Saints Thomas More and John Fisher
Born in London in 1478, Thomas More studied classics and then the law, being called to the Bar at twenty-three years old. His clear honesty and integrity impressed Henry VIII and he appointed Thomas as his Chancellor. He supported the king in his efforts to reform the clergy but disagreed over Henry’s disputes with the papacy, caused by the king’s desire to annul his marriage to Catherine of Aragon and to find another queen who might provide him with a male heir. Henry could stand no such act of defiance and imprisoned his chancellor in the hope that he would renege. Thomas refused to take the Oath on the Act of Succession, which declared the king to be the only protector and supreme head of the Church in England, and was executed for treason on this day in 1535, declaring that he died the king’s good servant but God’s first.
John Fisher was Thomas More’s close friend and ally. A brilliant academic, he had substantially reformed the life of the University of Cambridge, through the wealth and influence of his patron, Lady Margaret Beaufort, the mother of Henry VII. He was made Bishop of Rochester and proved himself to be a good pastor to his small diocese. As with Thomas, Henry VIII much admired him at first, but when he opposed the king their relationship deteriorated. Aged sixty-six and in indifferent health, he nevertheless endured the trauma of imprisonment in the Tower of London. He was executed just two weeks after Thomas on 22 July 1535. EH
Ant. Unto you have I lifted up my soul. *
O my God, I trust in you, let me not be put to shame;
do not allow my enemies to laugh at me;
for none of those who are awaiting you will be disappointed.
Ps. O Lord, make me know your ways. *
Teach me your paths.
Guide me in your truth, and teach me; †
for you are the God of my salvation. *
I have hoped in you all day long. Psalm 25
Great God, you are one God,
and you bring together what is scattered
and mend what is broken.
Unite us with the scattered peoples of the earth
that we may be one family of your children.
Bind up all our wounds,
and heal us in spirit,
that we may be renewed as disciples
of Jesus Christ, our Master and Savior. Amen. BCW
O Lord, open my lips.
And my mouth will declare your praise.
Make haste, O God, to deliver me;
make haste to help me, O Lord.
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit,
as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be forever. Amen.
Praise to you, O Christ, Alleluia!
HYMN: Frederick William Faber
Tune: St Catherine https://tinyurl.com/ycgwy7bh
1 Faith of our fathers, living still
in spite of dungeon, fire, and sword.
Oh, how our hearts beat high with joy
whene’er we hear that glorious word.
Faith of our fathers, holy faith,
we will be true to thee till death.
2 The martyrs, chained in prisons dark,
were still in heart and conscience free;
and blest would be their children’s fate
if they, like them, should die for thee. [Refrain]
3 Faith of our fathers! We will love
both friend and foe in all our strife;
proclaim thee too, as love knows how,
by saving word and faithful life. [Refrain]
For psalms in contemporary language, https://tinyurl.com/y9tjh7rk
Psalm 30 (Anglican Chant: https://tinyurl.com/yce59yvo)
1 I will magnify thee, O Lord, for thou hast set me up *
and not made my foes to triumph over me.
2 O Lord my God, I cried unto thee *
and thou hast healed me.
3 Thou, Lord, hast brought my soul out of hell *
thou hast kept my life from them that go down to the pit.
4 Sing praises unto the Lord, O ye saints of his *
and give thanks unto him for a remembrance of his holiness.
5 For his wrath endureth but the twinkling of an eye,
and in his pleasure is life *
heaviness may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.
6 And in my prosperity I said, I shall never be removed *
thou, Lord, of thy goodness hast made my hill so strong.
7 Thou didst turn thy face from me *
and I was troubled.
8 Then cried I unto thee, O Lord *
and gat me to my Lord right humbly.
9 What profit is there in my blood *
when I go down to the pit?
10 Shall the dust give thanks unto thee *
or shall it declare thy truth?
11 Hear, O Lord, and have mercy upon me *
Lord, be thou my helper.
12 Thou hast turned my heaviness into joy *
thou hast put off my sackcloth, and girded me with gladness.
13 Therefore shall every good man sing of thy praise without ceasing *
O my God, I will give thanks unto thee for ever.
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son :
and to the Holy Ghost;
as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be :
world without end. Amen.
Psalm 31 (Anglican Chant: https://tinyurl.com/y869qwtz)
1 In thee, O Lord, have I put my trust *
let me never be put to confusion, deliver me in thy righteousness.
2 Bow down thine ear to me *
make haste to deliver me.
3 And be thou my strong rock, and house of defence *
that thou mayest save me.
4 For thou art my strong rock, and my castle *
be thou also my guide, and lead me for thy Name’s sake.
5 Draw me out of the net, that they have laid privily for me *
for thou art my strength.
6 Into thy hands I commend my spirit *
for thou hast redeemed me, O Lord, thou God of truth.
7 I have hated them that hold of superstitious vanities *
and my trust hath been in the Lord.
8 I will be glad, and rejoice in thy mercy *
for thou hast considered my trouble,
and hast known my soul in adversities.
9 Thou hast not shut me up into the hand of the enemy *
but hast set my feet in a large room.
10 Have mercy upon me, O Lord, for I am in trouble *
and mine eye is consumed for very heaviness;
yea, my soul and my body.
11 For my life is waxen old with heaviness *
and my years with mourning.
12 My strength faileth me, because of mine iniquity *
and my bones are consumed.
13 I became a reproof among all mine enemies,
but especially among my neighbours *
and they of mine acquaintance were afraid of me;
and they that did see me without conveyed themselves from me.
14 I am clean forgotten, as a dead man out of mind *
I am become like a broken vessel.
15 For I have heard the blasphemy of the multitude *
and fear is on every side, while they conspire together against me,
and take their counsel to take away my life.
16 But my hope hath been in thee, O Lord *
I have said, Thou art my God.
17 My time is in thy hand; deliver me from the hand of mine enemies *
and from them that persecute me.
18 Shew thy servant the light of thy countenance *
and save me for thy mercy’s sake.
19 Let me not be confounded, O Lord, for I have called upon thee *
let the ungodly be put to confusion, and be put to silence in the grave.
20 Let the lying lips be put to silence *
which cruelly, disdainfully, and despitefully, speak against the righteous.
21 O how plentiful is thy goodness,
which thou hast laid up for them that fear thee *
and that thou hast prepared for them that put their trust in thee,
even before the sons of men!
22 Thou shalt hide them privily by thine own presence
from the provoking of all men *
thou shalt keep them secretly in thy tabernacle from the strife of tongues.
23 Thanks be to the Lord *
for he hath shewed me marvellous great kindness in a strong city.
24 And when I made haste, I said *
I am cast out of the sight of thine eyes.
25 Nevertheless, thou heardest the voice of my prayer *
when I cried unto thee.
26 O love the Lord, all ye his saints *
for the Lord preserveth them that are faithful,
and plenteously rewardeth the proud doer.
27 Be strong, and he shall establish your heart *
all ye that put your trust in the Lord.
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son :
and to the Holy Ghost;
as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be :
world without end. Amen.
glorious in giving and restoring life,
do not hide your face from your people overcome with loneliness and fear.
Turn our weeping into dancing,
our despair into joy,
and raise us up with Christ,
that we may rejoice in your presence forever. Amen. BCW
THE WORD OF GOD
Reading: 1 Samuel 10:28 -11:15
About a month later, Nahash the Ammonite went up and besieged Jabesh-gilead; and all the men of Jabesh said to Nahash, ‘Make a treaty with us, and we will serve you.’ But Nahash the Ammonite said to them, ‘On this condition I will make a treaty with you, namely that I gouge out everyone’s right eye, and thus put disgrace upon all Israel.’ The elders of Jabesh said to him, ‘Give us seven days’ respite that we may send messengers through all the territory of Israel. Then, if there is no one to save us, we will give ourselves up to you.’ When the messengers came to Gibeah of Saul, they reported the matter in the hearing of the people; and all the people wept aloud.
Now Saul was coming from the field behind the oxen; and Saul said, ‘What is the matter with the people, that they are weeping?’ So they told him the message from the inhabitants of Jabesh. And the spirit of God came upon Saul in power when he heard these words, and his anger was greatly kindled. He took a yoke of oxen, and cut them in pieces and sent them throughout all the territory of Israel by messengers, saying, ‘Whoever does not come out after Saul and Samuel, so shall it be done to his oxen!’ Then the dread of the Lord fell upon the people, and they came out as one. When he mustered them at Bezek, those from Israel were three hundred thousand, and those from Judah seventy thousand. They said to the messengers who had come, ‘Thus shall you say to the inhabitants of Jabesh-gilead: “Tomorrow, by the time the sun is hot, you shall have deliverance.” ’ When the messengers came and told the inhabitants of Jabesh, they rejoiced. So the inhabitants of Jabesh said, ‘Tomorrow we will give ourselves up to you, and you may do to us whatever seems good to you.’ The next day Saul put the people in three companies. At the morning watch they came into the camp and cut down the Ammonites until the heat of the day; and those who survived were scattered, so that no two of them were left together.
The people said to Samuel, ‘Who is it that said, “Shall Saul reign over us?” Give them to us so that we may put them to death.’ But Saul said, ‘No one shall be put to death this day, for today the Lord has brought deliverance to Israel.’
Samuel said to the people, ‘Come, let us go to Gilgal and there renew the kingship.’ So all the people went to Gilgal, and there they made Saul king before the Lord in Gilgal. There they sacrificed offerings of well-being before the Lord, and there Saul and all the Israelites rejoiced greatly.
HYMN: Christopher Idle ©
Tune: Kas Dziedaja https://tinyurl.com/yd3a8rq9
1. Must the sword devour for ever,
ancient quarrels still persist?
How long brother use on brother
bomb or bullet, knife or fist?
2. When will someone break the deadlock,
halt the carnage, stop the race,
blow the trumpet not for battle
but for pausing, then for peace?
3. Let the strongest know their frailty,
let the weakest find their power;
let us seize the time for turning:
could this be God’s day, God’s hour?
4. Christ who lives in each believer,
come to make these murders cease;
win in us this greatest triumph,
Christ our champion, Christ our peace!
Reading: Acts 2:1-4, 12-28
When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. And suddenly from heaven there came a sound like the rush of a violent wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. Divided tongues, as of fire, appeared among them, and a tongue rested on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages, as the Spirit gave them ability. All were amazed and perplexed, saying to one another, ‘What does this mean?’ But others sneered and said, ‘They are filled with new wine.’
But Peter, standing with the eleven, raised his voice and addressed them: ‘Men of Judea and all who live in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and listen to what I say. Indeed, these are not drunk, as you suppose, for it is only nine o’clock in the morning. No, this is what was spoken through the prophet Joel:
“In the last days it will be, God declares,
that I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh,
and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy,
and your young men shall see visions,
and your old men shall dream dreams.
Even upon my slaves, both men and women,
in those days I will pour out my Spirit;
and they shall prophesy.
And I will show portents in the heaven above
and signs on the earth below,
blood, and fire, and smoky mist.
The sun shall be turned to darkness
and the moon to blood,
before the coming of the Lord’s great and glorious day.
Then everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
‘You that are Israelites, listen to what I have to say: Jesus of Nazareth, a man attested to you by God with deeds of power, wonders, and signs that God did through him among you, as you yourselves know— this man, handed over to you according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of those outside the law. But God raised him up, having freed him from death, because it was impossible for him to be held in its power. For David says concerning him,
“I saw the Lord always before me,
for he is at my right hand so that I will not be shaken;
therefore my heart was glad, and my tongue rejoiced;
moreover, my flesh will live in hope.
For you will not abandon my soul to Hades,
or let your Holy One experience corruption.
You have made known to me the ways of life;
you will make me full of gladness with your presence.”
HYMN: J.R. Peacey ©
Tune: Farley Castle https://tinyurl.com/y8gnwasb
1 Filled with the Spirit’s power, with one accord
the infant church confessed its risen Lord.
O Holy Spirit, in the church today
again your power of fellowship display.
2 Now with the mind of Christ set us on fire,
that unity may be our great desire.
Give joy and peace, give faith to hear your call,
and readiness in each to work for all.
3 Widen our love, good Spirit, to embrace
the people of all lands and every race.
Like wind and fire, with life among us move,
till we are known as Christ’s and Christians prove.
Reading: Luke 9:43b-45
While everyone was amazed at all that Jesus was doing, he said to his disciples, ‘Let these words sink into your ears: The Son of Man is going to be betrayed into human hands.’ But they did not understand this saying; its meaning was concealed from them, so that they could not perceive it. And they were afraid to ask him about this saying.
CANTICLE Luke 1:68-79
(Steve Angrisano: https://tinyurl.com/y7w6y7qh)
Through his holy prophets,
he promised from of old
to save us from who would harm us.
His mercy he would show,
rememb’ring his holy word.
Blessed be the Lord,
for he has raised up for us a mighty savior.
Our God has set us free,
fulfilling the promise to save his people.
You, my child,
have been chosen a prophet of the Lord,
proclaiming his forgiveness,
salvation to make known,
preparing the way of God. Refrain
In his tender compassion,
the dawn now breaks on high
to shine on those in the darkness:
a light unto our feet
into the way of peace. Refrain
THE PRAYERS BCW
We rejoice in your generous goodness, O God, and celebrate your lavish gifts to
us this day, for you have shown your love in giving Jesus Christ for the salvation
of the world. Especially we give thanks for
the labors of those who have served us today . . .
friends with whom we have shared . . .
those whom we love and have loved us . . .
opportunities for our work to help others . . .
all beauty that delights us. . . .
Gracious God, we know you are close to all in need, and by our prayers for others
we come closer to you. We are bold to claim for others your promises of new
life in Jesus Christ, as we claim them for ourselves. Especially we pray for
those in dangerous occupations . . .
physicians and nurses . . .
those who are ill or confined to nursing homes . . .
those who mourn . . .
the Roman Catholic Church. . . .
(Plainsong Mode 2: https://tinyurl.com/yctqq8cf)DL
Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your Name,
your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us today the bread of life;
and forgive us our sins
as we forgive those who sin against us.
Save us from the time of trial
and deliver us from evil.
For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours,
now and for ever. Amen.
we pray for your holy catholic church.
Fill it with all truth in all peace.
Where it is corrupt, purify it;
where it is in error, direct it;
where in any thing it is amiss, reform it.
Where it is right, strengthen it;
where it is in want, provide for it;
where it is divided, reunite it;
for the sake of Jesus Christ your Son our Savior. Amen. BCW, attr. to William Laud
Let us bless the Lord.
Thanks be to God.
The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God,
and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with us all. Amen. 2 Cor. 13:14
BCW Book of Common Worship, Presbyterian Church U.S.A., 1993.
EH Exciting Holiness, Ed. Brother Tristram SSF © European Province of the Society of Saint Francis, 1997
RCLP Revised Common Lectionary Prayers. © 2002 Consultation on Common Texts admin. Augsburg Fortress.
WS2 Worship Sourcebook, 2nd Edition, © 2013, Faith Alive Christian Resources
DL © Daniel Lawson; used with permission.
1 Adam Bartlett, Simple English Propers; audio from https://musicasacra.com/additional-publications/sep-practice-videos/ ©
The three main scripture readings are from the The New Revised Standard Version, Anglicised Edition, The New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, 1995 by the 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 psalms are from The Book of Common Prayer (1662).
Musical links are usually either to artists’ albums posted on Spotify or to recordings made available at smallchurchmusic.com. Audio stripped from YouTube videos is footnoted accordingly above.
Compilation © 2020 Stephen T. Benner. All links worked at the time they were created, but I cannot accept responsibility for their content or any damage resulting from their use. The linked content is under the control of the respective content creators and is subject to change at any time. Any copyright texts included in this compilation are provided for non-commercial purposes related to study or worship. Please contact the respective copyright holders for permission to use the texts in other contexts.