Evening Prayer 26th December 2016

Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. St. Matthew 5.10

Psalm 118

O give thanks to the Lord, for he is good;
    his steadfast love endures for ever!

Let Israel say,
    “His steadfast love endures for ever.”
Let the house of Aaron say,
    “His steadfast love endures for ever.”
Let those who fear the Lord say,
    “His steadfast love endures for ever.”

Out of my distress I called on the Lord;
    the Lord answered me and set me free.
With the Lord on my side I do not fear.
    What can man do to me?
The Lord is on my side to help me;
    I shall look in triumph on those who hate me.
It is better to take refuge in the Lord
    than to put confidence in man.
It is better to take refuge in the Lord
    than to put confidence in princes.

All nations surrounded me;
    in the name of the Lord I cut them off!
They surrounded me, surrounded me on every side;
    in the name of the Lord I cut them off!
They surrounded me like bees,
    they blazed like a fire of thorns;
    in the name of the Lord I cut them off!
I was pushed hard, so that I was falling,
    but the Lord helped me.
The Lord is my strength and my song;
    he has become my salvation.

Hark, glad songs of victory
    in the tents of the righteous:
“The right hand of the Lord does valiantly,
    the right hand of the Lord is exalted,
    the right hand of the Lord does valiantly!”
I shall not die, but I shall live,
    and recount the deeds of the Lord.
The Lord has chastened me sorely,
    but he has not given me over to death.

Open to me the gates of righteousness,
    that I may enter through them
    and give thanks to the Lord.

This is the gate of the Lord;
    the righteous shall enter through it.

I thank thee that thou hast answered me
    and hast become my salvation.
The stone which the builders rejected
    has become the head of the corner.
This is the Lord’s doing;
    it is marvelous in our eyes.
This is the day which the Lord has made;
    let us rejoice and be glad in it.
Save us, we beseech thee, O Lord!
    O Lord, we beseech thee, give us success!

Blessed be he who enters in the name of the Lord!
    We bless you from the house of the Lord.
The Lord is God,
    and he has given us light.
Bind the festal procession with branches,
    up to the horns of the altar!

Thou art my God, and I will give thanks to thee;
    thou art my God, I will extol thee.

O give thanks to the Lord, for he is good;
    for his steadfast love 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 ever shall be, world without end. Amen.

Wisdom 4:7-15

But the righteous man, though he die early, will be at rest.
For old age is not honored for length of time,
nor measured by number of years;
but understanding is gray hair for men,
and a blameless life is ripe old age.

There was one who pleased God and was loved by him,
and while living among sinners he was taken up.
He was caught up lest evil change his understanding
or guile deceive his soul.
For the fascination of wickedness obscures what is good,
and roving desire perverts the innocent mind.
Being perfected in a short time, he fulfilled long years;
for his soul was pleasing to the Lord,
therefore he took him quickly from the midst of wickedness.
Yet the peoples saw and did not understand,
nor take such a thing to heart,
that God’s grace and mercy are with his elect,
and he watches over his holy ones.

Acts 7.59-8.8

And as they were stoning Stephen, he prayed, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” And he knelt down and cried with a loud voice, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them.” And when he had said this, he fell asleep. And Saul was consenting to his death.

And on that day a great persecution arose against the church in Jerusalem; and they were all scattered throughout the region of Judea and Samar′ia, except the apostles. Devout men buried Stephen, and made great lamentation over him. But Saul laid waste the church, and entering house after house, he dragged off men and women and committed them to prison.

Now those who were scattered went about preaching the word. Philip went down to a city of Samar′ia, and proclaimed to them the Christ. And the multitudes with one accord gave heed to what was said by Philip, when they heard him and saw the signs which he did. For unclean spirits came out of many who were possessed, crying with a loud voice; and many who were paralyzed or lame were healed. So there was much joy in that city.

The Lord’s Prayer

Our Father, who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name;
thy kingdom come;
thy will be done;
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who
trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation;
but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom,
the power and the glory,
for ever and ever.
Amen.

The Collect

We give the thanks, O Lord of glory, for the example of the first martyr Stephen, who looked up to heaven and prayed for his persecutors to thy Son Jesus Christ, who standeth at thy right hand; where he liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, in glory everlasting. Amen.

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