OREMUS: 2 September 2005

Steve Benner steve.benner at oremus.org
Thu Sep 1 19:51:15 GMT 2005

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OREMUS for Friday, September 2, 2005 
The Martyrs of Papua New Guinea, 1901 and 1942

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

Blessed are you, O God, our Creator,
for despite our poverty, brokenness and blindness,
you invite us to feast with you forever.
When we abandoned you, your love for us remained constant.
In mercy, you never abandoned us.
Instead you sent us your child, Jesus Christ,
who is the same yesterday, today and forever.
His witness to your all-embracing love
so offended the values of the world
that he was tortured to death.
But you raised him to new life,
and now, through him,
you call us to make our lives a pleasing sacrifice to 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. 


Psalm 77

I will cry aloud to God;*
 I will cry aloud and he will hear me.
In the day of my trouble I sought the Lord;*
 my hands were stretched out by night and did not tire;
   I refused to be comforted.
I think of God, I am restless,*
 I ponder and my spirit faints.
You will not let my eyelids close;*
 I am troubled and I cannot speak.
I consider the days of old;*
 I remember the years long past;
I commune with my heart in the night;*
 I ponder and search my mind.
Will the Lord cast me off for ever?*
 will he no more show his favour?
Has his loving-kindness come to an end for ever?*
 has his promise failed for evermore?
Has God forgotten to be gracious?*
 has he, in his anger, withheld his compassion?
And I said, 'My grief is this:*
 the right hand of the Most High has lost its power.'
I will remember the works of the Lord,*
 and call to mind your wonders of old time.
I will meditate on all your acts*
 and ponder your mighty deeds.
Your way, O God, is holy;*
 who is so great a god as our God?
You are the God who works wonders*
 and have declared your power among the peoples.
By your strength you have redeemed your people,*
 the children of Jacob and Joseph.
The waters saw you, O God;
   the waters saw you and trembled;*
 the very depths were shaken.
The clouds poured out water; the skies thundered;*
 your arrows flashed to and fro;
The sound of your thunder was in the whirlwind;
   your lightnings lit up the world;*
 the earth trembled and shook.
Your way was in the sea,
   and your paths in the great waters,*
 yet your footsteps were not seen.
You led your people like a flock*
 by the hand of Moses and Aaron.

A Song of Humility (Hosea 6:1-6)

Come, let us return to the Lord
who has torn us and will heal us.

God has stricken us
and will bind up our wounds.

After two days, he will revive us,
and on the third day will raise us up,
that we may live in his presence.

Let us strive to know the Lord;
his appearing is as sure as the sunrise.

He will come to us like the showers,
like the spring rains that water the earth.

'O Ephraim, how shall I deal with you?
How shall I deal with you, O Judah?

'Your love for me is like the morning mist,
like the dew that goes early away.

'Therefore, I have hewn them by the prophets,
and my judgement goes forth as the light.

'For loyalty is my desire and not sacrifice,
and the knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings.'

Psalm 147:1-12

   How good it is to sing praises to our God!*
 how pleasant it is to honour him with praise!
The Lord rebuilds Jerusalem;*
 he gathers the exiles of Israel.
He heals the brokenhearted*
 and binds up their wounds.
He counts the number of the stars*
 and calls them all by their names.
Great is our Lord and mighty in power;*
 there is no limit to his wisdom.
The Lord lifts up the lowly,*
 but casts the wicked to the ground.
Sing to the Lord with thanksgiving;*
 make music to our God upon the harp.
He covers the heavens with clouds*
 and prepares rain for the earth;
He makes grass to grow upon the mountains*
 and green plants to serve us all.
He provides food for flocks and herds*
 and for the young ravens when they cry.
He is not impressed by the might of a horse,*
 he has no pleasure in human strength;
But the Lord has pleasure in those who fear him,*
 in those who await his gracious favour.

READING [Matthew 18:10-14]:

Jesus said, 'Take care that you do not despise one of
these little ones; for, I tell you, in heaven their
angels continually see the face of my Father in heaven.
What do you think? If a shepherd has a hundred sheep, and
one of them has gone astray, does he not leave the
ninety-nine on the mountains and go in search of the one
that went astray? And if he finds it, truly I tell you,
he rejoices over it more than over the ninety-nine that
never went astray. So it is not the will of your Father
in heaven that one of these little ones should be lost.'

For another Biblical reading,
Judith 6:10-21

Words: Elizabeth Cecilia Douglas Clephane, 1868
Tune: The Ninety and Nine 
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There were ninety and nine that safely lay
in the shelter of the fold.
but one was out on the hills away,
far off from the gates of gold.
away on the mountains wild and bare.
away from the tender Shepherd's care.
away from the tender Shepherd's care.

"Lord, thou hast here thy ninety and nine;
are they not enough for thee?"
But the Shepherd made answer: "this of mine
has wandered away from me;
and although the road be rough and steep,
I go to the desert to find my sheep,
I go to the desert to find my sheep."

But none of the ransomed ever knew
how deep were the waters crossed;
nor how dark was the night the Lord passed through
ere he found his sheep that was lost.
out in the desert he heard its cry,
sick and helpless and ready to die;
sick and helpless and ready to die.

"Lord, whence are those blood drops all the way
that mark out the mountain's track?"
"they were shed for one who had gone astray
ere the Shepherd could bring him back."
"Lord, whence are thy hands so rent and torn?"
"They are pierced tonight by many a thorn;
they are pierced tonight by many a thorn."

And all through the mountains, thunder riven
and up from the rocky steep,
there arose a glad cry to the gate of heaven,
"Rejoice! I have found My sheep!"
and the angels echoed around the throne,
"Rejoice, for the Lord brings back his own!
rejoice, for the Lord brings back his own!"

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

Planting God,
how beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those
who bring good news.

Around your table we are bound together as your Body
for the life of the world.
We pray for your Church, especially in the Diocese of
Sabongidda-Ora, Nigeria,
Grant us a grower's wisdom, O Lord.

Deliver us from impatience
that will not wait for fruit to ripen:
Grant us a grower's wisdom, O Lord.

Save us from forcing others to see what we see
and embrace what we embrace:
Grant us a grower's wisdom, O Lord.

Liberate us from anger rooted in self-justification:
Grant us a grower's wisdom, O Lord.

Fix our gaze upon you
so that we are not overwhelmed by the want and failure of others:
Grant us a grower's wisdom, O Lord.

Sow yourself in our words and deeds
that become food for hungry souls:
Grant us a grower's wisdom, O Lord.

God of saving power,
remember us in times of sorrow and despair.
Redeem us with your strength
and guide us through the wilderness.
We ask this in the Name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

Almighty God, 
we remember before you this day 
the blessed martyrs of New Guinea, 
who, following the example of their Savior, 
laid down their lives for their friends; 
and we pray that we who honor their memory 
may imitate their loyalty and faith; 
through Jesus Christ our Lord, 
who lives and reigns with you and 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

Lift up our hearts to see beyond the narrow limits of our words,
that we may be made ready for the coming of your blessing.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 and the closing prayer use sentences from 
prayers in The Book of Common Prayer According to the Use of The
Episcopal Church_.

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 closing prayer uses a sentence from a prayer by Samuel H. Miller.

New Guinea (also called Irian), one of the world's largest islands, has a difficult
terrain that discourages travel between districts. Consequently, it is home to
many isolated tribes, with many different cultures and at least 500 languages.
Christian missionaries began work there in the 1860's, but proceeded
When World War II threatened Papua and New Guinea, it was obvious that
missionaries of European origin were in danger. There was talk of leaving.
Bishop Philip Strong wrote to his clergy:
"We must endeavour to carry on our work. God expects this of us. The church
at home, which sent us out, will surely expect it of us. The universal church
expects it of us. The people whom we serve expect it of us. We could never
hold up our faces again if, for our own safety, we all forsook Him and fled,
when the shadows of the Passion began to gather around Him in His spiritual
and mystical body, the Church in Papua."
They stayed. Almost immediately there were arrests. Eight clergymen and two
laymen were executed "as an example" on September 2, 1942. In the next few
years, many Papuan Christians of all Churches risked their own lives to care for
the wounded. [James Kiefer]

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