Weekly Liturgy bulletins
Notes on the Service for August 9, 2020
Gen. 37:1–4, 12–28 • Ps. 105:1–6, 16–22, 45b
Rom. 10:5–15 • Matt. 14:22–33
The collect stresses our dependence on God’s help to think and do the right thing. That dependence is exemplified by Peter’s reliance on Christ on the sea, told today. “Thou didst reach forth thine hand and mine enfold; I walked and sank not on the storm vexed sea; ‘twas not so much that I on thee took hold, as thou, dear Lord, on me” (Hymn #689).
Of Jacob’s twelve sons, Joseph the favorite had the most eventful life. Today and next Sunday we shall read parts of Joseph’s saga. Because their father dotes on him, giving him special clothing, (long robe with sleeves is the preferred modern translation, not coat of many colors,) and because the brat has grandiose dreams in which he lords it over them, his brothers plot to rid themselves of him by throwing him in a dry pit. That Reuben and Judah intervene to prevent his death foreshadows later interventions by those two. One tradition says the fortuitous slave traders were Ishmaelites, one says Midianites. Joseph’s deportation takes him to Egypt, where the main actions are to occur. Some historians guess that Joseph lived in the 1600s BCE.
Psalm 105:16-22 summarizes the fortunes of Joseph in Egypt. Genesis tells the full story of his rise and fall in the house of Potiphar, his imprisonment, release, and his promotion in Pharaoh’s administration.
Just before today’s epistle, Paul repeated his fervor for the Jews’ salvation. Now he cites Leviticus that whoever practices the Torah fully (an impossibility, he has argued) will by it live. Whereas one has to practice the Torah, one has only to accept Christ. But, even though their salvation is so near, (Paul quotes Deuteronomy 30:14, “the word is very near to you”), Jews do not see it. Paul quotes Isaiah and Joel to support his case that whoever, Jew or Gentile, accepts and confesses Christ will be saved. The eloquent last two verses of this epistle, “How then are they to call on him in whom they have not....” are an offertory sentence in the 1928 Prayer Book.
“Hast thou walked in the recesses of the deep?” God asks Job. “I [Wisdom] have walked in the depths of the abyss. In the waves of the sea...,” says Sirach. God “maketh the storm to cease, so that the waves thereof are still,” says Psalm 107. Such passages are behind this theophany of Christ on the sea after which those in the boat confess, “you are the Son of God.” The ghost-like Christ’s unexpected appearance to scared disciples on the water call to mind his visits to them after his resurrection.
—Rev. Stephen Weissman | St. Louis, Missouri
Reprinted with permission.
August 9, 2020 — Tenth Sunday after Pentecost