OREMUS: 28 December 2006

Steve Benner oremus at insight.rr.com
Thu Dec 28 11:34:32 GMT 2006

OREMUS for Thursday, December 28, 2006
The Martyred Children of Bethlehem
(The Holy Innocents)
O Lord, open our lips.
And our mouth shall proclaim your praise.

Blessed are you, loving and merciful God,
in love for our fallen human race,
you sent your Son
into the world to lighten our darkness.
In his life, he rejoiced in the innocence of children;
in his death, he carried in his body
the violence and cruelty of our world;
in his resurrection, he brought life and salvation to his people.
On his throne of mercy,
he hears our cries and knows our grief;
and all must give account to him.
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 33
Rejoice in the Lord, you righteous;*
  it is good for the just to sing praises.
Praise the Lord with the harp;*
  play to him upon the psaltery and lyre.
Sing for him a new song;*
  sound a fanfare with all your skill upon the trumpet.
For the word of the Lord is right,*
  and all his works are sure.
He loves righteousness and justice;*
  the loving-kindness of the Lord fills the whole earth.
By the word of the Lord were the heavens made,*
  by the breath of his mouth all the heavenly hosts.
He gathers up the waters of the ocean
    as in a water-skin*
  and stores up the depths of the sea.
Let all the earth fear the Lord;*
  let all who dwell in the world stand in awe of him.
For he spoke and it came to pass;*
  he commanded and it stood fast.
The Lord brings the will of the nations to naught;*
  he thwarts the designs of the peoples.
But the Lord’s will stands fast for ever,*
  and the designs of his heart from age to age.
Happy is the nation whose God is the Lord!*
  happy the people he has chosen to be his own!
The Lord looks down from heaven,*
  and beholds all the people in the world.
 From where he sits enthroned he turns his gaze*
  on all who dwell on the earth.
He fashions all the hearts of them*
  and understands all their works.
There is no king that can be saved by a mighty army;*
  the strong are not delivered by great strength.nbsp;
The horse is a vain hope for deliverance;*
  for all its strength it cannot save.
Behold, the eye of the Lord
    is upon those who fear him,*
  on those who wait upon his love,
To pluck their lives from death,*
  and to feed them in time of famine.
Our soul waits for the Lord;*
  he is our help and our shield.
Indeed, our heart rejoices in him,*
  for in his holy name we put our trust.
Let your loving-kindness, O Lord, be upon us,*
  as we have put our trust in you.

A Song of St. Anselm

Jesus, like a mother you gather your people to you;
you are gentle with us as a mother with her children.

Often you weep over our sins and our pride,
tenderly you draw us from hatred and judgement.

You comfort us in sorrow and bind up our wounds,
in sickness you nurse us and with pure milk you feed us.

Jesus, by your dying, we are born to new life;
by your anguish and labour we come forth in joy.

Despair turns to hope through your sweet goodness;
through your gentleness, we find comfort in fear.

Your warmth gives life to the dead,
your touch makes sinners righteous.

Lord Jesus, in your mercy heal us;
in your love and tenderness remake us.

In your compassion bring grace and forgiveness,
for the beauty of heaven may your love prepare us.

Psalm 148
    Praise the Lord from the heavens;*
  praise him in the heights.
Praise him, all you angels of his;*
  praise him, all his host.
Praise him, sun and moon;*
  praise him, all you shining stars.
Praise him, heaven of heavens,*
  and you waters above the heavens.
Let them praise the name of the Lord;*
  for he commanded and they were created.
He made them stand fast for ever and ever;*
  he gave them a law which shall not pass away.
Praise the Lord from the earth,*
  you sea-monsters and all deeps;
Fire and hail, snow and fog,*
  tempestuous wind, doing his will;
Mountains and all hills,*
  fruit trees and all cedars;
Wild beasts and all cattle,*
  creeping things and winged birds;
Kings of the earth and all peoples,*
  princes and all rulers of the world;
Young men and maidens,*
  old and young together.
Let them praise the name of the Lord,*
  for his name only is exalted,
    his splendour is over earth and heaven.
He has raised up strength for his people
    and praise for all his loyal servants,*
  the children of Israel, a people who are near him.

FIRST READING [Isaiah 54:1-13]:

Sing, O barren one who did not bear;
burst into song and shout,
you who have not been in labour!
For the children of the desolate woman will be more
than the children of her that is married, says the Lord.
Enlarge the site of your tent,
and let the curtains of your habitations be stretched out;
do not hold back; lengthen your cords
and strengthen your stakes.
For you will spread out to the right and to the left,
and your descendants will possess the nations
and will settle the desolate towns.

Do not fear, for you will not be ashamed;
do not be discouraged, for you will not suffer disgrace;
for you will forget the shame of your youth,
and the disgrace of your widowhood you will remember no more.
For your Maker is your husband,
the Lord of hosts is his name;
the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer,
the God of the whole earth he is called.
For the Lord has called you
like a wife forsaken and grieved in spirit,
like the wife of a man's youth when she is cast off,
says your God.
For a brief moment I abandoned you,
but with great compassion I will gather you.
In overflowing wrath for a moment
I hid my face from you,
but with everlasting love I will have compassion on you,
says the Lord, your Redeemer.

This is like the days of Noah to me:
Just as I swore that the waters of Noah
would never again go over the earth,
so I have sworn that I will not be angry with you
and will not rebuke you.
For the mountains may depart
and the hills be removed,
but my steadfast love shall not depart from you,
and my covenant of peace shall not be removed,
says the Lord, who has compassion on you.

O afflicted one, storm-tossed, and not comforted,
I am about to set your stones in antimony,
and lay your foundations with sapphires.
I will make your pinnacles of rubies,
your gates of jewels,
and all your wall of precious stones.
All your children shall be taught by the Lord,
and great shall be the prosperity of your children.

Words: © Marnie Barrell, 1996
Tune: Bethany

http://www.oremus.org/hymnal/barrell/ mb03.html
Hit "Back" in your browser to return to Oremus.

Who are these who ride by starlight
from the corners of the earth,
leaving home, forsaking comfort,
drawn to one mysterious birth?
These are wise men seeking wisdom,
disciplined to watch and pray;
we will read the signs and follow,
see where Christ is born today.

Who is this who hears the wise men,
trembling while their tale is told,
sending troops to slaughter blindly,
crush what cannot be controlled?
This is Herod, every Herod
building power by others' pain;
we will mourn the murdered children
while their blood is shed again.

Who is this, a homeless exile,
destined from his earliest hour
for rejection, conflict, danger,
marked for death by worldly power?
Jesus, born to show God's glory
shining through despair and loss,
we will know you when we meet you
by the shadow of your cross.

SECOND [Matthew 2:13-18]:

Now after they had left, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream 
and said, 'Get up, take the child and his mother, and flee to Egypt, and 
remain there until I tell you; for Herod is about to search for the child, 
to destroy him.' Then Joseph got up, took the child and his mother by 
night, and went to Egypt, and remained there until the death of Herod. This 
was to fulfill what had been spoken by the Lord through the prophet, 'Out 
of Egypt I have called my son.'

When Herod saw that he had been tricked by the wise men, he was infuriated, 
and he sent and killed all the children in and around Bethlehem who were 
two years old or under, according to the time that he had learned from the 
wise men. Then was fulfilled what had been spoken through the prophet 
Jeremiah: 'A voice was heard in Ramah, wailing and loud lamentation, Rachel 
weeping for her children; she refused to be consoled, because they are no 

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

God of mercy,
every family in heaven and on earth
takes its name from you.
We pray for parents,
that they may give their children faith in you
and find help and support in your community.

We pray for children,
that with faith in you
they may grow up confident, full of hope,
merciful, gentle and creative
in all their dealings with others.

We pray, too, for those
who have seen their children destroyed by violence or hunger:
Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

We pray for all children orphaned by war.
Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

We pray for families who are homeless or separated,
or who live in unhealthy, brutalizing conditions:
Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

We pray for grace to show mercy and justice
that hope may be restored.
Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

We pray that our society
will strengthen and support family life,
so that children may grow up whole
for the good of the community.
Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

We pray that we may do justice
to holiness and your love,
which are stronger and surer than all our evil.
Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

Heavenly Father,
whose children suffered at the hands of Herod,
though they had done no wrong:
give us grace neither to act cruelly
nor to stand indifferently by,
but to defend the weak from the tyranny of the strong;
in the name of Jesus Christ who suffered for us,
but who is alive 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

May God, who gives comfort to the desolate,
sustain us and keep us, now and always. 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 material copyright © The Archbishops' Council, 2002.

The hymn is reproduced with the kind permission of the author. If you wish 
to reproduce it further, please send her an email. Address found at the 
link above.

The intercession is from Chalice Worship, © Chalice Press, 1997. Reproduced 
with permission.

The collect is from The Alternative Service Book 1980, © The Central Board 
of Finance of the Church of England 1980.

We read in Matthew 2 that when Jesus was born in Bethlehem, King Herod, 
fearing for his throne, ordered that all the male infants of Bethlehem be 
killed. These children are regarded as martyrs for the Gospel -- "martyrs 
in fact though not in will." Augustine called them "buds, killed by the 
frost of persecution the moment they showed themselves." [James Kiefer]

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