Holy Innocents

Photo by REUTERS

Photo by REUTERS

A Song of Creation (Canticle 12 – BCP 88)
Appointed for use on Saturday mornings

Glorify the Lord, all you works of the Lord, *
praise him and highly exalt him for ever.
In the firmament of his power, glorify the Lord, *
praise him and highly exalt him for ever.

Did the government agents knock down the doors in Bethlehem early on a Sabbath morning, when they knew families would be at home?

Glorify the Lord, O beasts of the wild, *
and all you flocks and herds.
O men and women everywhere, glorify the Lord, *
praise him and highly exalt him for ever.

Did the soldiers kill children indiscriminately — under two years? over two years? After all, as crusading abbot Arnaud Almaric said 12 centuries later, “kill them all; for the Lord knoweth them that are his!”

Let the people of God glorify the Lord, *
praise him and highly exalt him for ever.
Glorify the Lord, O priests and servants of the Lord, *
praise him and highly exalt him for ever.

Did the next-door neighbors hear anything? Did families with older children or elders with no children at home comfort themselves with the thought that if the police came to their houses, those other families must have done something wrong?

Glorify the Lord, O spirits and souls of the righteous, *
praise him and highly exalt him for ever.
You that are holy and humble of heart, glorify the Lord, *
praise him and highly exalt him for ever.

Do we shut our ears to the cries of mothers whose innocent children are killed? Do we draw away when our neighbors are visited by the police? Do we comfort ourselves with the thought that at least we’ve done nothing wrong?

Holy Innocents

We remember today, O God, the slaughter of the holy innocents of Bethlehem by King Herod. Receive, we pray, into the arms of your mercy all innocent victims; and by your great might frustrate the designs of evil tyrants and establish your rule of justice, love, and peace; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen. (BCP 238)

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