February 25, 2024

We are happy to know that many people new to worship in the Episcopal Church come to St. Stephen’s, and we welcome you!

Throughout the service, the people’s responses are in italics.

Prelude

Announcements

Processional Hymn #401 (Blue Hymnal 1982)

Jesus said, “The first commandment is this: Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God is the only Lord. Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength. The second is this: Love your neighbor as yourself. There is no other commandment greater than these.”

Let us confess our sins against God and our neighbor.

Most merciful God, we confess that we have sinned against you in thought, word, and deed, by what we have done, and by what we have left undone. We have not loved you with our whole heart; we have not loved our neighbors as ourselves. We are truly sorry and we humbly repent. For the sake of your Son Jesus Christ, have mercy on us and forgive us; that we may delight in your will, and walk in your ways, to the glory of your Name. Amen.

Almighty God have mercy on you, forgive you all your sins through our Lord Jesus Christ, strengthen you in all goodness, and by the power of the Holy Spirit keep you in eternal life. Amen.

Kyrie

God be with you.
And also with you.
Let us pray. 

O God, whose glory it is always to have mercy: Be gracious to all who have gone astray from your ways, and bring them again with penitent hearts and steadfast faith to embrace and hold fast the unchangeable truth of your Word, Jesus Christ your Son; who with you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

The people sit.

A Reading from Genesis

When Abram was ninety-nine years old, God appeared and said, “I am the Breasted One. Walk in my presence and be blameless. I will make a covenant between you and me, and I will increase your numbers exceedingly.” Abram fell on his face before God, and God said to him, “This is my covenant with you: You will be the ancestor of many nations. You are no longer to be called Abram, ‘Respected Parent,’ but Abraham, ‘Progenitor of a Multitude,’ for you are the progenitor of a multitude of nations. I will make you most fruitful, and I will make nations of you, and rulers will spring from you. I will establish my covenant as an everlasting covenant between me and you, and your descendants after you for generations to come. I will be your God, and the God of your descendants after you.

God continued, “As for Sarai, her name will now be Sarah, ‘Noblewoman.’ I will bless her, and I will give you a child by her. I will bless her, and she will become nations; rulers of peoples will come from her.”

Hear what the Spirit is saying to God’s people.
Thanks be to God.

Psalm 22:22-30

I will declare your name / to my kíndred; * 
in the midst of the congregation / I will praise yóu. 
Praise the Lord, / you that fear God; * 
stand in awe of God, O offspring of Israel; all you of / Jacob’s line, gíve glóry. 
For God does not despise nor abhor the poor in their poverty; neither / turns awáy from them; * 
when they cry to the / Lord, they are héard.

My praise is of God in the / great assémbly; * 
I will perform my vows in the presence of those who / worship the Lórd. 
The poor shall eat and be satisfied, and those who seek the / Lord shall gíve praise: * 
“May your / heart live for éver!”

All the ends of the earth shall remember and / turn to thé Lord, * 
and all the families of the nations shall / bow before Gód. 
For sovereignty / belongs tó the Lord, * 
who rules / over the nátíons.

To God alone all who sleep in the earth bow / down in wórship; * 
all who go down to the dust / fall before Gód. 
My soul shall live for God; my des- / cendants sháll serve God; * 
they shall be known as the / Lord’s for evér.

A Reading from Romans

The promise made to Sarah and Abraham and their descendants—that they would inherit the world—did not depend on the Law; it was made in view of the righteousness that comes from faith. For if those who live by the Law are heirs, then faith is pointless and the promise is worthless. The Law forever holds the potential for punishment. Only when there is no Law can there be no violation.

Hence everything depends on faith; everything is grace. Thus the promise holds true for all of Sarah’s and Abraham’s descendants, not only for those who have the Law, but for all who have their faith. They are the mother and the father of us all, which is why scripture says, “I will make you the parents of many nations”—all of which is done in the sight of the God in whom they believed, the God who restores the dead to life and calls into being things that don’t exist.

Hoping against hope, Sarah and Abraham believed, and so became the mother and father of many nations, just as it was once promised them: “Numerous as this will your descendants be.” Sarah and Abraham, without growing weak in faith, thought about their bodies, which were very old—he was about one hundred, and she was well beyond childbearing age. Still they never questioned or doubted God’s promise; rather, they grew strong in faith and gave glory to God, fully persuaded that God could do whatever was promised. Thus, Sarah’s and Abraham’s faith “was credited to them as righteousness.”

The words, “was credited to them,” were not written with Sarah and Abraham alone in mind; they were intended for us, too. For our faith will be credited to us if we believe in the One who raised Jesus our Savior from the dead, the Jesus who was handed over to death for our sins and raised up for our justification.

Hear what the Spirit is saying to God’s people.
Thanks be to God.

The Avowal

by Denise Levertov

As swimmers dare
to lie face to the sky
and water bears them,
as hawks rest upon air
and air sustains them,
so would I learn to attain
free fall, and float
into Creator Spirit’s deep embrace,
knowing no effort earns
that all-surrounding grace.

Gospel Hymn #68 (LEVAS)

The Gospel

The Holy Gospel of Our Savior Jesus Christ According To Mark
Glory to You, O Christ.

Then Jesus began to teach them that the Promised One had to suffer much, be rejected by the elders, chief priests, and religious scholars, be put to death, and rise again three days later. Jesus said these things quite openly.

Peter then took him aside and began to take issue with him. At this, Jesus turned around and, eyeing the disciples, reprimanded Peter: “Get out of my sight, you Satan! You are judging by human standards rather than by God’s!”

Jesus summoned the crowd and the disciples and said, “If you wish to come after me, you must deny your very self, take up your cross and follow in my footsteps. If you would save your life, you’ll lose it, but if you lose your life for my sake, you’ll save it. What would you gain if you were to win the whole world but lose your self in the process? What can you offer in exchange for your soul? Whoever in this faithless and corrupt generation is ashamed of me and my words will find, in turn, that the Promised One and the holy angels will be ashamed of that person, when all stand before our God in glory.”

The Gospel of Our Savior.
Praise to you, O Christ.

The people sit for the Homily.

The Homily

The Nicene Creed- S105 (Hymnal 1982)

The Prayers of the People

I ask your prayers for God’s people throughout the world; for this gathering; and for all ministers and people. Pray for the Church. 

Silence 

I ask your prayers for peace; for goodwill among nations; and for the well-being of all people. Pray for justice and peace. 

Silence 

I ask your prayers for the poor, the sick, the hungry, the oppressed, and those in prison. Pray for those in any need or trouble. 

Silence

I ask your prayers for all who seek God, or a deeper knowledge of God.
Pray that they may find and be found by God. 

Silence 

I ask your prayers for the departed. Pray for those who have died. 

Silence 

I ask your prayers for ______.
I ask your thanksgiving for ______. 

Silence 

Praise God for those in every generation in whom Christ has been honored. Pray that we may have grace to glorify Christ in our own day. 

Silence 

The priest says the concluding collect.

Holy One, you have promised to hear what we ask in the Name of your Son: Accept and fulfill our petitions, we pray, not as we ask in our ignorance, nor as we deserve in our sinfulness, but as you know and love us in your Son Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

The Peace

The peace of God be with you.
And also with you.

Offertory Anthem: He Never Failed Me Yet

Words and Music by Robert Ray
Piers Ross and Vincent Bostick, soloists

Refrain
I will sing of God’s mercy
Every day, every hour
He gives me power.

I will sing and give thanks to Thee
For all the dangers, toils and snares
That He has brought me out.

He is my God and I’ll serve Him
No matter what the test
Trust and never doubt
Jesus will surely bring you out
He never failed me yet.

Verse 1
I know God is able to deliver
In times of storm
And I know that He’ll keep you safe
From all earthly harm.

One day when my weary soul is at rest
I’m going home to be forever blessed
Trust and never doubt
Jesus will surely bring you out
He never failed me yet.

[Refrain]

Verse 2
Didn’t my God deliver
Moses from King Pharaoh?
And didn’t He cool the fiery furnace
For Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego?

When I think of what my God can do
He delivered Daniel
I know He will deliver you.

Trust and never doubt
Jesus will surely bring you out
He never failed me yet

[Refrain]

Doxology

Praise God from whom all blessing flow, Praise God all creatures here below, Praise God above, ye heavenly hosts, Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost!

The Holy Eucharist

It is truly right, and good and joyful, to give you thanks, all holy God, source of life and fountain of mercy. Through Jesus Christ our Lord, who was tempted in every way as we are, yet did not sin. By his grace we are able to triumph over every evil, and to live no longer for ourselves alone, but for him who died for us and rose again. Therefore, joining with Angels and Archangels and with the faithful of every generation, we lift our voices with all creation as we sing: 

The Sanctus

Blessed are you, gracious God, creator of the universe and giver of life. You formed us in your own image and called us to dwell in your infinite love. You gave the world into our care that we might be your faithful stewards and show forth your bountiful grace.  But we failed to honor your image in one another and in ourselves; we would not see your goodness in the world around us; and so we violated your creation, abused one another, and rejected your love. Yet you never ceased to care for us, and prepared the way of salvation for all people. 

Through Abraham and Sarah you called us into covenant with you. You delivered us from slavery, sustained us in the wilderness, and raised up prophets to renew your promise of salvation. Then, in the fullness of time, you sent your eternal Word, made mortal flesh in Jesus. Born into the human family, and dwelling among us, he revealed your glory. Giving himself freely to death on the cross, he triumphed over evil, opening the way of freedom and life. 

On the night before he died for us, Our Savior Jesus Christ took bread, and when he had given thanks to you, he broke it, and gave it to his friends, and said: “Take, eat: This is my Body which is given for you. Do this for the remembrance of me.” 

As supper was ending, Jesus took the cup of wine, and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them, and said: “Drink this, all of you:  This is my Blood of the new Covenant, which is poured out for you and for all for the forgiveness of sins. Whenever you drink it,  do this for the remembrance of me.” 

Therefore we proclaim the mystery of faith: 

Christ has died.
Christ is risen.
Christ will come again. 

Remembering his death and resurrection, we now present to you from your creation this bread and this wine. By your Holy Spirit may they be for us the Body and Blood of our Savior Jesus Christ. Grant that we who share these gifts  may be filled with the Holy Spirit and live as Christ’s Body in the world. Bring us into the everlasting heritage of your daughters and sons, that with Stephen & Hilda and all your saints, past, present, and yet to come, we may praise your Name for ever. 

Through Christ and with Christ and in Christ, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, to you be honor, glory, and praise, for ever and ever. AMEN.  

Now, as our Savior Christ has taught us, we are bold to say:

Our Father in Heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as in heaven. Give us today our daily bread, and forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us. Save us from the time of trial, and deliver us from evil. For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours, now and for ever. Amen.

The Breaking of the Bread

Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us;

Therefore let us keep the feast.

Fraction Anthem

The Celebrant offers the gifts to the people, saying

The Gifts of God for the People of God. Take them in remembrance that Christ died for you, and feed on him in your hearts by faith, with thanksgiving.

The people are invited to come forward for communion.

Communion Hymn #314 (Hymnal 1982)

Postcommunion Prayer

Almighty and everliving God, we thank you for feeding us with the spiritual food of the most precious Body and Blood of your Son our Savior Jesus Christ; and for assuring us in these holy mysteries that we are living members of the Body of your Son, and heirs of your eternal kingdom. And now, Holy and Gracious God, send us out to do the work you have given us to do, to love and serve you as faithful witnesses of Christ our Savior. To him, to you, and to the Holy Spirit, be honor and glory, now and for ever. Amen.

Blessing

Grant, most merciful God, to your faithful people pardon and peace, that they may be cleansed from all their sins, and serve you with a quiet mind; through Christ our Savior. Amen. 

Closing Hymn #490 (Hymnal 1982)

Dismissal

Go in peace to love and serve the Lord.
Thanks be to God.

Postlude