Evening Prayer 9.9.15, Constance & Companions, the Martyrs of Memphis, 1878

In the time of King Herod, after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, asking, “Where is the child who has been born king of the Jews?”

St. Mary's Cathedral, Memphis, Tennessee. It has helped the city respond to two major crises in its history; besides the yellow fever epidemic of 1878, it was the scene of a dramatic march after the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in 1968. Clergy from many churches and synagogues gathered there for an emergency meeting after which the Dean, William Dimmick, picked up the processional cross and led the way to City Hall to ask the mayor to settle the sanitation workers' strike which had brought King to the city. Dimmick's heroic leadership nevertheless led to a backlash among his white parishioners; half of them left and never went back. (originalmemphis.org)

St. Mary’s Cathedral, Memphis, Tennessee has helped the city respond to two major crises in its history; besides the yellow fever epidemic of 1878, it was the scene of a dramatic march after the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in 1968. Clergy from many churches and synagogues gathered there for an emergency meeting, after which the Dean, William Dimmick, picked up the processional cross and led the ministers, priests and rabbis to City Hall, to ask the mayor to settle the sanitation workers’ strike which had brought King to the city. Dimmick’s heroic leadership nevertheless led to a backlash among his white parishioners; half of them left and never went back. (originalmemphis.org)

Worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness; let the whole earth tremble before the Holy One. Psalm 96:9

INVITATORY AND PSALTER

O God, make speed to save us.
O Lord, make haste to help us.

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit:
as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be for ever. Amen. Alleluia.

Hymn: O Gracious Light
Phos hilaron

O gracious Light,
pure brightness of the everliving Father in heaven,
O Jesus Christ, holy and blessed!
Now as we come to the setting of the sun,
and our eyes behold the vesper light,
we sing your praises, O God: Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
You are worthy at all times to be praised by happy voices,
O Son of God, O Giver of life,
and to be glorified through all the worlds.

Psalm 49

Hear this, all you peoples;
hearken, all you who dwell in the world, *
you of high degree and low, rich and poor together.
My mouth shall speak of wisdom, *
and my heart shall meditate on understanding.
I will incline my ear to a proverb *
and set forth my riddle upon the harp.
Why should I be afraid in evil days, *
when the wickedness of those at my heels surrounds me,
The wickedness of those who put their trust in their goods, *
and boast of their great riches?
We can never ransom ourselves, *
or deliver to God the price of our life;
For the ransom of our life is so great, *
that we should never have enough to pay it,
In order to live for ever and ever, *
and never see the grave.
For we see that the wise die also;
like the dull and stupid they perish *
and leave their wealth to those who come after them.
Their graves shall be their homes for ever,
their dwelling places from generation to generation, *
though they call the lands after their own names.
Even though honored, they cannot live for ever; *
they are like the beasts that perish.
Such is the way of those who foolishly trust in themselves, *
and the end of those who delight in their own words.
Like a flock of sheep they are destined to die;
death is their shepherd; *
they go down straightway to the grave.
Their form shall waste away, *
and the land of the dead shall be their home.
But God will ransom my life; *
and snatch me from the grasp of death.
Do not be envious when some become rich, *
or when the grandeur of their house increases;
For they will carry nothing away at their death, *
nor will their grandeur follow them.
Though they thought highly of themselves while they lived, *
and were praised for their success,
They shall join the company of their ancestors, *
who will never see the light again.
Those who are honored, but have no understanding, *
are like the beasts that perish.

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit: *
as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be for ever. Amen.

3WiseMenOnCamels

THE LESSON
Matthew 2:1-12 (NRSV)

In the time of King Herod, after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, asking, “Where is the child who has been born king of the Jews? For we observed his star at its rising, and have come to pay him homage.” When King Herod heard this, he was frightened, and all Jerusalem with him; and calling together all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Messiah was to be born. They told him, “In Bethlehem of Judea; for so it has been written by the prophet:

‘And you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah,
are by no means least among the rulers of Judah;
for from you shall come a ruler
who is to shepherd my people Israel.’ ”

Then Herod secretly called for the wise men and learned from them the exact time when the star had appeared. Then he sent them to Bethlehem, saying, “Go and search diligently for the child; and when you have found him, bring me word so that I may also go and pay him homage.” When they had heard the king, they set out; and there, ahead of them, went the star that they had seen at its rising, until it stopped over the place where the child was. When they saw that the star had stopped, they were overwhelmed with joy. On entering the house, they saw the child with Mary his mother; and they knelt down and paid him homage. Then, opening their treasure chests, they offered him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. And having been warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they left for their own country by another road.

Canticle: The Song of Simeon
Luke 2:29-32

Lord, you now have set your servant free *
to go in peace as you have promised;
For these eyes of mine have seen the Savior, *
whom you have prepared for all the world to see:
A Light to enlighten the nations, *
and the glory of your people Israel.

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit: *
as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be for ever. Amen.

THE APOSTLES’ CREED

I believe in God, the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth.
I believe in Jesus Christ, God’s only Son, our Lord.
who was conceived by the Holy Spirit,
born of the Virgin Mary,
suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, died and was buried;
he descended to the dead.
On the third day he rose again;
he ascended into heaven,
he is seated at the right hand of the Father,
and he will come again to judge the living and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Spirit,
the holy catholic Church,
the communion of saints,
the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body,
and the life everlasting. Amen.

THE PRAYERS

Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your Name,
your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who sin against us.
Save us from the time of trial, and deliver us from evil.
For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours, now and for ever. Amen.

That this evening may be holy, good, and peaceful,
We entreat you, O Lord.
That your holy angels may lead us in paths of peace and goodwill,
We entreat you, O Lord.
That we may be pardoned and forgiven for our sins and offenses,
We entreat you, O Lord.
That there may be peace to your Church and to the whole world,
We entreat you, O Lord.
That we may depart this life in your faith and fear,
and not be condemned before the great judgment seat of Christ,
We entreat you, O Lord.
That we may be bound together by your Holy Spirit
in the communion of all your saints,
entrusting one another and all our life to Christ,
We entreat you, O Lord.

A window at St. Mary's Cathedral, Memphis, Tennessee commemorates Sr. Constance and all other members of the Community of St. Mary, which has served the cathedral community since 1873. (Gary Bridgman/Wikipedia)

A window at St. Mary’s Cathedral, Memphis, Tennessee commemorates Sr. Constance and all other members of the Community of St. Mary, which has served the cathedral community since 1873. (Gary Bridgman/Wikipedia)

Collect of the Day: Constance and Her Companions, Commonly Called “The Martyrs of Memphis,” 1878

We give you thanks and praise, O God of compassion, for the heroic witness of Constance and her companions, who, in a time of plague and pestilence, were steadfast in their care for the sick and the dying, and loved not their own lives, even unto death. Inspire in us a like love and commitment to those in need, following the example of our Savior Jesus Christ; who with you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

A Prayer for Elizabeth II
on her becoming the longest-serving monarch in history

QueenOfAustralia

Almighty God, whose Son Jesus Christ exchanged the glory of a heavenly throne for the form of a servant, we thank you that you have given Elizabeth the Queen a heart to serve her people, and have kept her devoted in this service beyond all who were before her: encourage us by her example to serve one another, and to seek the common good, until you call us all to reign with Christ in your eternal kingdom. Amen.

A Collect for Protection

O God, the life of all who live, the light of the faithful, the strength of those who labor, and the repose of the dead: We thank you for the blessings of the day that is past, and humbly ask for your protection through the coming night. Bring us in safety to the morning hours; through him who died and rose again for us, your Son our Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.

for the beauty of the Earth: Yellowstone National Park, USA. (Br. John Huebner, C.G.)

for the beauty of the Earth: Yellowstone National Park, USA. (Br. John Huebner, C.G.)

For the Beauty of the Earth

We give you thanks, most gracious God, for the beauty of earth and sky and sea; for the richness of mountains, plains, and rivers; for the songs of birds and the loveliness of flowers. We praise you for these good gifts, and pray that we may safeguard them for our posterity. Grant that we may continue to grow in our grateful enjoyment of your abundant creation, to the honor and glory of your Name, now and for ever. Amen.

A Collect for Peace

Most holy God, the source of all good desires, all right judgments, and all just works: Give to us, your servants, that peace which the world cannot give, so that our minds may be fixed on the doing of your will, and that we, being delivered from the fear of all enemies, may live in peace and quietness; through the mercies of Christ Jesus our Savior. Amen.

Wednesday Evening Prayer List

For Disaster Victims
Refugee Crisis in Europe
Wildfires in the Western USA
Famine and warfare in South Sudan

For Prisoners
Prisoners of ISIS & Boko Haram
Victims of human trafficking
Guantanamo; political prisoners

The innocent, the guilty, the victims of crime
Children and families of prisoners
Prison chaplains and ministries, especially Sally & Francesca
John P. Craine House, diversion and prevention programs
Sr. Helen Prejean and all prison reformers
All who are condemned to die

For those who suffer for the sake of Conscience

O God our Father, whose Son forgave his enemies while he was suffering shame and death: Strengthen those who suffer for the sake of conscience; when they are accused, save them from speaking in hate; when they are rejected, save them from bitterness; when they are imprisoned, save them from despair; and to us your servants, give grace to respect their witness and to discern the truth, that our society may be cleansed and strengthened. This we ask for the sake of Jesus Christ, our merciful and righteous Judge. Amen.

Prayer for Mission

O God and Father of all, whom the whole heavens adore: Let the whole earth also worship you, all nations obey you, all tongues confess and bless you, and men and women everywhere love you and serve you in peace; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Let us bless the Lord.
Thanks be to God.

Glory to God whose power, working in us, can do infinitely more than we can ask or imagine: Glory to God from generation to generation in the Church, and in Christ Jesus for ever and ever. Amen.++

Historic view of the Memphis Martyrs, including Christians of many denominations.

Historic view of the Memphis Martyrs, including Christians of many denominations.

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