OREMUS: 4 December 2005

Steve Benner steve.benner at oremus.org
Sat Dec 3 17:00:01 GMT 2005

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OREMUS for Sunday, December 4, 2005 
The Second Sunday of Advent

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. 


Psalm 87

On the holy mountain stands the city he has founded;*
 the Lord loves the gates of Zion
   more than all the dwellings of Jacob.
Glorious things are spoken of you,*
 O city of our God.
I count Egypt and Babylon among those who know me;*
 behold Philistia, Tyre and Ethiopia:
   in Zion were they born.
Of Zion it shall be said, 'Everyone was born in her,*
 and the Most High himself shall sustain her.'
The Lord will record as he enrols the peoples,*
 'These also were born there.'
The singers and the dancers will say,*
 'All my fresh springs are in you.'

A Song of the Wilderness (Isaiah 35.1,2b-4a,4c-6,10)

The wilderness and the dry land shall rejoice,
the desert shall blossom and burst into song.

They shall see the glory of the Lord,
the majesty of our God.

Strengthen the weary hands,
and make firm the feeble knees.

Say to the anxious, 'Be strong, fear not,
your God is coming with judgement,
coming with judgement to save you.'

Then shall the eyes of the blind be opened,
and the ears of the deaf unstopped;

Then shall the lame leap like a hart,
and the tongue of the dumb sing for joy.

For waters shall break forth in the wilderness,
and streams in the desert;

The ransomed of the Lord shall return with singing,
with everlasting joy upon their heads.

Joy and gladness shall be theirs,
and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.

Psalm 117

Praise the Lord, all you nations;*
 laud him, all you peoples.
For his loving-kindness towards us is great,*
 and the faithfulness of the Lord endures for ever.

READING [Luke 1:5-25]:

In the days of King Herod of Judea, there was a priest
named Zechariah, who belonged to the priestly order of
Abijah. His wife was a descendant of Aaron, and her name
was Elizabeth. Both of them were righteous before God,
living blamelessly according to all the commandments and
regulations of the Lord. But they had no children,
because Elizabeth was barren, and both were getting on in
Once when he was serving as priest before God and his
section was on duty, he was chosen by lot, according to
the custom of the priesthood, to enter the sanctuary of
the Lord and offer incense. Now at the time of the
incense-offering, the whole assembly of the people was
praying outside. Then there appeared to him an angel of
the Lord, standing at the right side of the altar of
incense. When Zechariah saw him, he was terrified; and
fear overwhelmed him. But the angel said to him, 'Do not
be afraid, Zechariah, for your prayer has been heard.
Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you will
name him John. You will have joy and gladness, and many
will rejoice at his birth, for he will be great in the
sight of the Lord. He must never drink wine or strong
drink; even before his birth he will be filled with the
Holy Spirit. He will turn many of the people of Israel to
the Lord their God. With the spirit and power of Elijah
he will go before him, to turn the hearts of parents to
their children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the
righteous, to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.'
Zechariah said to the angel, 'How will I know that this
is so? For I am an old man, and my wife is getting on in
years.' The angel replied, 'I am Gabriel. I stand in the
presence of God, and I have been sent to speak to you and
to bring you this good news. But now, because you did not
believe my words, which will be fulfilled in their time,
you will become mute, unable to speak, until the day
these things occur.'
Meanwhile, the people were waiting for Zechariah, and
wondered at his delay in the sanctuary. When he did come
out, he could not speak to them, and they realized that
he had seen a vision in the sanctuary. He kept motioning
to them and remained unable to speak. When his time of
service was ended, he went to his home.
After those days his wife Elizabeth conceived, and for
five months she remained in seclusion. She said, 'This is
what the Lord has done for me when he looked favourably
on me and took away the disgrace I have endured among my

For another Biblical reading,
Malachi 3:1-10

Words: The Venerable Bede (673-735); trans. C.S. Calverley, 1906
Tune: Hail, Harbinger of Morn  
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Hail, harbinger of morn:
thou that art this day born,
and heraldest the Word with clarion voice!
Ye faithful ones, in him
behold the dawning dim
of the bright day, and let your hearts rejoice.

John--by that chosen name
to call him, Gabriel came
by God's appointment from his home on high:
what deeds that babe should do
to manhood when he grew,
God sent his Angel forth to testify.

There is none greater, none,
than Zechariah's son;
than this no mightier prophet hath been born:
of prophets he may claim
more than a prophet's fame;
sublimer deeds than theirs his brow adorn.

"Lo, to prepare thy way,"
did God the Father say,
"Before thy face my messenger I send,
thy coming to forerun;
as on the orient sun
doth the bright daystar morn by morn attend."

Praise therefore God most high;
praise him who came to die
for us, his Son that liveth evermore;
and to the Spirit raise,
the Comforter, like praise,
while time endureth, and when time is o'er.

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

For the Church: 
that we may make ready a way for the Lord 
and make a straight path for God in our hearts:
Lord, hear our prayer.

For the grace of listening: 
that our hearts may be open to the Word of God 
as it comes to us and that our lives may be transformed by it:
Lord, hear our prayer.

For the grace of insight: 
that we may see the work of God in our time and our place 
and recognize God Who is with Us in events large and small in our lives:
Lord, hear our prayer.

For all who live the Gospel message in sincerity and humility:
that they may courageously witness to the power of grace 
even when confronted by the powerful of society:
Lord, hear our prayer.

For a reawakening of our hearts: 
that we may embrace the vision that God offers 
for wholeness, reconciliation and new beginnings for all:
Lord, hear our prayer.

For freedom and healing: 
that all who are struggling with obstacles, especially addictions and pride, 
may experience God's help in moving forward toward wholeness:
Lord, hear our prayer.

For all who are oppressed: t
hat God may smooth the pathways of their lives 
and bring low those who abuse their power and authority:
Lord, hear our prayer.

For all children: 
that the hope that fills their hearts in this season 
may become firmly planted and sustain them throughout life's journey:
Lord, hear our prayer.

For an end to war: 
that God's Spirit will inspire the hearts of all world leaders 
to take risks for peace and seek new ways 
to honor the dignity of each human person:
Lord, hear our prayer.

Stir up our hearts, O Lord, 
to prepare the way for your only Son: 
By his coming give us strength in our conflicts 
and shed light on our path through the darkness of this world; 
through your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord, 
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, 
one God, now and forever. 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.

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 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 intercession is adapted from a prayer by The Center for Liturgy at Saint
Louis University.

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.

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