Your Son in true humility, that we may withstand the temptations of the devil and with pure hearts and pure minds avoid ungodly pride; through the same Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.”

The First Reading is Proverbs 25:2-10. It always surprises people when Jesus teaches what we find in the Old Testament! That amazes me: why is it so surprising that the Living Word of God Himself is so familiar with the Inspired Word of God? Who do people think wrote the Bible?

The Psalm is Psalm 131. I love the way this Psalm and its antiphon tie together the reading from Proverbs with Jesus’ words in the Gospel. The Psalm prays, “O Lord, I am not proud.” And the antiphon is “Whoever humbles himself as a little child shall be great in the kingdom of heaven.”

The Second Reading is Hebrews 13:1-17. These are the moral and theological instructions with which Hebrews concludes. (Which remind us of how very much we have to be humble about!)

The Gospel is Luke 14:1-14. While at dinner on the Sabbath, Jesus had the opportunity to heal a man “who had dropsy.” “Dropsy” is the archaic description of edema or swelling of the legs or abdomen. This water retention is generally caused by heart, kidney, or liver disease (if the swelling is confined to the abdomen.) TMI, I know. Anyway … Jesus healed the man and then asked the gathered Pharisees and lawyers if they wouldn’t pull a son or an ox out of a well, even if that fall happened on the Sabbath? As the other guests stood speechlessly, Jesus pointed out to them how they themselves had not been behaving like religious leaders. In fact, they had not been practicing simple courtesy. In fact, their behavior had been abominable, even for a week day. God notices and will repay at the resurrection “of the just”.

The Hymn of the Day is “O God of Earth and Altar.” This version is absolutely beautiful and sings the same words we do:

The Distribution Hymn is “O Love that Will Not Let Me Go”

The Recessional is “God of Grace and God of Glory” (The last verse is an older version than we find in our hymnal.)

I look forward to worship with you this week!

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