OREMUS: 7 December 2005

Steve Benner steve.benner at oremus.org
Tue Dec 6 17:00:04 GMT 2005


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OREMUS for Wednesday, December 7, 2005 
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 102

Lord, hear my prayer and let my cry come before you;*
 hide not your face from me in the day of my trouble.
Incline your ear to me;*
 when I call, make haste to answer me,
For my days drift away like smoke,*
 and my bones are hot as burning coals.
My heart is smitten like grass and withered,*
 so that I forget to eat my bread.
Because of the voice of my groaning*
 I am but skin and bones.
I have become like a vulture in the wilderness,*
 like an owl among the ruins.
I lie awake and groan;*
 I am like a sparrow, lonely on a house-top.
My enemies revile me all day long,*
 and those who scoff at me
   have taken an oath against me.
For I have eaten ashes for bread*
 and mingled my drink with weeping.
Because of your indignation and wrath*
 you have lifted me up and thrown me away.
My days pass away like a shadow,*
 and I wither like the grass.
But you, O Lord, endure for ever,*
 and your name from age to age.
You will arise and have compassion on Zion,
   for it is time to have mercy upon her;*
 indeed, the appointed time has come.
For your servants love her very rubble,*
 and are moved to pity even for her dust.
The nations shall fear your name, O Lord,*
 and all the kings of the earth your glory.
For the Lord will build up Zion,*
 and his glory will appear.
He will look with favour on the prayer of the homeless;*
 he will not despise their plea.
Let this be written for a future generation,*
 so that a people yet unborn may praise the Lord.
For the Lord looked down from his holy place on high;*
 from the heavens he beheld the earth;
That he might hear the groan of the captive*
 and set free those condemned to die;
That they may declare in Zion the name of the Lord,*
 and his praise in Jerusalem;
When the peoples are gathered together,*
 and the kingdoms also, to serve the Lord.
He has brought down my strength before my time;*
 he has shortened the number of my days;
And I said, 'O my God,
   do not take me away in the midst of my days;*
 your years endure throughout all generations.
'In the beginning, O Lord,
   you laid the foundations of the earth,*
 and the heavens are the work of your hands;
'They shall perish, but you will endure;
   they all shall wear out like a garment;*
 as clothing you will change them,
   and they shall be changed;
'But you are always the same,*
 and your years will never end.
'The children of your servants shall continue,*
 and their offspring shall stand fast in your sight.'

A Song of the Lamb (from Revelation 19)

Salvation and glory and power belong to our God,
 whose judgements are true and just.

Praise our God, all you his servants,
 all who fear him, both small and great.

The Lord our God, the Almighty, reigns:
 let us rejoice and exult and give him the glory.

The marriage of the Lamb has come
 and his bride has made herself ready.

Blessed are those who are invited
 to the wedding banquet of the Lamb.

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 147:13-end

Alleluia!
Worship the Lord, O Jerusalem;*
 praise your God, O Zion;
For he has strengthened the bars of your gates;*
 he has blessed your children within you.
He has established peace on your borders;*
 he satisfies you with the finest wheat.
He sends out his command to the earth,*
 and his word runs very swiftly.
He gives snow like wool;*
 he scatters hoarfrost like ashes.
He scatters his hail like bread crumbs;*
 who can stand against his cold?
He sends forth his word and melts them;*
 he blows with his wind and the waters flow.
He declares his word to Jacob,*
 his statutes and his judgements to Israel.
He has not done so to any other nation;*
 to them he has not revealed his judgements.
   Alleluia!

READING [Revelation 2:8-11]:

'And to the angel of the church in Smyrna write: These
are the words of the first and the last, who was dead and
came to life:
'I know your affliction and your poverty, even though you
are rich. I know the slander on the part of those who say
that they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of
Satan. Do not fear what you are about to suffer. Beware,
the devil is about to throw some of you into prison so
that you may be tested, and for ten days you will have
affliction. Be faithful until death, and I will give you
the crown of life. Let anyone who has an ear listen to
what the Spirit is saying to the churches. Whoever
conquers will not be harmed by the second death.'

For another Biblical reading,
Amos 3:1-11

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:
Jesus our exalted Lord has been given all authority. 
Let us seek his intercession that our prayers may be perfected by his prayer.
 
Jesus Christ, great high priest, living for ever to intercede for us
pray for your Church, your broken body in the world 
We pray especially for the Diocese of
the Virgin Islands, USA, The Rt Revd Edward Ambrose Gumbs, Bishop.
Lord, hear us.
Lord, graciously hear us.
 
Jesus Christ, king of righteousness,
enthroned at the right hand of the majesty on high
pray for the world, and make it subject to your gentle rule 
Lord, hear us.
Lord, graciously hear us.
 
Jesus Christ, Son of Man, drawing humanity into the life of God
pray for your bothers and sisters in need, distress or sorrow 
Lord, hear us.
Lord, graciously hear us.
 
Jesus Christ, pioneer of our salvation,
bringing us to your glory through your death and resurrection
receive into your kingdom those who have died 
  trusting in your promises 
Lord, hear us.
Lord, graciously hear us.
 
Jesus Christ, Lord of all things,
ascended far above from the heavens and filling the universe
pray for us who receive the gifts you give us 
  for work in your service 
Lord, hear us.
Lord, graciously hear us.
 
Jesus Christ, 
keep the Church in the unity of the Spirit 
  and in the bond of peace,
and bring the whole created order to worship at your feet;
for you are alive and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever. 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 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 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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