Thursday, December 26, 2013

FEAST OF THE ST STEPHEN THE MARTYR

St Stephen icon by Tobias Haller
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.

(Book of Common Prayer)
If the humble beginnings of Jesus, the Christ, conceived by an unwed mother and born in a cold stable, a shelter for farm animals, is not real enough for us, the feast of St Stephen the Martyr jerks us violently back into reality.

Read Tobias' "Warning For Storytellers".

Acts 7:59-8:8
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 paralysed or lame were cured. So there was great joy in that city.

2 comments:

  1. Here's another Feast of St Stephen hymn I love: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JK_DlYgxm6s [#243 in the '82 Hymnal]

    ReplyDelete

Comment moderation is enabled. Anonymous comments are permitted so long as they are signed. Please use a name, any name, and sign your comment in order that one anonymous commenter may be distinguished from another. Thank you.