Morning Prayer 26.12.16, St. Stephen, Deacon & First Martyr

They had these men stand before the apostles, who prayed and laid their hands on them.

Our own Maria L. Evans, ordained deacon last week. Everyone who wears the collar becomes very visible to the public, and therefore vulnerable. Let us pray for the safety of our clergy all through the year, but especially now.

Our own Maria L. Evans, ordained deacon last week. Everyone who wears the collar becomes very visible to the public, and therefore vulnerable. Let us pray for the safety of our clergy all through the year, but especially now, in war zones and city streets.

Behold, the dwelling of God is with humankind. He will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself will be with them, and be their God. Revelation 21:3

INVITATORY AND PSALTER

Lord, open our lips.
And our mouth shall proclaim your praise.

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.

Psalm 100
Jubilate

Be joyful in the Lord, all you lands;
serve the Lord with gladness
and come before his presence with a song.

Know this: The Lord himself is God;
he himself has made us, and we are his;
we are his people and the sheep of his pasture.

Enter his gates with thanksgiving;
go into his courts with praise;
give thanks to him and call upon his Name.

For the Lord is good;
his mercy is everlasting;
and his faithfulness endures from age to age.

Psalm 28

1  O LORD, I call to you;
my Rock, do not be deaf to my cry; *
lest, if you do not hear me,
I become like those who go down to the Pit.
2  Hear the voice of my prayer when I cry out to you, *
when I lift up my hand to your holy of holies.
3  Do not snatch me away with the wicked or with the evildoers, *
who speak peaceably with their neighbors,
while strife is in their hearts.
4  Repay them according to their deeds, *
and according to the wickedness of their actions.
5  According to the work of their hands repay them, *
and give them their just deserts.
6  O LORD, they have no understanding of your doings,
nor of the works of your hands; *
therefore you will break them down and not build them up.
7  Blessed is the LORD! *
for you have heard the voice of my prayer.
8  The LORD is my strength and my shield; *
my heart trusts in you, and I have been helped;
9  Therefore my heart dances for joy, *
and in my song will I praise you.
10  You, O LORD, are the strength of your people, *
a safe refuge for your anointed.
11  Save your people and bless your inheritance; *
shepherd them and carry them for ever.

Psalm 30

1  I will exalt you, O LORD,
because you have lifted me up *
and have not let my enemies triumph over me.
2  O LORD my God, I cried out to you, *
and you restored me to health.
3  You brought me up, O LORD, from the dead; *
you restored my life as I was going down to the grave.
4  Sing to the LORD, you faithful servants; *
give thanks for the remembrance of God’s holiness.
5  For God’s wrath endures but the twinkling of an eye, *
God’s favor for a lifetime.
6  Weeping may spend the night, *
but joy comes in the morning.
7  While I felt secure, I said,
“I shall never be disturbed. *
You, LORD, with your favor, made me as strong as the mountains.”
8  Then you hid your face, *
and I was filled with fear.
9  I cried to you, O LORD; *
I pleaded with the Lord, saying,
10  “What profit is there in my blood, if I go down to the Pit? *
will the dust praise you or declare your faithfulness?
11  Hear, O LORD, and have mercy upon me; *
O LORD, be my helper.”
12  You have turned my wailing into dancing; *
you have put off my sack-cloth and clothed me with joy.
13  Therefore my heart sings to you without ceasing; *
O LORD my God, I will give you thanks 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 stoning of Zechariah, son of Barachiah, centuries before the stoning of Zechariah the prophet. (douglasbeaumont.com)

The stoning of Zechariah, son of Barachiah, centuries before the stoning of Zechariah the prophet, son of Jehoiada, described below. (douglasbeaumont.com)

THE LESSONS
2 Chronicles 24:17-22 (NRSV)

Now after the death of Jehoiada the officials of Judah came and did obeisance to the king; then the king listened to them. They abandoned the house of the LORD, the God of their ancestors, and served the sacred poles and the idols. And wrath came upon Judah and Jerusalem for this guilt of theirs. Yet he sent prophets among them to bring them back to the LORD; they testified against them, but they would not listen.

Then the spirit of God took possession of Zechariah son of the priest Jehoiada; he stood above the people and said to them, “Thus says God: Why do you transgress the commandments of the LORD, so that you cannot prosper? Because you have forsaken the LORD, he has also forsaken you.” But they conspired against him, and by command of the king they stoned him to death in the court of the house of the LORD. King Joash did not remember the kindness that Jehoiada, Zechariah’s father, had shown him, but killed his son. As he was dying, he said, “May the LORD see and avenge!”

Canticle: First Song of Isaiah
Isaiah 12:2-6

Surely, it is God who saves me; *
I will trust in him and not be afraid.
For the Lord is my stronghold and my sure defense, *
and he will be my Savior.
Therefore you shall draw water with rejoicing *
from the springs of salvation.
And on that day you shall say, *
Give thanks to the Lord and call upon his Name;
Make his deeds known among the peoples; *
see that they remember that his Name is exalted.
Sing the praises of the Lord, for he has done great things, *
and this is known in all the world.
Cry aloud, inhabitants of Zion, ring out your joy, *
for the great one in the midst of you is the Holy One of 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.

Giacomo Cavedone: St. Stephen. Paul approved of his being stoned to death, but Stephen's witness became a factor in Paul's conversion and missionary work.

Giacomo Cavedone: St. Stephen. Paul approved of his being stoned to death, but Stephen’s witness and murder spurred Paul’s conversion, complete repentance and lifelong missionary work.

Acts 6:1-7 (NRSV)

Now during those days, when the disciples were increasing in number, the Hellenists complained against the Hebrews because their widows were being neglected in the daily distribution of food. And the twelve called together the whole community of the disciples and said, “It is not right that we should neglect the word of God in order to wait on tables. Therefore, friends, select from among yourselves seven men of good standing, full of the Spirit and of wisdom, whom we may appoint to this task, while we, for our part, will devote ourselves to prayer and to serving the word.” What they said pleased the whole community, and they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and the Holy Spirit, together with Philip, Prochorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas, and Nicolaus, a proselyte of Antioch. They had these men stand before the apostles, who prayed and laid their hands on them.

The word of God continued to spread; the number of the disciples increased greatly in Jerusalem, and a great many of the priests became obedient to the faith.

Canticle: Song of the Redeemed
Revelation 15:3-4

O ruler of the universe, Lord God,
great deeds are they that you have done, *
surpassing human understanding.
Your ways are ways of righteousness and truth, *
O King of all the ages.

Who can fail to do you homage, Lord
and sing the praises of your Name? *
for you only are the Holy One.
All nations will draw near and fall down before you *
because your just and holy works have been revealed.

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.

A Nativity set in Pearland, Texas, outside Houston. (Clint Gilliland)

A Nativity set in Pearland, Texas, outside Houston. (Clint Gilliland)

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

The Lord be with you.
And also with you.
Let us pray.

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.

V.  Show us your mercy, O Lord;
R.  And grant us your salvation.
V.  Clothe your ministers with righteousness;
R.  Let your people sing with joy.
V.  Give peace, O Lord, in all the world;
R.  For only in you can we live in safety.
V.  Lord, keep this nation under your care;
R.  And guide us in the way of justice and truth.
V.  Let your way be known upon earth;
R.  Your saving health among all nations.
V.  Let not the needy, O Lord, be forgotten;
R.  Nor the hope of the poor be taken away.
V.  Create in us clean hearts, O God;
R.  And sustain us with your Holy Spirit.

The stoning of St. Stephen is a shocking thing, but well worth attending to closely, that the day after the joy of Christmas we are confronted with the horrific shock of seeing someone murdered for Christ. But this reality is contained within the Christ Mass itself; the lections and songs are full of the love of God, but the Sacrament begins “On the night he was handed over to suffering and death.” Stephen was the first martyr for Christ, a joyful deacon and powerful preacher so near to the heart and mind of Jesus that he had to be killed too. It was the ultimate honor, which is why the Church calls this a major feast day. (iconographer unknown)

The stoning of St. Stephen is a shocking thing, but well worth attending to closely, that the day after the joy of Christmas we are confronted with the horror of seeing someone murdered for Christ. But this reality is contained within the Christ Mass itself; the Sacrament begins “On the night he was handed over to suffering and death.” Stephen was the first martyr for Christ, a joyful deacon and powerful preacher so near to the heart and mind of Jesus that he had to be killed too. It was the ultimate honour, which is why the Church calls this a major feast day. (iconographer 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.

Collect for the Renewal of Life

O God, the King eternal, whose light divides the day from the night and turns the shadow of death into the morning: Drive far from us all wrong desires, incline our heart to keep your law, and guide our feet into the way of peace; that, having done your will with cheerfulness during the day, we may, when night comes, rejoice to give you thanks; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Monday Morning Prayer List: Most Recent

HM the Queen, age 90, down with a cold
Fr.Doug Yarbrough, multiple sclerosis, ICU
Sr. Judy, breast cancer
Rev. Andrew Brunson, American missionary detained in Turkey
Gayle, age 80, will to live
Cameron Lacy, leukemia
Jena, hand surgery
Clint’s daughter Julia Butcher
Rayell Segerstrom, melanoma
Ron, brain cancer
Sarah Tamilio, hit by car
Baylin, child with cancer, going through chemo
Maureen, discernment
Joseph Short, healing
Patrick Dayton, healing
Martha’s brother Lewis
Wanda Bell, COPD
Yvonne’s brother Keith, departed
Treese McIntyre-Allen, surgery, radiation & chemo
Clint, recovering from intense radiation

Please add your own intercessions, supplications and thanksgivings here.

For the Mission of the Church

Everliving God, whose will it is that all should come to you through your Son Jesus Christ: Inspire our witness to him, that all may know the power of his forgiveness and the hope of his resurrection; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

A Prayer of St. Chrysostom

Almighty God, you have given us grace at this time with one accord to make our common supplications to you; and you have promised through your well-beloved Son that when two or three are gathered together in his Name you will be in the midst of them: Fulfil now, O Lord, our desires and petitions as may be best for us; granting us in this world knowledge of your truth, and in the age to come life everlasting. 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 him from generation to generation in the Church, and in Christ Jesus for ever and ever. Amen. Ephesians 3:20-21++

VIDEO: This day Christ was born (William Byrd) – Quire Cleveland at Trinity Cathedral, 2010

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