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Yesterday we began the story of St. Stephen the deacon, the first Christian martyr. Stephen’s ministry expanded from supervising the daily food distribution into preaching the Good News of Jesus Christ to everyone who would listen . Jealous of his success, his non-Christian enemies accused him of blasphemy.

Stephen died praying, Jesus receive my spirit and forgive my enemies. His prayer reminds us of the prayer of Jesus on the cross. (Luke 23: 34, 46)

The Book of Alternative Services has a special Collect on page 417 for use when giving thanks for St. Stephen.

Grant us grace, O Lord, that like Stephen we may learn to love even our enemies and seek forgiveness for those who desire our hurt; through your Son Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God now and for ever. Amen.

Bible Reading: Acts 6:8 - 7:60