Polycarp: Bishop and Martyr of Smyrna, 156

Thursday, February 23, 2017Friday, February 23, 2018Saturday, February 23, 2019
The Collect: 

Rite I:
O God, the maker of heaven and earth, who didst give to thy venerable servant, the holy and gentle Polycarp, boldness to confess Jesus Christ as King and Savior, and steadfastness to die for his faith: Give us grace, after his example, to share the cup of Christ and rise to eternal life; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Rite II:
O God, the maker of heaven and earth, you gave your venerable servant, the holy and gentle Polycarp, boldness to confess Jesus Christ as King and Savior, and steadfastness to die for his faith: Give us grace, following his example, to share the cup of Christ and rise to eternal life; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

First Lesson: 
Revelation 2:8–11

8 ‘And to the angel of the church in Smyrna write: These are the words of the first and the last, who was dead and came to life:

9 ‘I know your affliction and your poverty, even though you are rich. I know the slander on the part of those who say that they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan. 10Do not fear what you are about to suffer. Beware, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison so that you may be tested, and for ten days you will have affliction. Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life. 11Let anyone who has an ear listen to what the Spirit is saying to the churches. Whoever conquers will not be harmed by the second death.

Psalm: 
Psalm 116:10–17 (or 34:1–8) or 121

Before Ash Wednesday:

10 How shall I repay the Lord *
       for all the good things he has done for me?
11 I will lift up the cup of salvation *
       and call upon the Name of the Lord.
12 I will fulfill my vows to the Lord *
       in the presence of all his people.
13 Precious in the sight of the Lord *
       is the death of his servants.
14 O Lord, I am your servant; *
       I am your servant and the child of your handmaid;
       you have freed me from my bonds.
15 I will offer you the sacrifice of thanksgiving *
       and call upon the Name of the Lord.
16 I will fulfill my vows to the Lord *
       in the presence of all his people,
17 In the courts of the Lord’s house, *
       in the midst of you, O Jerusalem.
       Hallelujah!

After Ash Wednesday:

1 I will bless the Lord at all times; *
       his praise shall ever be in my mouth.
2 I will glory in the Lord; *
       let the humble hear and rejoice.
3 Proclaim with me the greatness of the Lord;
       let us exalt his Name together.
4 I sought the Lord, and he answered me *
       and delivered me out of all my terror.
5 Look upon him and be radiant, *
       and let not your faces be ashamed.
6 I called in my affliction and the Lord heard me *
       and saved me from all my troubles.
7 The angel of the Lord encompasses those who fear him, *
       and he will deliver them.]

or

1 I lift up my eyes to the hills; *
       from where is my help to come?
2 My help comes from the LORD, *
       the maker of heaven and earth.
3 He will not let your foot be moved *
       and he who watches over you will not fall asleep.
4 Behold, he who keeps watch over Israel *
       shall neither slumber nor sleep;
5 The LORD himself watches over you; *
       the LORD is your shade at your right hand,
6 So that the sun shall not strike you by day, *
       nor the moon by night.
7 The LORD shall preserve you from all evil; *
       it is he who shall keep you safe.
8 The LORD shall watch over your going out and your coming in, *
       from this time forth for evermore.

Gospel: 
Matthew 20:20-23

20 Then the mother of the sons of Zebedee came to him with her sons, and kneeling before him, she asked a favour of him. 21And he said to her, ‘What do you want?’ She said to him, ‘Declare that these two sons of mine will sit, one at your right hand and one at your left, in your kingdom.’ 22But Jesus answered, ‘You do not know what you are asking. Are you able to drink the cup that I am about to drink?’ They said to him, ‘We are able.’ 23He said to them, ‘You will indeed drink my cup, but to sit at my right hand and at my left, this is not mine to grant, but it is for those for whom it has been prepared by my Father.’

The Old Testament, New Testament and Gospels readings are from the New Revised Standard Version Bible: Anglicized Edition, copyright 1989, 1995, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

The Collects, Psalms and Canticles are from the Book of Common Prayer, 1979.

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