OREMUS: 10 January 2006

Steve Benner steve.benner at oremus.org
Mon Jan 9 17:00:01 GMT 2006

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OREMUS for Tuesday, January 10, 2006 
William Laud, Archbishop of Canterbury, 1645

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

Blessed are you, Sovereign God,
you spoke your word
and revealed your Good News in Jesus, the Christ.
You fill all creation with that Word,
so that by proclaiming your joyful promises to all nations
and singing of your glorious hope to all peoples,
we may become one living body in Christ.
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 27

The Lord is my light and my salvation;
   whom then shall I fear?*
 the Lord is the strength of my life;
   of whom then shall I be afraid?
When evildoers came upon me to eat up my flesh,*
 it was they, my foes and my adversaries,
   who stumbled and fell.
Though an army should encamp against me,*
 yet my heart shall not be afraid;
And though war should rise up against me,*
 yet will I put my trust in him.
One thing have I asked of the Lord;
   one thing I seek;*
 that I may dwell in the house of the Lord
   all the days of my life;
To behold the fair beauty of the Lord*
 and to seek him in his temple.
For in the day of trouble
   he shall keep me safe in his shelter;*
 he shall hide me in the secrecy of his dwelling
   and set me high upon a rock.
Even now he lifts up my head*
 above my enemies round about me;
Therefore I will offer in his dwelling an oblation
   with sounds of great gladness;*
 I will sing and make music to the Lord.
Hearken to my voice, O Lord, when I call;*
 have mercy on me and answer me.
You speak in my heart and say, 'Seek my face.'*
 Your face, Lord, will I seek.
Hide not your face from me,*
 nor turn away your servant in displeasure.
You have been my helper;
   cast me not away;*
 do not forsake me, O God of my salvation.
Though my father and my mother forsake me,*
 the Lord will sustain me.
Show me your way, O Lord;*
 lead me on a level path, because of my enemies.
Deliver me not into the hand of my adversaries,*
 for false witnesses have risen up against me,
   and also those who speak malice.
What if I had not believed
   that I should see the goodness of the Lord*
 in the land of the living!
O tarry and await the Lord's pleasure;
   be strong and he shall comfort your heart;*
 wait patiently for the Lord.

A Song of the Holy City (Revelation 21:1-5a)

I saw a new heaven and a new earth,
for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away
and the sea was no more.

And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem,
coming down out of heaven from God,
prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.

And I heard a great voice from the throne saying,
'Behold, my dwelling is with my people.

'I will dwell with them and they shall be mine,
and I myself will be with them.

'I will wipe away every tear from their eyes,
and death shall be no more.

'Neither shall there be mourning,
nor crying, nor pain any more,
for the former things have passed away.'

And the One who sat upon the throne said,
'Behold, I make all things new.'

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 [Acts 22:2-16]:

When they heard Paul addressing them in Hebrew, they
became even more quiet. Then he said:
'I am a Jew, born in Tarsus in Cilicia, but brought up in
this city at the feet of Gamaliel, educated strictly
according to our ancestral law, being zealous for God,
just as all of you are today. I persecuted this Way up to
the point of death by binding both men and women and
putting them in prison, as the high priest and the whole
council of elders can testify about me. From them I also
received letters to the brothers in Damascus, and I went
there in order to bind those who were there and to bring
them back to Jerusalem for punishment.
'While I was on my way and approaching Damascus, about
noon a great light from heaven suddenly shone about me. I
fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to me, "Saul,
Saul, why are you persecuting me?" I answered, "Who are
you, Lord?" Then he said to me, "I am Jesus of Nazareth
whom you are persecuting." Now those who were with me saw
the light but did not hear the voice of the one who was
speaking to me. I asked, "What am I to do, Lord?" The
Lord said to me, "Get up and go to Damascus; there you
will be told everything that has been assigned to you to
do." Since I could not see because of the brightness of
that light, those who were with me took my hand and led
me to Damascus.
'A certain Ananias, who was a devout man according to the
law and well spoken of by all the Jews living there, came
to me; and standing beside me, he said, "Brother Saul,
regain your sight!" In that very hour I regained my sight
and saw him. Then he said, "The God of our ancestors has
chosen you to know his will, to see the Righteous One and
to hear his own voice; for you will be his witness to all
the world of what you have seen and heard. And now why do
you delay? Get up, be baptized, and have your sins washed
away, calling on his name." 

For another Biblical reading,
Exodus 30:22-38

Words: E H Bickersteth (1825-1906)
Tune: Carlisle, St. Michael (SM)    

1    Stand, soldier of the cross,
     Thy high allegiance claim,
     And vow to hold the world but loss
     For thy redeemer's name,

2    Arise, and be baptised,
     And wash thy sins away;
     Thy league with God be solemnised,
     Thy faith avouched today.

3    No more thine own, but Christ's -
     With all the saints of old,
     Apostles, seers, evangelists,
     And martyr throngs enrolled.

4    In God's whole armour strong,
     Front hell's embattled powers;
     The warfare may be sharp and long,
     The vict'ry must be ours.

5    O bright the conqueror's crown,
     The song of triumph sweet,
     When faith casts every trophy down
     At our great captain's feet!

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

Lord Jesus,
born in pain, struggling towards life, fighting for breath;
born in shame, 
born to the threat of Herod's sword; 
fleeing to another country, another home;
wrapped in a young girl's love, placed in a borrowed bed;
We pray for those we know and love;
for all who suffer pain of body or anguish of mind;
for all who struggle to live, to live well, to live better;
for all who burn with shame,
for all who face threat and danger,
We pray to you, O God:
Hear our prayer.

We pray for war-ravaged countries and refugees;
for the starving poor;
for battered wives and abused children;
for the homeless, for the mentally ill;
for those who struggle with disability.
Strengthen us to work for peace on the earth 
and peace with the earth.
We pray to you, O God:
Hear our prayer.

We pray for the Church,
especially the Diocese of Ahoada, Nigeria, The Rt Clement Ekpeye, Bishop.
Keep us faithful that we may bear faithful witness in word and work
to your presence among us.
We pray to you, O God:
Hear our prayer.

We pray for all who are alone.
May our love reach out to the lonely and broken-hearted,
the bereaved, and all for whom life has become something to be endured.
May we open our minds, hearts and homes to those around us.
We pray to you, O God:
Hear our prayer.

And we pray for our own needs:
seeking the grace of your presence,
firming our resolve to behave as we believe;
seeking your courage to reconcile, heal and make new;
seeking a sure vision of your coming kingdom.
We pray to you, O God:
Hear our prayer.

Faithful God,
the shelter of all who hope in you,
may those who seek your face
be set free from fear and distress,
and come to see your goodness
in the land of the living;
through Jesus Christ, our Light and our Salvation. Amen.

O God, the everlasting Sovereign,
you ordain the whole of our nature
for delight in the beauty of holiness,
that we may reverence you with our bodies
even as we worship you with our souls.
Lead us in the way of your servant William Laud,
and grant us so to be mindful of his service
that we may never grow weary in our earnest care
for the integrity and welfare of your Church;
through Jesus Christ our Lord,
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

Gather the whole universe into your radiant presence
and continually reveal your Son as our Savior,
that all wounds may be healed,
all that is broken may be made whole,
all illusion will be overcome 
by the truth found in the Light of Christ. 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 sentence are adapted from
prayers reprinted from _Revised Common Lectionary Prayers_,
copyright (c) 2002 Consultation on Common Texts.

The intercession is adapted from a prayer by David Bromell,

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

William Laud, born in 1573, was Archbishop of Canterbury from 1633 to 1645
in the days of King Charles I. It was a turbulent time throughout, one of
violent divisions in the Church of England, eventually culminating in the
English Civil War.

An example is the surplice controversy. We have all encountered Christians
who are opposed to celebrating Christmas on the grounds that (a) the Bible
nowhere commands us to celebrate Christmas, and does not mention the 25th
of December; and (b) the pagans had a festival in December at which they built
fires and feasted and exchanged gifts, from which it follows that those who
celebrate Christmas are participating in pagan rites. Similarly, in the late 1500's
and early 1600's, there were Christians in England who objected to the garment
called the surplice. When participating in the services of Morning and Evening
Prayer in Church, clergy, including choir members, normally wore a cassock (a
black, floor-length, fairly tight-fitting garment) covered by a surplice (a white,
knee-length, fairly loose garment with loose sleeves). The Puritans objected to
the surplice (a) as not mentioned in the Bible, and (b) as something that the
Roman Catholics had worn before the Reformation, which made it one of the
props of idolatrous worship, and marked anyone who wore it as an idolater.
Archbishop Laud regarded it as a seemly, dignified garment, an appropriate
response to the Apostle Paul's injunction, "Let all things be done decently and
in order." The Puritans stood by their objections, and violently interrupted
services at which the surplice was worn. On one occasion, a group of Puritans
broke into an Oxford chapel the night before a service and stole the surplices,
which they thrust into a the dung-pit of a privy. Again, a woman marched into
Lichfield Cathedral, accompanied by the town clerk and his wife, and ruined
the altar hangings with a bucket of pitch.

Under English Law, it was part of Laud's office as Archbishop to maintain
order and to punish offences against the peace of the Church. He made it his
practice to proceed not only against poor and obscure offenders, but also,
perhaps especially, against rich and powerful ones. It is well that men should be
equal before the law, but his integrity on this point ultimately cost Laud his

Laud was also the prosecutor of record in the trials of those who published
seditious or violent and abusive attacks on the doctrine and discipline of the
Church, and the Puritans produced an abundance of scurrilous attacks on those
who disagreed with them, which were duly punished, with Laud taking the
responsibility. In 1630 (before Laud became Archbishop), when Alexander
Leighton published Zion's Plea Against Prelacy, a violent attack on the Bishops
as tools of Antichrist, he was sentenced to be publicly whipped and branded,
and to have his ears cut off. He was sixty years old and a Doctor of Divinity,
and the sentence aroused great public indignation. (It is not certain that it was
actually carried out.)

Laud made enemies chiefly in three ways. (1) He punished those who attacked
the Church, both those who vandalized and those who merely scolded. (2) He
upheld various customs in public worship (such as the wearing of the surplice)
that were harmless in themselves, but which aroused the suspicion and fury of
those whe feared a return to power of Roman Catholicism. (3) He sought the
financial independence of the clergy, so that a preacher was not dependent on
what support the local squire was pleased to give him. His proposed means to
this end was to restore to the Church some of the Church lands that had been
seized by Henry VIII and given or sold to various nobles and gentlemen. The
proposal never reached the stage of discussion about details, so it was not clear
how compensation would be handled, but the mere whisper of such a proposal
was enough to make every landholder in the country feel personally

In 1637 an attempt was made to introduce the Book of Common Prayer into
general use in Scotland, and it immediately caused rioting. In February of
1638, Scottish leaders signed the National Covenant, by which they pledged
themselves to uphold the Puritan position by force, and by the end of the year
they had voted to depose and excommunicate every bishop in Scotland. The
unrest spread to England, and in 1640 Laud was arrested on a charge of high
treason. He was kept in the Tower for four years, and tried in 1644, at the age
of seventy-one. He was found guilty, not because there was any evidence of his
guilt, but because the House of Commons was determined that he should die.
On the scaffold he prayed: "The Lord receive my soul, and have mercy on me,
and bless this kingdom with peace and charity, that there may not be this
effusion of Christian blood amongst them." 

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