Collect of the Week
Lord Jesus Christ, in Your deep compassion You rescue us from whatever may hurt us. Teach us to love You above all things and to love our neighbors as ourselves; for You live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.
1 Blessed is the one who considers the poor! In the day of trouble the LORD delivers him;
2 the LORD protects him and keeps him alive; he is called blessed in the land; you do not give him up to the will of his enemies.
3 The LORD sustains him on his sickbed; in his illness you restore him to full health.1
4 As for me, I said, "O LORD, be gracious to me; heal me,1 for I have sinned against you!"
5 My enemies say of me in malice, "When will he die and his name perish?"
6 And when one comes to see me, he utters empty words, while his heart gathers iniquity; when he goes out, he tells it abroad.
7 All who hate me whisper together about me; they imagine the worst for me.
8 They say, "A deadly thing is poured out on him; he will not rise again from where he lies."
9 Even my close friend in whom I trusted, who ate my bread, has lifted his heel against me.
10 But you, O LORD, be gracious to me, and raise me up, that I may repay them!
11 By this I know that you delight in me: my enemy will not shout in triumph over me.
12 But you have upheld me because of my integrity, and set me in your presence forever.
13 Blessed be the LORD, the God of Israel, from everlasting to everlasting! Amen and Amen.
In the name of + Jesus.
Like an early presentation of the Good Samaritan, Psalm 41 begins by speaking of the LORD’s compassion for the poor and sick:
“Blessed is the one who considers the poor! IN the day of trouble the LORD delivers him; the LORD protects him and keeps him alive; he is called blessed in the land; you do not give him up to the will of his enemies. The LORD sustains him on his sickbed; in his illness you restore him to full health.”
He is compassionate even to those who would despise him, and reject him—His very own enemies—while we see our enemies as the ones we are free to despise and reject. Who can but cry out, with the psalmist, before the LORD who has perfectly love and provided for us?
“O LORD, be gracious to me; heal me, for I have sinned against you!”
And this compassionate LORD is not only a provider of house and home, and food and family. This compassionate LORD reveals Himself through the Son, who would lay down His life for sinners, paying the price for their return to God.
And so, in this Psalm, when we read verses five and following, we do well to think of them being spoken by Jesus Himself, who was betrayed by His own close disciples, Judas Iscariot. It was this psalm, after all, that Jesus quoted on the very night when He was betrayed, saying that Judas’s act of treachery happened “that the Scripture might be fulfilled, ‘He who eats bread with Me has lifted up his heel against Me’” (John 13:18).
All of this is to say, we cannot separate our love and service for our neighbors, from the love and service given to us in Christ. In fact, apart from Christ loving service shown in his suffering and death for those who were sinners, there would be no love and service for our neighbors. And so, again, seeing what the LORD has done for us in Christ, we endure much from the hand of our neighbors, in order that, like Christ, they might see a greater love which covers all. In the name of + Jesus. Amen.
With the blood of Your Son, you bind us together, and make us one. Teach us, O Lord, by Your Holy Spirit, to rejoice in the household of faith, that our love might be shown to all; through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.