Reflections: Saturday of the 17th Week after Trinity

Today’s Reading: Introit for the 18th Week after Trinity
(Psalm 122:1, 6, 8-9; antiphon: Liturgical Text)
Daily Lectionary: Deuteronomy 3:1-29; Matthew 7:1-12

Hear the prayer of Your servants, according to the blessing of Aaron upon your people. (From the Introit for the 18th Sunday after Trinity)

In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. The Apocrypha is a collection of books written during the time between the Old and New Testaments. The number of books varies according to the particular publisher, but there are usually 15 to 20 in these collections. Martin Luther’s landmark German translation of the Bible included the Apocrypha in its traditional “in between” place. Lutherans used these books until American publishers left them out of their English Bibles. These books aren’t considered Holy Scripture, but they’re useful. They have some pretty cool stories in them. You can read about a dragon being blown up with a bomb in Bel and the Dragon. You might even sing the beautiful Song of the Three Young Children during the Easter Vigil, which is the song that Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego sang in the fiery furnace.

The Apocrypha is used mainly in Introits or Graduals in today’s Lutheran services. They’re usually marked as “liturgical texts.” Today’s Introit uses one of these from Ecclesiasticus 36. This is a book of wisdom from a man named Jesus ben Sirach. It’s really good. You should read it.

For instance, this text today beckons the Lord to hear our prayers according to the blessing of Aaron. You’ve heard the Aaronic Blessing. It is given to you at the end of every Divine Service. “The Lord bless you and keep you. The Lord make His face to shine upon you. The Lord lift His favor upon you and give you peace!” This comes from Numbers 6:24-26, when the Lord gave Aaron instructions on how to place His Name upon the people of Israel. Ecclesiasticus then prays that the Lord would see and hear us as people who bear the Name of the Lord.

It is the Name of the Lord, tattooed upon you in this blessing, and in Holy Baptism, by which you are seen as righteous and holy. He has put His Name on you! This is why we begin and end everything in the Name of Jesus. The Lord looks with favor on those who bear His Name, which includes you, His beloved baptized saints. In the Name + of Jesus. Amen.

You spirits and souls of the righteous, bless the Lord; you pure and humble of heart, bless the Lord; let us bless the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen. (“All You Works of the Lord ” LSB 931, v.11)

Audio Reflections Speaker: Pastor Duane Bamsch