Service for the Feast of Saint Stephen, Martyr
Rev. Gregory Mech, pastor | December 26, 2021 | Feast of Saint Stephen | Immanuel Lutheran Church – Joplin, Missouri | 8:00 or 10:30 am
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And as they were stoning Stephen, he called out, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” And falling to his knees he cried out with a loud voice, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them.” And when he had said this, he fell asleep. Acts 7
The Feast of Saint Stephen, Martyr
December 26, 2021 – Divine Service, Setting One
HYMN OF INVOCATION “It Came upon the Midnight Clear” 366
It came upon the midnight clear,
That glorious song of old,
From angels bending near the earth
To touch their harps of gold:
“Peace on the earth, good will to all,
From heaven’s all gracious king.”
The world in solemn stillness lay
To hear the angels sing.
Still through the cloven skies they come
With peaceful wings unfurled,
And still their heavenly music floats
Over all the weary world.
Above its sad and lowly plains
They bend on hovering wing,
And ever over its babel sounds
The blessed angels sing.
All you, beneath your weary load,
By care and guilt bent low,
Who toil along a dreary way
With painful steps and slow,
Look up, for golden is the hour,
Come swiftly on the wing,
The Prince was born to bring you peace;
Of Him the angels sing.
For lo, the days have come to pass
By prophets seen of old,
When down into the circling years
Came Christ as was foretold.
His word of peace shall to the earth
God’s ancient promise bring,
And all who take this gift will hear
The song the angels sing.
SALUTATION and COLLECT OF THE DAY for The Feast of Saint Stephen
The Lord be with you.
And also with you.
Let us pray. Heavenly Father, in the midst of our sufferings for the sake of Christ grant us grace to follow the example of the first martyr, Stephen, that we also may look to the One who suffered and was crucified on our behalf and pray for those who do us wrong; through Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.
SECOND READING Acts 6:8—7:2a; 51-60
Stephen, full of grace and power, was doing great wonders and signs among the people.Then some of those who belonged to the synagogue of the Freedmen (as it was called), and of the Cyrenians, and of the Alexandrians, and of those from Cilicia and Asia, rose up and disputed with Stephen. But they could not withstand the wisdom and the Spirit with which he was speaking. Then they secretly instigated men who said, “We have heard him speak blasphemous words against Moses and God.” And they stirred up the people and the elders and the scribes, and they came upon him and seized him and brought him before the council, and they set up false witnesses who said, “This man never ceases to speak words against this holy place and the law,for we have heard him say that this Jesus of Nazareth will destroy this place and will change the customs that Moses delivered to us.” And gazing at him, all who sat in the council saw that his face was like the face of an angel.
And the high priest said, “Are these things so?” And Stephen said: …
“You stiff-necked people, uncircumcised in heart and ears, you always resist the Holy Spirit. As your fathers did, so do you. Which of the prophets did your fathers not persecute? And they killed those who announced beforehand the coming of the Righteous One, whom you have now betrayed and murdered, you who received the law as delivered by angels and did not keep it.”
Now when they heard these things they were enraged, and they ground their teeth at him. But he, full of the Holy Spirit, gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God.And he said, “Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.”But they cried out with a loud voice and stopped their ears and rushed together at him.Then they cast him out of the city and stoned him. And the witnesses laid down their garments at the feet of a young man named Saul.And as they were stoning Stephen, he called out, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.”And falling to his knees he cried out with a loud voice, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them.” And when he had said this, he fell asleep.
This is the Word of the Lord.
Thanks be to God.
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