To love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, strength, and mind is to reflect God’s mercy in responding to one’s neighbor. That mercy found its most profound expression in the “gospel that has come to you”—namely the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. That gospel mercy comes to us again today: at the font, at the altar, and from the pulpit. It is very near to you.
Readings and Psalm
The Lord will take delight in your fruitfulness
Show me your ways, O Lord, and teach me your paths. (Ps. 25:4)
The gospel is growing, bearing fruit in the whole world
The parable of the merciful Samaritan
First Reading: Deuteronomy 30:9-14
the people who are about to enter the promised land to renew the
covenant God made with their ancestors. Through this covenant God gives
life and asks for obedience. God’s commandment is neither burdensome nor
too far off, but dwells in the people’s own hearts.9The Lord
your God will make you abundantly prosperous in all your undertakings,
in the fruit of your body, in the fruit of your livestock, and in the
fruit of your soil. For the Lord will again take delight in prospering you, just as he delighted in prospering your ancestors, 10when you obey the Lord your God by observing his commandments and decrees that are written in this book of the law, because you turn to the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul.
11Surely, this commandment that I am commanding you today is not too hard for you, nor is it too far away. 12It is not in heaven, that you should say, “Who will go up to heaven for us, and get it for us so that we may hear it and observe it?” 13Neither is it beyond the sea, that you should say, “Who will cross to the other side of the sea for us, and get it for us so that we may hear it and observe it?” 14No, the word is very near to you; it is in your mouth and in your heart for you to observe.
Psalm: Psalm 25:1-10
Show me your ways, O Lord, and teach me your paths. (Ps. 25:4)1To | you, O Lord,
I lift | up my soul.
2My God, I put my trust in you; let me not be | put to shame,
nor let my enemies triumph | over me.
3Let none who look to you be | put to shame;
rather let those be put to shame | who are treacherous.
4Show me your | ways, O Lord,
and teach | me your paths.
5Lead me in your | truth and teach me,
for you are the God of my salvation; in you have I trusted all | the day long.
6Remember, O Lord, your compas- | sion and love,
for they are from | everlasting.
7Remember not the sins of my youth and | my transgressions;
remember me according to your steadfast love and for the sake of your good- | ness, O Lord.
8You are gracious and up- | right, O Lord;
therefore you teach sinners | in your way.
9You lead the low- | ly in justice
and teach the low- | ly your way.
10All your paths, O Lord, are steadfast | love and faithfulness
to those who keep your covenant and your | testimonies.
Second Reading: Colossians 1:1-14
The letter to
the Colossians was written to warn its readers of various false
teachings. The first part of the letter is an expression of thanks for
the faith, hope, and love that mark this community, including a prayer
for strength and courage from Paul.1Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and Timothy our brother,
2To the saints and faithful brothers and sisters in Christ in Colossae:
Grace to you and peace from God our Father.
3In our prayers for you we always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, 4for we have heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love that you have for all the saints, 5because of the hope laid up for you in heaven. You have heard of this hope before in the word of the truth, the gospel 6that
has come to you. Just as it is bearing fruit and growing in the whole
world, so it has been bearing fruit among yourselves from the day you
heard it and truly comprehended the grace of God. 7This you learned from Epaphras, our beloved fellow servant. He is a faithful minister of Christ on your behalf, 8and he has made known to us your love in the Spirit.
9For this reason, since the day we heard it, we have not ceased praying for you and asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of God’s will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, 10so that you may lead lives worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, as you bear fruit in every good work and as you grow in the knowledge of God. 11May you be made strong with all the strength that comes from his glorious power, and may you be prepared to endure everything with patience, while joyfully 12giving thanks to the Father, who has enabled you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the light. 13He has rescued us from the power of darkness and transferred us into the kingdom of his beloved Son, 14in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.
Gospel: Luke 10:25-37
challenged to explain what is involved in obeying the greatest
commandment. Jesus tells a parable rich in surprises: those expected to
show pity display hard hearts while the lowly give and receive
unexpected and lavish mercy.25Just then a lawyer stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he said, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?” 26He said to him, “What is written in the law? What do you read there?” 27He
answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and
with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind;
and your neighbor as yourself.” 28And he said to him, “You have given the right answer; do this, and you will live.”
29But wanting to justify himself, he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” 30Jesus replied, “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell into the hands of robbers, who stripped him, beat him, and went away, leaving him half dead. 31Now by chance a priest was going down that road; and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. 32So likewise a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. 33But a Samaritan while traveling came near him; and when he saw him, he was moved with pity. 34He went to him and bandaged his wounds, having poured oil and wine on them. Then he put him on his own animal, brought him to an inn, and took care of him. 35The next day he took out two denarii, gave them to the innkeeper, and said, ‘Take care of him; and when I come back, I will repay you whatever more you spend.’ 36Which of these three, do you think, was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of the robbers?” 37He said, “The one who showed him mercy.” Jesus said to him, “Go and do likewise.”