“2And Stephen replied: “Brothers and fathers, listen to me. The God of glory appeared to our ancestor Abraham when he was in Mesopotamia, before he lived in Haran, 3and said to him, ‘Leave your country and your relatives and go to the land that I will show you.’ 4Then he left the country of the Chaldeans and settled in Haran. After his father died, God had him move from there to this country in which you are now living. 5He did not give him any of it as a heritage, not even a foot’s length, but promised to give it to him as his possession and to his descendants after him, even though he had no child. 6And God spoke in these terms, that his descendants would be resident aliens in a country belonging to others, who would enslave them and mistreat them during four hundred years. 7‘But I will judge the nation that they serve,’ said God, ‘and after that they shall come out and worship me in this place.’ 8Then he gave him the covenant of circumcision. And so Abraham became the father of Isaac and circumcised him on the eighth day; and Isaac became the father of Jacob, and Jacob of the twelve patriarchs.”
God of the covenant, you did not forget. Even as Abraham and Sarah were buried with their people and they did not see your covenant fully fulfilled, you remembered. As the Apostle Stephen speaks of within the book of Acts, generations later, connecting your words of covenant with them, to the peoples following Jesus. He weaved the story of your love, and your Spirit that went with them; I affirm that covenantal love in Jesus and remember. I accept that gift of grace found in Christ Jesus and so may I respond with gratitude. Your grace is a gift, undeserving and something I can never earn, but I serve in his name. I hear your call to serve friends. I hear your call to serve family and neighbors. And Lord, through this prayer I wrestle with that call to serve and reflect that hope to enemies, to those who may not be ready to accept your gift. I acknowledge how hard that truly is and I ask your strength. I ask your words and your example of such long-suffering patience, to go with me. Mercy into me into humility and gratitude, restore my soul with singing, my heart with loving and my hands to do justice, as Christ has shown us and your Spirit empowers me, now and forever, Amen.