OREMUS: 3 December 2004

Steve Benner steve.benner at oremus.org
Thu Dec 2 17:00:00 GMT 2004

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OREMUS for Friday, December 3, 2004
John of Damascus, Monk, Teacher of the Faith, c.749

O Lord, open our lips.
And our mouth shall proclaim your praise.

Blessed are you, loving God,
ever faithful to your promises
and ever close to your church.
The earth rejoices in hope of the Savior's coming
and looks forward with longing
to his return at the end of time.
You call us to prepare our hearts
and remove that which hinders us
from the joy and hope his presence will bestow.
For these and all your mercies, we praise you:
Father, Son, and Holy Spirit,
Blessed be God for ever!

An opening canticle may be sung. 


Psalm 16

Protect me, O God, for I take refuge in you;*
 I have said to the Lord, 'You are my Lord,
   my good above all other.'
All my delight is upon the godly that are in the land,*
 upon those who are noble among the people.
But those who run after other gods*
 shall have their troubles multiplied.
Their libations of blood I will not offer,*
 nor take the names of their gods upon my lips.
O Lord, you are my portion and my cup;*
 it is you who uphold my lot.
My boundaries enclose a pleasant land;*
 indeed, I have a goodly heritage.
I will bless the Lord who gives me counsel;*
 my heart teaches me, night after night.
I have set the Lord always before me;*
 because he is at my right hand I shall not fall.
My heart, therefore, is glad and my spirit rejoices;*
 my body also shall rest in hope.
For you will not abandon me to the grave,*
 nor let your holy one see the Pit.
You will show me the path of life;*
 in your presence there is fullness of joy,
   and in your right hand are pleasures for evermore.

Psalm 130

Out of the depths have I called to you, O Lord;
   Lord, hear my voice;*
 let your ears consider well the voice of my supplication.
If you, Lord, were to note what is done amiss,*
 O Lord, who could stand?
For there is forgiveness with you;*
 therefore you shall be feared.
I wait for the Lord; my soul waits for him;*
 in his word is my hope.
My soul waits for the Lord,
   more than the night-watch for the morning,*
 more than the night-watch for the morning.
O Israel, wait for the Lord,*
 for with the Lord there is mercy;
With him there is plenteous redemption,*
 and he shall redeem Israel from all their sins.

A Song of the Bride (Isaiah 61.10,11; 62.1-3)

I will greatly rejoice in the Lord,
my soul shall exult in my God;

Who has clothed me with the garments of salvation,
and has covered me with the cloak of integrity,

As a bridegroom decks himself with a garland,
and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.

For as the earth puts forth her blossom,
and as seeds in the garden spring up,

So shall God make righteousness and praise
blossom before all the nations.

For Zion's sake, I will not keep silent,
and for Jerusalem's sake I will not rest,

Until her deliverance shines out like the dawn,
and her salvation as a burning torch.

The nations shall see your deliverance,
and all rulers shall see your glory;

Then you shall be called by a new name
which the mouth of God will give.

You shall be a crown of glory in the hand of the Lord,
a royal diadem in the hand of your God.

Psalm 147:1-12

   How good it is to sing praises to our God!*
 how pleasant it is to honour him with praise!
The Lord rebuilds Jerusalem;*
 he gathers the exiles of Israel.
He heals the brokenhearted*
 and binds up their wounds.
He counts the number of the stars*
 and calls them all by their names.
Great is our Lord and mighty in power;*
 there is no limit to his wisdom.
The Lord lifts up the lowly,*
 but casts the wicked to the ground.
Sing to the Lord with thanksgiving;*
 make music to our God upon the harp.
He covers the heavens with clouds*
 and prepares rain for the earth;
He makes grass to grow upon the mountains*
 and green plants to serve us all.
He provides food for flocks and herds*
 and for the young ravens when they cry.
He is not impressed by the might of a horse,*
 he has no pleasure in human strength;
But the Lord has pleasure in those who fear him,*
 in those who await his gracious favour.

READING [Matthew 7:21-27]:

Jesus said, 'Not everyone who says to me, "Lord, Lord",
will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only one who does
the will of my Father in heaven. On that day many will
say to me, "Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name,
and cast out demons in your name, and do many deeds of
power in your name?" Then I will declare to them, "I
never knew you; go away from me, you evildoers."
'Everyone then who hears these words of mine and acts on
them will be like a wise man who built his house on rock.
The rain fell, the floods came, and the winds blew and
beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had
been founded on rock. And everyone who hears these words
of mine and does not act on them will be like a foolish
man who built his house on sand. The rain fell, and the
floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that
house, and it fell and great was its fall!' 

For another Biblical reading,
Isaiah 14:24-27

Words: Robert Bridges (1844-1930);
based on the German on Joachim Neander (1650-1680)
Tune: Michael
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All my hope on God is founded;
he doth still my trust renew,
me through change and chance he guideth,
only good and only true.
God unknown,
he alone
calls my heart to be his own.

Pride of man and earthly glory,
sword and crown betray his trust;
what with care and toil he buildeth,
tower and temple fall to dust.
But God's power,
hour by hour,
is my temple and my tower.

God's great goodness aye endureth,
deep his wisdom, passing thought:
splendor, light and life attend him,
beauty springeth out of naught.
from his store
newborn worlds rise and adore.

Daily doth the almighty Giver
bounteous gifts on us bestow;
his desire our soul delighteth,
pleasure leads us where we go.
Love doth stand
at his hand;
joy doth wait on his command.

Still from man to God eternal
sacrifice of praise be done,
high above all praises praising
for the gift of Christ, his Son.
Christ doth call
one and all:
ye who follow shall not fall.

The Benedictus (Morning), the 
Magnificat (Evening), or 
Nunc dimittis (Night) may follow.

In joyful hope, we pray to you, O Lord:
Come, Lord Jesus!

Come to your Church as Lord and Judge
and give us a longing for your loving rule.
We pray especially for Kindu, Congo,
The Rt Revd Zacharie Masimango Katanda, Bishop:
Come, Lord Jesus!

Come to your world as King of the nations
and let righteousness and peace prevail:
Come, Lord Jesus!

Come to us as Savior and Comforter,
breaking into our failure and freeing us to serve you:
Come, Lord Jesus!

Come to us with power and great joy,
that our hearts may be lifted to meet you in joy:
Come, Lord Jesus!

Eternal God, 
through long generations you prepared a way 
for the coming of your Son, 
and by your Spirit you still bring light to illumine our paths: 
Renew us in faith and hope 
that we may welcome Christ 
to rule our thoughts and claim our love, 
as Lord of lords and King of kings, 
to whom be glory always. Amen.

Confirm our minds, O Lord, 
in the mysteries of the true faith, 
set forth with power by your servant John of Damascus; 
that we, with him, confessing Jesus 
to be truly God and truly Human, 
and singing the praises of the risen Lord, 
may, by the power of the resurrection, attain to eternal joy;
through the same Jesus Christ our Lord,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Awaiting his coming in glory,
let us pray as our Savior has taught us:

- The Lord's Prayer

O Son of God, our Savior,
today we await your coming,
and tomorrow we shall see your glory.
Reveal the good news to all of us
who long for your arrival.
Come, Love incarnate, do not delay.
Come, Lord Jesus! Amen.

The psalms are from _Celebrating Common Prayer_ (Mowbray),
(c) The Society of Saint Francis 1992, which is used with permission.

The canticle is from _Common Worship: Daily Prayer, Preliminary
Edition_, copyright (c) The Archbishops' Council, 2002.

The biblical passage is from The New Revised Standard Version (Anglicized
Edition), copyright (c) 1989, 1995 by the Division of Christian Education
of  the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the USA. Used by
permission. All rights reserved.

The opening prayer of thanksgiving and the closing sentence are adapted from
_Chalice Worship_, (c) Chalice Press, 1997. Reproduced with

The intercession is adapted from a prayer by the [Durham Diocesan Liturgical

The second collect is from _The Proper for the Lesser Feasts and
Fasts_, 3rd edition, (c) 1980 The Church Pension Fund.

John is generally accounted "the last of the Fathers". He was the son of a
Christian official at the court of the moslem khalif Abdul Malek, and succeeded
to his father's office. In his time there was a dispute among Christians between
the Iconoclasts (image-breakers) and the Iconodules (image-venerators or
image-respectors). The Emperor, Leo III, was a vigorous upholder of the
Iconoclast position. John wrote in favor of the Iconodules with great
effectiveness. Ironically, he was able to do this chiefly because he had the
protection of the moslem khalif (ironic because the moslems have a strong
prohibition against the religious use of pictures or images). John is also known
as a hymn-writer. Two of his hymns are sung in English at Easter ("Come ye
faithful, raise the strain" and "The Day of Resurrection! Earth, tell it out
abroad!"). Many more are sung in the Eastern Church. His major writing is
THE FOUNT OF KNOWLEDGE, of which the third part, THE ORTHODOX
FAITH, is a summary of Christian doctrine as expounded by the Greek
The dispute about icons was not a dispute between East and West as such.
Both the Greek and the Latin churches accepted the final decision. The
Iconoclasts maintained that the use of religious images was a violation of the
Second Commandment ("Thou shalt not make a graven image... thou shalt not
bow down to them"). The Iconodules replied that the coming of Christ had
radically changed the situation, and that the commandment must now be
understood in a new way, just as the commandment to "Remember the Sabbath
Day" must be understood in a new way since the Resurrection of Jesus on the
first day of the week. Before the Incarnation, it had indeed been improper to
portray the invisible God in visible form; but God, by taking fleshly form in the
person of Jesus Christ, had blessed the whole realm of matter and made it a fit
instrument for manifesting the Divine Splendor. He had reclaimed everything in
heaven and earth for His service, and had made water and oil, bread and wine,
means of conveying His grace to men. He had made painting and sculpture and
music and the spoken word, and indeed all our daily tasks and pleasures, the
common round of everyday life, a means whereby man might glorify God and
be made aware of Him. [James Kiefer, abridged]

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