March 3, 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 #409 (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. 

Almighty God, you know that we have no power in ourselves to help ourselves: Keep us both outwardly in our bodies and inwardly in our souls, that we may be defended from all adversities which may happen to the body, and from all evil thoughts which may assault and hurt the soul; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

A Reading from Exodus

Then God spoke all these words,* and said, “I am your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. Do not worship any gods except me! Do not make for yourselves any carved image or likeness of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters under the earth, and do not bow down to them or serve them! For I am a jealous God, and for the parents’ fault I punish the children, the grandchildren and the great-grandchildren of those who turn from me; but I show kindness to the thousandth generation of those who love me and heed my commandments. Do not utter my name to misuse it, for I will not acquit anyone who utters God’s Name to misuse it!

“Remember the Sabbath day and keep it holy! For six days you will labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath for God. Do no work on that day, neither you nor your daughter nor your son, nor your workers—women or men—nor your animals, nor the foreigner who lives among you. For in the six days God made the heavens and the earth and the sea and all that they hold, but rested on the seventh day; this is why God has blessed the Sabbath day and made it sacred. Honor your mother and your father, so that you may have a long life in the land that God has given to you!

“No murdering! No adultery! No stealing! No giving false testimony against your neighbor! No desiring your neighbor’s house! No desiring your neighbor’s spouse, or worker—female or male—or ox, or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor!”

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

Psalm 19:7-14

The läw of the Lord is perfect / and re-víves the soul; * 
the testimony of the Lord is sure and gives wis- / dom to thë ín-nö-cent. 

The statutes of the Lord are just / and re-jóice the heart; * 
the commandment of the Lord is clear / and gives lïght tó thë eyes.

The fëar of the Lord is clean and en- / dures for év-er; * 
the judgements of the Lord are true and right- / eous al-tö-géth-er. 

More to be desired are they than gold, more / than much fíne gold, *
sweeter far than honey, / than hon-ëy ín thë comb.

By thëm also is your ser- / vant en-líght-ened, * 
and in keeping / them there ïs gréat rë-ward. 

Who can tell how often / they of-fénd? * 
Cleanse / me from mÿ séc-rët faults.

A-böve all, keep your servant from presumptuous sins; let them not get do- / min-ion óver me; *
then shall I be whole and sound, and inno – / cent of ä gréat öf-fense. 

Let the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be accept – / a-ble ín your sight; * 
O Lord, my strength / and my rë-déëm-er.

A Reading from First Corinthians

For the message of the cross is complete absurdity to those who are headed for ruin, but to us who are experiencing salvation, it is the power of God. Scripture says, “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise and thwart the learning of the learned.” Where are the wise? Where are the scholars? Where are the philosophers of this age? Has not God turned the wisdom of this world into folly? If it was God’s wisdom that the world in its wisdom would not know God, it was because God wanted to save those who have faith through the foolishness of the message we preach.

For while the Jews call for miracles and the Greeks look for wisdom, here we are preaching a Messiah nailed to a cross. To the Jews this is an obstacle they cannot get over, and to the Greeks it is madness—but to those who have been called, whether they are Jews or Greeks, Christ is the power and the wisdom of God. For God’s foolishness is wiser than human wisdom, and God’s weakness is stronger than human strength.

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

On Emptying a Deceased Relative’s Home

by Brian Brodeur

Most objects do object to being moved:
crates of paperbacks cracking, a creaking hutch
of china the clumsy among us won’t touch.
Stuck lids refuse. The hardwood, tongue-and-grooved,
groans with each step to recycling bins
distended with wire hangers and one faux-bronze bust
of Alec Douglas-Home. Mossy with dust,
pill bottles jostle against jars of safety pins.

Beyond an ample appetite for kitsch,
no theme emerges from her ten-packs of tube socks,
a snow-globe collection clinking in a liquor box,
mushroom-brim hats and cardigans that itch.
Too easy to dismiss her half-dozen heads of deer
on crooked mounts, torn Cabbage Patch dolls
with clothes she sewed herself. If estrangement dulls
familial affection, her strangeness seems to endear.

I notice we laugh less as the day progresses
from lugging trash bags of box-set Disney DVDs
through heaped-newspaper halls that make us sneeze
to hauling mattresses and folding dresses
that belonged to her daughter killed in Kandahar.
The burn pile cools. Dusk opens a pinkish wound.
Spreading blankets over boot-trampled ground,
our kids lie back and point out hole-punched stars.

Gospel Hymn #456

The Gospel

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

Since it was almost the Jewish Passover, Jesus went up to Jerusalem. In the Temple, he found people selling cattle, sheep and pigeons, while moneychangers sat at their counters. Making a whip out of cords, Jesus drove them all out of the Temple—even the cattle and sheep—and overturned the tables of the money changers, scattering their coins. Then he faced the pigeon sellers: “Take all this out of here! Stop turning God’s house into a market!” The disciples remembered the words of scripture: “Zeal for your house consumes me.”

The Temple authorities intervened and said, “What sign can you show us to justify what you’ve done?”

Jesus answered, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.”

They retorted, “It has taken forty-six years to build this Temple, and you’re going to raise it up in three days?” But the temple he was speaking of was his body. It was only after Jesus had been raised from the dead that the disciples remembered this statement and believed the scripture—and the words that Jesus had spoken.

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: Be thou my vision

Text: Early Irish tr. Mary Byrne (1880-1931)
Music: Bob Chilcott (b. 1955)

Olivia Roberts, soprano soloist

Be Thou my Vision, O Lord of my heart;
be all else but naught to me, save that Thou art;
be Thou my best thought in the day and the night,
both waking and sleeping, Thy presence my light.

Be Thou my Wisdom, be Thou my true Word;
be Thou ever with me and I with Thee, Lord;
be Thou my great Father, and I Thy true son,
be Thou in me dwelling, and I with Thee one.

Be thou and thou only the first in my heart; O Sovereign of heaven, my treasure thou art; Great heart of my own heart, whatever befall, Still be thou my vision, ruler of all.

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 #676 (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 #495 (Hymnal 1982)

Dismissal

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

Postlude