Continuing Home

The ongoing saga of a Continuing Anglican church home, as seen by a member of the laity.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

2nd Day of Christmas: St. Stephen's

I don't think I have come for Mass on St. Stephen's before. But this morning Fr. Daniel and Matt conducted Matins and Mass (Morning Prayer into Holy Communion) and a small band of us were there.

The reason I don't think I've attended on St. Stephens is that the reading "for the Epistle" about his martyrdom was not familiar, the way it would have been for regular Sundays -- for the period during which I was the sole Lay Reader I would definitely had read and remembered it. (The first martyr, our Ordo Kalendar designates St. Stephen as "Protomartyr.") Not that the story itself was unfamiliar, though perhaps long forgotten -- but seeing Saul appear in this brief reading was startling. Clearly it's been a long time since I've had my nose in Acts.

The correlation between the Collect, Epistle and Gospel for today was, perhaps one could say "inspired." But Fr. Daniel had a surprise in store for us, in the selection of one of the hymns. To the very same tune of an old and familiar Christmas carol telling a story set in this very day of St. Stephens' ("Good King Wenceslas looked out, on the Feast of Stephen"), was a hymn about martyrs, Hymn 136 in our American 1940 Hymnal:

Let us now our voices raise,
wake the day with gladness;
God himself to joy and praise
turns our human sadness:
joy that martyrs won their crown,
opened heaven's bright portal,
when they laid the mortal down
for the life immortal.

Never flinched they from the flame,
from the torture never;
vain the foeman's sharpest aim,
vain each fierce endeavor:
for by faith they saw the land
decked in all its glory,
where triumphant now they stand
with the victor's story.

Up and follow, Christian men!
Press through toil and sorrow;
Spurn the night of fear, and then,
O the glorious morrow!
Who will venture on the strife?
Who will first begin it!
Who will grasp the land of life?
Warriors, up and win it!
"Never flinched they from the flame": Ouch. For all that I've been through, I still don't know that I could meet that standard.


  • At 11:25 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Love your earnest and honest blog. You are blessed to be at St. Bart's for and authentic Anglican adventure through this life.


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