Saying good-bye to last Sunday’s Collect.
Let us pray. Merciful Father, Your patience and loving-kindness toward us have no end. Grant that by Your Holy Spirit we may always think and do those things that are pleasing in Your sight; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.
This is the collect from last Sunday (10/03). It has been a good companion for the week and it may have one more morsel of food with which to feed us before it gives way to the new collect tomorrow (10/10).
She was patient and she was kind. An African-American, she was caring for an elderly man, a white man, a man who had lived a long life. The bystander did not know either of them, but saw the exchange in a nursing home some years ago. The elderly man was suffering from dementia. As often happens with those who suffer from dementia, when the facade of reason is stripped away, his character and personality traits were revealed and intensified. Chances are, he was not like this when he was in full possession of his faculties. To be honest, however, right now he was not a nice man. In fact, he said terrible things to and about this woman who was there help him.
She was patient and she was kind. The bystander wanted to scold and rebuke this man for what he was saying. Some of it was truly vile. But she simply went about her work, bathing, changing, and caring for this man in his need. We note God’s patience and loving-kindness to us in this prayer. Jesus wrapped a towel around Himself and washed the feet of his disciples to show all of us just what he was doing on the cross where he would die a few hours later.
We like to think that we are in the full possession of our faculties. But are we really? Or are we not also, like this fellow, filled with thoughts, desires, frustrations which we keep a lid on but only with some effort? Sometimes the lid comes off and those closest around us get a glimpse of what is under the lid – a glimpse of the elderly man. He could not hold the lid on his inner conversation anymore. Just because we can, doesn’t make us any different than he is?
Under the lid, we know all the reasons why God should hold us in contempt, despise us, reject us, rebuke and scold us. But do we know why God loves us? God took His lid off and in Jesus came down from heaven above, and showed us why, up close and personal. “My Song Is Love Unknown… my Savior’s love to me” has always been one of those hymns that for me captures the raw tender and all encompassing love Jesus has for each of us. We usually sing this hymn on Passion Sunday, but it is a good teacher anytime we dare to look at ourselves in the mirror with our lids off. Check it out below or in the hymnal, LSB 430. As we pray the first line of this collect one last time, we might just find ourselves humming this hymn. We count on God’s patience and loving-kindness – His love unknown – and need His Holy Spirit to think and do the things that are pleasing to God. Blessed be the Lord God for every moment He answers this prayer for you.
Today’s “a devotion for you…” is edited, revised and adapted, with permission, from original content from colleague and friend, Phil Brandt.