OREMUS: 5 August 2005

Steve Benner steve.benner at oremus.org
Thu Aug 4 21:31:05 GMT 2005

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OREMUS for Friday, August 5, 2005 
Oswald, King of Northumbria, Martyr, 642

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

Blessed are you, O God,
the giver of every gift that endures.
By the word of your Son,
you challenge our foolishness,
confront our greed,
and shape our lives
to the wisdom of the Gospel.
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 72

Give the king your justice, O God,*
 and your righteousness to the king's son;
That he may rule your people righteously*
 and the poor with justice;
That the mountains may bring prosperity to the people,*
 and the little hills bring righteousness.
He shall defend the needy among the people;*
 he shall rescue the poor and crush the oppressor.
He shall live as long as the sun and moon endure,*
 from one generation to another.
He shall come down like rain upon the mown field,*
 like showers that water the earth.
In his time shall the righteous flourish;*
 there shall be abundance of peace
   till the moon shall be no more.
He shall rule from sea to sea,*
 and from the River to the ends of the earth.
His foes shall bow down before him,*
 and his enemies lick the dust.
The kings of Tarshish and of the isles shall pay tribute,*
 and the kings of Arabia and Saba offer gifts.
All kings shall bow down before him,*
 and all the nations do him service.
For he shall deliver the poor who cries out in distress,*
 and the oppressed who has no helper.
He shall have pity on the lowly and poor;*
 he shall preserve the lives of the needy.
He shall redeem their lives from oppression and violence,*
 and dear shall their blood be in his sight.
Long may he live,
   and may there be given to him gold from Arabia;*
 may prayer be made for him always,
   and may they bless him all the day long.
May there be abundance of grain on the earth,
   growing thick even on the hilltops;*
 may its fruit flourish like Lebanon,
   and its grain like grass upon the earth.
May his name remain for ever
   and be established as long as the sun endures;*
 may all the nations bless themselves in him
   and call him blessed.
Blessed be the Lord God, the God of Israel,*
 who alone does wondrous deeds!
And blessed be his glorious name for ever!*
 and may all the earth be filled with his glory.
   Amen. Amen.

A Song of the Word of the Lord (Isaiah 55:6-11)

Seek the Lord while he may be found,
call upon him while he is near;

Let the wicked abandon their ways,
and the unrighteous their thoughts;

Return to the Lord,
who will have mercy;
to our God, who will richly pardon.

'For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways', says the Lord.

'For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts.

'As the rain and the snow come down from above,
and return not again but water the earth,

'Bringing forth life and giving growth,
seed for sowing and bread to eat,

'So is my word that goes forth from my mouth;
it will not return to me fruitless,

'But it will accomplish that which I purpose,
and succeed in the task I gave it.'

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 [Romans 10:1-4]:

Brothers and sisters, my heart's desire and prayer to God
for them is that they may be saved. I can testify that
they have a zeal for God, but it is not enlightened. For,
being ignorant of the righteousness that comes from God,
and seeking to establish their own, they have not
submitted to God's righteousness. For Christ is the end
of the law so that there may be righteousness for
everyone who believes.

For another Biblical reading,
Ecclesiastes 9:11-18

Words:  Frederick William Faber, 1862;
Tune: Beecher   
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There's a wideness in God's mercy
like the wideness of the sea;
there's a kindness in his justice,
which is more than liberty.
There is welcome for the sinner,
and more graces for the good;
there is mercy with the Savior;
there is healing in his blood.

There is no place where earth's sorrows
are more felt than in heaven;
there is no place where earth's failings
have such kind judgment given.
There is plentiful redemption
in the blood that has been shed;
there is joy for all the members
in the sorrows of the Head.

For the love of God is broader
than the measure of man's mind;
and the heart of the Eternal
is most wonderfully kind.
If our love were but more faithful,
we should take him at his word;
and our life would be thanksgiving
for the goodness of the Lord.

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

Faithful God, Lord of all,
we offer our prayers to you
for a world in need.

Lord of the Church, we pray for your people throughout the world,
especially in the Diocese of Pune, India, The Rt Revd Vijay B Sathe, Bishop.
Give unity in the Spirit
that we may be one in the witness of saving love
and glorify you with one mind and mouth.
Faithful God,
hear our prayer.

Head of the Body,
give us wisdom to follow your commandments,
to live peacefully and do justly,
and to walk humbly with you.
Faithful God,
hear our prayer.

Creator and ruler of the universe,
give to all who exercise authority
wisdom and virtue to govern justly
and bring peace across the land.
Faithful God,
hear our prayer.

Source of all compassion,
give to all who suffer
the light of your presence and the caring of your people,
to bring calm and comfort.
Faithful God,
hear our prayer.

Giver of good to all,
take from us any evil thought or will
that we may forgive those who offend us or seek our harm
as you have forgiven us.
Faithful God,
hear our prayer.

All-knowing One, you who see us as we are
and know us as we should be:
forgive our sins, set us free from fear,
and give us lives abundant with your guiding presence,
that we may be yours for ever,
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

O God,
bring our nation and all nations
to a sense of justice and equity,
that poverty, oppression, and violence may vanish
and all may know peace and plenty.
We ask this in the Name of Jesus Christ. Amen. [SEC]

Lord God almighty, 
who so kindled the faith of Oswald with your Spirit 
that he set up the sign of the cross in his kingdom
and turned his people to the light of Christ: 
grant that we, being fired by the same Spirit,
may always bear our cross before the world
and be found faithful servants of the gospel; 
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.
Gathering our prayers and praises into one,
let us pray as our Savior has taught us.

- The Lord's Prayer

Quench our thirst with your gift of belief,
that we may no longer work for food that perishes,
but believe in the One whom you have sent. 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 prayer use sentences from 
prayers in _Opening Prayers: Collects in Contemporary Language_.
Canterbury Press, Norwich, 1999.

The intercession is adapted by Stephen Benner from a prayer by Arlene M.
Mark, from _Words for Worship_; used by permission of Herald

The first collect is from _Daily Prayer_, copyright (c) The
Scottish Episcopal Church, 1998. Used with permission. 

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.

Beginning in the year 449, the pagan Germanic peoples known as the Angles,
the Saxons, and the Jutes invaded Britain and drove the native Britons, a
Christian Celtic people, north and west into Wales, Scotland, Ireland, and
Cornwall. They established seven principal kingdoms (the Heptarchy) in
England: The Saxon kingdoms of Essex, Wessex and Sussex (East Saxons,
West Saxons, and South Saxons), the Angle kingdoms of East Anglia, Mercia,
and Northumbria, and the Jute kingdom of Kent (in southeast England, the
London area). To this day, there are seven principal dialects of English spoken
in England, and the seven areas in which they are spoken are substantially the
same as the areas of the seven ancient Anglo-Saxon kingdoms.
In 597, Augustine, a missionary from Rome, established a mission in Kent,
where he was favorably received, and became the first Archbishop of
Canterbury. However, his influence was initially confined to the southeast of
In Northumbria (the region north of the Humber River), in the north of
England, in 616, Edwin seized the throne (replacing his sister's husband,
Aethelfrith the Ravager), and Oswald, son of Aethelfrith, fled into Scotland, to
the monastic settlement founded by Columba (see 9 June) in the late 500's on
the island of Iona (off the west coast of southern Scotland). Here Oswald
encountered the Christian faith and was converted and baptised. Edwin married
Ethelburgha, a princess of Kent, who brought with her the missionary Paulinus,
who became first Archbishop of York. Edwin and many of his court accepted
baptism in 627. In 632, King Cadwallon of Wales and the pagan king Penda of
Mercia invaded Northumbria and killed Edwin in battle. The queen and the
archbishop fled south, and Christianity was temporarily suppressed in the
The following year, Oswald returned from exile to claim the throne. He met
Cadwallon (or Cadwalla) in battle near Hexham. The night before the battle,
vastly outnumbered, with a small army of whom not more than a dozen were
Christians, he set up a wooden cross, and asked his soldiers to join him in
prayer. They did so, and promised to be baptised if they won the battle. The
battle was accordingly joined, and Oswald won a victory "as complete as it was
unlikely," defeating and slaying Cadwallon (the victor, as the Welsh bards tell
us, of forty battles and sixty single combats). The battle site was thereafter
known as Heavensfield. Northumbria, now united, became the most powerful
of the Seven Kingdoms, and Oswald was recognized as paramount king of the

His concern was for the conversion of his people to Christianity, and he sent
messengers to Iona, where he had himself received the Gospel, asking for a
Christian preacher. The first man sent (a monk named Coorman) was tactless
and a failure, but his replacement, Aidan (see 31 August), was an outstanding
success. Since he did not at first speak the Anglo-Saxon language, Oswald,
who was fully bilingual, stood beside him as he preached and interpreted the
sermon. Aidan was soon joined by other missionaries, and the Church
flourished in Northumbria. Oswald went to Wessex (the second most powerful
of the Seven Kingdoms, and later to be the most powerful, and the nucleus of a
united England) in order to seek a bride. Wessex was at that time largely
pagan, but his bride, Kineburga, agreed to become a Christian, and so did her
father, the King of Wessex. Thus a door was opened for the Gospel in
southwestern England.
However, Penda, the pagan king of Mercia, yet lived, and in 640 war between
Mercia and Northumbria was renewed, with the former followers of Cadwallon
allied once more with Mercia. In 642 Penda killed Oswald in a great battle near
Maserfeld (Salop), on the border between their kingdoms. As he fell dying,
Oswald prayed aloud for the souls of his bodyguards, who died with him, and
for the salvation of the people of Northumbria, and for his pagan enemies.
Penda ordered the corpse of Oswald to be dismembered and its parts set up on
stakes as a sacrifice to Odin. The head was reclaimed by Christians and sent to
Lindisfarne, and is now thought to rest in a tomb in Durham Cathedral (but it
should be noted that because of invasions and tumults it has been moved
several times, making its present location uncertain). [James Kiefer]

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