A blessed Saint Stephen's day to all. Five of us gathered for Matins and two more joined us for the Divine Service on this day. But we were joined to the numberless throng before the throne of the Lamb!
We remembered and thanked God for the witness of Stephen, the First Martyr: that the Life that is in Jesus Christ is stronger than death, and that the Love that is in Jesus Christ conquers all the hatred hurled our way, and seeks only the blessing and benefit of those who hate us. May God give us all grace and strength to follow the path of our Lord Jesus that St. Stephen trod: "Lord, do not hold this against them!"
We speak the Eucharist on the saints days, and there is something very powerful in that too. You all know how much I love music, but sometimes the music can actually carry us away so that we pay not enough heed to the words. Speaking the liturgy on these days gives force to the words we regularly sing - I am thinking particularly of the Gloria in Exclesis and the Agnus Dei. "We praise thee, we bless thee, we worship thee, we give thanks to thee for thy great glory" and "O Christ, thou lamb of God that takest away the sin of the world, have mercy upon us...grant us thy peace."