Malagasy Lutheran Church Song & Gospel 3rd Sunday after Trinity, 25 June – 1 July 2023 « God loves mercy » *

The message: The statement « God loves mercy » refers to the profound nature of God. Indeed, He says: « For I desire steadfast love and not sacrifice » Hos 6:6a. This reveals His distinction as the God who forgives sins, which led the prophet to say: « As far as the east is from the west, so far he removes our transgressions from us. As a father has compassion for his children, so the Lord has compassion for those who fear him » Ps 103:12-13. For God’s mercy is His compassion towards those who have fallen, in order to justify and rehabilitate them. In fact, the desire to rise up and do good tugs at his heart, but he remains shackled by sin. So Paul cried out: « Wretched person that I am! Who will rescue me from this
body of death?  » Rom 7:24. But this is where Jesus declares: « My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness » 2 Cor 12:9a. Thus, « whenever our hearts condemn us, for God is greater than our hearts » 1 Jn 3:20a. This is how Jesus answered the Pharisee who reproached
Him for having eaten with sinners: « It is not the healthy who need a physician, but the sick […] For I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners. […] For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners » Mt 9:12-13b, like Paul, the Pharisee, who ruthlessly persecuted Christian believers, but
whom He pardoned and made « a vessel of honour » for Him (1 Tim 12-16). David, for his part, praised God in these terms: « The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love. He will not always accuse, nor will he keep his anger forever. He does not deal with
us according to our sins nor repay us according to our iniquities » Ps 103:8-10. What we must guard against is « obtaining too easily without knowing how to thank » (Lk 17:17), « being inconsiderate » (Eph 5:17). The most dangerous thing is « to become so accustomed to being pardoned that you
do not think of repenting or abandoning your bad practices ». For « kindness is meant to lead you to repentance » Rom 2:4b. On this subject, Jesus proclaimed: « Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near » Mt 4:17.

Monday, 26th: God loves mercy and does not keep His anger forever.
« He does not retain his anger forever because he delights in showing steadfast love » Mic 7:18b.
Reading 1: Rom 9:9-16. Reading 2: Mic 7:18-20. Preaching 1 (free choice). Preaching 2: Mic 7:18.
Introduction: God loves to show mercy and does not want to destroy the sinner. On the contrary, He invites them to take hold of themselves, to return to Him and to be reconciled with Him in order to justify them and transform them into a « new man ». He will then speak like David, who said: « Against you, you alone, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight » Ps 51:4a. And he will confess, like the prodigal son to his father: « Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you; I am no longer worthy to be called your son » Lk 15:18b-19a. In fact, according to the Malagasy saying, an admitted sin is justified.

Tuesday, 27th: God’s mercy does not abandon the sinner.
« God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance » Rom 2:4b.
Reading 1: Lk 15:11-24. Reading 2: Rom 2:1-16. Preaching 1 (free choice). Preaching 2: Rom 2:3-4.
Introduction: God does not show mercy to sinners out of weakness but out of love. He said to Israel: « Can a woman forget her nursing child or show no compassion for the child of her womb? Even these might forget, yet I will not forget you » Isa 49:15. Indeed, when the robber crucified next to Jesus begged him in these terms: « Jesus, remember me when you come in your kingdom. He replied, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise » Lk 23:42-43.

Wednesday, 28th: God’s mercy forgives the sinner.
« Take heart, child; your sins are forgiven » Mt 9:2b.
Reading 1: Isa 55:6-9. Reading 2: Mt 9:1-8. Preaching (free choice). Preaching 2: Mt 9:1-2.
Introduction: Jesus was given absolute power of judgement, according to Jn 5:22-23, but He much prefers that the sinner comes to Him to repent and testify of his faith so that God can save him. For He has declared: « Anyone who comes to me I will never drive away » Jn 6:37b. David said: « O you who answer prayer! To you all flesh shall come » Ps 65:2.

Thursday, 29th: God’s mercy seeks the sinner.
« For the Son of Man came to seek out and to save the lost » Lk 19:10.
Reading 1: Isa 44:19-22. Reading 2: Lk 19:1-10. Preaching 1 (free choice). Preaching 2: Lk 19:10.
Introduction: God does not forget the people He has chosen. When Israel fell into suffering as a result of their unfaithfulness, namely their waywardness and inconstancy, they were seized with despair and exclaimed: « The Lord has forsaken me; my Lord has forgotten me » Isa 49:14. But God does not reject His people (Rom 11:1) or forget them. He remembers His covenant and reiterates it by saying: « Return to me, for I have redeemed you » Isa 44:22b.

Friday, 30th: God’s mercy saves the sinner.
« I came not to judge the world but to save the world » Jn 12:47b.
Reading 1: Jer 33:5-11. Reading 2: Jn 12:44-50. Preaching 1 (free choice). Preaching 2: Jn 12:46-47.
Introduction: God’s mercy means that He likes to forgive offences, not condemn people! This is why He really takes the side of sinners, as the apostle John says: « But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous, and he is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world » 1 Jn 2:1-2. Indeed, His love is so great « that he laid down his life for us » 1 Jn 3:16.

Saturday, 01st: God’s mercy endures forever.
« With everlasting love I will have compassion on you, says the Lord, your Redeemer » Isa 54:8b.
Reading 1: Eph 5:11-17. Reading 2: Isa 54:4-8. Preaching 1 (free choice). Preaching 2: Isa 54:8.
Introduction: God’s mercy is an « infinite mercy », because « He has loved His people with an everlasting love » (Jer 31:3). It is on this foundation that He established an everlasting covenant with His people, saying: « My steadfast love shall not depart from you, and my covenant of peace shall not be removed, says the Lord, who has compassion on you » Isa 54:10b.

This pericope is published weekly in Malagasy, French, English, German and Spanish, and can be seen on, on Facebook « HiFi-English », on Instagram (@hirasyfilazantsara) and on Twitter (@HFilazantsara). Listen to « »: teachings, testimonies, songs … 24h / 7d. © Madanet

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