OREMUS: 23 February 2006

Steve Benner steve.benner at oremus.org
Wed Feb 22 17:00:00 GMT 2006

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OREMUS for Thursday, February 23, 2006 
Polycarp, Bishop of Smyrna, Martyr, c.155

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

Blessed are you, Creator God,
in your bright wisdom
you bring forth gifts of new beginnings,
with grace and pardon for the past.
You make our lives a faithful Amen to your purposes,
so that, being sealed with your Holy Spirit,
we may both declare and imitate your forgiveness and healing.
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 8

O Lord our governor,*
 how exalted is your name in all the world!
Out of the mouths of infants and children*
 your majesty is praised above the heavens.
You have set up a stronghold against your adversaries,*
 to quell the enemy and the avenger.
When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers,*
 the moon and the stars you have set in their courses,
What are mortals, that you should be mindful of them?*
 mere human beings, that you should seek them out?
You have made them little lower than the angels;*
 you adorn them with glory and honour.
You give them mastery over the works of your hands;*
 and put all things under their feet,
All sheep and oxen,*
 even the wild beasts of the field,
The birds of the air, the fish of the sea,*
 and whatsoever walks in the paths of the sea.
O Lord our governor,*
 how exalted is your name in all the world!

Psalm 16

Protect me, O God, for I take refuge in you;*
 I have said to the Lord, 'You are my Lord,
   my good above all other.'
All my delight is upon the godly that are in the land,*
 upon those who are noble among the people.
But those who run after other gods*
 shall have their troubles multiplied.
Their libations of blood I will not offer,*
 nor take the names of their gods upon my lips.
O Lord, you are my portion and my cup;*
 it is you who uphold my lot.
My boundaries enclose a pleasant land;*
 indeed, I have a goodly heritage.
I will bless the Lord who gives me counsel;*
 my heart teaches me, night after night.
I have set the Lord always before me;*
 because he is at my right hand I shall not fall.
My heart, therefore, is glad and my spirit rejoices;*
 my body also shall rest in hope.
For you will not abandon me to the grave,*
 nor let your holy one see the Pit.
You will show me the path of life;*
 in your presence there is fullness of joy,
   and in your right hand are pleasures for evermore.

A Song of the Covenant (Isaiah 42:5-8a)

Thus says God, who created the heavens,
who fashioned the earth and all that dwells in it;

Who gives breath to the people upon it,
and spirit to those who walk in it,

'I am the Lord and I have called you in righteousness,
I have taken you by the hand and kept you;

'I have given you as a covenant to the people,
a light to the nations, to open the eyes that are blind.

'To bring out the captives from the dungeon,
from the prison, those who sit in darkness.

'I am the Lord, that is my name;
my glory I give to no other.'

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.

READING [2 Corinthians 2:12-17]:

When I came to Troas to proclaim the good news of Christ,
a door was opened for me in the Lord; but my mind could
not rest because I did not find my brother Titus there.
So I said farewell to them and went on to Macedonia.
But thanks be to God, who in Christ always leads us in
triumphal procession, and through us spreads in every
place the fragrance that comes from knowing him. For we
are the aroma of Christ to God among those who are being
saved and among those who are perishing; to the one a
fragrance from death to death, to the other a fragrance
from life to life. Who is sufficient for these things?
For we are not peddlers of God's word like so many; but
in Christ we speak as persons of sincerity, as persons
sent from God and standing in his presence. 

For another Biblical reading,
2 Kings 19:1-20

Words: George Herbert, 1633
Tune: High Road 
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Let all the world in every corner sing, my God and King!
The heavens are not too high, his praise may thither fly,
the earth is not too low, his praises there may grow.
Let all the world in every corner sing, my God and King!

Let all the world in every corner sing, my God and King!
The church with psalms must shout, no door can keep them out;
but, above all, the heart must bear the longest part.
Let all the world in every corner sing, my God and King!

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

In your glory, Lord, protect us by the power of your name,
that we may be one as you are one.

We are in the world but not of it.
Protect us from the evil one.

Give us your word and the full measure of your joy.
Sanctify us by your truth.

May your Spirit unite us in the love and glory of Father and Son.
May we be one that the world may believe.

As you sent your Son into the world
so send us, to make your glory known.

We pray for the Diocese of  Bauchi, Nigeria. 
Lord, hear our prayer.

O God the Word and Son of God,
exalted is your name in all creation,
yet you have stooped to become one with us:
as you have ordained humanity the steward of your creation,
so minister through us the mystery of your salvation;
to the glory of your holy Name. Amen.

Almighty God, 
who have to your servant Polycarp 
boldness to confess the name of our Savior Jesus Christ 
before the rulers of this world 
and courage to die for this faith: 
grant that we also may be ready to give 
an answer for the faith that is in us 
and to suffer gladly for the sake of our Lord Jesus Christ, 
who lives 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

Gracious God,
centre our hearts on what is true,
so that both in word and deed
we may fulfil your purposes for us;
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

The psalms, collects 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 are from
_Celebrating the Christian Year_, vol. 1. (c) Alan Griffiths.

 Polycarp was Bishop of Smyrna (today known as Izmir), a city on the west
coast of Turkey. The letters to the "seven churches in Asia" at the beginning of
the book of Revelation include a letter to the church in Smyrna, identifying it
as a church undergoing persecution.
Polycarp is said to have known the Apostle John, and to have been instructed
by him in the Christian faith. Polycarp, in his turn, was known to Irenaeus, who
later became Bishop of Lyons in what is now France. We have (1) Irenaeus's
brief memoir of Polycarp; (2) a letter to Polycarp from Ignatius of Antioch,
written around 115 AD when Ignatius was passing through Turkey, being sent
in chains to Rome to be put to death; (3) a letter from Polycarp to the church
at Philippi, written at the same time; and (4) an account of the arrest, trial,
conviction, and martyrdom of Polycarp, written after his death by one or more
members of his congregation.
Polycarp was denounced to the government, arrested, and tried on the charge
of being a Christian. When the proconsul urged him to save his life by cursing
Christ, he replied: "Eighty-six years I have served him, and he never did me any
wrong. How can I blaspheme my King who saved me?" The magistrate was
reluctant to kill a a gentle old man, but he had no choice.
Polycarp was sentenced to be burned. As he waited for the fire to be lighted,
he prayed:
Lord God Almighty, Father of your blessed and beloved child Jesus Christ,
through whom we have received knowledge of you, God of angels and hosts
and all creation, and of the whole race of the upright who live in your
I bless you that you have thought me worthy of this day and hour, to be
numbered among the martyrs and share in the cup of Christ, for resurrection to
eternal life, for soul and body in the incorruptibility of the Holy Spirit. Among
them may I be accepted before you today, as a rich and acceptable sacrifice,
just as you, the faithful and true God, have prepared and foreshown and
brought about. For this reason and for all things I praise you, I bless you, I
glorify you, through the eternal heavenly high priest Jesus Christ, your beloved
child, through whom be glory to you, with him and the Holy Spirit, now and
for the ages to come. Amen.
The fire was then lit and shortly thereafter a soldier stabbed Polycarp to death
by order of the magistrate. His friends gave his remains honorable burial, and
wrote an account of his death to other churches. See the Penguin volume,
Ancient Christian Writers. [James Kiefer]

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