James Hannington, Bishop of Eastern Equatorial Africa, Martyr in Uganda, 1885
Happy the one whose transgression is forgiven, and whose sin is covered.
Happy the one to whom the Lord imputes no guilt, and in whose spirit there is no guile.
For I held my tongue; my bones wasted away through my groaning all the day long.
Your hand was heavy upon me day and night;
my moisture was dried up like the drought in summer.
Then I acknowledged my sin to you and my iniquity I did not hide.
I said, ‘I will confess my transgressions to the Lord,’
and you forgave the guilt of my sin.
Therefore let all the faithful make their prayers to you
in time of trouble;
in the great water flood, it shall not reach them.
You are a place for me to hide in;
you preserve me from trouble;
you surround me with songs of deliverance.
‘I will instruct you and teach you in the way that you should go;
I will guide you with my eye.
‘Be not like horse and mule which have no understanding;
whose mouths must be held with bit and bridle,
or else they will not stay near you.’
Great tribulations remain for the wicked,
but mercy embraces those who trust in the Lord.
Be glad, you righteous, and rejoice in the Lord;
shout for joy, all who are true of heart.
Sin whispers to the wicked, in the depths of their heart;
there is no fear of God before their eyes.
They flatter themselves in their own eyes that their abominable sin will not be found out.
The words of their mouth are unrighteous and full of deceit;
they have ceased to act wisely and to do good.
They think out mischief upon their beds and have set themselves in no good way;
nor do they abhor that which is evil.
Your love, O Lord, reaches to the heavens and your faithfulness to the clouds.
Your righteousness stands like the strong mountains,
your justice like the great deep;
you, Lord, shall save both man and beast.
How precious is your loving mercy, O God!
All mortal flesh shall take refuge under the shadow of your wings.
They shall be satisfied with the abundance of your house;
they shall drink from the river of your delights.
For with you is the well of life and in your light shall we see light.
O continue your loving-kindness to those who know you
and your righteousness to those who are true of heart.
Let not the foot of pride come against me,
nor the hand of the ungodly thrust me away.
There are they fallen, all who work wickedness.
They are cast down and shall not be able to stand.
Do not rejoice over me, O my enemy;
when I fall, I shall rise;
when I sit in darkness, the Lord will be a light to me.
I must bear the indignation of the Lord,
because I have sinned against him,
until he takes my side and executes judgement for me.
He will bring me out to the light;
I shall see his vindication.
Then my enemy will see, and shame will cover her who said to me,
‘Where is the Lord your God?’
My eyes will see her downfall;
now she will be trodden down like the mire of the streets.
A day for the building of your walls!
In that day the boundary shall be far extended.
In that day they will come to you from Assyria to Egypt,
and from Egypt to the River,
from sea to sea and from mountain to mountain.
But the earth will be desolate because of its inhabitants,
for the fruit of their doings.
Shepherd your people with your staff,
the flock that belongs to you,
which lives alone in a forest in the midst of a garden land;
let them feed in Bashan and Gilead as in the days of old.
As in the days when you came out of the land of Egypt,
show us marvellous things.
The nations shall see and be ashamed of all their might;
they shall lay their hands on their mouths;
their ears shall be deaf;
they shall lick dust like a snake,
like the crawling things of the earth;
they shall come trembling out of their fortresses;
they shall turn in dread to the Lord our God,
and they shall stand in fear of you.
Who is a God like you, pardoning iniquity
and passing over the transgression
of the remnant of your possession?
He does not retain his anger for ever,
because he delights in showing clemency.
He will again have compassion upon us;
he will tread our iniquities under foot.
You will cast all our sins into the depths of the sea.
You will show faithfulness to Jacob
and unswerving loyalty to Abraham,
as you have sworn to our ancestors from the days of old.
And carrying the cross by himself, he went out to what is called The Place of the Skull, which in Hebrew is called Golgotha. There they crucified him, and with him two others, one on either side, with Jesus between them. Pilate also had an inscription written and put on the cross. It read, ‘Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews.’ Many of the Jews read this inscription, because the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city; and it was written in Hebrew, in Latin, and in Greek. Then the chief priests of the Jews said to Pilate, ‘Do not write, “The King of the Jews”, but, “This man said, I am King of the Jews.” ’ Pilate answered, ‘What I have written I have written.’ When the soldiers had crucified Jesus, they took his clothes and divided them into four parts, one for each soldier. They also took his tunic; now the tunic was seamless, woven in one piece from the top. So they said to one another, ‘Let us not tear it, but cast lots for it to see who will get it.’ This was to fulfil what the scripture says,
‘They divided my clothes among themselves, and for my clothing they cast lots.’
And that is what the soldiers did.
Meanwhile, standing near the cross of Jesus were his mother, and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple whom he loved standing beside her, he said to his mother, ‘Woman, here is your son.’ Then he said to the disciple, ‘Here is your mother.’ And from that hour the disciple took her into his own home.
After this, when Jesus knew that all was now finished, he said (in order to fulfil the scripture), ‘I am thirsty.’ A jar full of sour wine was standing there. So they put a sponge full of the wine on a branch of hyssop and held it to his mouth. When Jesus had received the wine, he said, ‘It is finished.’ Then he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.
Most merciful God,
who strengthened your Church by the steadfast courage of your martyr James Hannington:
grant that we also,
thankfully remembering his victory of faith,
may overcome what is evil and glorify your holy name;
through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever. Amen.