04032019 Wed of Lent 4 Emmanuel Lutheran Export PA

“Love Consecrates the Humblest Acts”

04032019 Wed of Lent 4 Emmanuel Lutheran Export PA

April 3, 2019
“Love Consecrates the Humblest Acts”
Sermon Audio

“Service to Others” is an aspiration of many organizations today.  Yet, the first person Who demonstrated this concept is celebrated by a hymn from the events of Maundy Thursday and which we will consider this evening, entitled, “Love Consecrates the Humblest Acts”.  Let’s learn how ‘human needs’ are connected to ‘mercy’s deeds’ as we begin by singing the first stanza.

1 Love consecrates the humblest act and haloes mercy’s deeds; it sheds a benediction sweet and hallows human needs.

Believe it or not the author of this hymn was very difficult to learn about, and it makes me wonder if that is because of the humility they possessed.  Silas Bettes McManus trained as a medical doctor, yet did not practice, because his first love was writing. With lineage that connects with the Revolutionary War and the French, McManus wordplay helps us understand humanity is in need of humility.  As he wrote, ‘Love consecrates the humblest act and haloes mercy’s deeds’ it is with the understanding that Jesus Christ was the primary actor of ‘mercy’s deeds’ out of His love for us and all mankind.  Jesus love and humility was clear and models what people needed then and what we so desperately need today.  Hence, why McManus not practicing medicine, saw the importance of relationship and used his first passion of writing.  He further connects it with faith to share what Jesus did in writing ‘it sheds a benediction sweet and hallows human needs’.  So ‘human needs’ and God’s grace connected would point to the love and humility Jesus was willing to live so we can have eternal life and live with Him in His kingdom and feel His love.

Let’s continue ‘in the shadow of the cross’ with the second stanza of “Love Consecrates the Humblest Acts”.

2 When in the shadow of the cross Christ knelt and washed the feet of his disciples he gave us a sign of love complete.

When Lucius Chapin orchestrated the tune for our hymn his understanding of ‘sacrifice’ and ‘humility’ had been formed as a young fifer for the Army of the Revolution during the Bat­tles of Ti­con­der­o­ga and Still­wa­ter.  He also en­dured the in­fa­mous win­ter of 1777-8 at Val­ley Forge, Penn­syl­van­ia, with George Wash­ing­ton and learned the painful life lesson of sacrifice he witnessed and later would put to music.

It is clear McManus and Chapin were contemporaries in age and with the pairing of the tune with the text demonstrated how the ‘Humblest Acts’ are and can demonstrate clear care for one another.  ‘When in the shadow of the cross Christ knelt and washed the feet of the disciples’ it was to be the model of love for them to the degree they needed to serve one another.  By washing ‘the feet of his disciples’ Jesus action does give ‘us a sign of love complete’.  A love by Jesus Christ that knew no equal and would not end with His kneeling, but with Jesus Christ dying so others, ‘in the shadow of the cross’ would have eternal life, including each and everyone of us.  This is the model Jesus wants to not only show, but inspire others to follow.  Let’s conclude by singing the third stanza of “Love Consecrates the Humblest Acts”.

3 Love serves and willing stoops to serve; what Christ in love so true has freely done for one and all, let us now gladly do!

Kneeling at the feet of His disciples, Jesus clearly shows that ‘Love serves and willing stoops to serve’.  Jesus service wasn’t to cleanse them, but by His action inspire them and us to serve each other in loving ways.  Hence, why McManus writes, ‘what Christ in love so true has freely done for one and all, let us now gladly do!’  This is the model we can aspire to fulfilling for each other in our daily lives.  Will we reach equality with Jesus actions, probably not, but let us in and out of our love for one another, attempt ‘to serve’ others as Jesus served His disciples and willing serves us today.  For in our attempting to do this in our daily lives, we then can seek ‘to serve’ others so our “Love Consecrates the Humblest Acts”, not of our own, but highlights the ‘Humblest Act’ of our Savior, Jesus Christ for us and all of mankind.  AMEN.