Love Divine, All Loves Excelling (ELW 631, Verses 1 & 2)
1 Love divine, all loves excelling,
Joy of heav’n, to earth come down!
Fix in us thy humble dwelling,
all thy faithful mercies crown.
Jesus, thou art all compassion,
pure, unbounded love thou art;
visit us with thy salvation,
enter ev’ry trembling heart.
2 Breathe, oh, breathe thy loving Spirit
into ev’ry troubled breast;
let us all in thee inherit;
let us find thy promised rest.
Take away the love of sinning;
Alpha and Omega be;
end of faith, as its beginning,
set our hearts at liberty.
When my mother-in-law died at age 91, I planned her funeral service held in a tiny church on the North Dakota prairie. If Eris had been born 20 years later, we know she would have become a pastor, and we can envision her having a heavenly theological debate with Martin Luther and winning. “Love Divine, All Loves Excelling” was an obvious choice for the final hymn at her service.
All of our readings this week have been about love: the love of Phillip for a stranger and outcast; God’s deliverance that turns our song of lament into praise; the igniting love of the God who sent his only Son; and the abiding love of God for each of us that sets our hearts at liberty. A life well-lived—filled with love and humble service to others—is a true reflection of that all excelling love of God in Jesus Christ.
Loving God, breathe your loving Spirit into me today that I may love and serve others. Amen.