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HYMN FOR PENTECOST 22 To Love the Lord with all our hearts

Updated: Oct 29, 2023

Text: Gracia Grindal Tune: Norwegian folk, arr. Dan Damon

Jesus and the Pharisees Follower of Maarten van Heemskerck

To love the Lord with all our hearts,

With all our souls and minds,

And love our neighbors as ourselves,

And always to be kind,

As Christ commanded us to do,

We need to be crated new.

Have mercy on us, Lord.

Love cannot spring from hearts of stone

Or souls that have gone dry.

It only gushes forth from those

Who set their own need by

And go to find the source that gives

The waters that they need to live.

Have mercy on us, Lord.

Lord, I am thirsty for your grace

And hungry for your love.

I need you so that I can serve

My neighbor and my God.

Come, fill me with your gentleness

So I can help those in distress. Have mercy on us, Lord.

Lord Jesus, send your show’rs of grace

Into my heart of stone,

So that the fruits of faith will bloom

Like roses by your throne,

As all of heaven’s chorus sings

With love to you, our Lord and King:

Have mercy on us, Lord.


Jesus Disputing with the Pharisees. James Tissot

This exchange of Jesus with his enemies is easier to sing about than the previous texts. We all know that the center of our faith is love—God loves us, and that love we can return because of his love. This love spills over into love for the neighbor. We all get that. The lesson however ends with Jesus quoting one of the most quoted, but mysterious, Psalms, Psalm 110:1.

The Sadducees having been silenced, the Pharisees now try to trap our Lord on the question of the greatest commandment and Jesus answers as almost any good rabbi or Christian minister would. The kicker, however, is Jesus' return question of the Pharisees. “Whose Son is the Christ?” These scholars have thought a lot about the Messiah. They are ready with chapter and verse on many of his attributes. But this one floors them. They cannot answer so they quit asking questions.

While it is a confusing question and I always have to go back and figure out who is Lord and who is my Lord and who is David's son in David’s psalm, it is at the heart of who Jesus is and who he says he is: The Son of God. This claim is so shocking to the crowd, Matthew says, from that day no one asked him any more questions. Then Jesus launches into a diatribe against questioners that is bitter with recrimination. The woes end with Jesus’ lament over Jerusalem for killing the prophets. Which they will do shortly. It is good to see all these together to put this lesson in its place.

The offense isn’t in the commandment, they all sort of know that, even though putting God first as the First Commandment says is not what people do. Luther even said if people had kept that commandment, there would have been no need for redemption. Of course, they could not the commandment. But here we read the great offense of Jesus: his claim to be the Christ, the son of God. Of course, they think it pure blasphemy.

We might ask why the two scenes are put together in this lesson. It will make the preaching a bit more complicated. Preaching that we should love God and our neighbor has been the theme of most of the sermons I have heard in the past fifty years. To remind ourselves that this is God' command reinforced by the Messiah who is both the Son of David and the Son of God should make Christ's reasserting the truth of the commandments richer, more Godly and deeply concerning.


Daniel Charles Damon

My hymn focuses on what Jesus says about the most important commandment, but also asks our Lord to supply us the power to do these things. He can do this because he is God. We cannot love God without his first loving us, nor our neighbors without the power of God so we pray, Lord have mercy. Damon set it to the well known tune "I himmelen, I himmelen." This is an old practice of church musicians before hymns were printed with notes. The song leaders would begin singing a new text to a well known tune that the congregation knew and could sing along with. Sometimes the old tune is so powerfully connected to the old words, that it is hard to sing new words to the old tune. See what you think.The Swedes have a tune for it too, not unlike the Norwegian one.


The Norwegian tune

Swedish/The Real Group Eric Erickson

Swedish congregation

Adolf Fredriks Bachkor

Rita Gavleborg

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