Total Pageviews


Saint Stephen's Day - 2012

Saint Stephen’s Day.
The Collect.
Grant, O Lord, that in all our sufferings here upon earth for the testimony of thy truth, we may stedfastly look up to heaven, and by faith behold the glory that shall be revealed; and, being filled with the Holy Ghost, may learn to love and bless our persecutors by the example of thy first Martyr Saint Stephen, who prayed for his murderers to thee, O blessed Jesus, who standest at the right hand of God to succour all those that suffer for thee, our only Mediator and Advocate. Amen.

[Then shall follow the Collect of the Nativity, which shall be said continually unto New-year’s Eve.]

Epistle Reading: Acts (6.8-7.53) 7.54-60
Gospel Reading: St. Matthew 23.34-39

Massey Hamilton Shepherd, Jr.:
“The commemoration of the Church’s first martyr on 26 December is common to the universal Church. The feast was instituted in the fourth century, probably at Jerusalem, and rapidly spread to all the churches, for the period was one of much development in the ‘cult of martyrs.’ ( . . . ) The Collect of the Gregorian Sacramentary, slightly shortened in the 1549 Book, dwelt simply upon the thought of our need to love and pray for our enemies. The 1662 revisers expanded this Collect into the form we now have, filling in material from the Epistle, and changing the address from the first to the second Person of the Godhead” (“The Oxford American Prayer Book Commentary,” 99).

The Church’s One Foundation
Samuel J. Stone

 The Church's one foundation
is Jesus Christ her Lord;
she is his new creation,
by water and the word:
from heaven he came and sought her
to be his holy bride;
with his own blood he bought her,
and for her life he died.

Elect from every nation,
yet one o’er all the earth,
her charter of salvation:
one Lord, one faith, one birth;
one holy name she blesses,
partakes one holy food,
and to one hope she presses
with every grace endued.

Though with a scornful wonder
we see her sore oppressed,
by schisms rent asunder,
by heresies distressed:
yet saints their watch are keeping,
their cry goes up, “How long?”
and soon the night of weeping
shall be the morn of song.

The church shall never perish!
Her dear Lord to defend,
To guide, sustain, and cherish,
Is with her to the end;
Though there be those that hate her,
And false sons in her pale,
Against or foe or traitor
She ever shall prevail.

’Mid toil and tribulation,
and tumult of her war,
she waits the consummation
of peace forevermore,
till with the vision glorious
her longing eyes are blest,
and the great Church victorious
shall be the Church at rest.

Yet she on earth hath union
with God, the Three in One,
and mystic sweet communion
With those whose rest is won:
O happy ones and holy!
Lord, give us grace that we,
like them, the meek and lowly,
on high may dwell with thee.
Primus Pilus II