OREMUS: 17 January 2005

Steve Benner oremus at insight.rr.com
Mon Jan 17 00:18:57 GMT 2005

OREMUS for Monday, January 17, 2005
Antony of Egypt, Hermit, Abbot, 356

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

Blessed are you, God of steadfast love,
turning the mundane into profound
to give us delight and wonder in the unexpected.
You transform our hearts by your Spirit,
that we may use our varied gifts
to show forth the light of your love
as one body in Christ.
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 23
The Lord is my shepherd;*
  I shall not be in want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures*
  and leads me beside still waters.
He revives my soul*
  and guides me along right pathways for his name’s sake.
Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
    I shall fear no evil;*
  for you are with me;
    your rod and your staff, they comfort me.
You spread a table before me
    in the presence of those who trouble me;*
  you have anointed my head with oil,
    and my cup is running over.
Surely your goodness and mercy shall follow me
    all the days of my life,*
  and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.

Psalm 24
The earth is the Lord’s and all that is in it,*
  the world and all who dwell therein.
For it is he who founded it upon the seas*
  and made it firm upon the rivers of the deep.
‘Who can ascend the hill of the Lord?*
  and who can stand in his holy place?’
‘Those who have clean hands and a pure heart,*
  who have not pledged themselves to falsehood,
    nor sworn by what is a fraud.
‘They shall receive a blessing from the Lord*
  and a just reward from the God of their salvation.’
Such is the generation of those who seek him,*
  of those who seek your face, O God of Jacob.
Lift up your heads, O gates;
    lift them high, O everlasting doors;*
  and the King of glory shall come in.
‘Who is this King of glory?’*
  ‘The Lord, strong and mighty,
    the Lord, mighty in battle.’
Lift up your heads, O gates;
    lift them high, O everlasting doors;*
  and the King of glory shall come in.
‘Who is he, this King of glory?’*
  ‘The Lord of hosts,
    he is the King of glory.’

A Song of God's Children (Romans 8:2,14,15b-19)

The law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus
has set us free from the law of sin and death.

All who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God;
for we have received the Spirit that enables us to cry, 'Abba, Father'.

The Spirit himself bears witness that we are children of God
and if God's children, then heirs of God;

If heirs of God, then fellow-heirs with Christ;
since we suffer with him now, that we may be glorified with him.

These sufferings that we now endure
are not worth comparing to the glory that shall be revealed.

For the creation waits with eager longing
for the revealing of the children of God.

Psalm 150
    Praise God in his holy temple;*
  praise him in the firmament of his power.
Praise him for his mighty acts;*
  praise him for his excellent greatness.
Praise him with the blast of the ram’s-horn;*
  praise him with lyre and harp.
Praise him with timbrel and dance;*
  praise him with strings and pipe.
Praise him with resounding cymbals;*
  praise him with loud-clanging cymbals.
Let everything that has breath*
  praise the Lord.

READING [Hebrews 3:1-6]:

Therefore, brothers and sisters, holy partners in a heavenly
calling, consider that Jesus, the apostle and high priest of
our confession, was faithful to the one who appointed him,
just as Moses also 'was faithful in all God's house.' Yet
Jesus is worthy of more glory than Moses, just as the
builder of a house has more honour than the house itself.
(For every house is built by someone, but the builder of all
things is God.) Now Moses was faithful in all God's house
as a servant, to testify to the things that would be spoken
later. Christ, however, was faithful over God's house as a
son, and we are his house if we hold firm the confidence
and the pride that belong to hope.

For another Biblical reading, Joshua 23:1-13

Words: Latin, seventh century; trans. John Mason Neale, 1851
Tune: Westminster Abbey

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Christ is made the sure foundation,
Christ the head and cornerstone,
chosen of the Lord, and precious,
binding all the Church in one;
holy Zion's help for ever,
and her confidence alone.

All that dedicated city,
dearly loved of God on high,
in exultant jubilation
pours perpetual melody;
God the One in Three adoring
in glad hymns eternally.

To this temple, where we call thee,
come, O Lord of Hosts, today;
with thy wonted loving-kindness
hear thy servants as they pray,
and thy fullest benediction
shed within its walls alway.

Here vouchsafe to all thy servants
what they ask of thee of gain;
what they gain from thee, for ever
with the blessŠd to retain,
and hereafter in thy glory
evermore with thee to reign.

Laud and honor to the Father,
laud and honor to the Son,
laud and honor to the Spirit,
ever Three, and ever One,
consubstantial, co-eternal,
while unending ages run.

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

Creator and Sustainer of life, God,
who ever calls us back
to his ways of justice and peace:
we thank you for the gift of the land,
for its beauty, and its resources,
and the rich heritage we enjoy.
Merciful, mighty God:
hear our prayer.

And so we pray:
for those who make decisions about our land and its resources;
for those who work on the land and sea,
in our cities, and in commerce and industry;
for artists, scientists, politicians, and visionaries.
Merciful, mighty God:
hear our prayer.

We pray for your Church, especially the Diocese of
Lincoln, England, The Rt Revd John Charles Saxbee, Bishop.
Merciful, mighty God:
hear our prayer.

We thank you for giving us life, and for giving us our life together.
We pray for all who through their own or others' actions
are deprived of fullness of life;
for all who know sickness, disability, and an untimely death;
for all who devote their lives to ministering to the needs of others.
Merciful, mighty God:
hear our prayer.

Give us reverence for life in this, your created world.
May we reflect the goodness of your creation
in the society we create with and for one another.
Merciful, mighty God:
hear our prayer.

Gracious and merciful God,
slow to anger and generous in mercy,
you call us to return to you with all our heart
that we may rejoice with you in your kingdom:
Help us never to despair of your mercy,
no matter how great our sins,
for the sake of your Son, Jesus Christ,
who took away our sins on the cross. Amen.

Almighty God,
you strengthened your servant Antony
to endure all trials of the spirit
and cleansed his heart of fear
to make him perfect in the discipline of love.
Give us grace to cherish his example,
that we may know your call
and walk in the paths of righteousness
all the days of our lives;
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

Stir us with your voice
and enlighten our lives with your grace
that we may give ourselves fully
to Christ's call to mission and ministry. Amen.

The psalms are from Celebrating Common Prayer
(Mowbray), © The Society of Saint Francis 1992, which is used with permission.

The canticle is from Common Worship: Daily Prayer,
Preliminary Edition, copyright © The Archbishops' Council, 2002.

The biblical passage is from The New Revised Standard
Version (Anglicized Edition), copyright © 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 © 2002 Consultation on Common Texts.

The collect is by Stephen Benner, 2003, and is based
on a commentary on Joel by St. Jerome

The intercession is adapted from a prayer by David Bromell.

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 © The Archbishops' Council, 2000.

Before the conversion of the Emperor Constantine in 312 AD, back in the 
days when Christianity was still a persecuted religion, the act of becoming 
a Christian involved turning one's back on the pursuit of security, of 
fashionable prestige and popularity, of success as the term is widely 
understood. After the Emperor had changed Christianity from a persecuted 
religion into a fashionable one, many earnest Christians felt the need to 
make such a renunciation in the service of Christ, and did not see mere 
Church membership as any longer enough to constitute such a renunciation. 
Accordingly, many of them sought Christian commitment by fleeing from 
society into the desert, and becoming hermits, devoting themselves to 
solitude, fasting, and prayer. Although this trend was much accelerated and 
reinforced by the conversion of Constantine and attendant changes, it had 
already begun earlier. An outstanding early example is Antony of Egypt, 
often reckoned as the founder of Christian monasticism.

Antony of Egypt, the son of Christian parents, inherited a large estate. On 
his way to church one day, he found himself meditating on the text, "Sell 
all that you have, and give to the poor, and come follow me." When he got 
to church, he heard the preacher speaking on that very text. He took this 
as a message for him, and, having provided for the care of his sister, he 
gave his land to the tenants who lived on it, and gave his other wealth to 
the poor, and became a hermit, living alone for twenty years, praying and 
reading, and doing manual labor. In 305, he gave up his solitude to become 
the head of a group of monks, living in a cluster of huts or cells, 
devoting themselves to communal singing and worship, to prayer and study 
and manual labor under Antony's direction. They did not simply renounce the 
world, but were diligent in prayer for their fellow Christians, worked with 
their hands to earn money that they might distribute it as alms, and 
preached and gave personal counseling to those who sought them out.

In 321, Christians in Alexandria were being persecuted by the Emperor 
Maximinus (the rule of Constantine was not yet universal), and Antony 
visited Alexandria to encourage those facing the possibility of martyrdom. 
He visited again in 335, when Arianism was strong in the city, and 
converted many, by his preaching and testimony, and by prayer and the 
working of miracles. His biography was written by Athanasius, who said of 
him: "Who ever met him grieving and failed to go away rejoicing?" [James Kiefer]

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