OREMUS: 7 December 2004

Steve Benner steve.benner at oremus.org
Mon Dec 6 17:00:01 GMT 2004


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OREMUS for Tuesday, December 7, 2004
Ambrose, Bishop of Milan, Teacher of the Faith, 397

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

Blessed are you, God of mercy and might,
with tender comfort and transforming power
you come into our midst.
You remember your ancient promise
and make straight the paths that lead to you
and smooth out the rough ways,
that in our day
we might bring forth your compassion
for all humanity.
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. 

http://www.oremus.org/advocant.html

Psalm 8

O Lord our governor,*
 how exalted is your name in all the world!
Out of the mouths of infants and children*
 your majesty is praised above the heavens.
You have set up a stronghold against your adversaries,*
 to quell the enemy and the avenger.
When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers,*
 the moon and the stars you have set in their courses,
What are mortals, that you should be mindful of them?*
 mere human beings, that you should seek them out?
You have made them little lower than the angels;*
 you adorn them with glory and honour.
You give them mastery over the works of your hands;*
 and put all things under their feet,
All sheep and oxen,*
 even the wild beasts of the field,
The birds of the air, the fish of the sea,*
 and whatsoever walks in the paths of the sea.
O Lord our governor,*
 how exalted is your name in all the world!

Psalm 92

It is a good thing to give thanks to the Lord,*
 and to sing praises to your name, O Most High;
To tell of your loving-kindness early in the morning*
 and of your faithfulness in the night season;
On the psaltery and on the lyre*
 and to the melody of the harp.
For you have made me glad by your acts, O Lord;*
 and I shout for joy because of the works of your hands.
Lord, how great are your works!*
 your thoughts are very deep.
The dullard does not know,
   nor does the fool understand,*
 that though the wicked grow like weeds,
   and all the workers of iniquity flourish,
They flourish only to be destroyed for ever;*
 but you, O Lord, are exalted for evermore.
For lo, your enemies, O Lord,
   lo, your enemies shall perish,*
 and all the workers of iniquity shall be scattered.
But my horn you have exalted
   like the horns of wild bulls;*
 I am anointed with fresh oil.
My eyes also gloat over my enemies,*
 and my ears rejoice to hear the doom of the wicked
   who rise up against me.
The righteous shall flourish like a palm tree,*
 and shall spread abroad like a cedar of Lebanon.
Those who are planted in the house of the Lord*
 shall flourish in the courts of our God;
They shall still bear fruit in old age;*
 they shall be green and succulent;
That they may show how upright the Lord is,*
 my rock, in whom there is no fault.

A Song of God's Herald (Isaiah 40:9-11)

Go up to a high mountain,
herald of good tidings to Zion;
lift up your voice with strength,
herald of good tidings to Jerusalem.

Lift up your voice, fear not;
say to the cities of Judah, 'Behold your God!'

See, the Lord God comes with might,
and his arm rules for him.

Behold, his reward is with him,
and his recompense before him.

God will feed his flock like a shepherd,
and gather the lambs in his arms;

He will carry them in his breast,
and gently lead those that are with young.

Psalm 146

Alleluia!
   Praise the Lord, O my soul!*
 I will praise the Lord as long as I live;
   I will sing praises to my God while I have my being.
Put not your trust in rulers,
   nor in any child of earth,*
 for there is no help in them.
When they breathe their last, they return to earth,*
 and in that day their thoughts perish.
Happy are they who have the God of Jacob
   for their help!*
 whose hope is in the Lord their God;
Who made heaven and earth, the seas,
   and all that is in them;*
 who keeps his promise for ever;
Who gives justice to those who are oppressed,*
 and food to those who hunger.
The Lord sets the prisoners free;
   the Lord opens the eyes of the blind;*
 the Lord lifts up those who are bowed down;
The Lord loves the righteous;
   the Lord cares for the stranger;*
 he sustains the orphan and widow,
   but frustrates the way of the wicked.
The Lord shall reign for ever,*
 your God, O Zion, throughout all generations.
   Alleluia!

READING [Hosea 6:1-6]:

'Come, let us return to the LORD;
   for it is he who has torn, and he will heal us;
   he has struck down, and he will bind us up.
After two days he will revive us;
   on the third day he will raise us up,
   that we may live before him.
Let us know, let us press on to know the LORD;
   his appearing is as sure as the dawn;
he will come to us like the showers,
   like the spring rains that water the earth.'
What shall I do with you, O Ephraim?
   What shall I do with you, O Judah?
Your love is like a morning cloud,
   like the dew that goes away early.
Therefore I have hewn them by the prophets,
   I have killed them by the words of my mouth,
   and my judgement goes forth as the light.
For I desire steadfast love and not sacrifice,
   the knowledge of God rather than burnt-offerings.

For another Biblical reading,
Revelation 12:7-12

HYMN 
Words: Ambrose of Milan, circa 397; paraphrased by Martin Luther, 1523;
trans. William Morton Reynolds, 1851.
Tune: Nun komm der Heiden Heiland
http://www.oremus.org/hymnal/s/s032.html
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Savior of the nations, come;
virgin's Son, here make thy home!
Marvel now, O heaven and earth,
that the Lord chose such a birth.

Not by human flesh and blood;
by the Spirit of our God
was the Word of God made flesh,
woman's offspring, pure and fresh.

Wondrous birth! O wondrous child
of the Virgin undefiled!
Though by all the world disowned,
still to be in heaven enthroned.

>From the Father forth he came
and returneth to the same,
captive leading death and hell
high the song of triumph swell!

Thou, the Father's only Son,
hast over sin the victory won.
boundless shall thy kingdom be;
when shall we its glories see?

Brightly doth thy manger shine,
glorious is its light divine.
Let not sin overcloud this light;
ever be our faith thus bright.

Praise to God the Father sing,
praise to God the Son, our King,
praise to God the Spirit be
ever and eternally.

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

Prayer:
In joyful expectation of his coming to our aid
we pray to Jesus, saying,
Maranatha:
Come, Lord Jesus. 

Come to your Church as Lord and Judge.
We pray for the Diocese of Kisangani, Congo,
The Rt Revd Lambert Funga Botolome, Bishop;
and the Diocese of Kitale, Kenya, 
The Rt Revd Stephen Kewasis Nyorsok, Bishop ...
Help us to live in the light of your coming
and give us a longing for your rule.
Maranatha:
Come, Lord Jesus.

Come to your world as King of the nations.
We pray for ...
Before you rulers will stand in silence.
Maranatha:
Come, Lord Jesus.

Come to your people with a message of victory and peace.
We pray for ...
Give us the victory over death, temptation and evil.
Maranatha:
Come, Lord Jesus.

Come to us as Saviour and Comforter.
We pray for ...
Break in to those areas of our lives
where we live with failure and distress,
and set us free to serve you for ever.
Maranatha:
Come, Lord Jesus.

Come to us from heaven with power and great glory,
to lift us up to meet you,
with all your saints and angels,
to live with you for ever.
Maranatha:
Come, Lord Jesus.

O God the Word and Son of God,
exalted is your name in all creation,
yet you have stooped to become one with us:
as you have ordained humanity the steward of your creation,
so minister through us the mystery of your salvation;
to the glory of your holy Name. Amen.

God of hosts,
who called Ambrose from the governor's throne
to be a bishop in your Church
and an intrepid champion of your faithful people:
mercifully grant that, as he did not fear to rebuke rulers,
so we, with like courage,
may contend for the faith we have received;
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.

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

- The Lord's Prayer

Give us grace so to imitate your Son
in the humility and purity of his first coming
that, when he comes again,
we may be ready to greet him
with joyful love and firm faith. Amen.

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The psalms and the first collect 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 uses a sentence from a prayer reprinted
from _Revised Common Lectionary Prayers_, copyright (c)
2002 Consultation on Common Texts; and another sentence from
_Opening Prayers: Collects in Contemporary Language_,
Canterbury Press, Norwich, 1999.

The second collect is from _Common Worship: Services and Prayers for
the Church of England_, material from which is included in this service is
copyright (c) The Archbishops' Council, 2000.

The closing prayer is adapted from a prayer from _Common Worship:
Services and Prayers for the Church of England_, material from which is
included in this service is copyright (c) The Archbishops' Council, 2000.

Ambrose was governor of Northern Italy, with capital at Milan. When the see
of Milan fell vacant, it seemed likely that rioting would result, since the city
was evenly divided between Arians and Athanasians. (Explanatory Note:
Athanasians affirm that the Logos or Word (John 1:1) is fully God in the same
sense that the Father is, while Arians affirm that the Logos is a creature, the
first being created by the Father.) Ambrose went to the meeting where the
election was to take place, and appealed to the crowd for order and good will
on both sides. He ended up being elected bishop with the support of both
sides.
He gave away his wealth, and lived in simplicity. By his preaching, he
converted the diocese to the Athanasian position, except for the Goths and
some members of the Imperial Household. On one occasion, the Empress
ordered him to turn over a church to the Arians so that her Gothic soldiers
could worship in it. Ambrose refused, and he and his people occupied the
church. Ambrose composed Latin hymns in the long meter and taught them to
the people, who sang them in the church as the soldiers surrounded it. The
Goths were unwilling to attack a hymn-singing congregation, and Ambrose
won that dispute.
He subsequently won another dispute, when the Emperor, enraged by a crowd
who defied him, ordered them all killed by his soldiers. When he next appeared
at church, Ambrose met him at the door and said, "You may not come in.
There is blood on your hands." The emperor finally agreed to do public
penance and to promise that thereafter he would never carry out a sentence of
death without a forty-day delay after pronouncing it. Less creditable, to
modern Christians, is Ambrose's dispute with the emperor when certain
Christians burned a Jewish synagogue, and the emperor commanded them to
make restitution. Ambrose maintained that no Christian could be compelled to
provide money for the building of a non-Christian house of worship, no matter
what the circumstances.
Ambrose was largely responsible for the conversion of St. Augustine. The
hymn Te Deum Laudamus ("We praise Thee, O God") was long thought to
have been composed by Ambrose in thanksgiving for that conversion. The
current opinion is that Ambrose did not write it, but that he may well have
written the Creed known as the Athanasian Creed. He is perhaps the first
writer of Christian hymns with rhyme and (accentual) meter, and northern Italy
still uses his style of plainchant, known as Ambrosian chant, rather than the
more widespread Gregorian chant. He died 4 April 397, but (because this date
so often falls in Holy Week or Easter Week) he is commonly remembered on
the anniversary of his consecration as bishop, 7 December. [James Kiefer]



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