Richard Allen was born into slavery in 1760 in Germantown, Pennsylvania. Allen, his parents, and his siblings were eventually sold to owner Stokely Sturgis, whose plantation was in Delaware. The Methodists were already active in Delaware, and Sturgis allowed Allen to attend church. At the age of 17, Richard underwent a classic conversion experience: “I cried to the Lord both day and night,” Allen said. “All of a sudden my dungeon shook, my chains flew off, and, glory to God, I cried.”
Allen brought members of the Methodist Church into his master’s home, where Sturgis heard a sermon by the great Methodist preacher Freeborn Garrettson. Sturgis was himself converted, and he allowed Allen to hire himself out and purchase his freedom; five years later, Richard Allen was a free man.
In 1786, Allen became a preacher at St. George’s United Methodist Church, but he was restricted to preaching at early morning services. Eventually, as black membership increased, the vestry decided to build a segregated section for black worshippers. Allen, along with his friend Absalom Jones, resented the segregation of his fellow black Christians, and in 1787, Allen and Jones led black worshippers out of St. George’s in protest.
While Jones and many of those associated with him joined the Episcopal Church, Allen wanted to continue in his Methodist religion. He had been cooperating with Bishop Francis Asbury to spread Methodism among African Americans, and in 1794 he founded Bethel Church in Philadelphia. When the newly formed African Methodist Episcopal Church declared its independence, Allen became its first Bishop. HWHM
Holy Father, keep in your name those you have given me,
that they may be one as we are one, says the Lord. John 17
God of mercy,
you sent Jesus Christ to seek and save the lost.
We confess that we have strayed from you
and turned aside from your way.
We are misled by pride,
for we see ourselves pure when we are stained,
and great when we are small.
We have failed in love,
and ignored your truth.
Have mercy, O God, and forgive our sin.
Return us to paths of righteousness
through Jesus Christ, our Savior. Amen. BCW
God, come to my assistance.
Lord, make haste to help me.
Glory 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.
HYMN: Richard Allen
Tune: Tallis’ Lamentation https://tinyurl.com/8x9fvvdw
1 O God my heart with love inflame,
That I may in thy holy name,
Aloud in songs of praise rejoice,
While I have breath to raise my voice:
Then will I shout, then will I sing,
And make the heav’nly arches ring:
I’ll sing and shout for evermore
On that eternal happy shore.
2 O! Jesus, hope of glory, come,
And make my heart thy humble home;
For the short remnant of my days,
I want to sing and shout thy praise:
I want to pray, and never cease,
And live rejoicing in thy peace,
And to give thanks in ev’ry thing,
And sing and shout, and shout and sing.
3 When on my dying bed I lay,
Lord give me strength to shout and pray,
And praise thee with my latest breath,
Until my voice is lost in death:
Then sisters, brothers, shouting come,
My body follow to the tomb,
And as you march the solemn road,
Sing loud, and shout the praise of God.
4 Then you below, and I above,
Will sing and shout the God we love,
Until that great and awful day,
When Christ shall call our slumb’ring clay;
Then from our dusty beds we’ll spring,
And shout “O Death where is thy sting?
“O Grave, where is thy victory?”
We’ll shout to all eternity.
5 Our race is run we’ve gain’d the prize,
“Well done!” the sovereign of the skies
Will smiling to his children say,
“Come reign with me in endless day;”
Then on that happy, happy shore,
We’ll sing and shout, for evermore;
We’ll sing and shout, and shout and sing,
And make all heav’n with praises ring.
Psalm 119:105-144 (Anglican Chant: https://tinyurl.com/v825pov)
105 Thy word is a lantern unto my feet *
and a light unto my paths.
106 I have sworn, and am stedfastly purposed *
to keep thy righteous judgements.
107 I am troubled above measure *
quicken me, O Lord, according to thy word.
108 Let the free-will offerings of my mouth please thee, O Lord *
and teach me thy judgements.
109 My soul is alway in my hand *
yet do I not forget thy law.
110 The ungodly have laid a snare for me *
but yet I swerved not from thy commandments.
111 Thy testimonies have I claimed as mine heritage for ever *
and why? they are the very joy of my heart.
112 I have applied my heart to fulfil thy statutes alway *
even unto the end.
113 I hate them that imagine evil things *
but thy law do I love.
114 Thou art my defence and shield *
and my trust is in thy word.
115 Away from me, ye wicked *
I will keep the commandments of my God.
116 O stablish me according to thy word, that I may live *
and let me not be disappointed of my hope.
117 Hold thou me up, and I shall be safe *
yea, my delight shall be ever in thy statutes.
118 Thou hast trodden down all them that depart from thy statutes *
for they imagine but deceit.
119 Thou puttest away all the ungodly of the earth like dross *
therefore I love thy testimonies.
120 My flesh trembleth for fear of thee *
and I am afraid of thy judgements.
121 I deal with the thing that is lawful and right *
O give me not over unto mine oppressors.
122 Make thou thy servant to delight in that which is good *
that the proud do me no wrong.
123 Mine eyes are wasted away with looking for thy health *
and for the word of thy righteousness.
124 O deal with thy servant according unto thy loving mercy *
and teach me thy statutes.
125 I am thy servant, O grant me understanding *
that I may know thy testimonies.
126 It is time for thee, Lord, to lay to thine hand *
for they have destroyed thy law.
127 For I love thy commandments *
above gold and precious stone.
128 Therefore hold I straight all thy commandments *
and all false ways I utterly abhor.
129 Thy testimonies are wonderful *
therefore doth my soul keep them.
130 When thy word goeth forth *
it giveth light and understanding unto the simple.
131 I opened my mouth, and drew in my breath *
for my delight was in thy commandments.
132 O look thou upon me, and be merciful unto me *
as thou usest to do unto those that love thy Name.
133 Order my steps in thy word *
and so shall no wickedness have dominion over me.
134 O deliver me from the wrongful dealings of men *
and so shall I keep thy commandments.
135 Shew the light of thy countenance upon thy servant *
and teach me thy statutes.
136 Mine eyes gush out with water *
because men keep not thy law.
137 Righteous art thou, O Lord *
and true is thy judgement.
138 The testimonies that thou hast commanded *
are exceeding righteous and true.
139 My zeal hath even consumed me *
because mine enemies have forgotten thy words.
140 Thy word is tried to the uttermost *
and thy servant loveth it.
141 I am small, and of no reputation *
yet do I not forget thy commandments.
142 Thy righteousness is an everlasting righteousness *
and thy law is the truth.
143 Trouble and heaviness have taken hold upon me *
yet is my delight in thy commandments.
144 The righteousness of thy testimonies is everlasting *
O grant me understanding, and I shall live.
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 119:105-112 (http://oremus.org/chant/Psalm-119n.mp3)
Your word is a lamp unto my feet
and a light unto my pathway.
I have taken an oath and I’ve confirmed it,
that I will keep your righteous laws.
I have suffered much; preserve my life, O Lord,
according to your Word.
Accept, O Lord, the willing praises of my mouth,
and teach me your laws.
Though I constantly take my life in my hands,
I will not forget your law.
The wicked have set a snare for me,
but I have not strayed from your precepts.
Your statutes are my heritage forever;
they are the joy of my heart.
I’ve inclined my heart to do your statutes,
forever, even to the end.
Your word is a lamp unto my feet
and a light unto my pathway.
Psalm 109:113-120 (http://oremus.org/chant/Psalm-119o.mp3)
I hate the thoughts of doubleminded men,
but I love your law.
You are my refuge and you are my shield;
I’ve put my hope in your Word.
Away from me, you evildoers,
that I may keep the commands of my God!
Sustain me according to your promise, and I’ll live;
don’t let my hopes be dashed.
Uphold me, and I will be delivered;
I’ll always have regard for your decrees.
You reject all who stray from your decrees,
for their deceitfulness is in vain.
All the wicked of the earth you discard like dross;
therefore I love your testimonies.
My flesh trembles in fear of you;
I stand in awe of your laws.
Psalm 119:121-128 (http://oremus.org/chant/Psalm-119p.mp3)
I have done what is righteous and just;
do not leave me to my oppressors.
Ensure your servant’s wellbeing;
let not the arrogant oppress me.
My eyes fail, looking for your salvation,
looking for your righteous promise.
Deal with your servant according to your love
and teach me your decrees.
I’m your servant; give me discernment
that I may understand your testimonies.
It is time for you to act, O Lord;
your law is being broken.
Because I love your commands more than gold,
more than pure gold,
and because I consider all your precepts right,
I hate every wrong path.
Psalm 119:129-136 (http://oremus.org/chant/Psalm-119q.mp3)
Your testimonies are wonderful;
therefore my soul has obeyed them.
The unfolding of your words gives light;
it gives understanding to the simple.
I open my mouth and pant,
longing for your commands.
Turn to me and have mercy on me,
as you always do to those who love your name.
Direct my footsteps according to your Word;
let no sin rule over me.
Redeem me from the oppression of men,
that I may keep your precepts.
Make your face shine upon your servant
and teach me your decrees.
Streams of tears flow from my eyes,
for your law, for your law is not obeyed.
Psalm 119:137-144 (http://oremus.org/chant/Psalm-119r.mp3)
Righteous are you, O Lord,
and your laws are right.
The statutes you have laid down are righteous;
fully worthy of trust.
My zeal wears me out
for my foes ignore your words.
your promises have been thoroughly tested,
and your servant loves them.
Though I am small and despised,
I do not forget your precepts.
Your righteousness is everlasting
and your law is true.
Trouble and distress have come upon me,
yet your commands delight me.
Your statutes are forever right;
give me understanding,
give me understanding that I may live.
you are just in all your ways
and your commandments are the greatest of treasures.
Give us understanding of your law
and direct us according to your will
that we may be faithful in serving you
for the sake of Jesus our Lord. Amen. BCW
THE WORD OF GOD
Reading: Genesis 47:1-31
So Joseph went and told Pharaoh, ‘My father and my brothers, with their flocks and herds and all that they possess, have come from the land of Canaan; they are now in the land of Goshen.’ From among his brothers he took five men and presented them to Pharaoh. Pharaoh said to his brothers, ‘What is your occupation?’ And they said to Pharaoh, ‘Your servants are shepherds, as our ancestors were.’ They said to Pharaoh, ‘We have come to reside as aliens in the land; for there is no pasture for your servants’ flocks because the famine is severe in the land of Canaan. Now, we ask you, let your servants settle in the land of Goshen.’ Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, ‘Your father and your brothers have come to you. The land of Egypt is before you; settle your father and your brothers in the best part of the land; let them live in the land of Goshen; and if you know that there are capable men among them, put them in charge of my livestock.’
Then Joseph brought in his father Jacob, and presented him before Pharaoh, and Jacob blessed Pharaoh. Pharaoh said to Jacob, ‘How many are the years of your life?’ Jacob said to Pharaoh, ‘The years of my earthly sojourn are one hundred and thirty; few and hard have been the years of my life. They do not compare with the years of the life of my ancestors during their long sojourn.’ Then Jacob blessed Pharaoh, and went out from the presence of Pharaoh. Joseph settled his father and his brothers, and granted them a holding in the land of Egypt, in the best part of the land, in the land of Rameses, as Pharaoh had instructed. And Joseph provided his father, his brothers, and all his father’s household with food, according to the number of their dependants.
Now there was no food in all the land, for the famine was very severe. The land of Egypt and the land of Canaan languished because of the famine. Joseph collected all the money to be found in the land of Egypt and in the land of Canaan, in exchange for the grain that they bought; and Joseph brought the money into Pharaoh’s house. When the money from the land of Egypt and from the land of Canaan was spent, all the Egyptians came to Joseph, and said, ‘Give us food! Why should we die before your eyes? For our money is gone.’ And Joseph answered, ‘Give me your livestock, and I will give you food in exchange for your livestock, if your money is gone.’ So they brought their livestock to Joseph; and Joseph gave them food in exchange for the horses, the flocks, the herds, and the donkeys. That year he supplied them with food in exchange for all their livestock. When that year was ended, they came to him the following year, and said to him, ‘We cannot hide from my lord that our money is all spent; and the herds of cattle are my lord’s. There is nothing left in the sight of my lord but our bodies and our lands. Shall we die before your eyes, both we and our land? Buy us and our land in exchange for food. We with our land will become slaves to Pharaoh; just give us seed, so that we may live and not die, and that the land may not become desolate.’
So Joseph bought all the land of Egypt for Pharaoh. All the Egyptians sold their fields, because the famine was severe upon them; and the land became Pharaoh’s. As for the people, he made slaves of them from one end of Egypt to the other. Only the land of the priests he did not buy; for the priests had a fixed allowance from Pharaoh, and lived on the allowance that Pharaoh gave them; therefore they did not sell their land. Then Joseph said to the people, ‘Now that I have this day bought you and your land for Pharaoh, here is seed for you; sow the land. And at the harvests you shall give one-fifth to Pharaoh, and four-fifths shall be your own, as seed for the field and as food for yourselves and your households, and as food for your little ones.’ They said, ‘You have saved our lives; may it please my lord, we will be slaves to Pharaoh.’ So Joseph made it a statute concerning the land of Egypt, and it stands to this day, that Pharaoh should have the fifth. The land of the priests alone did not become Pharaoh’s.
Thus Israel settled in the land of Egypt, in the region of Goshen; and they gained possessions in it, and were fruitful and multiplied exceedingly. Jacob lived in the land of Egypt for seventeen years; so the days of Jacob, the years of his life, were one hundred and forty-seven years.
When the time of Israel’s death drew near, he called his son Joseph and said to him, ‘If I have found favour with you, put your hand under my thigh and promise to deal loyally and truly with me. Do not bury me in Egypt. When I lie down with my ancestors, carry me out of Egypt and bury me in their burial place.’ He answered, ‘I will do as you have said.’ And he said, ‘Swear to me’; and he swore to him. Then Israel bowed himself on the head of his bed.
HYMN: Philip Doddridge
Tune: Burford https://tinyurl.com/yua5wzry
1 O God of Bethel, by whose hand
thy people still are fed,
who through this weary pilgrimage
hast all our fathers led;
2 Our vows, our prayers, we now present
before thy throne of grace;
God of our fathers, be the God
of their succeeding race.
3 Through each perplexing path of life
our wandering footsteps guide;
give us each day our daily bread,
and raiment fit provide.
4 O spread thy covering wings around
till all our wanderings cease,
and at our Father’s loved abode
our souls arrive in peace.
Reading: Romans 9:1-18
I am speaking the truth in Christ—I am not lying; my conscience confirms it by the Holy Spirit— I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart. For I could wish that I myself were accursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my own people, my kindred according to the flesh. They are Israelites, and to them belong the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the worship, and the promises; to them belong the patriarchs, and from them, according to the flesh, comes the Messiah, who is over all, God blessed for ever. Amen.
It is not as though the word of God had failed. For not all Israelites truly belong to Israel, and not all of Abraham’s children are his true descendants; but ‘It is through Isaac that descendants shall be named after you.’ This means that it is not the children of the flesh who are the children of God, but the children of the promise are counted as descendants. For this is what the promise said, ‘About this time I will return and Sarah shall have a son.’ Nor is that all; something similar happened to Rebecca when she had conceived children by one husband, our ancestor Isaac. Even before they had been born or had done anything good or bad (so that God’s purpose of election might continue, not by works but by his call) she was told, ‘The elder shall serve the younger.’ As it is written,
‘I have loved Jacob,
but I have hated Esau.’
What then are we to say? Is there injustice on God’s part? By no means! For he says to Moses,
‘I will have mercy on whom I have mercy,
and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.’
So it depends not on human will or exertion, but on God who shows mercy. For the scripture says to Pharaoh, ‘I have raised you up for the very purpose of showing my power in you, so that my name may be proclaimed in all the earth.’ So then he has mercy on whomsoever he chooses, and he hardens the heart of whomsoever he chooses.
HYMN: Charles Wesley
Tune: Worsley https://tinyurl.com/2ph6dpfn
1 My heart is full of Christ, and longs
this glorious matter to declare!
Of him I make my loftier songs,
I cannot from his praise forbear;
my ready tongue makes haste to sing
the glories of my heavenly King.
2 Fairer than all the earth-born race,
perfect in comeliness thou art;
replenished are thy lips with grace,
and full of love thy tender heart:
God ever blest! we bow the knee,
and own all fullness dwells in thee.
3 Gird on thy thigh the Spirit’s sword,
and take to thee thy power divine;
stir up thy strength, almighty Lord,
all power and majesty are thine:
assert thy worship and renown;
O all-redeeming God, come down.
4 Come, and maintain thy righteous cause,
and let thy glorious toil succeed;
spread forth the victory of thy cross,
ride on, and prosper in thy deed;
through earth triumphantly ride on,
and reign in every heart alone.
Reading: Mark 12:13-27
Then they sent to Jesus some Pharisees and some Herodians to trap him in what he said. And they came and said to him, ‘Teacher, we know that you are sincere, and show deference to no one; for you do not regard people with partiality, but teach the way of God in accordance with truth. Is it lawful to pay taxes to the emperor, or not? Should we pay them, or should we not?’ But knowing their hypocrisy, he said to them, ‘Why are you putting me to the test? Bring me a denarius and let me see it.’ And they brought one. Then he said to them, ‘Whose head is this, and whose title?’ They answered, ‘The emperor’s.’ Jesus said to them, ‘Give to the emperor the things that are the emperor’s, and to God the things that are God’s.’ And they were utterly amazed at him.
Some Sadducees, who say there is no resurrection, came to him and asked him a question, saying, ‘Teacher, Moses wrote for us that if a man’s brother dies, leaving a wife but no child, the man shall marry the widow and raise up children for his brother. There were seven brothers; the first married and, when he died, left no children; and the second married her and died, leaving no children; and the third likewise; none of the seven left children. Last of all the woman herself died. In the resurrection whose wife will she be? For the seven had married her.’
Jesus said to them, ‘Is not this the reason you are wrong, that you know neither the scriptures nor the power of God? For when they rise from the dead, they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven. And as for the dead being raised, have you not read in the book of Moses, in the story about the bush, how God said to him, “I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob”? He is God not of the dead, but of the living; you are quite wrong.’
CANTICLE Philippians 2:6-11
(Chant by John Michael Talbot: https://tinyurl.com/y8ljx8y7)
Though he was in the form of God,
Jesus did not deem equality with God
something to be grasped at.
Rather, he emptied himself
and took the form of a slave,
being born in the likeness of men.
He was known to be of human estate
and it was thus that he humbled himself,
obediently accepting even death,
death on a cross!
Because of this,
God highly exalted him
and bestowed on him the name
above every other name,
So that at Jesus’ name
every knee must bend
in the heavens, on the earth,
and under the earth,
and every tongue proclaim
to the glory of God the Father:
JESUS CHRIST IS LORD!
Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit;
as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be for ever. Amen.
THE PRAYERS WS2
Giver of life, we wait with you to offer the hope
that comes from the cross to earth’s darkest places.
Where pain is deep and affection is denied:
let love break through.
Where justice is destroyed,
let sensitivity to right spring up.
Where hope is crucified,
let faith persist.
Where peace has no chance,
let passion live on.
Where truth is trampled underfoot,
let the struggle continue.
Where fear paralyzes,
let forgiveness break through.
Eternal God, reach into the silent darkness of our souls
with the radiance of the cross.
O you who are the bearer of all pain,
have mercy on us.
Giver of life,
have mercy on us.
have mercy on us. Amen.
Setting: Sanford Dole https://tinyurl.com/y7ldq7h5
Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your Name,
your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread;
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.
Loving God, your servant Richard Allen was born a slave, but in you he learned that he was your beloved child by adoption in Jesus Christ, and by the power of the Holy Spirit was led to proclaim liberty to his captive people: Give us strength to proclaim your freedom to the captives of our world; through Jesus Christ, Savior of all, who with you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns, one God, for ever and ever. Amen. HWHM
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
Support this ministry
Since 1993, Oremus has been done on a volunteer basis. If you are able, please consider supporting this work at the PayPal link below. For software reasons, I’ve set the value at $10.00, but feel free to change it. Thank you.
BCW Book of Common Worship, Presbyterian Church U.S.A., 1993.
HWHM Holy Women, Holy Men © 2010 The Church Pension Fund.
WS2 The Worship Sourcebook, 2nd edition, © 2013, Faith Alive Christian Resources
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 traditional version of the psalms is from The Book of Common Prayer (1662). The modern versions of Psalm 119 are © 2007-2019 Tom Quinlan. http://www.zcpress.org/music/psalm-119/
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 © 2022 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.