Giacomo Cavedone, 1601: St. Stephen in Glory. (Galleria Estense, Modena, Italy)
Collect of the Day: St. Stephen, Deacon and Martyr
We give you thanks, O Lord of glory, for the example of the first martyr Stephen, who looked up to heaven and prayed for his persecutors to your Son Jesus Christ, who stands at your right hand; where he lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, in glory everlasting. Amen.
Today is the day we remember St. Stephen, the first deacon, who was stoned by the Pharisees because he told the truth.
The part of Stephen's story that touches my heart is in Acts 7 when...
Stephen, full of the Holy Spirit, looked up to heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God. “Look,” he said, “I see heaven open and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.”
Once a long time ago, I received a sentence which felt like being stoned. In the midst of a silent scream as I stood outside, this passage about Stephen came to my heart. I found myself looking up to heaven and seeing the glory of God and Jesus standing at God's right hand...and I was able to breathe again. Though it has taken 10 years to recover fully, today as I remember Stephen, I realize that, just as they say about lemons and lemonade, those stones have made delicious soup. And as scripture tells us in so many places..."for all things give thanks!"