OREMUS: 18 June 2005

Steve Benner oremus at insight.rr.com
Sat Jun 18 00:19:20 GMT 2005

OREMUS for Saturday, June 18, 2005
Bernard Mizeki, Apostle of the MaShona, Martyr, 1896

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

Blessed are you, merciful God;
in you we live and move and have our being.
Each day we encounter the signs of your tender care.
Possessing the firstfruits of the Spirit,
who raised Jesus from the dead,
we live in the hope that the mystery of his dying and rising
will be for us also an eternal Easter.
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 46
God is our refuge and strength,*
  a very present help in trouble;
Therefore we will not fear, though the earth be moved,*
  and though the mountains be toppled
    into the depths of the sea;
Though its waters rage and foam,*
  and though the mountains tremble at its tumult.
The Lord of hosts is with us;*
  the God of Jacob is our stronghold.
There is a river whose streams
    make glad the city of God,*
  the holy habitation of the Most High.
God is in the midst of her;
    she shall not be overthrown;*
  God shall help her at the break of day.
The nations make much ado
    and the kingdoms are shaken;*
  God has spoken and the earth shall melt away.
The Lord of hosts is with us;*
  the God of Jacob is our stronghold.
Come now and look upon the works of the Lord,*
  what awesome things he has done on earth.
It is he who makes war to cease in all the world;*
  he breaks the bow and shatters the spear
    and burns the shields with fire.
‘Be still, then, and know that I am God;*
  I will be exalted among the nations;
    I will be exalted in the earth.’
The Lord of hosts is with us;*
  the God of Jacob is our stronghold.

Psalm 48
Great is the Lord and highly to be praised;*
  in the city of our God is his holy hill.
Beautiful and lofty, the joy of all the earth,
    is the hill of Zion,*
  the very centre of the world
    and the city of the great king.
God is in her citadels;*
  he is known to be her sure refuge.
Behold, the kings of the earth assembled*
  and marched forward together.
They looked and were astounded;*
  they retreated and fled in terror.
Trembling seized them there;*
  they writhed like a woman in childbirth,
    like ships of the sea when the east wind shatters them.
As we have heard, so have we seen,
    in the city of the Lord of hosts, in the city of our God;*
  God has established her for ever.
We have waited in silence
    on your loving-kindness, O God,*
  in the midst of your temple.
Your praise, like your name, O God,
    reaches to the world’s end;*
  your right hand is full of justice.
Let Mount Zion be glad
    and the cities of Judah rejoice,*
  because of your judgements.
Make the circuit of Zion; walk round about her;*
  count the number of her towers.
Consider well her bulwarks; examine her strongholds;*
  that you may tell those who come after.
This God is our God for ever and ever;*
  he shall be our guide for evermore.

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
    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.

READING [Luke 14:12-24]:

Jesus said also to the one who had invited him, 'When you
give a luncheon or a dinner, do not invite your friends or your
brothers or your relatives or rich neighbours, in case they
may invite you in return, and you would be repaid. But when
you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame,
and the blind. And you will be blessed, because they cannot
repay you, for you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.'

One of the dinner guests, on hearing this, said to him, 'Blessed
is anyone who will eat bread in the kingdom of God!' Then Jesus
said to him, 'Someone gave a great dinner and invited many. At
the time for the dinner he sent his slave to say to those who had
been invited, "Come; for everything is ready now." But they all alike
  began to make excuses. The first said to him, "I have bought a piece
of land, and I must go out and see it; please accept my apologies."
Another said, "I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I am going to try
them out; please accept my apologies." Another said, "I have just been
married, and therefore I cannot come." So the slave returned and
reported this to his master. Then the owner of the house became
angry and said to his slave, "Go out at once into the streets and lanes
of the town and bring in the poor, the crippled, the blind, and the lame."
And the slave said, "Sir, what you ordered has been done, and there is
still room." Then the master said to the slave, "Go out into the roads
and lanes, and compel people to come in, so that my house may be filled.
For I tell you, none of those who were invited will taste my dinner." '

For another Biblical reading, 1 Samuel 24:1-17

Words: Philipp Doddridge, 1755
Tune: Rockingham

Hit "Back" in your browser to return to Oremus.

My God, and is thy table spread,
and doth thy cup with love o'erflow?
Thither be all thy children led,
and let them thy sweetness know.

Hail, sacred feast, which Jesus makes,
rich banquet of his Flesh and Blood!
Thrice happy he who here partakes
that sacred stream, that heavenly food.

Why are its bounties all in vain
before unwilling hearts displayed?
Was not for them the Victim slain?
Are they forbid the children's bread?

O let thy table honored be,
and furnished well with joyful guests;
and may each soul salvation see
that here its sacred pledges tastes.

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

Blessed are you, eternal God,
to be praised and glorified for ever.

Hear us as we pray for your holy Catholic Church:
We pray especially for the Diocese of Western Newfoundland, Canada,
The Rt Revd Percy Coffin, Bishop.
make us all one, that the world may believe.

Grant that every member of the Church
may truly and humbly serve you:
that the life of Christ may be revealed in us.

Strengthen all who minister in Christ's name:
give them courage to proclaim your Gospel.

Inspire and lead those who hold authority
in the nations of the world:
guide them in the ways of justice and peace.

Make us alive to the needs of our community:
help us to share each other's joys and burdens.

Look with kindness on our homes and families:
grant that your love may grow in our hearts.

Deepen our compassion for all who suffer
from sickness, grief or trouble:
in your presence may they find their strength.

We remember those who have died:
may they rest in your peace.

We praise you for all your saints
who have entered your eternal glory:
bring us all to share in your heavenly kingdom.

Gracious God,
you have made us fellow citizens with the saints
in the city of eternal light.
In the time of storm, when the foundations shake,
teach us to wait in silence
on your steadfast and transforming love,
made known to us in Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Lord of all nations,
by the conversion of Bernard Mizeki
you raised up from the people of Africa
a missionary faithful even to death:
Fill your people with love
in the face of hatred and fear
and make us ready to live or die
for the name of Jesus;
who is alive and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and forever. Amen.

Gathering our prayers and praises into one,
let us pray as our Savior has taught us.

- The Lord's Prayer

Compassionate God,
grant that our experience of your pardon
may increase our love
until it reflects your own immeasurable forgiveness;
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

The psalms and the invitation to the Lord's Prayer 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 is adapted by Stephen Benner
from We Give You Thanks and Praise: The Ambrosian Eucharistic
Prefaces, translated by Alan Griffiths, © The Canterbury Press Norwich, 1999.

The first collect is from Daily Prayer, copyright © The Scottish
Episcopal Church, 1998. Used with permission. http://www.scottishepiscopal.com

The closing prayer is adapted from a prayer in Opening Prayers:
Collects in Contemporary Language. Canterbury Press, Norwich, 1999.

Bernard Mizeki was born in Portuguese East Africa (Mozambique) in about 
1861. When he was twelve or a little older, he left his home and went to 
Capetown, South Africa, where for the next ten years he worked as a 
laborer, living in the slums of Capetown, but (perceiving the disastrous 
effects of drunkenness on many workers in the slums) firmly refusing to 
drink alcohol, and remaining largely uncorrupted by his surroundings. After 
his day's work, he attended night classes at an Anglican school. Under the 
influence of his teachers, from the Society of Saint John the Evangelist 
(SSJE, an Anglican religious order for men, popularly called the Cowley 
Fathers), he became a Christian and was baptized on 9 March 1886. Besides 
the fundamentals of European schooling, he mastered English, French, high 
Dutch, and at least eight local African languages. In time he would be an 
invaluable assistant when the Anglican church began translating its sacred 
texts into African languages.

After graduating from the school, he accompanied Bishop Knight-Bruce to 
Mashonaland, a tribal area in Southern Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe), to work 
there as a lay catechist. In 1891 the bishop assigned him to Nhowe, the 
village of paramount-chief Mangwende, and there he built a mission-complex. 
He prayed the Anglican hours each day, tended his subsistence garden, 
studied the local language (which he mastered better than any other 
foreigner in his day), and cultivated friendships with the villagers. He 
eventually opened a school, and won the hearts of many of the Mashona 
through his love for their children.

He moved his mission complex up onto a nearby plateau, next to a grove of 
trees sacred to the ancestral spirits of the Mashona. Although he had the 
chief's permission, he angered the local religious leaders when he cut some 
of the trees down and carved crosses into others. Although he opposed some 
local traditional religious customs, Bernard was very attentive to the 
nuances of the Shona Spirit religion. He developed an approach that built 
on people's already monotheistic faith in one God, Mwari, and on their 
sensitivity to spirit life, while at the same time he forthrightly 
proclaimed the Christ. Over the next five years (1891-1896), the mission at 
Nhowe produced an abundance of converts.

Many black African nationalists regarded all missionaries as working for 
the European colonial governments. During an uprising in 1896, Bernard was 
warned to flee. He refused, since he did not regard himself as working for 
anyone but Christ, and he would not desert his converts or his post. On 18 
June 1896, he was fatally speared outside his hut. His wife and a helper 
went to get food and blankets for him. They later reported that, from a 
distance, they saw a blinding light on the hillside where he had been 
lying, and heard a rushing sound, as though of many wings. When they 
returned to the spot his body had disappeared. The place of his death has 
become a focus of great devotion for Anglicans and other Christians, and 
one of the greatest of all Christian festivals in Africa takes place there 
every year around the feast day that marks the anniversary of his 
martyrdom, June 18. [James Kiefer]

More information about the oremus mailing list