Almighty and Everlasting God, Give unto us the increase of faith, hope, and charity; and that we may obtain that which Thou dost promise, make us to love that which Thou dost command; through Jesus Christ, Thy Son, our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with Thee and the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end. Amen.
-- Common Service Book of the Lutheran Church
Then He turned to His disciples and said privately, “Blessed are the eyes which see the things you see; for I tell you that many prophets and kings have desired to see what you see, and have not seen it, and to hear what you hear, and have not heard it."
And behold, a certain lawyer stood up and tested Him, saying, “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?”
He said to him, “What is written in the law? What is your reading of it?”
So he answered and said, “ ‘You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind,’ and ‘your neighbor as yourself.’ ”
And He said to him, “You have answered rightly; do this and you will live.”
But he, wanting to justify himself, said to Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”
Then Jesus answered and said: “A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, who stripped him of his clothing, wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead. Now by chance a certain priest came down that road. And when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. Likewise a Levite, when he arrived at the place, came and looked, and passed by on the other side. But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was. And when he saw him, he had compassion. So he went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine; and he set him on his own animal, brought him to an inn, and took care of him. On the next day, when he departed, he took out two denarii, gave them to the innkeeper, and said to him, ‘Take care of him; and whatever more you spend, when I come again, I will repay you.’ So which of these three do you think was neighbor to him who fell among the thieves?”
And he said, “He who showed mercy on him.”
Then Jesus said to him, “Go and do likewise.”
--Luke 10.23-37 (NKJV)
In today's collect, we pray for God to increase our faith, hope, love, and desire to do good works, all of which flow from a robust, vibrant faith in Christ. All of these demonstrate the love of God in Christ to the world around us. All of these make us markedly different from those around us in the world, not because of anything good in us but because of the new birth and indwelling Spirit given us by God's unfailing grace. These things are at the root of Jesus' parable about the good Samaritan. He did not somehow earn his salvation through his deeds but through them demonstrated love for neighbor--the mark of the transformed life. May God be pleased to increase in us a holy longing to treat others the same way!
How Shall We Show Our Love to Thee (Isaac Williams, 1842)
How shall we show our love to Thee,
Thou loving God most high,
But loving this Thy family,
For which Thou deign’st to die?
If Thou for me such Love didst bear,
Shall I not love again?
For all are objects of Thy care;
Thy love doth all sustain.
If we have love for Thee in heaven,
’Tis seen by love on earth:
Love, only love which God hath given,
Doth prove our heavenly birth.
For all we know of God above,
And of His saints below,
And all we know of heaven is Love,
And all we need to know.
Love is of life the only sign,
Love is our vital breath;
Love only shows the child divine,
Love only conquers death.
Whate’er we do, where’er we go,
Let love our sonship prove:
Our lives the fire celestial show,
Our thoughts and words be love.
O deign to send the love of Thee
From highest heaven above;
For then our life Thy praise shall be,
When all our life is love.
With praise to Thee our strains began,
With love to Thee shall end;
The love of Thee, and love of man,
From heaven O deign to send!
Photo by Nico Benedickt on Unsplash