OREMUS: 11 April 2005

Steve Benner steve.benner at oremus.org
Sun Apr 10 18:43:16 GMT 2005

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OREMUS for Monday, April 11, 2005
William Law, Priest, Spiritual Writer, 1761

Alleluia! Christ is risen!
The Lord is risen indeed! Alleluia!

Blessed are you, God of life,
in your risen Son
you reveal your abiding presence among us
and call us in our baptism to lives of worship and service,
that we may be his witnesses 
to the farthest reaches of the earth.
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 136

Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good,*
 for his mercy endures for ever.
Give thanks to the God of gods,*
 for his mercy endures for ever.
Give thanks to the Lord of lords,*
 for his mercy endures for ever.
Who only does great wonders,*
 for his mercy endures for ever;
Who by his wisdom made the heavens,*
 for his mercy endures for ever;
Who spread out the earth upon the waters,*
 for his mercy endures for ever;
Who created great lights,*
 for his mercy endures for ever;
The sun to rule the day,*
 for his mercy endures for ever;
The moon and the stars to govern the night,*
 for his mercy endures for ever.
Who struck down the first-born of Egypt,*
 for his mercy endures for ever;
And brought out Israel from among them,*
 for his mercy endures for ever;
With a mighty hand and a stretched-out arm,*
 for his mercy endures for ever;
Who divided the Red Sea in two,*
 for his mercy endures for ever;
And made Israel to pass through the midst of it,*
 for his mercy endures for ever;
But swept Pharaoh and his army into the Red Sea,*
 for his mercy endures for ever;
Who led his people through the wilderness,*
 for his mercy endures for ever.
Who struck down great kings,*
 for his mercy endures for ever;
And slew mighty kings,*
 for his mercy endures for ever;
Sihon, king of the Amorites,*
 for his mercy endures for ever;
And Og, the king of Bashan,*
 for his mercy endures for ever;
And gave away their lands for an inheritance,*
 for his mercy endures for ever;
An inheritance for Israel his servant,*
 for his mercy endures for ever.
Who remembered us in our low estate,*
 for his mercy endures for ever;
And delivered us from our enemies,*
 for his mercy endures for ever;
Who gives food to all creatures,*
 for his mercy endures for ever;
Give thanks to the God of heaven,*
 for his mercy endures for ever.

A Song of the Heavenly City (Revelation 21.22-26;22.1,2b,2d,3b-4)

I saw no temple in the city,
for its temple is the Lord God the Almighty
and the Lamb.

And the city has no need of sun or moon
to shine upon it,
for the glory of God is its light,
and its lamp is the Lamb.

By its light the nations shall walk,
and the rulers of the earth
shall bring their glory into it.

Its gates shall never be shut by day,
nor shall there be any night;
they shall bring into it
the glory and honour of the nations.

I saw the river of the water of life,
bright as crystal,
flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb.

And either side of the river stood the tree of life,
yielding its fruit each month,
and the leaves of the tree
were for the healing of the nations.

The throne of God and of the Lamb shall be there,
and his servants shall worship him;
and they shall see his face
and his name shall be on their foreheads.

To the One who sits on the throne and to the Lamb
be blessing and honour and glory and might,
for ever and ever. Amen.

Psalm 150

   Praise God in his holy temple;*
 praise him in the firmament of his power.
Praise him for his mighty acts;*
 praise him for his excellent greatness.
Praise him with the blast of the ram's-horn;*
 praise him with lyre and harp.
Praise him with timbrel and dance;*
 praise him with strings and pipe.
Praise him with resounding cymbals;*
 praise him with loud-clanging cymbals.
Let everything that has breath*
 praise the Lord.

READING [Colossians 1:1-8]:

Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and
Timothy our brother,
To the saints and faithful brothers and sisters in Christ
in Colossae:
Grace to you and peace from God our Father.
In our prayers for you we always thank God, the Father of
our Lord Jesus Christ, for we have heard of your faith in
Christ Jesus and of the love that you have for all the
saints, because of the hope laid up for you in heaven.
You have heard of this hope before in the word of the
truth, the gospel that has come to you. Just as it is
bearing fruit and growing in the whole world, so it has
been bearing fruit among yourselves from the day you
heard it and truly comprehended the grace of God. This
you learned from Epaphras, our beloved fellow-servant. He
is a faithful minister of Christ on your behalf, and he
has made known to us your love in the Spirit. 

For another Biblical reading,
Wisdom 1:1-15

Words: Henry Williams Baker, 1875
Tune: Laudate Dominum (Parry)
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O praise ye the Lord!
Praise him in the height;
rejoice in his word,
ye angels of light;
ye heavens, adore him
by whom ye were made,
and worship before him,
in brightness arrayed.

O praise ye the Lord!
Praise him upon earth,
in tuneful accord,
ye sons of new birth;
praise him who hath brought you
his grace from above,
praise him who hath taught you
to sing of his love.

O praise ye the Lord!
All things that give sound;
each jubilant chord
reecho around;
loud organs, his glory
forth tell in deep tone,
and sweet harp, the story
of what he hath done.

O praise ye the Lord!
Thanksgiving and song
to him be outpoured
all ages along!
For love in creation,
for heaven restored,
for grace of salvation,
O praise ye the Lord!

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

O Sun of righteousness, 
you came forth from the dark night of death.  
May you rise also in our hearts,
and enable us to contemplate the glories 
of this sacred mystery, 
that we may praise and glorify you for ever.  
Lord of life, hear our prayer.

O Prince of Life, 
you take away the old leaven of malice and evil 
that we may always walk with you and serve you:
Abide continually with us, 
that in everything we do we may not forget the joy of your resurrection.
Lord of life, hear our prayer.

O Paschal Lamb, offered for all, 
you have taken away the sin of the world 
and by rising again you have restored to us everlasting life.
Send laborers into the harvest
to proclaim the life you offer to those who believe. 
We pray especially for 
Lord of life, hear our prayer.

O Conqueror of death and captain of our salvation, 
you overcame the darkness of death
and opened the kingdom of heaven for all believers.  
We thank you for those saints whom you have already led
through death to life in the glory of heaven.
Lord of life, hear our prayer.

We pray for your Church throughout the world, especially
the Diocese of Mount Kenya South, Kenya, The Rt Revd Timothy Ranje, Bishop,
and the Diocese of Mount Kenya West, Kenya, The Rt Revd Joseph M Kagunda, Bishop.
Lord of life, hear our prayer.

Lord of life, 
submitting to death, you conquered the grave. 
By being lifted on a cross, you draw all peoples to you. 
By being raised from the dead, 
you restore to humanity all that we had lost through sin. 
Throughout these fifty days of Easter 
we proclaim the marvelous mystery of death and resurrection. 
For all praise is yours, now and throughout eternity. Amen.

O God, 
you kindled the flame of your love
in the heart of William Law 
and made him a shining light and sure guide
in calling many to the devout and holy life.
Grant us so to practice 
the rule and discipline of faith,
that we may walk in the ways of your love
as children of the light;
through Jesus Christ our Lord,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Rejoicing in the God's new creation,
let us pray as our Redeemer has taught us:

- The Lord's Prayer

Stir up our faith, O God of life,
that our hearts may burn within us
at the sound of Jesus' word,
and our eyes be opened to recognize him
in the breaking of the bread. Amen.

The psalms and the invitation to the Lord's Prayer 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 use sentences
from three prayers in _Opening Prayers: Collects in Contemporary

The first collect is from _Book of Common Worship_, (c) 1993
Westminster / John Knox Press. 

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.

William Law, born in 1686, became a Fellow of Emmanuel College,
Cambridge in 1711, but in 1714, at the death of Queen Anne, he became a
non-Juror: that is to say, he found himself unable to take the required oath of
allegiance to the Hanoverian dynasty (who had replaced the Stuart dynasty) as
the lawful rulers of the United Kingdom, and was accordingly ineligible to
serve as a university teacher or parish minister. He became for ten years a
private tutor in the family of the historian Edward Gibbon (who, despite his
generally cynical attitude toward all things Christian, invariably wrote of Law
with respect and admiration), and then retired to his native King's Cliffe.
Forbidden the use of the pulpit and the lecture-hall, he preached through his
books. These include Christian Perfection, The Spirit Of Love, The Spirit Of
Prayer, and, best-known of all, A Serious Call To A Devout And Holy Life,
published in 1728. The thesis of this last book is that God does not merely
forgive our disobedience, he calls us to obedience, and to a life completely
centered in Him. He says: "If you will here stop and ask yourself why you are
not as pious as the primitive Christians were, your own heart will tell you that
it is neither through ignorance nor inability, but because you never thoroughly
intended it."

The immediate influence of the book was considerable.

Dr. Samuel Johnson said (Boswell's Life Of Johnson, ch. 1): "I became a sort
of lax talker against religion, for I did not think much against it; and this lasted
until I went to Oxford, where it would not be suffered. When at Oxford, I took
up Law's Serious Call, expecting to find it a dull book (as such books generally
are), and perhaps to laugh at it. But I found Law quite an overmatch for me;
and this was the first occasion of my thinking in earnest of religion after I
became capable of rational inquiry."

Gibbon (as mentioned above) said: "If Mr. Law finds a spark of piety in a
reader's mind, he will soon kindle it into a flame."

John Wesley calls it one of three books which accounted for his first "explicit
resolve to be all devoted to God." Later, when denying, in response to a
question, that Methodism was founded on Law's writings, he added that
"Methodists carefully read these books and were greatly profitted by them." In
1744 he published extracts from the Serious Call, thereby introducing it to a
wider audience than it already had. About eighteen months before his death, he
called it "a treatise which will hardly be excelled, if it be equalled, either for
beauty of expression or for depth of thought."

Charles Wesley, George Whitefield, Henry Venn, William Wilberforce, and
Thomas Scott each described reading the book as a major turning-point in his
life. All in all, there were few leaders of the English Evangelical movement on
whom it did not have a profound influence.

Some Christians have considered Law's work inadequate, as not sufficiently
concerned with Justification by Faith, to which objection Law would doubtless
have replied: "But I never offered it as a complete presentation of the Gospel,
only as a reminder of the words, 'Go and sin no more,' which are surely a part
of the Gospel."

    For surely they mistake the whole nature of religion, who can think any part
of their life is made more easy, for being free from it. They may well be said to
mistake the whole nature of wisdom, who do not think it desirable to be always
wise. -- A Serious Call [James Kiefer, abridged]

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