OREMUS: 10 December 2005

Steve Benner steve.benner at oremus.org
Fri Dec 9 17:00:01 GMT 2005


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OREMUS for Saturday, December 10, 2005 
Thomas Merton, Monk, Spiritual Writer, 1968

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. 

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Psalm 68:3-11,19-20,24-31,35-36

Let the righteous be glad and rejoice before God;*
 let them also be merry and joyful.
Sing to God, sing praises to his name;
   exalt him who rides upon the heavens;*
 Yahweh is his name, rejoice before him!
Father of orphans, defender of widows,*
 God in his holy habitation!
God gives the solitary a home
   and brings forth prisoners into freedom;*
 but the rebels shall live in dry places.
O God, when you went forth before your people,*
 when you marched through the wilderness,
The earth shook and the skies poured down rain,
   at the presence of God, the God of Sinai,*
 at the presence of God, the God of Israel.
You sent a gracious rain, O God, upon your inheritance;*
 you refreshed the land when it was weary.
Your people found their home in it;*
 in your goodness, O God,
   you have made provision for the poor.
The Lord gave the word;*
 great was the company of women who bore the tidings:
Blessed be the Lord day by day,*
 the God of our salvation, who bears our burdens.
He is our God, the God of our salvation;*
 God is the Lord, by whom we escape death.
Your procession is seen, O God,*
 your procession into the sanctuary, my God and my King.
The singers go before, musicians follow after,*
 in the midst of maidens playing upon the hand-drums.
Bless God in the congregation;*
 bless the Lord, you that are of the fountain of Israel.
There is Benjamin, least of the tribes, at the head;
   the princes of Judah in a company;*
 and the princes of Zebulon and Naphtali.
Send forth your strength, O God;*
 establish, O God, what you have wrought for us.
Kings shall bring gifts to you,*
 for your temple's sake at Jerusalem.
Rebuke the wild beast of the reeds,*
 and the peoples, a herd of wild bulls with its calves.
Trample down those who lust after silver;*
 scatter the peoples that delight in war.
Ascribe power to God;*
 his majesty is over Israel;
   his strength is in the skies.
How wonderful is God in his holy places!*
 the God of Israel giving strength and power to his people!
   Blessed be God!

A Song of the Spirit (Revelation 22.12-14,16,17)

Behold, I am coming soon', says the Lord,
and bringing my reward with me,
to give to everyone according to their deeds.

'I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last,
the beginning and the end.'

Blessed are those who do God's commandments,
that they may have the right to the tree of life,
and may enter into the city through the gates.

'I, Jesus, have sent my angel to you,
with this testimony for all the churches.

'I am the root and the offspring of David,
I am the bright morning star.'

'Come!' say the Spirit and the Bride;
'Come!' let each hearer reply!

Come forward, you who are thirsty,
let those who desire take the water of life as a gift.

Psalm 149

Alleluia!
   Sing to the Lord a new song;*
 sing his praise in the congregation of the faithful.
Let Israel rejoice in his maker;*
 let the children of Zion be joyful in their king.
Let them praise his name in the dance;*
 let them sing praise to him with timbrel and harp.
For the Lord takes pleasure in his people*
 and adorns the poor with victory.
Let the faithful rejoice in triumph;*
 let them be joyful on their beds.
Let the praises of God be in their throat*
 and a two-edged sword in their hand;
To wreak vengeance on the nations*
 and punishment on the peoples;
To bind their kings in chains*
 and their nobles with links of iron;
To inflict on them the judgement decreed;*
 this is glory for all his faithful people.
   Alleluia!

READING [Malachi 4]:

See, the day is coming, burning like an oven, when all
the arrogant and all evildoers will be stubble; the day
that comes shall burn them up, says the LORD of hosts, so
that it will leave them neither root nor branch. But for
you who revere my name the sun of righteousness shall
rise, with healing in its wings. You shall go out leaping
like calves from the stall. And you shall tread down the
wicked, for they will be ashes under the soles of your
feet, on the day when I act, says the LORD of hosts.
Remember the teaching of my servant Moses, the statutes
and ordinances that I commanded him at Horeb for all
Israel.
Lo, I will send you the prophet Elijah before the great
and terrible day of the LORD comes. He will turn the
hearts of parents to their children and the hearts of
children to their parents, so that I will not come and
strike the land with a curse.

For another Biblical reading,
Philippians 4:4-7

HYMN 
Words: Charles Wesley (1707-1788)
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1    Stupendous height of heavenly love,
     Of pitying tenderness divine;
     It brought the Saviour from above,
     It caused the springing day to shine;
     The sun of righteousness to appear,
     And gild our gloomy hemisphere.

2    God did in Christ himself reveal,
     To chase our darkness by his light,
     Our sin and ignorance dispel,
     Direct our wandering feet aright;
     And bring our souls, with pardon blest,
     To realms of everlasting rest.

3    Come then, O Lord, thy light impart,
     The faith that bids our terrors cease;
     Into thy love direct my heart,
     Into thy way of perfect peace;
     And cheer my soul, of death afraid,
     And guide me through the dreadful shade.

4    Answer thy mercy's whole design,
     My God incarnated for me;
     My spirit make thy radiant shrine,
     My light and full salvation be;
     And through the darkened vale unknown
     Conduct me to thy dazzling throne.

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

Prayer:
Almighty God,
under whose wings we dwell in safety and mercy,
we give you thanks for all the seasons of grace:
for hope that cries out with prophetic voice,
for your gift of Emmanuel,
for your light that shines in the darkness:
Come, Lord Jesus, come!

Enable us to make fresh beginnings
during these Advent days...
Come, Lord Jesus, come!

Release the everlasting stream of your justice and peace
that it may flow among the nations...
Come, Lord Jesus, come!

For your Church reaching out in every place, especially
Come, Lord Jesus, come!

Save and defend all who suffer want, brokenness, or trouble...
Come, Lord Jesus, come!

Resupply your Church and its leaders
with the oil of gladness and vigilance...
We pray especially for the Diocese of Matlosane, South Africa,
The Rt Revd David Cecil Tapi Nkwe, Bishop.
Come, Lord Jesus, come!

Stir up the wills of all who look to you, Lord God,
and strengthen our faith in your coming,
that transformed by grace we may walk in your way;
through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord,
whom with you and the Holy Spirit we worship and praise,
one God, now and forever. Amen.

O God, 
whose blessed Son became poor 
that we through his poverty might be rich:  
Deliver us from an inordinate love of this world, 
that we, inspired by the devotion of your servant Thomas Merton,
may serve you with singleness of heart, 
and attain to the riches of the age to come; 
through Jesus Christ our Lord, 
who lives 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 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.

Thomas Merton was born in 1915 in France, of American parents. His early
education was in France (Lycee de Montauban 1927-8) and England (Oakham
School, 1929-32; Clare College, Cambridge, 1933-4). He came to America and
attended Columbia University, graduated in English in 1938, worked there one
year as a teaching assistant, and got his MA in 1939. In 1939 he joined the
Roman Catholic Church, and taught at St Bonaventure for the next two years.
In 1941 he entered the Trappist monastery of Gethsemani near Louisville,
Kentucky. The Trappists, called more formally Cistercians of the Strict
Observance, are (or were before Vatican II) an extremely strict Roman
Catholic monastic order, devoted to communal prayer (they spend at least four
hours a day in chapel, chanting the praises of God), to private prayer and
contemplation, to study, and to manual labor. Except for those whose special
duties require otherwise, they are vowed not to speak except in praise of God.
Thus, when not singing in chapel, they are silent.
Toward the end of his life, Merton developed an interest in Buddhist and other
Far Eastern approaches to mysticism and contemplation, and their relation to
Christian approaches. He was attending an international conference on
Christian and Buddhist monasticism in Bangkok, Thailand, when he was
accidentally electrocuted on 10 December 1968. [James Kiefer]


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