Evening Prayer 23.2.16, Polycarp, Bishop of Smyrna & Martyr, 156

Whoever does the will of God is my brother and sister and mother.

The Very Rev. Miguelina Howell was installed as Dean of Christ Church Cathedral, Hartford, Connecticut, last week, becoming the first Latina cathedral dean in The Episcopal Church. She is a native of the Dominican Republic, raised in The Episcopal Church; as a child she lived across the street from her Episcopal school, and used to "play church" when no one was looking. (diocesan photo)

The Very Rev. Miguelina Howell was installed as Dean of Christ Church Cathedral, Hartford, Connecticut, last week, becoming the first Latina cathedral dean in The Episcopal Church. She is a native of the Dominican Republic, raised in The Episcopal Church; as a child she lived across the street from her Episcopal school, and used to “play church” when no one was looking. (diocesan photo)

To the Lord our God belong mercy and forgiveness, because we have rebelled against him and have not obeyed the voice of the Lord our God by following his laws which he set before us. Daniel 9:9-10

GENERAL CONFESSION

God of all mercy,
we confess that we have sinned against you,
opposing your will in our lives.
We have denied your goodness in each other,
in ourselves, and in the world you have created.
We repent of the evil that enslaves us,
the evil we have done,
and the evil done on our behalf.
Forgive, restore, and strengthen us
through our Savior Jesus Christ,
that we may abide in your love
and serve only your will. Amen.

Almighty God have mercy on us, forgive us all our sins through the grace of Jesus Christ, strengthen us in all goodness, and by the power of the Holy Spirit keep us in eternal life. Amen.

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.

Hymn: Light of the World
Phos hilaron

Light of the world in grace and beauty,
Mirror of God’s eternal face,
Transparent flame of love’s free duty,
You bring salvation to our race.
Now, as we see the lights of evening,
We raise our voice in hymns of praise;
Worthy are you of endless blessing,
Sun of our night, lamp of our days.

Psalm 68:1-20, 24-36

O God, arise, and let your enemies be scattered; *
let those who hate you flee before you.
Let them vanish like smoke when the wind drives it away; *
as the wax melts at the fire,
so let the wicked perish at the presence of God.
But let the righteous be glad and rejoice before God; *
let them also be merry and joyful.
Sing to God, sing praises to God’s Name;
exalt the One who rides upon the heavens; *
The Name of our God is the LORD; rejoice before the LORD!
Defender of widows, father of orphans, *
God in heaven’s holy habitation!
God gives the solitary a home and brings forth prisoners into freedom; *
but the rebels shall live in dry places.
O God, when you went forth before your people, *
when you marched through the wilderness,
The earth shook, and the skies poured down rain,
at the presence of God, the God of Sinai, *
at the presence of God, the God of Israel.
You sent a gracious rain, O God, upon your inheritance; *
you refreshed the land when it was weary.
Your people found their home in it; *
in your goodness, O God, you have made provision for the poor.
The Lord gave the word; *
great was the company of women who bore the tidings:
“Kings with their armies are fleeing away; *
the women at home are dividing the spoils.”
Though you lingered among the sheepfolds, *
you shall be like a dove whose wings are covered with silver,
whose feathers are like green gold.
When the Almighty scattered kings, *
it was like snow falling in Zalmon.
O mighty mountain, O hill of Bashan! *
O rugged mountain, O hill of Bashan!
Why do you look with envy, O rugged mountain,
at the hill which God chose to rest? *
truly the LORD will dwell there for ever.
The chariots of God are twenty thousand,
even thousands of thousands; *
the Lord comes in holiness from Sinai.
You have gone up on high and led captivity captive;
you have received gifts even from your enemies, *
that the LORD God might dwell among them.
Blessed be the Lord day by day, *
the God of our salvation, who bears our burdens.
You are our God, the God of our salvation; *
God is the LORD, by whom we escape death.

They see your procession, O God, *
your procession into the sanctuary, my Sovereign and my God.
The singers go before, musicians follow after, *
in the midst of the maidens playing upon the hand-drums.
Bless God in the congregation; *
bless the LORD, you that are of the fountain of Israel.
There is Benjamin, least of the tribes, at the head;
the princes of Judah in a company; *
and the princes of Zebulon and Naphtali.
Send forth your strength, O God; *
establish, O God, what you have wrought for us.
Rulers shall bring gifts to you, *
for your temple’s sake at Jerusalem.
Rebuke the wild beast of the reeds, *
and the peoples, a herd of wild bulls with its calves.
Trample down those who lust after silver; *
scatter the peoples that delight in war.
Let tribute be brought out of Egypt; *
let Ethiopia stretch out her hands to God.
Sing to God, O realms of the earth; *
sing praises to the Lord.
God rides in the heavens, the ancient heavens; *
God’s voice thunders forth, a mighty voice.
Ascribe power to God; *
whose majesty is over Israel;
whose strength is in the skies.
How wonderful is God in the holy places! *
the God of Israel giving strength and power to the chosen people!
Blessed be God!

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 LESSON
Mark 3:19b-35 (NRSV)

Then Jesus went home; and the crowd came together again, so that they could not even eat. When his family heard it, they went out to restrain him, for people were saying, “He has gone out of his mind.” And the scribes who came down from Jerusalem said, “He has Beelzebul, and by the ruler of the demons he casts out demons.” And he called them to him, and spoke to them in parables, “How can Satan cast out Satan? If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. And if a house is divided against itself, that house will not be able to stand. And if Satan has risen up against himself and is divided, he cannot stand, but his end has come. But no one can enter a strong man’s house and plunder his property without first tying up the strong man; then indeed the house can be plundered.

“Truly I tell you, people will be forgiven for their sins and whatever blasphemies they utter; but whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit can never have forgiveness, but is guilty of an eternal sin”—for they had said, “He has an unclean spirit.” Then his mother and his brothers came; and standing outside, they sent to him and called him. A crowd was sitting around him; and they said to him, “Your mother and your brothers and sisters are outside, asking for you.” And he replied, “Who are my mother and my brothers?” And looking at those who sat around him, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers! Whoever does the will of God is my brother and sister and mother.”

Canticle: The Song of Mary
Luke 1:46-55

My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord,
my spirit rejoices in you, O God my Savior, *
for you have looked with favor on your lowly servant.
From this day all generations will call me blessed: *
you, the Almighty, have done great things for me,
and holy is your Name.
You have mercy on those who fear you *
from generation to generation.
You have shown strength with your arm, *
and scattered the proud in their conceit,
Casting down the mighty from their thrones, *
and lifting up the lowly.
You have filled the hungry with good things, *
and sent the rich away empty.
You have come to the help of your servant Israel, *
for you have remembered your promise of mercy,
The promise made to our forebears, *
to Abraham and his children for ever.

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.

St. Polycarp Extinguishing the Fire at Smyrna; at the church that bears his name, Izmir (Smyrna), Turkey. He was a direct disciple of St. John the Evangelist, and therefore an Apostolic Father. He was martyred at 86 for refusing to curse Christ and burn incense to the emperor. While his age at martyrdom is remarkable, the manner in which he conducted himself was even more so - full of innocence, grace, wisdom, forgiveness, he won over his captors sent to fetch him to Rome, who allowed him to make a kind of farewell tour of episcopal visitations along the route, meeting and encouraging others, blessing all he met. His goodness so embarrassed the Empire that they put a stop to all persecutions for awhile - until another Emperor rose up to demand worship. (artist unknown)

St. Polycarp Extinguishing the Fire at Smyrna, a mural at the church that bears his name in Izmir (Smyrna), Turkey. He was a direct disciple of St. John the Evangelist, and therefore an Apostolic Father,  martyred at 86 for refusing to curse Christ and burn incense to the emperor. While his age at martyrdom is remarkable, the manner in which he conducted himself was even more so – full of innocence, grace, wisdom and gentle forgiveness, he fed the captors sent to fetch him. Facing the proconsul’s demands to denounce Christ at the stadium, Polycarp replied, “Eighty-six years have I served him, and he never did me any wrong. How can I blaspheme my King who saved me?” They tried burning him at the stake, and when that didn’t work they stabbed him to death. Never was there so joyful a martyr! (artist unknown)

Collect of the Day: Polycarp, Bishop and Martyr of Smyrna, 156

O God, the maker of heaven and earth, you gave your venerable servant, the holy and gentle Polycarp, boldness to confess Jesus Christ as King and Saviour, and steadfastness to die for his faith: Give us grace, following his example, to share the cup of Christ and rise to eternal life; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Collect for Tuesday in the Second Week of Lent

O God, you willed to redeem us from all iniquity by your Son: Deliver us when we are tempted to regard sin without abhorrence, and let the virtue of his passion come between us and our mortal enemy; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

A Collect for Aid against Perils

Be our light in the darkness, O Lord, and in your great mercy defend us from all perils and dangers of this night; for the love of your only Son, our Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.

Tuesday Evening Prayer List

For the Departed
Talma DeLong
Dick Seage
Bishop Dan
Br. Bernard, SSJE

Please add your own prayers here.

Prayer for Mission

O God, you manifest in your servants the signs of your presence: Send forth upon us the Spirit of love, that in companionship with one another your abounding grace may increase among us; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

The General Thanksgiving

Almighty God, Father of all mercies,
we your unworthy servants give you humble thanks
for all your goodness and loving-kindness
to us and to all whom you have made.
We bless you for our creation, preservation,
and all the blessings of this life;
but above all for your immeasurable love
in the redemption of the world by our Lord Jesus Christ;
for the means of grace, and for the hope of glory.
And, we pray, give us such an awareness of your mercies,
that with truly thankful hearts we may show forth your praise,
not only with our lips, but in our lives,
by giving up our selves to your service,
and by walking before you
in holiness and righteousness all our days;
through Jesus Christ our Lord,
to whom, with you and the Holy Spirit,
be honor and glory throughout all ages. Amen.

Let us bless the Lord.
Thanks be to God.

May the Sun of Righteousness shine upon you and scatter the darkness from before your path; and the blessing of God Almighty, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, be among you, and remain with you always. Amen.++

VIDEO: Polycarp of Smyrna – Postapostolic Church, 2014

READ: The Martyrdom of Polycarp and other original documents of the Apostolic Fathers here.

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