Monday after Trinity 21 (Dorcas (Tabitha), Lydia, and Phoebe)

Psalmody
1The LORD reigns; he is robed in | majesty;*
         the LORD is robed; he has put on strength | as his belt.

Yes, the world is es- | tablished;*
         it shall nev- | er be moved.

2Your throne is established | from of old;*
         you are from ever- | lasting.

3The floods have lifted up, O LORD, the floods have lifted | up their voice;*
         the floods lift up their | roaring.

4Mightier than the thunders of many waters, mightier than the waves | of the sea,*
         the LORD on high is | mighty!

5Your decrees are very | trustworthy;*
         holiness befits your house, O LORD, for- | evermore.
               —Psalm 93

Additional Psalm: Psalm 87

Old Testament Reading:
Deuteronomy 27:1–26
The Altar on Mount Ebal
1Now Moses and the elders of Israel commanded the people, saying, “Keep the whole commandment that I command you today. 2And on the day you cross over the Jordan to the land that the LORD your God is giving you, you shall set up large stones and plaster them with plaster. 3And you shall write on them all the words of this law, when you cross over to enter the land that the LORD your God is giving you, a land flowing with milk and honey, as the LORD, the God of your fathers, has promised you. 4And when you have crossed over the Jordan, you shall set up these stones, concerning which I command you today, on Mount Ebal, and you shall plaster them with plaster. 5And there you shall build an altar to the LORD your God, an altar of stones. You shall wield no iron tool on them; 6you shall build an altar to the LORD your God of uncut stones. And you shall offer burnt offerings on it to the LORD your God, 7and you shall sacrifice peace offerings and shall eat there, and you shall rejoice before the LORD your God. 8And you shall write on the stones all the words of this law very plainly.”

Curses from Mount Ebal
9Then Moses and the Levitical priests said to all Israel, “Keep silence and hear, O Israel: this day you have become the people of the LORD your God. 10You shall therefore obey the voice of the LORD your God, keeping his commandments and his statutes, which I command you today.”

11That day Moses charged the people, saying, 12“When you have crossed over the Jordan, these shall stand on Mount Gerizim to bless the people: Simeon, Levi, Judah, Issachar, Joseph, and Benjamin. 13And these shall stand on Mount Ebal for the curse: Reuben, Gad, Asher, Zebulun, Dan, and Naphtali. 14And the Levites shall declare to all the men of Israel in a loud voice:

15“‘Cursed be the man who makes a carved or cast metal image, an abomination to the LORD, a thing made by the hands of a craftsman, and sets it up in secret.’ And all the people shall answer and say, ‘Amen.’

16“‘Cursed be anyone who dishonors his father or his mother.’ And all the people shall say, ‘Amen.’

17“‘Cursed be anyone who moves his neighbor’s landmark.’ And all the people shall say, ‘Amen.’

18“‘Cursed be anyone who misleads a blind man on the road.’ And all the people shall say, ‘Amen.’

19“‘Cursed be anyone who perverts the justice due to the sojourner, the fatherless, and the widow.’ And all the people shall say, ‘Amen.’

20“‘Cursed be anyone who lies with his father’s wife, because he has uncovered his father’s nakedness.’ And all the people shall say, ‘Amen.’

21“‘Cursed be anyone who lies with any kind of animal.’ And all the people shall say, ‘Amen.’

22“‘Cursed be anyone who lies with his sister, whether the daughter of his father or the daughter of his mother.’ And all the people shall say, ‘Amen.’

23“‘Cursed be anyone who lies with his mother-in-law.’ And all the people shall say, ‘Amen.’

24“‘Cursed be anyone who strikes down his neighbor in secret.’ And all the people shall say, ‘Amen.’

25“‘Cursed be anyone who takes a bribe to shed innocent blood.’ And all the people shall say, ‘Amen.’

26“‘Cursed be anyone who does not confirm the words of this law by doing them.’ And all the people shall say, ‘Amen.’”

New Testament Reading:
Matthew 17:14–27
Jesus Heals a Boy with a Demon
14And when they came to the crowd, a man came up to him and, kneeling before him, 15said, “Lord, have mercy on my son, for he is an epileptic and he suffers terribly. For often he falls into the fire, and often into the water. 16And I brought him to your disciples, and they could not heal him.” 17And Jesus answered, “O faithless and twisted generation, how long am I to be with you? How long am I to bear with you? Bring him here to me.” 18And Jesus rebuked the demon, and it came out of him, and the boy was healed instantly. 19Then the disciples came to Jesus privately and said, “Why could we not cast it out?” 20He said to them, “Because of your little faith. For truly, I say to you, if you have faith like a grain of mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move, and nothing will be impossible for you.”

Jesus Again Foretells Death, Resurrection
22As they were gathering in Galilee, Jesus said to them, “The Son of Man is about to be delivered into the hands of men, 23and they will kill him, and he will be raised on the third day.” And they were greatly distressed.

The Temple Tax
24When they came to Capernaum, the collectors of the two-drachma tax went up to Peter and said, “Does your teacher not pay the tax?” 25He said, “Yes.” And when he came into the house, Jesus spoke to him first, saying, “What do you think, Simon? From whom do kings of the earth take toll or tax? From their sons or from others?” 26And when he said, “From others,” Jesus said to him, “Then the sons are free. 27However, not to give offense to them, go to the sea and cast a hook and take the first fish that comes up, and when you open its mouth you will find a shekel. Take that and give it to them for me and for yourself.”

Writing
One can say that in Christianity the extraordinary has become ordinary, but also that the ordinary has become extraordinary, the usual unusual, the common uncommon, that what all do has been transformed into a real priestly work and to a sacrifice that is offered to the most high God… [T]he Lord Jesus was followed by a number of women whose names have come down to us. Kings are forgotten, emperors have fallen into the dust, and there is no one to remember them; the names of these women, however, are still being mentioned. There are only a few things we know about them, and what is said seems insignificant to us. They made offerings to the Son of Man from what they had … provided such little services, as he deserved before all others. But because the common has become uncommon, thus these names are written in the Book of books.

… I said that because of Christianity the uncommon has become common and the common uncommon the Spirit and the purpose and way it was done… I point to Christ according to Matthew 25. What does he say there by separating the sheep from the goats? Whom does he praise? Whom does he reproach? Whom does he call to inherit the Kingdom of his Father? Does he call the heroes, who accomplished great things, the kings with their crowns and those who struck with their great swords and brought about great changes upon earth? What does he do? He names and praises the same common things that I have said Christianity has made uncommon. He says: “I was hungry” and so forth—“come, you blessed of my Father” (Mt 25:34)… Thus, he asks for the food, for the drink, for the gift of oil and wine. He asks for all these common things, which I have said have become uncommon through his Spirit.
               —J. K. Wilhelm Loehe

Hymnody
We walk by faith and not by sight,
         No gracious words we hear
From Him who spoke as none e’er spoke,
         But we believe Him near.
               —We Walk by Faith and Not by Sight (LSB 720:1)

Prayer of the Day
Almighty God, You stirred to compas-sion the hearts of Your dear servants Dorcas, Lydia, and Phoebe to uphold and sustain Your Church by their devoted and charitable deeds. Give us the same will to love You, open our eyes to see You in the least ones, and strengthen our hands to serve You in others, for the sake of Your Son, Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. (1101)

Dorcas (Tabitha), Lydia, and Phoebe,
Faithful Women
These women were exemplary Christians who demonstrated their faith by their material support of the Church. Dorcas (also known as Tabitha) was well-known and much loved for her acts of charity in the city of Joppa, especially for making clothes for the poor. When Dorcas died suddenly, the members of her congregation sent to the neighboring city of Lydda for the apostle Peter, who came and raised her from the dead (Acts 9:36–41). Lydia was a woman of Thyatira, who worked at Philippi selling a famous purple dye that was much in demand in the ancient world. She was also a “worshiper of God” at the local synagogue (Acts 16:14). When the apostle Paul encountered her in prayer among other proselyte women, his preaching of the Word brought Lydia to faith in Christ. She and her friends thus became the nucleus of the Christian community in Philippi (Acts 16:13–15, 40). Phoebe was another faithful woman associated with the apostle Paul. She was a deaconess from Cenchreae (the port of Corinth) whom Paul sent to the Church in Rome with his Epistle to the Romans. In it, he writes of her support for the work of the Early Church (Romans 16:1–2).

Suggested Reading from the Book of Concord
Apology of the Augsburg Confession XXIII (XI) 40–49

By Rev. Michael Mayer

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