How we underestimate your compassion, Jesus;
we are too easily convinced that you frown more than you smile,
that our weakness and ignorance,
our mistakes and sins,
guarantee nothing but judgement from you.
Yet, time and again you show us that this picture is unworthy of you;
after all, you said it – you didn’t come to judge but to save!
And so, we thank you and celebrate you:
Your compassion is limitless, and your love is unfailing;
Your welcome is gracious and extravagant and all-inclusive;
Your embrace is healing and transforming;
And your commitment to us is costly and eternal.
Perhaps we will never really understand how you can be so totally for us,
but perhaps, as we learn to trust,
and to lean into your love,
we will find the peace and wholeness that you desire for us.
And so we come, we worship, and we open ourselves
to your surprising compassion again.
John van de Laar, South African Methodist worship minster
Jesus traveled through all the towns and villages of that area, teaching in the synagogues and announcing the Good News about the Kingdom. And he healed every kind of disease and illness. When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them because they were confused and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.