stephen, deacon and martyr
the PRAYER. . .
We give you thanks, O Lord of glory, for the example of Stephen the first martyr, who looked to heaven and prayed for his persecutors. Grant that we also may pray for our enemies and seek forgiveness for those who hurt us, through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.
the READING. . .
[Jesus said:] “Therefore I send you prophets, sages, and scribes, some of whom you will kill and crucify, and some you will flog in your synagogues and pursue from town to town, so that upon you may come all the righteous blood shed on earth….”
the DEVOTION. . .
It was early Monday morning, 15 December 1890, when Sitting Bull was killed. Afraid it was a sign of things to come, the tribes scattered. One band, in particular, of Hunkpapa and Minneconjou Lakota led by SpottedElk – a.k.a. BigFoot – headed toward Pine Ridge and the protection of RedCloud. But thirteen days out, they were intercepted by the cavalry and taken to the army’s camp on Wounded Knee Creek.
The next morning, soldiers were sent into the camp to gather up weapons. Tensions mounted, a rifle went off, and the blue ring surrounding the camp exploded. When the smoke cleared, hundreds lay dead. Men. Women. Children. Only four men and forty-seven women and children remained of the original group of refugees.
Survivors were loaded into wagons, taken to PineRidge, and placed in the Episcopal mission. The pews had been removed. Hay scattered on the floor. It was, now, Monday evening, December 29th, the fifth day of Christmas. Greenery still draped the rafters. And above those who remained hung a banner. . .
PEACE ON EARTH, GOODWILL TO ALL
Bob Barndt, pastor