Isabella (Sojourner Truth) was the next-to-youngest child of several born to James and Elizabeth, slaves owned by a wealthy Dutchman in New York. For the first 28 years of her life she was a slave, sold from household to household. She fled slavery with the help of Quaker friends, first living in Philadelphia, then New York, where she joined the Mother Zion African Methodist Episcopal Church when African-Americans were being denied the right to worship with white members of St. George’s Church in Philadelphia.
Belle (as Isabella was called) became a street-corner evangelist in poverty-stricken areas of New York City, but quickly realized people needed food, housing and warm clothing. She focused her work on a homeless shelter for women.
When she was about 46, Belle believed she heard God say to her, “Go east.” So, she set out east for Long Island and Connecticut. Stopping at a Quaker farm for a drink of water, she was asked her name. “My name is Sojourner,” Belle said. “What is your last name?” the woman asked. Belle thought of all her masters’ names she had carried through life. Then the thought came: “The only master I have now is God, and His name is Truth.”
Sojourner became a traveling preacher, approaching white religious meetings and campgrounds and asking to speak. Fascinated by her charismatic presence, her wit, wisdom, and imposing six-foot height, they found her hard to refuse. She never learned to read or write, but quoted extensive Bible passages from memory in her sermons. She ended by singing a “home-made” hymn and addressing the crowd on the evils of slavery. Her reputation grew and she became part of the abolitionist and women’s rights speakers’ network. During a women’s rights convention in Ohio, Sojourner gave the speech for which she is best remembered: “Ain’t I a Woman.” She died on this day in 1883. HWHM
Jerusalem, arise and stand upon the heights,
and behold the joy which comes to you from God. Baruch 5
to whom all hearts are open,
all desires, known,
and from whom no secrets are hid:
Cleanse the thoughts of our hearts
by the inspiration of your Holy Spirit,
that we may perfectly love you
and worthily magnify your holy name;
through Christ our Lord. Amen.
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: Latin; trans. John Mason Neale
Tune: Westminster Abbey https://tinyurl.com/4786bbvp
1 Christ is made the sure foundation,
Christ the head and cornerstone,
chosen of the Lord, and precious,
binding all the Church in one;
holy Zion’s help for ever,
and her confidence alone.
2 All that dedicated city,
dearly loved of God on high,
in exultant jubilation
pours perpetual melody;
God the One in Three adoring
in glad hymns eternally.
3 To this temple, where we call thee,
come, O Lord of Hosts, today;
with thy wonted loving-kindness
hear thy servants as they pray,
and thy fullest benediction
shed within its walls alway.
4 Here vouchsafe to all thy servants
what they ask of thee to gain;
what they gain from thee, for ever
with the blessèd to retain,
and hereafter in thy glory
evermore with thee to reign.
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: Isaiah 66:14-24
When you see this, your heart will rejoice;
your entire being will flourish like grass.
The Lord’s power will be known among his servants,
but his fury among his enemies.
The Lord will come with fire,
God’s chariots like a windstorm,
to repay in hot anger,
to rebuke with fiery flames.
With fire and with sword the Lord will judge all humanity;
many will be slain by the Lord.
Those who became holy and purify themselves, following their leader into the gardens, who eat pork, detestable animals, and mice, will meet their end together, says the Lord.
Because of their actions and thoughts, I’m coming to gather all nations and cultures. They will come to see my glory. I will put a sign on them, by sending out some of the survivors to the nations, to Tarshish, Libya, and Lydia, and to the archers of Cilicia and Greece—distant coastlands that haven’t heard of my fame or seen my glory. They will declare my glory among the nations. They will bring your family members from all nations as an offering to the Lord—on horses, in chariots, in wagons, on mules, and on camels—to my holy mountain Jerusalem, says the Lord, like Israelites bringing an offering in purified containers to the Lord’s house. I will select some of them as priests and Levites, says the Lord.
As the new heavens and the new earth that I’m making will endure before me, says the Lord,
so your descendants and your name will endure.
From month to month and from Sabbath to Sabbath,
all humanity will come to worship me, says the Lord.
They will go out and see the corpses
of the people who rebelled against me,
where their worm never dies, where their fire is never extinguished.
They will be a horror to everyone.
HYMN: Henry F Chorley
Tune: Russia https://tinyurl.com/mvyzveyb
1 God the Omnipotent! King who ordainest
great winds thy clarion, lightnings thy sword:
show forth thy pity on high where thou reignest:
give to us peace in our time, O Lord.
2 God the All-merciful! earth hath forsaken
meekness and mercy, and slighted thy word;
bid not thy wrath in its terrors awaken;
give to us peace in our time, O Lord.
3 God, the All-righteous One! we have defied thee;
yet to eternity standeth thy word;
falsehood and wrong shall not tarry beside thee;
give to us peace in our time, O Lord.
4 God the All-wise! by the fire of thy chastening,
earth shall to freedom and truth be restored;
through the thick darkness thy Kingdom is hastening;
thou wilt give peace in thy time, O Lord.
5 So shall thy children, with thankful devotion,
praise him who saved them from peril and sword,
singing in chorus, from ocean to ocean,
peace to the nations, and praise to the Lord.
Reading: 2 Thessalonians 3:6-18
Brothers and sisters, we command you in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to stay away from every brother or sister who lives an undisciplined life that is not in line with the traditions that you received from us. You yourselves know how you need to imitate us because we were not undisciplined when we were with you. We didn’t eat anyone’s food without paying for it. Instead, we worked night and day with effort and hard work so that we would not impose on you. We did this to give you an example to imitate, not because we didn’t have a right to insist on financial support. Even when we were with you we were giving you this command: “If anyone doesn’t want to work, they shouldn’t eat.” We hear that some of you are living an undisciplined life. They aren’t working, but they are meddling in other people’s business. By the Lord Jesus Christ, we command and encourage such people to work quietly and put their own food on the table. Brothers and sisters, don’t get discouraged in doing what is right. Take note of anyone who doesn’t obey what we have said in this letter. Don’t associate with them so they will be ashamed of themselves. Don’t treat them like enemies, but warn them like you would do for a brother or sister.
May the Lord of peace himself give you peace always in every way. The Lord be with all of you. I, Paul, am writing this greeting with my own hand. This verifies that the letter is from me, as in every letter of mine. This is how I write. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with all of you.
HYMN: George Watson
Tune: Verbum pacis https://tinyurl.com/mr39f887
1 With the sweet word of peace
We bid our brethren go;
Peace as a river to increase,
And ceaseless flow.
2 With the calm word of prayer
We earnestly commend
Our brethren to Thy watchful care,
3 With the dear word of love
We give our brief farewell;
Our love below, and Thine above,
With them shall dwell.
4 With the strong word of faith
We stay ourselves on Thee,
That Thou, O Lord, in life and death,
Their Help shalt be.
5 Then the bright word of hope
Shall on our parting gleam,
And tell of joys beyond the scope
Of earth-born dream.
6 Farewell! in hope and love,
In faith, and peace, and prayer;
Till He whose home is ours above,
Unite us there.
Reading: Matthew 21:42-46
Jesus said to them, “Haven’t you ever read in the scriptures, The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone. The Lord has done this, and it’s amazing in our eyes? Therefore, I tell you that God’s kingdom will be taken away from you and will be given to a people who produce its fruit. Whoever falls on this stone will be crushed. And the stone will crush the person it falls on.”
Now when the chief priests and the Pharisees heard the parable, they knew Jesus was talking about them. They were trying to arrest him, but they feared the crowds, who thought he was a prophet.
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 BCW
Merciful God, we praise you that you give strength for every weakness, forgiveness
for our failures, and new beginnings in Jesus Christ.
Especially we thank you for
the guidance of your spirit through this day . . .
signs of new life and hope . . .
people who have helped us . . .
those who struggle for justice . . .
expressions of love unexpected or undeserved. . . .
Almighty God, you know all needs before we speak our prayers, yet you welcome
our concerns for others in Jesus Christ. Especially we pray for
those who keep watch over the sick and dying . . .
those who weep with the grieving . . .
those who are without faith and cannot accept your love . . .
the aged who are lonely, distressed or weak . . .
Reformed, Presbyterian, and Lutheran churches. . . .
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.
O God, whose Spirit guides us into all truth and makes us free: Strengthen and sustain us as you did your servant Sojourner. Give us vision and courage to stand against oppression and injustice and all that works against the glorious liberty to which you call all your children; through Jesus Christ our Savior, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, 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
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BCW Book of Common Worship, Presbyterian Church U.S.A., 1993.
PIC Prayers for An Inclusive Church. Steven Shakespeare © 2008 Canterbury Press.
HWHM Holy Women, Holy Men © 2010 The Church Pension Fund.
The three main scripture readings are © 2011 Common English Bible.
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.