Saturday after Trinity 8 (Joseph of Arimathea)

Psalmody
14Turn again, O | God of hosts!*
         Look down from | heaven, and see;

have regard for this vine, 15the stock that your right hand | planted,*
         and for the son whom you made strong | for yourself.

16They have burned it with fire; they have | cut it down;*
         may they perish at the rebuke | of your face!

17But let your hand be on the man of your | right hand,*
         the son of man whom you have made strong | for yourself!

18Then we shall not turn | back from you;*
         give us life, and we will call up- | on your name!

19Restore us, O LORD | God of hosts!*
         let your face shine, that we | may be saved!
               —Psalm 80:14–19

Additional Psalm: Psalm 80

Old Testament Reading:
1 Samuel 16:1–23
David Anointed King
1The LORD said to Samuel, “How long will you grieve over Saul, since I have rejected him from being king over Israel? Fill your horn with oil, and go. I will send you to Jesse the Bethlehemite, for I have provided for myself a king among his sons.” 2And Samuel said, “How can I go? If Saul hears it, he will kill me.” And the LORD said, “Take a heifer with you and say, ‘I have come to sacrifice to the LORD.’ 3And invite Jesse to the sacrifice, and I will show you what you shall do. And you shall anoint for me him whom I declare to you.” 4Samuel did what the LORD commanded and came to Bethlehem. The elders of the city came to meet him trembling and said, “Do you come peaceably?” 5And he said, “Peaceably; I have come to sacrifice to the LORD. Consecrate yourselves, and come with me to the sacrifice.” And he consecrated Jesse and his sons and invited them to the sacrifice.

6When they came, he looked on Eliab and thought, “Surely the LORD’s anointed is before him.” 7But the LORD said to Samuel, “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the LORD sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the LORD looks on the heart.” 8Then Jesse called Abinadab and made him pass before Samuel. And he said, “Neither has the LORD chosen this one.” 9Then Jesse made Shammah pass by. And he said, “Neither has the LORD chosen this one.” 10And Jesse made seven of his sons pass before Samuel. And Samuel said to Jesse, “The LORD has not chosen these.” 11Then Samuel said to Jesse, “Are all your sons here?” And he said, “There remains yet the youngest, but behold, he is keeping the sheep.” And Samuel said to Jesse, “Send and get him, for we will not sit down till he comes here.” 12And he sent and brought him in. Now he was ruddy and had beautiful eyes and was handsome. And the LORD said, “Arise, anoint him, for this is he.” 13Then Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the midst of his brothers. And the Spirit of the LORD rushed upon David from that day forward. And Samuel rose up and went to Ramah.

David in Saul’s Service
14Now the Spirit of the LORD departed from Saul, and a harmful spirit from the LORD tormented him. 15And Saul’s servants said to him, “Behold now, a harmful spirit from God is tormenting you. 16Let our lord now command your servants who are before you to seek out a man who is skillful in playing the lyre, and when the harmful spirit from God is upon you, he will play it, and you will be well.” 17So Saul said to his servants, “Provide for me a man who can play well and bring him to me.” 18One of the young men answered, “Behold, I have seen a son of Jesse the Bethlehemite, who is skillful in playing, a man of valor, a man of war, prudent in speech, and a man of good presence, and the LORD is with him.” 19Therefore Saul sent messengers to Jesse and said, “Send me David your son, who is with the sheep.” 20And Jesse took a donkey laden with bread and a skin of wine and a young goat and sent them by David his son to Saul. 21And David came to Saul and entered his service. And Saul loved him greatly, and he became his armor-bearer. 22And Saul sent to Jesse, saying, “Let David remain in my service, for he has found favor in my sight.” 23And whenever the harmful spirit from God was upon Saul, David took the lyre and played it with his hand. So Saul was refreshed and was well, and the harmful spirit departed from him.

New Testament Reading: Acts 25:13–27
Paul Before Agrippa and Bernice
13Now when some days had passed, Agrippa the king and Bernice arrived at Caesarea and greeted Festus. 14And as they stayed there many days, Festus laid Paul’s case before the king, saying, “There is a man left prisoner by Felix, 15and when I was at Jerusalem, the chief priests and the elders of the Jews laid out their case against him, asking for a sentence of condemnation against him. 16I answered them that it was not the custom of the Romans to give up anyone before the accused met the accusers face to face and had opportunity to make his defense concerning the charge laid against him. 17So when they came together here, I made no delay, but on the next day took my seat on the tribunal and ordered the man to be brought. 18When the accusers stood up, they brought no charge in his case of such evils as I supposed. 19Rather they had certain points of dispute with him about their own religion and about a certain Jesus, who was dead, but whom Paul asserted to be alive. 20Being at a loss how to investigate these questions, I asked whether he wanted to go to Jerusalem and be tried there regarding them. 21But when Paul had appealed to be kept in custody for the decision of the emperor, I ordered him to be held until I could send him to Caesar.” 22Then Agrippa said to Festus, “I would like to hear the man myself.” “Tomorrow,” said he, “you will hear him.”

23So on the next day Agrippa and Bernice came with great pomp, and they entered the audience hall with the military tribunes and the prominent men of the city. Then, at the command of Festus, Paul was brought in. 24And Festus said, “King Agrippa and all who are present with us, you see this man about whom the whole Jewish people petitioned me, both in Jerusalem and here, shouting that he ought not to live any longer. 25But I found that he had done nothing deserving death. And as he himself appealed to the emperor, I decided to go ahead and send him. 26But I have nothing definite to write to my lord about him. Therefore I have brought him before you all, and especially before you, King Agrippa, so that, after we have examined him, I may have something to write. 27For it seems to me unreasonable, in sending a prisoner, not to indicate the charges against him.”

Writing
A Preface for All Good Hymnals
Dame Music [speaks:]

Of all the joys upon this earth
None has for men a greater worth
Than what I give with my ringing
And with voices sweetly singing.
There cannot be an evil mood
Where there are singing fellows good,
There is no envy, hate, nor ire,
Gone are through me all sorrows dire;
Greed, care, and lonely heaviness
No more do they the heart oppress.
Each man can in his mirth be free
Since such a joy no sin can be.
But God in me more pleasure finds
Than in all joys of earthly minds.
Through my bright power the devil shirks
His sinful, murderous, evil works.
Of this King David’s deeds do tell
Who pacified King Saul so well
By sweetly playing on the lyre
And thus escaped his murderous ire.
For truth divine and God’s own rede
The heart of humble faith shall lead;
Such did Elisha once propound
When harping he the Spirit found.
The best time of the year is mine
When all the birds are singing fine.
Heaven and earth their voices fill
With right good song and tuneful trill.
And, queen of all, the nightingale
Men’s hearts will merrily regale
With music so charmingly gay;
For which be thanks to her for aye.
But thanks be first to God, our Lord,
Who created her by his Word
To be his own beloved songstress
And of musica a mistress.
For our dear Lord she sings her song
In praise of him the whole day long;
To him I give my melody
And thanks in all eternity.
               —Martin Luther

Hymnody
Stand up, stand up for Jesus;
         Stand in His strength alone.
The arm of flesh will fail you,
         Ye dare not trust your own.
Put on the Gospel armor;
         Each piece put on with prayer.
Where duty calls or danger,
         Be never wanting there.
               —Stand Up, Stand Up for Jesus
(LSB 660:3)

Prayer of the Day
Merciful God, Your servant Joseph of Arimathea prepared the body of our Lord and Savior for burial with reverence and godly fear and laid Him in his own tomb. As we follow the example of Joseph, grant to us, Your faithful people, that same grace and courage to love and serve Jesus with sincere devotion all the days of our lives; through Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. (1069)

Joseph of Arimathea
This Joseph, mentioned in all four Gospels, came from a small village called Arimathea in the hill country of Judea. He was a respected member of the Sanhedrin, the Jewish religious council in Jerusalem. He was presumably wealthy, since he owned his own unused tomb in a garden not far from the site of Jesus’ crucifixion (Matthew 27:60). Joseph, a man waiting expectantly for the kingdom of God, went to Pontius Pilate after the death of Jesus and asked for Jesus’ body (Mark 15:43). Along with Nicodemus, Joseph removed the body and placed it in the tomb (John 19:38–39). Their public devotion contrasted greatly to the fearfulness of the disciples who had abandoned Jesus.

Suggested Reading from the Book of Concord
Apology of the Augsburg Confession V (III) 1–8 [122–129]

By Rev. Michael Mayer

Lutheran Pastor of two small Lutheran Churches in rural SW Ontario.