OREMUS: 13 September 2005

Steve Benner steve.benner at oremus.org
Mon Sep 12 19:29:58 GMT 2005

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OREMUS for Tuesday, September 13, 2005 
Cyprian, Bishop of Carthage, Martyr, 258

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

Blessed are you, Shepherding God,
undaunted you seek the lost,
exultant you bring home the found.
You touch our hearts with grateful wonder
at the tenderness of your forbearing love,
revealed in your Son, Jesus Christ. 
Father, Son, and Holy Spirit:
Blessed be God for ever.

An opening canticle may be sung. 


Psalm 19

The heavens declare the glory of God,*
 and the firmament shows his handiwork.
One day tells its tale to another,*
 and one night imparts knowledge to another.
Although they have no words or language,*
 and their voices are not heard,
Their sound has gone out into all lands,*
 and their message to the ends of the world.
In the deep has he set a pavilion for the sun;*
 it comes forth like a bridegroom out of his chamber;
   it rejoices like a champion to run its course.
It goes forth from the uttermost edge of the heavens
   and runs about to the end of it again;*
 nothing is hidden from its burning heat.
The law of the Lord is perfect
   and revives the soul;*
 the testimony of the Lord is sure
   and gives wisdom to the innocent.
The statutes of the Lord are just
   and rejoice the heart;*
 the commandment of the Lord is clear
   and gives light to the eyes.
The fear of the Lord is clean
   and endures for ever;*
 the judgements of the Lord are true
   and righteous altogether.
More to be desired are they than gold,
   more than much fine gold,*
 sweeter far than honey,
   than honey in the comb.
By them also is your servant enlightened,*
 and in keeping them there is great reward.
Who can tell how often he offends?*
 Cleanse me from my secret faults.
Above all, keep your servant from presumptuous sins;
   let them not get dominion over me;*
 then shall I be whole and sound,
   and innocent of a great offence.
Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart
   be acceptable in your sight,*
 O Lord, my strength and my redeemer.

A Song of the Lamb (from Revelation 19)

Salvation and glory and power belong to our God,
 whose judgements are true and just.

Praise our God, all you his servants,
 all who fear him, both small and great.

The Lord our God, the Almighty, reigns:
 let us rejoice and exult and give him the glory.

The marriage of the Lamb has come
 and his bride has made herself ready.

Blessed are those who are invited
 to the wedding banquet of the Lamb.

To the One who sits on the throne and to the Lamb
 be blessing and honour and glory and might,
 for ever and ever. Amen.

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 [Matthew 19:13-22]:

Little children were being brought to Jesus in order that
he might lay his hands on them and pray. The disciples
spoke sternly to those who brought them; but Jesus said,
'Let the little children come to me, and do not stop
them; for it is to such as these that the kingdom of
heaven belongs.' And he laid his hands on them and went
on his way.
Then someone came to him and said, 'Teacher, what good
deed must I do to have eternal life?' And he said to him,
'Why do you ask me about what is good? There is only one
who is good. If you wish to enter into life, keep the
commandments.' He said to him, 'Which ones?' And Jesus
said, 'You shall not murder; You shall not commit
adultery; You shall not steal; You shall not bear false
witness; Honour your father and mother; also, You shall
love your neighbour as yourself.' The young man said to
him, 'I have kept all these; what do I still lack?' Jesus
said to him, 'If you wish to be perfect, go, sell your
possessions, and give the money to the poor, and you will
have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me.' When the
young man heard this word, he went away grieving, for he
had many possessions. 

For another Biblical reading,
Ezekiel 24:1-14

Words: Frederick Lucian Hosmer, 1891
Tune: Irish, St. Flavian  
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"Thy kingdom come!" on bended knee
the passing ages pray;
and faithful souls have yearned to see
on earth that kingdom's day.

But the slow watches of the night
not less to God belong;
and for the everlasting right
the silent stars are strong.

And lo, already on the hills
the flags of dawn appear;
gird up your loins, ye prophet souls,
proclaim the day is near:

The day to whose clear shining light
all wrong shall stand revealed,
when justice shall be throned in might,
and every heart be healed;

When knowledge, hand in hand with peace,
shall walk the earth abroad;
the day of perfect righteousness,
the promised day of God.

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

Generous God, we thank you for being with us today, and
for every sign of your truth and love in Jesus Christ.
Especially we thank you for
     the gift of peace in Christ...
                   (We thank you, Lord.)
     reconciliation in our relationships...
     each new insight into your love...
     energy and courage to share your love...
     the ministries of the church...

Gracious God, we remember in our own hearts the needs of
others, that we may reach up to claim your love for them,
and reach out to give your love in the name of Christ.
Especially we pray for
     racial harmony and justice...
                   (Lord, hear our prayer.)
     those imprisoned...
     strangers we have met today...
     friends who are bereaved...
     Orthodox and Coptic churches...
     the Diocese of Sebei, Uganda, The Rt Revd Augustine Joe Arapyona Salimo, Bishop...

Gracious Creator of heaven and earth,
your Word has come among us
as the true Sun of Righteousness,
and the Good News of his birth
has gone out to the ends of the world:
Open our eyes to the light of your law,
that we may be freed from sin
and serve you without reproach
for the sake of Jesus Christ, our Light and our Life. Amen.

Holy God,
who brought Cyprian to faith in Christ,
made him a bishop in the Church
and crowned his witness with a martyr's death:
grant that, after his example,
we may love the Church and her teachings,
find your forgiveness within her fellowship
and so come to share the heavenly banquet
you have prepared for us;
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

Grant us delight in the mercy that has found us
and bring all to rejoice at the feast of forgiveness. 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 phrases from a
prayer in _Opening Prayers: Collects in Contemporary Language_.
Canterbury Press, Norwich, 1999.

The intercession is from _Book of Common Worship_, (c)
1993 Westminster / John Knox Press. 

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

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.

Cyprian was born around 200 AD in North Africa, of pagan parents. He was a
prominent trial lawyer and teacher of rhetoric. Around 246 he became a
Christian, and in 248 was chosen Bishop of Carthage. A year later the
persecution under the Emperor Decius began, and Cyprian went into hiding.
He was severely censured for this (unjustly on my view -- see Mt 2:13; 10:23;
24:16). After the persecution had died down, it remained to consider how to
deal with the lapsed, meaning with those Christians who had denied the faith
under duress. Cyprian held that they ought to be received back into full
communion after suitable intervals of probation and penance, adjusted to the
gravity of the denial. In this he took a middle course between Novatus, who
received apostates with no probation at all, and Novatian, who would not
receive them back at all, and who broke communion with the rest of the
Church over this issue, forming a dissident group particularly strong in Rome
and Antioch. (Novatus, somewhat surprisingly, ended up joining the party of
Novatian.) Cyprian, who held the same position as the Bishop of Rome on the
treatment of the lapsed, wrote urging the Christians of Rome to stand with
their bishop.
Later, the question arose whether baptisms performed by heretical groups
ought to be recognized as valid by the Church, or whether converts from such
groups ought to be rebaptized. Cyprian favored re-baptism, and Bishop
Stephen of Rome did not. The resulting controversy was not resolved during
Cyprian's lifetime.
During the reign of the Emperor Valerian, Carthage suffered a severe plague
epidemic. Cyprian organized a program of medical relief and nursing of the
sick, available to all residents, but this did not prevent the masses from being
convinced that the epidemic resulted from the wrath of the gods at the spread
of Christianity. Another persecution arose, and this time Cyprian did not flee.
He was arrested, tried, and finally beheaded on 14 September 258. (Because
14 is Holy Cross Day, he is usually commemorated on a nearby open day.) We
have an account of his trial and martyrdom.
Many of his writings have been preserved. His essay On The Unity of The
Catholic Church stresses the importance of visible, concrete unity among
Christians, and the role of the bishops in guaranteeing that unity. It has greatly
influenced Christian thought, as have his essays and letters on Baptism and the
Lord's Supper. He has been quoted both for and against the Roman Catholic
claims for Papal authority.

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