OREMUS: 5 February 2005

Steve Benner steve.benner at oremus.org
Fri Feb 4 21:24:20 GMT 2005


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OREMUS for Saturday, February 5, 2005
The Martyrs of Japan, 1597

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

Blessed are you, O God of all the prophets,
you knew us and chose us
before you formed us in the womb. 
You fill us with faith that speaks your word,
hope that does not disappoint,
and love that bears all things for your sake,
until that day when we shall know you fully,
even as we are known by you.
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/epiocant.html

Psalm 1

Happy are they who have not walked
   in the counsel of the wicked,*
 nor lingered in the way of sinners,
   nor sat in the seats of the scornful!
Their delight is in the law of the Lord,*
 and they meditate on his law day and night.
They are like trees planted by streams of water,
   bearing fruit in due season,
   with leaves that do not wither;*
 everything they do shall prosper.
It is not so with the wicked:*
 they are like chaff which the wind blows away;
Therefore the wicked shall not stand upright
   when judgement comes,*
 nor the sinner in the council of the righteous.
For the Lord knows the way of the righteous,*
 but the way of the wicked is doomed.

Psalm 3

Lord, how many adversaries I have!*
 how many there are who rise up against me!
How many there are who say of me,*
 'There is no help for him in his God.'
But you, O Lord, are a shield about me;*
 you are my glory, the one who lifts up my head.
I call aloud upon the Lord*
 and he answers me from his holy hill;
I lie down and go to sleep;*
 I wake again, because the Lord sustains me.
I do not fear the multitudes of people*
 who set themselves against me all around.
Rise up, O Lord; set me free, O my God;*
 surely, you will strike all my enemies across the face,
   you will break the teeth of the wicked.
Deliverance belongs to the Lord.*
 Your blessing be upon your people!

Psalm 4

Answer me when I call, O God, defender of my cause;*
 you set me free when I am hard-pressed;
   have mercy on me and hear my prayer.
'You mortals, how long will you dishonour my glory;*
 how long will you worship dumb idols
   and run after false gods?'
Know that the Lord does wonders for the faithful;*
 when I call upon the Lord, he will hear me.
Tremble, then, and do not sin;*
 speak to your heart in silence upon your bed.
Offer the appointed sacrifices*
 and put your trust in the Lord.
Many are saying,
'O that we might see better times!'*
 Lift up the light of your countenance upon us, O Lord.
You have put gladness in my heart,*
 more than when grain and wine and oil increase.
I lie down in peace; at once I fall asleep;*
 for only you, Lord, make me dwell in safety.

A Song of God's Assembled (Hebrews 12:22-24a,28-29)

We have come before God's holy mountain,
to the heavenly Jerusalem, the city of the living God.

We have come before countless angels making festival,
before the assembly of the firstborn citizens of heaven.

We have come before God, who is judge of all,
before the spirits of the just made perfect.

We have come before Jesus,
the mediator of the new covenant.

We are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken:
so let us give thanks and offer to God acceptable worship,

full of reverence and awe;
for our God is a consuming fire.

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 [Amos 2:4-16]:

Thus says the LORD:
For three transgressions of Judah,
   and for four, I will not revoke the punishment;
because they have rejected the law of the LORD,
   and have not kept his statutes,
but they have been led astray by the same lies
   after which their ancestors walked.
So I will send a fire on Judah,
   and it shall devour the strongholds of Jerusalem.

Thus says the LORD:
For three transgressions of Israel,
   and for four, I will not revoke the punishment;
because they sell the righteous for silver,
   and the needy for a pair of sandals 
they who trample the head of the poor into the dust of the earth,
   and push the afflicted out of the way;
father and son go in to the same girl,
   so that my holy name is profaned;
they lay themselves down beside every altar
   on garments taken in pledge;
and in the house of their God they drink
   wine bought with fines they imposed.

Yet I destroyed the Amorite before them,
   whose height was like the height of cedars,
   and who was as strong as oaks;
I destroyed his fruit above,
   and his roots beneath.
Also I brought you up out of the land of Egypt,
   and led you for forty years in the wilderness,
   to possess the land of the Amorite.
And I raised up some of your children to be prophets
   and some of your youths to be nazirites.
   Is it not indeed so, O people of Israel?
says the LORD.

But you made the nazirites drink wine,
   and commanded the prophets,
   saying, 'You shall not prophesy.'

So, I will press you down in your place,
   just as a cart presses down
   when it is full of sheaves.
Flight shall perish from the swift,
   and the strong shall not retain their strength,
   nor shall the mighty save their lives;
those who handle the bow shall not stand,
   and those who are swift of foot shall not save themselves,
   nor shall those who ride horses save their lives;
and those who are stout of heart among the mighty
   shall flee away naked on that day,
says the LORD.

For another Biblical reading,
Ephesians 4:17-32

HYMN 
Words: John Greenleaf Whittier, 1872
Tune: Repton, Rest
http://www.oremus.org/hymnal/d/d030.html
Hit "Back" in your browser to return to Oremus.

Dear Lord and Father of mankind,
forgive our foolish ways!
Re-clothe us in our rightful mind,
in purer lives thy service find,
in deeper reverence, praise;
in deeper reverence, praise.

In simple trust like theirs who heard,
beside the Syrian sea,
the gracious calling of the Lord,
let us, like them, without a word,
rise up and follow thee;
rise up and follow thee.

O Sabbath rest by Galilee!
O calm of hills above,
where Jesus knelt to share with thee
the silence of eternity
interpreted by love!
interpreted by love!

Drop thy still dews of quietness,
till all our strivings cease;
take from our souls the strain and stress,
and let our ordered lives confess
the beauty of thy peace;
the beauty of thy peace.

Breathe through the heats of our desire
thy coolness and thy balm;
let sense be dumb, let flesh retire;
speak through the earthquake, wind, and fire,
O still, small voice of calm;
O still, small voice of calm.

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

Prayer:
God of all time,
we bless you for the gift of this day
and for our hope in Christ Jesus.
In the midst of all that demands our attention,
free us to love you with all our hearts
and to love the world with your mercy and justice.

Let our love be genuine:
Kyrie eleison

Let our affections be tempered with holiness:
Kyrie eleison

Let our desires be shaped by the vision
of a new heaven and a new earth:
Kyrie eleison

Let our actions reflect the balance of love
for your reign in all things:
Kyrie eleison

Let our perceptions and feelings be ordered
by the hope we have in Christ:
Kyrie eleison

We remember your Church, especially the Diocese of
Luwero, Uganda, The Rt Revd Evans Mukasa Kisekka, Bishop.
Kyrie eleison

O Christ, our fountain of living water,
welling up to eternal life:
as by your obedience many were made righteous,
so may we delight in your commandments
and flourish in your way;
who live and reign, now and for ever. Amen.

O God, 
source of strength to all your saints, 
you brought the holy martyrs of Japan 
through the suffering of the cross to the joys of eternal life: 
Grant that we, encouraged by their example, 
may hold fast the faith we profess, even to death itself;
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 presence of God here among us,
let us pray in faith and trust:

- The Lord's Prayer

Open our imaginations to new dimensions of your love,
and heal us of all that severs us from you and one another;
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

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The psalms and the first collect 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 are adapted from
prayers reprinted from _Revised Common Lectionary Prayers_,
copyright (c) 2002 Consultation on Common Texts.

The intercession is adapted from a prayer reprinted from _THE DAILY
OFFICE: A Book of Hours of Daily Prayer after the Use of the Order of Saint
Luke_, (c) 1997 by The Order of Saint Luke. Used by permission.

The second collect is from _The Proper for the Lesser Feasts and
Fasts_, 3rd edition, (c) 1980 The Church Pension Fund.

The Christian faith was first introduced into Japan in the sixteenth century by
Jesuit and later by Franciscan missionaries. By the end of that century, there
were probably about 300,000 baptized believers in Japan.
Unfortunately, this promising beginning met reverses, brought about by
rivalries between different groups of missionaries and political intrigues by the
Spanish and Portuguese governments, along with power politics among
factions in the Japanese government itself. The result was a suppression of
Christians.
The first victims were six Franciscan friars and twenty of their converts, who
were crucified as Nagasaki on 5 February 1597. After a short interval of
relative tolerance, many other Christians were arrested, imprisoned for life, or
tortured and killed; and the Church was totally driven underground by 1630.
However, when Japan was re-opened to Western contacts 250 years later, it
was found that a community of Japanese Christians had survived underground,
without clergy, without Scriptures, with only very sketchy instructions in the
doctrines of the faith, but with a firm commitment to Jesus as Lord.


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