The Epistle for this service is Galatians 3:15-22. The Gospel is Luke 10:23-37, Jesus' story of the Good Samaritan. The tune I favor for this hymn is TREFOIL, which I wrote last year for a hymn about the Trinity.
To merit life eternal;
Ask rather what your ever true
Redeemer did to furnish you
With righteousness external!
The law demands unfailing love
Toward God and toward your neighbor;
The selfless mastery thereof
Is infinitely far above
The limit of our labor.
Hark, anyone who yet believes
The law dispenses glory:
A man lies, struck and stripped by thieves,
And only one his need relieves—
So far the Savior’s story.
Who is the one whose mercy rare
Fulfills love’s sacred duty?
Would priest or Levite show the care
A hated stranger offers there,
Unswayed by gain or beauty?
Who else is that Samaritan
But Christ, who paid to heal us?
Rejected and despised by man,
He loved us as none other can,
From certain death to steal us.
He bore our burden on His back,
From His wounds tonic pouring;
Though we were filled with treason black,
His flesh absorbed the Law’s attack,
Our peace with God restoring.
Besides this balm of precious worth,
A hostel He prepares us:
We share the church’s sheltered berth
With ransomed souls throughout the earth;
As one He heals and spares us.
Look not, therefore, upon the Law
To hallow or excuse you!
While it exposes every flaw,
It has no pow’r whereon to draw,
But only to accuse you.
Look, rather, to the promised Seed,
The Son of God, whose dying
Fulfills in one love-driven deed
Our race’s duty, due and need,
Eternal life supplying!