OREMUS: 3 June 2006

Steve Benner steve.benner at oremus.org
Fri Jun 2 17:00:03 GMT 2006


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OREMUS for Saturday, June 3, 2006 
The Martyrs of Uganda, 1886 and 1978

Alleluia! Christ is risen!
The Lord is risen indeed! Alleluia!

Blessed are you, Lord God of all creation,
to you be praise and glory for ever.
Your living Word brings light out of darkness
and daily your Spirit renews the face of the earth.
Christ, the true Lamb, his passion accomplished,
has been raised to the right hand of your majesty on high.
The pioneer of our faith has opened the way to heaven
and sends on us your promised Spirit.
Pour upon us the riches of your grace
that we, the first fruits of your new creation,
may bring forth the fruits of the Spirit
and reveal your glory in all the world.
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. 

http://www.oremus.org/eastocan.html

Psalm 139

Lord, you have searched me out and known me;*
 you know my sitting down and my rising up;
   you discern my thoughts from afar.
You trace my journeys and my resting-places*
 and are acquainted with all my ways.
Indeed, there is not a word on my lips,*
 but you, O Lord, know it altogether.
You press upon me behind and before*
 and lay your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me;*
 it is so high that I cannot attain to it.
Where can I go then from your Spirit?*
 where can I flee from your presence?
If I climb up to heaven, you are there;*
 if I make the grave my bed, you are there also.
If I take the wings of the morning*
 and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,
Even there your hand will lead me*
 and your right hand hold me fast.
If I say, 'Surely the darkness will cover me,*
 and the light around me turn to night',
Darkness is not dark to you;
   the night is as bright as the day;*
 darkness and light to you are both alike.
For you yourself created my inmost parts;*
 you knit me together in my mother's womb.
I will thank you because I am marvellously made;*
 your works are wonderful and I know it well.
My body was not hidden from you,*
 while I was being made in secret
   and woven in the depths of the earth.
Your eyes beheld my limbs, yet unfinished in the womb;
   all of them were written in your book;*
 they were fashioned day by day,
   when as yet there was none of them.
How deep I find your thoughts, O God!*
 how great is the sum of them!
If I were to count them,
   they would be more in number than the sand;*
 to count them all,
   my life span would need to be like yours.
Search me out, O God, and know my heart;*
 try me and know my restless thoughts.
Look well whether there be any wickedness in me*
 and lead me in the way that is everlasting.

A Song of Ezekiel (Ezekiel 36:24-26,28b)

I will take you from the nations,
and gather you from all the countries.

I will sprinkle clean water upon you,
and you shall be clean from all your impurities.

A new heart I will give you,
and put a new spirit within you,

And I will remove from your body the heart of stone
and give you a heart of flesh.

You shall be my people,
and I will be your God.

Psalm 149

Alleluia!
   Sing to the Lord a new song;*
 sing his praise in the congregation of the faithful.
Let Israel rejoice in his maker;*
 let the children of Zion be joyful in their king.
Let them praise his name in the dance;*
 let them sing praise to him with timbrel and harp.
For the Lord takes pleasure in his people*
 and adorns the poor with victory.
Let the faithful rejoice in triumph;*
 let them be joyful on their beds.
Let the praises of God be in their throat*
 and a two-edged sword in their hand;
To wreak vengeance on the nations*
 and punishment on the peoples;
To bind their kings in chains*
 and their nobles with links of iron;
To inflict on them the judgement decreed;*
 this is glory for all his faithful people.
   Alleluia!

READING [John 20:19-23]:

When it was evening on that day, the first day of the
week, and the doors of the house where the disciples had
met were locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and
stood among them and said, 'Peace be with you.' After he
said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then
the disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord. Jesus said
to them again, 'Peace be with you. As the Father has sent
me, so I send you.' When he had said this, he breathed on
them and said to them, 'Receive the Holy Spirit. If you
forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you
retain the sins of any, they are retained.'

For another Biblical reading,
Ezekiel 36:22-28

HYMN 
Words: Vincent Uher (c)
Tune: Passion Chorale, Es flog ein kleins Waldv”glein   
http://www.oremus.org/hymnal/uher21.html
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Behold, how like a monarch
Peace enters in to reign
when all things rightly ordered
proclaim Christ's true domain.
God crowns each true peacemaker
with blessings from above
to share with friend and neighbour
the treasure of God's love.

The sacrifice of Jesus,
his rising from the dead,
his sending of the Spirit
turns this world on its head.
The promise of our Saviour
sings, 'Heaven is at hand.
Receive the Holy Spirit.
Peace to you and your land.'

Long nights we knew of warfare,
of desperate people's cries.
We see how nations falter
destroyed by greed and lies.
Christ's Cross, a contradiction
"Lay down your life for friends
so justice, hope, and mercy
fill the world's farthest ends."

To put an end to terror
we long to do what's right.
To save the world from horrors,
to vanquish evil's might.
Unless God leads and guides us
we turn Earth into hell.
Christ, shepherd all the nations
so all things shall be well!

Christ's peace, the Church's power,
His peace, our bravest song.
His sacrifice, his bleeding
make peace where once was wrong.
His Gospel mark our actions.
Our actions be as prayers
till Christ rules every nation,
swords beat into ploughshares.

Creator of all nature,
the Word through whom Life came,
the Spirit through us moving,
One God, we praise your Name.
We tell out your great goodness,
your tenderness and might
by which you end all terror.
Your peace crowns all with light.

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

Prayer:
We pray for God to fill us with his Spirit.

Generous God, we thank you for the power of your Holy Spirit.
We ask that we may be strengthened to serve you better.
Lord, come to bless us.
Fill us with your Spirit.

We thank you for the wisdom of your Holy Spirit.
We ask you to make us wise to understand your will.
Lord, come to bless us.
Fill us with your Spirit.

We thank you for the peace of your Holy Spirit.
We ask you to keep us confident of your love,
wherever you call us.
Lord, come to bless us.
Fill us with your Spirit.

We thank you for the healing of your Holy Spirit.
We ask you to bring reconciliation and wholeness
where there is division, sickness and sorrow.
Lord, come to bless us.
Fill us with your Spirit.

We thank you for the gifts of your Holy Spirit.
We ask you to equip us for the work
which you have given us.
Lord, come to bless us.
Fill us with your Spirit.

We thank you for the fruit of your Holy Spirit.
We ask you to reveal in our lives the love of Jesus.
Lord, come to bless us.
Fill us with your Spirit.

We thank you for the breath of your Holy Spirit,
given by the risen Lord.
We ask you to keep the whole Church,
living and departed,
in the joy of eternal life.
We pray especially for the Diocese of Cuttack, India,
The Rt Revd Reuben Senapati, Bishop.
Lord, come to bless us.
Fill us with your Spirit.

God of our joy and gladness,
hear our prayer for the peace of this world
and bring us at last,
with all our companions in faith,
to the peace of that city where you live and reign,
Father, Son and Holy Spirit,
now and to all eternity. Amen.

O God,
by the blood of Christian martyrs
you planted in the heart of Uganda
the seed of a strong and living Church:
may we who cherish their remembrance before you
be valiant in our witness
against the terrors of unjust rulers
and remain steadfast in the love
by which you bind us to yourself;
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
       
Rejoicing in God's new creation,
let us pray as our Redeemer has taught us:

- The Lord's Prayer

God of power,
may the boldness of your Spirit transform us,
may the gentleness of your Spirit lead us,
and may the gifts of your Spirit equip us 
to serve and worship you now and always. Amen.

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The psalms are from _Celebrating Common Prayer_ (Mowbray),
(c) The Society of Saint Francis 1992, which is used with permission.

The canticle, the opening thanksgiving and the invitation to the Lord's Prayer
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 adapted from _Common
WorshipServices and Prayers for the Church of England_, material from
which is included in this service is copyright (c) The Archbishops' Council,
2000.

The closing sentence is from in _New Patterns for Worship_, copyright (c) The
Archbishops' Council, 2002.

Hymn (c) 2003 Vincent Uher. All rights reserved. Reproduced with permission.
Permission granted for one time use with inclusion of copyright notice and
email notification to Fr Vincent Uher vuher at alumni.rice.edu.

On 3 June 1886, thirty-two young men, pages of the court of King Mwanga of
Buganda, were burned to death at Namugongo for their refusal to renounce
Christianity. In the following months many other Christians throughout the
country died by spear or fire for their faith.
These martyrdoms totally changed the dynamic of Christian growth in Uganda.
Introduced by a handful of Anglican and Roman missionaries after 1877, the
Christian faith had been preached only to the immediate members of the court,
by order of King Mutesa. His successor, Mwanga, became increasingly angry
as he realized that the first converts put loyalty to Christ above the traditional
loyalty to the king. Martyrdoms began in 1885. Mwanga first forbade anyone
to go near a Christian mission on pain of death, but finding himself unable to
cool the ardor of the converts, resolved to wipe out Christianity.
The Namugongo martyrdoms produced a result entirely opposite to Mwanga's
intentions. The example of these martyrs, who walked to their deaths singing
hymns and praying for their enemies, so inspired many of the bystanders that
they began to seek instruction from the remaining Christians. Within a few
years the original handful of converts had multiplied many times and spread far
beyond the court. The martyrs had left the indelible impression that Christianity
was truly African, not simply a white man's religion. Most of the missionary
work was carried out by Africans rather than by white missionaries, and
Christianity spread steadily. Uganda now has the largest percentage of
professed Christians of any nation in Africa.
Renewed persecution of Christians in the 1970's by the military dictatorship of
Idi Amin proved the vitality of the example of the Namugongo martyrs.
Among the thousands of new martyrs, both Anglican and Roman, was Janani
Luwum, Archbishop of the (Anglican) Church of Uganda.


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