Day Two — Thursday 26 December 2019 — Stephen, Deacon and Martyr

The Word was made flesh and dwelt amongst us. O come, let us worship. Alleluia


2 Chronicles 24.17-22 | Psalm 31.1-8 | Acts 6.8-10, 7.54-60 | Matthew 10.17-22 |


Niccolo Bambini. The Stoning of Stephen (Venice, c.1700) Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.



Let Your goodness Lord appear to us, that we
made in your image, conform ourselves to it.
In our own strength
we cannot imitate Your majesty, power, and wonder
nor is it fitting for us to try.
But Your mercy reaches from the heavens
through the clouds to the earth below.
You have come to us as a small child,
but you have brought us the greatest of all gifts,
the gift of eternal love
Caress us with Your tiny hands,
embrace us with Your tiny arms
and pierce our hearts with Your soft, sweet cries.
—St. Bernard of Clairvaux (1090-1153)

St Stephen
—Malcolm Guite.

Witness for Jesus, man of fruitful blood,
Your martyrdom begins and stands for all.
They saw the stones, you saw the face of God,
And sowed a seed that blossomed in St. Paul.
When Saul departed breathing threats and slaughter
He had to pass through that Damascus gate
Where he had held the coats and heard the laughter
As Christ, alive in you, forgave his hate,
And showed him the same light you saw from heaven
And taught him, through his blindness, how to see;
Christ did not ask 'Why were you stoning Stephen?'
But 'Saul, why are you persecuting me?'
Each martyr after you adds to his story,
As clouds of witness shine through clouds of glory.
—from Sounding the Seasons; Seventy Sonnets for the Christian Year. Norwich: Canterbury Press, 2012.

John Tavener (1984). Chant for Solo Guitar: a meditation on the ancient Byzantine hymn,
Phos Ilaron. Played by Samantha Muir.

May the Lord, who has called us out of darkness into his marvellous light, bless us and fill us with peace. Amen.

St Philip's Anglican Church,
cnr Moorhouse and Macpherson Streets, O'Connor, ACT 2602.