Evening Prayer 26.12.16, St. Stephen, Deacon & First Martyr for Christ

That day a severe persecution began against the church in Jerusalem, and all except the apostles were scattered throughout the countryside of Judea and Samaria.

Mauricio Andrade, the Bishop of Brasilia (and former Primate), posted pictures on Facebook of Christ gift deliveries to kids and families in the SAME after-school program we help support in the inner city. The two young women on the right got the enviable task of making children happy everywhere they went!

Mauricio Andrade, the Bishop of Brasilia, posted pictures on Facebook of Christmas gift deliveries to kids and families in the SAME after-school program we help support in the inner city. The two young women on the right got the enviable task of making children happy everywhere they went!

Behold, I bring you good news of a great joy which will come to all the people; for to you is born this day in the city of David, a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. Luke 2:10-11

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

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 118

1  Give thanks to the LORD, who is good; *
whose mercy endures for ever.
2  Let Israel now proclaim, *
“The mercy of the LORD endures for ever.”
3  Let the house of Aaron now proclaim, *
“The mercy of the LORD endures for ever.”
4  Let those who fear the LORD now proclaim, *
“The mercy of the LORD endures for ever.”
5  I called to the LORD in my distress; *
the LORD answered by setting me free.
6  The LORD is at my side, therefore I will not fear; *
what can anyone do to me?
7  The LORD is at my side to help me; *
I will triumph over those who hate me.
8  It is better to rely on the LORD *
than to put any trust in flesh.
9  It is better to rely on the LORD *
than to put any trust in rulers.
10  All the ungodly encompass me; *
in the Name of the LORD I will repel them.
11  They hem me in, they hem me in on every side; *
in the name of the LORD I will repel them.
12  They swarm about me like bees;
they blaze like a fire of thorns; *
in the name of the LORD I will repel them.
13  I was pressed so hard that I almost fell, *
but the LORD came to my help.

14  The LORD is my strength and my song, *
and has become my salvation.
15  There is a sound of exultation and victory *
in the tents of the righteous:
16  ”The right hand of the LORD has triumphed! *
the right hand of the LORD is exalted!
the right hand of the LORD has triumphed!”
17  I shall not die, but live, *
and declare the works of the LORD.
18  The LORD has punished me sorely, *
but he did not hand me over to death.

19  Open for me the gates of righteousness; *
I will enter them;
I will offer thanks to the LORD.
20  ”This is the gate of the LORD; *
those who are righteous may enter.”
21  I will give thanks to you, for you answered me *
and have become my salvation.
22  The same stone which the builders rejected *
has become the chief cornerstone.
23  This is the LORD’s doing, *
and it is marvelous in our eyes.
24  On this day the LORD has acted; *
we will rejoice and be glad in it.

25  Hosanna, LORD, hosanna! *
LORD, send us now success.
26  Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord; *
we bless you from the house of the LORD.
27  God is the LORD, who has shined upon us; *
form a procession with branches up to the horns of the altar.
28  “You are my God, and I will thank you; *
you are my God, and I will exalt you.”
29  Give thanks to the LORD, who is good; *
whose mercy endures 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.

Amaryllis (Adobe Stock)

Amaryllis (Adobe Stock)

THE LESSONS
Wisdom 4:7-15 (NRSV)

But the righteous, though they die early, will be at rest. 
For old age is not honored for length of time,
or measured by number of years; 
but understanding is gray hair for anyone,
and a blameless life is ripe old age.

There were some who pleased God and were loved by him,
and while living among sinners were taken up. 
They were caught up so that evil might not change their understanding
or guile deceive their souls. 
For the fascination of wickedness obscures what is good,
and roving desire perverts the innocent mind. 
Being perfected in a short time, they fulfilled long years; 
for their souls were pleasing to the Lord,
therefore he took them quickly from the midst of wickedness. 
Yet the peoples saw and did not understand,
or take such a thing to heart,
that God’s grace and mercy are with his elect,
and that he watches over his holy ones.

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.

Acts 7:59 – 8:8 (NRSV)

While they were stoning Stephen, he prayed, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” Then he knelt down and cried out in a loud voice, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them.” When he had said this, he died. And Saul approved of their killing him.

That day a severe persecution began against the church in Jerusalem, and all except the apostles were scattered throughout the countryside of Judea and Samaria. Devout men buried Stephen and made loud lamentation over him. But Saul was ravaging the church by entering house after house; dragging off both men and women, he committed them to prison.

Now those who were scattered went from place to place, proclaiming the word. Philip went down to the city of Samaria and proclaimed the Messiah to them. The crowds with one accord listened eagerly to what was said by Philip, hearing and seeing the signs that he did, for unclean spirits, crying with loud shrieks, came out of many who were possessed; and many others who were paralyzed or lame were cured. So there was great joy in that city.

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.

Stephen, the first Deacon and first Martyr in Christendom. The apostles' laying of hands on Stephen and his brothers became the outward and visible sign of the sacrament of ordination. (artist unknown)

Stephen, first among deacons and first martyr for Christ. The apostles’ laying of hands on Stephen and his brothers became the outward and visible sign of the sacrament of ordination. (artist unknown)

Collect of the Day: St. Stephen, Deacon and Martyr

We give you thanks, O Lord of glory, for the example of the first martyr Stephen, who looked up to heaven and prayed for his persecutors to your Son Jesus Christ, who stands at your right hand; where he lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, in glory everlasting. 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.

Monday Evening Prayer List: Thanksgivings

Ordination of Maria & Leslie
Daily Office Network’s 12th Anniversary
Alcina home from hospital
Birth of grandson Henry
Our mission partners in Haiti, Liberia, Brazil and on the Rosebud Reservation
Those who give to food banks and pantries, and all who receive
Community Health Centers and Free Clinics

A Collect 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.

The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, be with us all evermore. Amen. 2 Corinthians 13:14++

VIDEO: The Queen’s Christmas Message 2016 – broadcast yesterday

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