OREMUS: 14 February 2006

Steve Benner steve.benner at oremus.org
Mon Feb 13 17:00:00 GMT 2006

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OREMUS for Tuesday, February 14, 2006 
Cyril and Methodius, Missionaries to the Slavs, 869 and 885

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

Blessed are you, O God,
you lead us to the waters of refreshment and new life
through your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.
He calls us to leave behind the dusty desert 
of withered hopes and dreams
to become a spring of faith
that others may come near to the stream of life. 
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 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 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 Corinthians 10:14-22]:

Therefore, my dear friends, flee from the worship of
idols. I speak as to sensible people; judge for
yourselves what I say. The cup of blessing that we bless,
is it not a sharing in the blood of Christ? The bread
that we break, is it not a sharing in the body of Christ?
Because there is one bread, we who are many are one body,
for we all partake of the one bread. Consider the people
of Israel; are not those who eat the sacrifices partners
in the altar? What do I imply then? That food sacrificed
to idols is anything, or that an idol is anything? No, I
imply that what pagans sacrifice, they sacrifice to
demons and not to God. I do not want you to be partners
with demons. You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the
cup of demons. You cannot partake of the table of the
Lord and the table of demons. Or are we provoking the
Lord to jealousy? Are we stronger than he?

For another Biblical reading,
2 Kings 4:8-37

Words: Carl P. Daw. Jr. (c)
Tune: St. Thomas (Wade), Pange lingua    
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With the body that was broken,
to the body who proclaim,
by the blood that is life's token,
for the life found in his name:
so the Word-made-flesh has spoken,
and his presence here we claim.

In the cross of Christ confiding,
by the cross we bear as sign,
through the Spirit's gifts and guiding,
with these gifts of bread and wine:
so the church in faith abiding
keeps the feast Christ made divine.

Fed by breaking and outpouring,
joined in breaking-forth of praise,
given the peace of God's restoring,
sent in peace to live always:
so we show forth our adoring
as God's servants all our days.

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

Baptizing God,
you have plunged us into the waters as death to sin
and have raised us to be alive to you in joy and service.

For all whose eager and resolute living in you
makes them saints to us:
We thank you, Lord.

For the community made holy in Christ,
the living and the dead, the near and the far away:
We thank you, Lord.

For the witness of your Church, especially the Diocese of
Badagary, Nigeria, The Rt Revd Joseph Adeyemi, Bishop.
We thank you, Lord.

For an awareness of our kinship
to holy and just men and women:
We thank you, Lord.

For reminding us that perfection in you is a journey
of consistent love to you and to others:
We thank you, Lord.

For sustaining us in the faithful use of means of grace,
that we may resolve to live in your love and peace:
We thank you, Lord.

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.

Almighty and everlasting God, 
by the power of the Holy Spirit you moved 
your servant Cyril and his brother Methodius 
to bring the light of the Gospel to a hostile and divided people: 
Overcome all bitterness and strife among us 
by the love of Christ, 
and make us one united family 
under the banner of the Prince of Peace;
Jesus Christ our Lord, 
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and forever. Amen.
Rejoicing in the presence of God here among us,
let us pray in faith and trust:

- The Lord's Prayer

Call us now and we shall awaken,
call us now by name and we shall arise. 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 is by Stephen Benner and uses some 
images from a hymn by Thomas Troeger. The closing prayer is by Stephen
Benner and uses some phrases from a song by Marty Haugen.

Hymn (c) 1989 by Hope Publishing Co., Carol Stream, IL  60188.  
All rights reserved.  Used by permission.
For permission to reproduce this hymn, contact:  Hope Publishing Company,

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

The second collect is from _The Proper for the Lesser Feasts and
Fasts_, 3rd edition, (c) 1980 The Church Pension Fund.

Cyril (originally Constantine) and Methodius were brothers, from a noble
family in Thessalonika, a district in northeastern Greece. Constantine was the
younger, born in about 827, and his brother Methodius in about 825. They
both entered the priesthood. Constantine undertook a mission to the Arabs,
and then became a professor of philosophy at the imperial school in
Constantinople and librarian at the cathedral of Santa Sophia. Methodius
became governor of a district that had been settled by Slavs. Both brothers
then retired to monastic life. In about 861, the Emperor Michel III sent them to
work with the Khazars northeast of the Black Sea in the Dnieper-Volga region
of what was later Russia. They learned the Khazar language and made many
converts, and discovered what were believed to be relics of Clement, an early
Bishop of Rome.
In about 863, Prince Rotislav, the ruler of Great Moravia (in today's Czech
Republic), asked the emperor for missionaries, specifying that he wanted
someone who would teach his people in their own language (he had western
missionaries, but they used only Latin). The emperor and the Patriarch Photius
sent Methodius and his brother Constantine, who translated the Liturgy and
much of the Scriptures into Slavonic.
Since Slavonic had no written form, they invented an alphabet for it, the
Glagolitic alphabet, which gave rise to the Cyrillic alphabet (named for Cyril),
which is used to write Russian and (with modifications) several related
languages today. Thus the brothers were the first to produce written material in
the Slavic languages, and are regarded as the founders of Slavic literature.
The brothers encountered missionaries from Germany, representing the
western or Latin branch of the Church, and more particularly representing the
Holy Roman Empire as founded by Charlemagne, and committed to linguistic,
and cultural uniformity. They insisted on the use of the Latin liturgy, and they
regarded Moravia and the Slavic peoples as their rightful mission field. When
friction developed, the brothers, unwilling to be a cause of dissension among
Christians, went south toward Venice, and then from Venice to Rome to see
the Pope, hoping to reach an agreement that would avoid quarreling between
missionaries in the field. They brought with them the above-mentioned relics of
Clement, third bishop of Rome after the Apostles (see 23 November). They
arrived in Rome in 868 and were received with honor. Constantine entered a
monastery there, taking the name Cyril, by which he is now remembered.
However, he died only a few weeks thereafter. He is buried in Rome in the
Church of San Clemente.
The Pope (Adrian II) gave Methodius the title of Archbishop of Sirmium (now
Sremska Mitrovica in Yugoslavia) and sent him back in 869, with jurisdiction
over all of Moravia and Pannonia, and authorization to use the Slavonic
Liturgy. Soon, however, Prince Rotislav, who had originally invited the
brothers to Moravia, died, and his successor did not support Methodius. In 870
the Frankish king Louis and his bishops deposed Methodius at a synod at
Ratisbon, and imprisoned him for a little over two years. The pope (John VIII)
secured his release, but told him not to use the Slavonic Liturgy any more. In
878 he was summoned to Rome on charges of heresy and using Slavonic. This
time Pope John was convinced by his arguments and sent him back cleared of
all charges, and with permission to use Slavonic. He died 6 April 885 in
Velehrad, the old capitol of Moravia. The Carolingian bishop who succeeded
him, Wiching, suppressed the Slavonic Liturgy and forced the followers of
Methodius into exile. Many found refuge with King Boris of Bulgaria
(852-889), under whom they reorganized a Slavic-speaking Church.
Meanwhile, Pope John's successors adopted a Latin-only policy which lasted
for centuries.
Today Cyril and Methodius are honored by Eastern and Western Christians
alike, and the importance of their work in preaching and worshiping in the
language of the people is recognized on all sides. [James Kiefer, abridged]

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