Prepare for The Sunday of the Deaf-Mute (09/08)

Faith Comes from Hearing

A man who was deaf and therefore also had an impediment in his speech was brought to Jesus (Mark 7:31–37). In the same way, all are by nature deaf toward God and therefore also unable to confess the faith rightly. For “faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ” (Rom. 10:9–17). Jesus put His fingers into the man’s ears, and He spat and touched His tongue. Even so in Holy Baptism, water sanctified by the words of Jesus’ mouth is applied to us; and the finger of God, that is, the llife-giving Holy Spirit (2 Cor. 3:4–11) is put into our ears in the hearing of the baptismal Gospel. Jesus’ sighing “Ephphatha” opened the man’s ears, and his tongue was loosed to speak plainly as Isaiah prophesied of the Messiah, “In that day the deaf shall hear the words of a book” (Is. 29:18–24) So also, He who sighed and breathed His last on the cross for us has given us to hear and believe in Him and has opened our lips that our mouths may declare His praise.

Within the liturgy for each Lord’s day, we receive the Word of God through uniquely appointed readings, psalms, hymns, and prayers. This week we will pray the Divine Service Setting Four (audio of this liturgy). The following guide will help you to prepare to hear and sing the Propers, i.e. the varied texts and hymns for this week.

Collect of the Day: Almighty and merciful God, by Your gift alone Your faithful people render true and laudable service. Help us steadfastly to live in this life according to Your promises and finally attain Your heavenly glory; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.


Old Testament: Is. 29:17-24
Psalm 146
Epistle: 2 Cor. 3:4-11
Gospel: Mark 7:31-37


791All people that on earth do dwellOld Hundredth (Herr Gott, dich loben)Video

The words to “All People That on Earth Do Dwell” were written by William Kethe, a Scottish clergyman who had fled the persecutions of Queen Mary.  His exile took him first to Frankfurt, Germany and then to Geneva.  Kethe helped with the translation of the Geneva Bible in 1560 and contributed 25 psalms to the Anglo-Genevan Psalter.

Kethe left Geneva for England in 1561 and took a copy of the Anglo-Genevan Psalter with him—thereby introducing this music to the English.  A number of his psalms found their way into the English Psalter of 1562, which was published by Thomas Sternhold and John Hopkins.  All of his psalms were included in the Scottish Psalter two years later.

“All People That on Earth Do Dwell” is based on Psalm 100.  That Psalm is five verses in length, and the song is four verses.  The first verse of the song is based on verses 1 and 2 of the psalm, and each of the subsequent verses of the song is based on one verse of the psalm. 

The tune by Bourgeois is known today as “Old Hundredth,” and is one of the best-known tunes in the hymnal—in large measure because it is also sung to the Doxology, “Praise God from Whom All Blessings Flow.”

545Word of God, come down on earthLiebster Jesu, wir sind hierVideo

Father James Quinn, SJ (1919-2010), author of this hymn said, “Hymns fundamentally declare the Christian faith. They are our source book for teaching and for sermons.” Hymns “are to convey the words of Christ memorably.” He stated that the language of hymns should be “clear but not banal and above all simple.”

“Word of God, Come Down to Earth” is a skillful commentary on John 1:14, “And the Word became flesh and lived among us, and we have seen his glory.” Stanza one describes the presence of the Word made flesh through the metaphor of “living rain from heaven descending.” “We long to hear” what the Word made flesh has to say to us.

Stanza two articulates the antithesis between the “Word eternal, throned on high” and the “Word that came from heaven to die.” The stanza ends with an imperative: “speak to us” of “your love outpouring.”

Stanza three, referring to Christ’s miracles, states that the “Word . . . caused blind eyes to see.” Then he petitions Christ to “speak and heal our mortal blindness.” The stanza also asks for our deafness to be healed and that our tongues should be loosened “to tell your kindness.” Just as Christ healed others during his earthly life, Fr. Quinn asks that Christ “heal the world, by our sin broken.”

The final stanza contains echoes of a Trinitarian doxology. The stanza begins with the “Father’s love,” spoken by the Word, who is “one with God” (Christ). The Word also “sends us from above, God the Spirit.” The final stanza closes with an unmistakable Christological reference, “Word of truth,” and Lord’s Supper allusion “Word of Life, with one Bread feed us.”

421Jesus, grant that balm and healingDer am KreuzVideo

As a hymn writer Heermann ranks with the best of his century, some indeed regarding him as second only to Gerhardt. He had begun writing Latin poems about 1605 and was crowned as a poet at Brieg on Oct. 8, 1608. He marks the transition from the objective standpoint of the hymn writers of the Reformation period to the more subjective and experimental school that followed him. His hymns are distinguished by depth and tenderness of feeling; by firm faith and confidence in face of trial; by deep love to Christ, and humble submission to the will of God. Many of them became at once popular, passed into the hymnbooks, and still hold their place among the classics of German hymnody. 

811Oh, that I had a thousand voicesO dass ich tausend Zungen hatte (Konig)Video

Johann Mentzer was born on July 27, 1658, in Selesia, and studied theology in Wittenberg. He served as pastor of a small village church in Chemnitz, Germany. Most of the people in his church were a simple folk who lived in great poverty. Mentzer would offer them strength by telling them that the trials of life would only last a while and that no matter the situation, they could still lift their eyes to heaven and give praise and thanks to the Lord.

One night, as Johann was returning home from a Bible meeting in a nearby village, he saw a terrible sight. Someone had set his house (or barn according to some reports) ablaze. The tragic fire devastated Mentzer. His first reaction was to be filled with self-pity as he filtered through the rubble, but it was then that one of his members reminded him that he was to praise the Lord, whatever the circumstances, just as he had told them to do! A short time later Mentzer wrote these wonderful words, “Oh, that I had a thousand voices to praise my God with thousand tongues.” Originally the hymn contained 15 verses. Some hymn books have divided up the verses into two different hymns— both with the same title.

578Thy strong word did cleave the darknessEbenezerVideoHymn Study

“Thy Strong Word” was written by Martin Franzmann in 1954 and 1959 as a processional hymn for the commencement service at Concordia Seminary, St. Louis (whose motto is based on Matt. 4:16: “Light from above”). Through this hymn, the Christian Church sings of the enlightening Word of Christ, written by inspiration of the Holy Spirit, translated by faithful pastors and teachers, printed and proclaimed to anyone who will listen and anyone who will read. Johannes Gutenberg was used by God to extend the light of the Gospel, enlightening all who would receive the light of Christ by faith (John 1:9).

841O Son of God, in GalileeTwenty-Fourth (Primrose)Video

Anna Hoppe was born on May 7, 1889 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. She left school after the eighth grade and worked as a stenographer. She began writing patriotic verses when she was very young and by the age of 25 she was writing spiritual poetry. After some of her poems appeared in the Northwestern Lutheran, a periodical of the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod, they came to the attention of Dr. Adolf Hult of Augustana Seminary, Rock Island, Illinois. He influenced her to write her Songs for the Church Year (1928). Several hymnals include her work, which was usually set to traditional chorale melodies, although she also made a number of translations. She died on August 2, 1941 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. 

797Praise the Almighty, my soul, adore HimLobe den Herren, o meine SeeleVideo

In the hymn Praise the Almighty, John Daniel Herrnschmidt (1675–1723) provides a beautiful summary of Psalm 146, which speaks of God as the true ground of faith because of all his merciful works towards us. So in today’s Gospel Jesus has mercy on the deaf-mute. No one could help him—only Jesus. He is the one who “executes judgment for the oppressed.” (Psalm 146:7) Just as Jesus could not silence those who proclaimed his great deeds in Mark 7, so we do not keep silence about the mercy God has shown to us, and which we see so clearly portrayed for us in the woman whose daughter was demon-possessed and the man who could neither hear nor speak.