OREMUS: 28 June 2005

Steve Benner steve.benner at oremus.org
Mon Jun 27 17:00:00 GMT 2005

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OREMUS for Tuesday, June 28, 2005 
Irenaeus, Bishop of Lyons, Teacher of the Faith, c.200

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

Blessed are you, merciful God;
for setting us free in Jesus Christ
with a power greater than all that would keep us captive.
You call us to turn from the ways of the world
and to accept the fullness of joy in the Spirit
and follow the way of the cross,
which frees us to love one another
for the sake of all creation.
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 27

The Lord is my light and my salvation;
   whom then shall I fear?*
 the Lord is the strength of my life;
   of whom then shall I be afraid?
When evildoers came upon me to eat up my flesh,*
 it was they, my foes and my adversaries,
   who stumbled and fell.
Though an army should encamp against me,*
 yet my heart shall not be afraid;
And though war should rise up against me,*
 yet will I put my trust in him.
One thing have I asked of the Lord;
   one thing I seek;*
 that I may dwell in the house of the Lord
   all the days of my life;
To behold the fair beauty of the Lord*
 and to seek him in his temple.
For in the day of trouble
   he shall keep me safe in his shelter;*
 he shall hide me in the secrecy of his dwelling
   and set me high upon a rock.
Even now he lifts up my head*
 above my enemies round about me;
Therefore I will offer in his dwelling an oblation
   with sounds of great gladness;*
 I will sing and make music to the Lord.
Hearken to my voice, O Lord, when I call;*
 have mercy on me and answer me.
You speak in my heart and say, 'Seek my face.'*
 Your face, Lord, will I seek.
Hide not your face from me,*
 nor turn away your servant in displeasure.
You have been my helper;
   cast me not away;*
 do not forsake me, O God of my salvation.
Though my father and my mother forsake me,*
 the Lord will sustain me.
Show me your way, O Lord;*
 lead me on a level path, because of my enemies.
Deliver me not into the hand of my adversaries,*
 for false witnesses have risen up against me,
   and also those who speak malice.
What if I had not believed
   that I should see the goodness of the Lord*
 in the land of the living!
O tarry and await the Lord's pleasure;
   be strong and he shall comfort your heart;*
 wait patiently for the Lord.

A Song of God's Chosen One (Isaiah 11.1-4a,6,9)

There shall come forth a shoot from the stock of Jesse,
and a branch shall grow out of his roots.

And the Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him,
the spirit of wisdom and understanding,

The spirit of counsel and might,
the spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord.

He shall not judge by what his eyes see,
or decide by what his ears hear,

But with righteousness he shall judge the poor,
and decide with equity for the meek of the earth.

The wolf shall dwell with the lamb,
and the leopard shall lie down with the kid.

The calf, the lion and the fatling together,
with a little child to lead them.

They shall not hurt or destroy in all my holy mountain,
for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord
as the waters cover the sea.

Psalm 146

   Praise the Lord, O my soul!*
 I will praise the Lord as long as I live;
   I will sing praises to my God while I have my being.
Put not your trust in rulers,
   nor in any child of earth,*
 for there is no help in them.
When they breathe their last, they return to earth,*
 and in that day their thoughts perish.
Happy are they who have the God of Jacob
   for their help!*
 whose hope is in the Lord their God;
Who made heaven and earth, the seas,
   and all that is in them;*
 who keeps his promise for ever;
Who gives justice to those who are oppressed,*
 and food to those who hunger.
The Lord sets the prisoners free;
   the Lord opens the eyes of the blind;*
 the Lord lifts up those who are bowed down;
The Lord loves the righteous;
   the Lord cares for the stranger;*
 he sustains the orphan and widow,
   but frustrates the way of the wicked.
The Lord shall reign for ever,*
 your God, O Zion, throughout all generations.

READING [1 Samuel 20:30-42]:

Then Saul's anger was kindled against Jonathan. He said
to him, 'You son of a perverse, rebellious woman! Do I
not know that you have chosen the son of Jesse to your
own shame, and to the shame of your mother's nakedness?
For as long as the son of Jesse lives upon the earth,
neither you nor your kingdom shall be established. Now
send and bring him to me, for he shall surely die.' Then
Jonathan answered his father Saul, 'Why should he be put
to death? What has he done?' But Saul threw his spear at
him to strike him; so Jonathan knew that it was the
decision of his father to put David to death. Jonathan
rose from the table in fierce anger and ate no food on
the second day of the month, for he was grieved for
David, and because his father had disgraced him.
In the morning Jonathan went out into the field to the
appointment with David, and with him was a little boy. He
said to the boy, 'Run and find the arrows that I shoot.'
As the boy ran, he shot an arrow beyond him. When the boy
came to the place where Jonathan's arrow had fallen,
Jonathan called after the boy and said, 'Is the arrow not
beyond you?' Jonathan called after the boy, 'Hurry, be
quick, do not linger.' So Jonathan's boy gathered up the
arrows and came to his master. But the boy knew nothing;
only Jonathan and David knew the arrangement. Jonathan
gave his weapons to the boy and said to him, 'Go and
carry them to the city.' As soon as the boy had gone,
David rose from beside the stone heap and prostrated
himself with his face to the ground. He bowed three
times, and they kissed each other, and wept with each
other; David wept the more. Then Jonathan said to David,
'Go in peace, since both of us have sworn in the name of
the LORD, saying, "The LORD shall be between me and you,
and between my descendants and your descendants, for
ever." ' He got up and left; and Jonathan went into the

For another Biblical reading,
Mark 5:21-34

Words: Charles Wesley, 1745
Tune: Eatington 
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The Church triumphant in thy love,
their might joys we know;
they sing the Lamb in hymns above,
and we in hymns below.

Thee in thy glorious realm they praise,
and bow before thy throne;
we in the kingdom of thy grace:
the kingdoms are but one.

The holy to the holiest leads,
from hence our spirits rise,
and he that in thy statutes treads
shall meet thee in the skies.

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

Let us pray for our own needs and for the needs of others,
following the pattern which Jesus gave
when he taught us to pray to God our Father.

Through our love of the countryside,
through our care for animals,
through our respect for property and tools,
Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name.

On our farms and in our homes,
in our colleges and schools,
where machinery is made, and where policy is planned,
Father, your kingdom come.

By our seeking your guidance,
by our keeping your commandments,
by our living true to our consciences,
Father, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.

For the millions who live in poverty and hunger,
for our own needs, and the requirements of our neighbours,
by co-operation, sympathy, and generosity,
Give us today our daily bread.

Because we have broken your commandments, 
doing what we ought not to do,
and neglecting what we ought to do,
Forgive us our sins.

If any have injured us by injustice, double dealing or exploitation,
We forgive those who sin against us.

When prosperity lulls us to false security, 
or adversity prompts us to despair,
when success makes us boastful, 
or failure makes us bitter,
Save us from the time of trial, and deliver us from evil.

In the assurance of faith,
in the confidence of hope,
in the will to serve,
help us to love Christ as Lord, 
and our neighbour as ourselves.
For the kingdom, the power, 
and the glory are yours now and for ever. Amen.

We pray today for the Diocese of 
Oklahoma, USA, The Rt Revd Robert Manning Moody, Bishop.
Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

Faithful God,
the shelter of all who hope in you,
may those who seek your face
be set free from fear and distress,
and come to see your goodness
in the land of the living;
through Jesus Christ, our Light and our Salvation. Amen.

God of peace, 
who through the ministry of your servant Irenaeus 
strengthened the true faith 
and brought harmony to your Church: 
keep us steadfast in your true religion, 
and renew us in faith and love, 
that we may always walk in the way 
that leads to eternal life; 
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.
Gathering our prayers and praises into one,
let us pray as our Savior has taught us.

- The Lord's Prayer

Keep us true to the way of your Son,
that we may leave behind all that hinders us
and, with eyes fixed on him,
walk surely in the path of the kingdom. Amen.

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 phrases from two prayers reprinted
from _Revised Common Lectionary Prayers_, copyright (c)
2002 Consultation on Common Texts

The first collect is from _Daily Prayer_, copyright (c) The
Scottish Episcopal Church, 1998. Used with permission. 

The closing prayer are adapted from prayers in _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.

Irenaeus (pronounced ear-a-NAY-us) was probably born around 125. As a
young man in Smyrna (near Ephesus, in what is now western Turkey) he heard
the preaching of Polycarp, who as a young man had heard the preaching of the
Apostle John. Afterward, probably while still a young man, Polycarp moved
west to Lyons in southern France. In 177, Pothinus, the bishop of Lyons, sent
him on a mission to Rome. During his absence a severe persecution broke out
in Lyons, claiming the lives of the bishop and others (see 2 June). When
Irenaeus returned to Lyons, he was made bishop. He died around 202. He is
thus an important link between the apostolic church and later times, and also
an important link between Eastern and Western Christianity.
His principal work is the Refutation of Heresies, a defense of orthodox
Christianity against its Gnostic rivals. A shorter work is his Proof of the
Apostolic Preaching, a brief summary of Christian teaching, largely concerned
with Christ as the fulfilment of Old Testament prophecy. An interesting bit of
trivia about this latter book is that it is, as far as I know, the first Christian
writing to refer to the earth as a sphere.
One of the earliest heresies to arise in the Christian church was Gnosticism,
and Irenaeus was one of its chief early opponents. Not all Gnostics believed
exactly the same thing, but the general outlines of the belief are fairly clear.
Gnostics were dualists, teaching that there are two great opposing forces: good
versus evil, light versus darkness, knowledge versus ignorance, spirit versus
matter. Since the world is material, and leaves much room for improvement,
they denied that God had made it. "How can the perfect produce the imperfect,
the infinite produce the finite, the spiritual produce the material?" they asked.
The Gnostics were Docetists (pronounced do-SEE-tists). This word comes
from the Greek word meaning "to seem." They taught that Christ did not really
have a material body, but only seemed to have one. It was an appearance, so
that he could communicate with men, but was not really there. (If holograms
had been known then, they would certainly have said that the supposed body of
Jesus was a hologram.) They went on to say that Jesus was not really born, and
did not really suffer or die, but merely appeared to do so. It was in opposition
to early Gnostic teachers that the Apostle John wrote (1 John 4:1-3) that
anyone who denies that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of antiChrist.
Gnostics claimed to be Christians, but Christians with a difference. They said
that Jesus had had two doctrines: one a doctrine fit for the common man, and
preached to everyone, and the other an advanced teaching, kept secret from
the multitudes, fit only for the chosen few, the spiritually elite. They, the
Gnostics, were the spiritually elite, and although the doctrines taught in the
churches were not exactly wrong, and were in fact as close to the truth as the
common man could hope to come, it was to the Gnostics that one must turn
for the real truth. 
In opposition to this idea, Irenaeus maintained that the Gospel message is for
everyone. He was perhaps the first to speak of the Church as "Catholic"
(universal). In using this term, he made three contrasts:
   1. He contrasted the over-all church with the single local congregation, so
that one spoke of the Church in Ephesus, but also of the Catholic Church, of
which the Churches in Ephesus, Corinth, Rome, Antioch, etc. were local
branches or chapters.
   2. He contrasted Christianity with Judaism, in that the task of Judaism was to
preserve the knowledge of the one God by establishing a solid national base for
it among a single people, but the task of Christianity was to set out from that
base to preach the Truth to all nations.
   3. He contrasted Christianity with Gnosticism, in that the Gnostics claimed to
have a message only for the few with the right aptitudes and temperaments,
whereas the Christian Gospel was to be proclaimed to all men everywhere.
Irenaeus then went on to say: If Jesus did have a special secret teaching, to
whom would He entrust it? Clearly, to His disciples, to the Twelve, who were
with Him constantly, and to whom he spoke without reservation (Mark 4:34).
And was the teaching of the Twelve different from that of Paul? Here the
Gnostics, and others since, have tried to drive a wedge between Paul and the
original Apostles, but Peter writes of Paul in the highest terms (2 Peter 3:15),
as one whose teaching is authentic. Again, we find Paul saying to the elders of
the church at Ephesus (Acts 20:27), that he has declared to them the whole
counsel of God. Where, then, do we look for Christ's authentic teaching? In the
congregations that were founded by the apostles, who set trustworthy men in
charge of them, and charged them to pass on the teaching unchanged to future
generations through carefully chosen successors. [James Kiefer, abridged]

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