From God Can Nothing Move Me (LSB 713)
Ludwig Helmbold (1532-98) wrote this hymn after a deadly plague had wiped out 4000 of the inhabitants of Erfurt. The hymn was written on the occasion of his friend and family leaving the city to escape the plague. Though death and other things can take friends away from us, “From God Can Nothing Move Me.” This hymn is born out of a deep devotion on the part of Helmbold, who eventually had to leave his prestigious position (and many friends) at Erfurt to stay true to his Lutheran convictions. The situation of the lepers in today’s Gospel was such that they were “moved” or divided from normal society. But they were not divided from Jesus, who was their God. The hymn is a wonderful encouragement to bear our cross with the knowledge that God’s will is good and gracious towards us in Christ Jesus. This life carries with it many sorrows, “But time we spend expressing / The love of God brings blessing / That will forever last.”
Praise the Almighty, My Soul Adore Him (LSB 797)
Fifteenth Sunday after Pentecost (Proper 18)
In the hymn Praise the Almighty, John Daniel Herrnschmidt (1675–1723) provides a beautiful summary of Psalm 146, which speaks of God as the true ground of faith because of all his merciful works towards us. So in today’s Gospel Jesus has mercy on the Syro-Phoenician woman and on the deaf-mute. No one could help them—only Jesus. He is the one who “executes judgment for the oppressed.” (Psalm 146:7) Just as Jesus could not silence those who proclaimed his great deeds in Mark 7, so we do not keep silence about the mercy God has shown to us, and which we see so clearly portrayed for us in the woman whose daughter was demon possessed and the man who could neither hear nor speak.
Rev. Mark Preus serves as a campus pastor at St. Andrews in Laramie, WY.