OREMUS: 14 June 2006

Steve Benner steve.benner at oremus.org
Tue Jun 13 17:00:01 GMT 2006

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OREMUS for Wednesday, June 14, 2006 
Richard Baxter, Puritan Divine, 1691

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

Blessed are you, merciful God;
in you we live and move and have our being.
Each day we encounter the signs of your tender care.
Possessing the firstfruits of the Spirit,
who raised Jesus from the dead,
we live in the hope that the mystery of his dying and rising
will be for us also an eternal Easter.
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 101

I will sing of mercy and justice;*
 to you, O Lord, will I sing praises.
I will strive to follow a blameless course;
   O when will you come to me?*
 I will walk with sincerity of heart within my house.
I will set no worthless thing before my eyes;*
 I hate the doers of evil deeds;
   they shall not remain with me.
A crooked heart shall be far from me;*
 I will not know evil.
My eyes are upon the faithful in the land,
   that they may dwell with me,*
 and only those who lead a blameless life
   shall be my servants.
Those who act deceitfully shall not dwell in my house,*
 and those who tell lies shall not continue in my sight.

Psalm 112

   Happy are they who fear the Lord*
 and have great delight in his commandments!
Their descendants will be mighty in the land;*
 the generation of the upright will be blessed.
Wealth and riches will be in their house,*
 and their righteousness will last for ever.
Light shines in the darkness for the upright;*
 the righteous are merciful and full of compassion.
It is good for them to be generous in lending*
 and to manage their affairs with justice.
For they will never be shaken;*
 the righteous will be kept in everlasting remembrance.
They will not be afraid of any evil rumours;*
 their heart is right;
   they put their trust in the Lord.
Their heart is established and will not shrink,*
 until they see their desire upon their enemies.
They have given freely to the poor,*
 and their righteousness stands fast for ever;
   they will hold up their head with honour.
The wicked will see it and be angry;
   they will gnash their teeth and pine away;*
 the desires of the wicked will perish.

A Song of the Lord's Anointed (Isaiah 61.1-3,11,6a)

The Spirit of the Lord is upon me
 because he has anointed me.

He has sent me to bring good news to the oppressed,
 to bind up the broken-hearted,

To proclaim liberty to the captives,
 and the opening of the prison to those who are bound;

To proclaim the year of the Lord's favour,
 to comfort all who mourn,

To give them a garland instead of ashes,
 the oil of gladness instead of mourning,
 the mantle of praise instead of a faint spirit,

That they may be called oaks of righteousness,
 the planting of the Lord, that he may be glorified.

For as the earth puts forth her blossom,
 and as seeds in the garden spring up,

So shall the Lord God make righteousness and praise
 blossom before all the nations.

You shall be called priests of the Lord
 they shall speak of you as ministers of our God.

Psalm 147:13-end

Worship the Lord, O Jerusalem;*
 praise your God, O Zion;
For he has strengthened the bars of your gates;*
 he has blessed your children within you.
He has established peace on your borders;*
 he satisfies you with the finest wheat.
He sends out his command to the earth,*
 and his word runs very swiftly.
He gives snow like wool;*
 he scatters hoarfrost like ashes.
He scatters his hail like bread crumbs;*
 who can stand against his cold?
He sends forth his word and melts them;*
 he blows with his wind and the waters flow.
He declares his word to Jacob,*
 his statutes and his judgements to Israel.
He has not done so to any other nation;*
 to them he has not revealed his judgements.

READING [1 Samuel 5:1-15]:

When the Philistines captured the ark of God, they
brought it from Ebenezer to Ashdod; then the Philistines
took the ark of God and brought it into the house of
Dagon and placed it beside Dagon. When the people of
Ashdod rose early the next day, there was Dagon, fallen
on his face to the ground before the ark of the Lord. So
they took Dagon and put him back in his place. But when
they rose early on the next morning, Dagon had fallen on
his face to the ground before the ark of the Lord, and
the head of Dagon and both his hands were lying cut off
upon the threshold; only the trunk of Dagon was left to
him. This is why the priests of Dagon and all who enter
the house of Dagon do not step on the threshold of Dagon
in Ashdod to this day.
The hand of the Lord was heavy upon the people of Ashdod,
and he terrified and struck them with tumours, both in
Ashdod and in its territory. And when the inhabitants of
Ashdod saw how things were, they said, 'The ark of the
God of Israel must not remain with us; for his hand is
heavy on us and on our god Dagon.' So they sent and
gathered together all the lords of the Philistines, and
said, 'What shall we do with the ark of the God of
Israel?' The inhabitants of Gath replied, 'Let the ark of
God be moved on to us.' So they moved the ark of the God
of Israel to Gath. But after they had brought it to Gath,
the hand of the Lord was against the city, causing a very
great panic; he struck the inhabitants of the city, both
young and old, so that tumours broke out on them. So they
sent the ark of the God of Israel to Ekron. But when the
ark of God came to Ekron, the people of Ekron cried out,
'Why have they brought across to us the ark of the God of
Israel to kill us and our people?' They sent therefore
and gathered together all the lords of the Philistines,
and said, 'Send away the ark of the God of Israel, and
let it return to its own place, that it may not kill us
and our people.' For there was a deathly panic throughout
the whole city. The hand of God was very heavy there;
those who did not die were stricken with tumours, and the
cry of the city went up to heaven. 

For another Biblical reading,
Luke 11:1-4

Words:  Richard Baxter, 1681
Tune: Uffingham 
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He wants not friends that hath thy love,
and may converse and walk with thee;
and with thy saints here and above,
with whom for ever I must be.

In the communion of the saints
is wisdom, safety and delight;
and, when my heart declines and faints,
it's raised by their heat and light.

As for my friends, they are not lost;
the several vessels of thy fleet,
though parted now, by tempests tossed,
shall safely in the haven meet.

Still we are centered all in thee,
members, though distant, of one Head;
in the same family we be,
by the same faith and Spirit led.

Before thy throne we daily meet
as joint petitioners to thee;
in spirit we each other greet,
and shall again each other see.

The heavenly hosts, world without end,
shall be my company above;
and thou, my best and surest Friend,
who shall divide me from thy love?

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

There is one body and one spirit,
one hope in God's call to us;
One Lord, One Faith, One Baptism,
One God and Father of all.

Let us pray for the Church, responding "Lord, hear our prayer."

For the leaders of the Church in these unsettled times, 
that they may be among us as examples:
as leaders who love what is true, honor what is just, and belong to all.
we pray to you, O Lord.
Lord, hear our prayer.

For all the people of the Church, 
that our Lord Jesus Christ may live out in us 
the full mystery of his death and resurrection, 
that we may be stretched and transformed by his love 
and find ourselves in him, 
as leaders who love what is true, honor what is just, and belong to all.
we pray to you, O Lord.
Lord, hear our prayer.

For forgiveness of our pride, contentiousness and factionalism, 
our stubbornness and party spirit, 
our insisting on our own way rather than seeking your purpose, 
that you will give us the mind of Christ 
and by your Holy Spirit lead us into all truth, 
we pray to you, O Lord.
Lord, hear our prayer.

In thanksgiving for all those 
who in constant faithfulness and quiet confidence 
work, pray and give for the spread of your kingdom, 
often without recognition or fanfare, 
we pray to you, O Lord.
Lord, hear our prayer.

For us, that we will be raised up as instruments of healing and reconciliation
that we may maintain constant love for one another 
and be connected to that larger community 
where Christ most fully is to be found, 
we pray to you, O Lord.
Lord, hear our prayer.

Loving God,
we thank you for those whom you have touched, blessed and served 
through your Church and for those saints upon whose shoulders we stand: 
Bless your Church and give us ears to hear and eyes to see. 
Bestow upon us the gift of discernment that we might know and do your will. 
Unite us with a spirit of godly unity. 
Make us instruments, leading the Church to minister as you call it 
and serve as you have entrusted it;
through Jesus Christ our Savior. Amen.

O heavenly Father, Shepherd of your people, 
we thank you for your servant Richard Baxter, 
who was faithful in the care and nurture of your flock; 
and we pray that, following his example and the teaching of his holy life, 
we may by your grace grow into the stature of the fullness 
of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ; 
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, 
one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Gathering our prayers and praises into one,
let us pray as our Savior has taught us.

- The Lord's Prayer

Compassionate God,
grant that our experience of your pardon
may increase our love
until it reflects your own immeasurable forgiveness;
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

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 by Stephen Benner from
_We Give You Thanks and Praise: The Ambrosian Eucharistic
Prefaces_, translated by Alan Griffiths, (c) The Canterbury Press
Norwich, 1999.

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

The closing prayer is adapted from a prayer in _Opening Prayers: Collects
in Contemporary Language_. Canterbury Press, Norwich, 1999.

Richard Baxter was born in Shropshire in 1615, and died in London 8
December 1691.
Throughout his life, Baxter worked as a peacemaker between factions. He was
ordained to the priesthood in 1638, but by 1640 had allied himself with the
Puritans, and was calling for the abolition of bishops in the Church of England.
He was a believer in limited monarchy, and attempted to play a mediating role
in the English Civil War. For a short time he was a chaplain to the
Parliamentary Army, but he helped to bring about the restoration of the
monarchy in 1660. After the monarchy was restored, he urged an expansion of
the limits of tolerated dissent within the Church of England. In 1685-6 he was
imprisoned for 18 months. The Revolution of 1688 largely freed him from
further harassment.
Although circumstances thrust him into the political controversies of the day,
his own chief calling, as he saw it, was to the parish ministry. From 1641 to
1660 he served the parish of Kidderminster in Worcestershire, a town where
handloom weaving was the principal industry. Sunday after Sunday, he
preached a doctrine of complete trust in God, and daily Christian obedience.
His church had to be specially enlarged to accomodate the crowds who came
to hear him speak. He was also deeply involved in personal pastoral
counselling, making it his business to speak privately with every one in his
parish on a regular basis.
His best known works are The Saints' Everlasting Rest and The Reformed
Pastor. His autobiography, published after his death and edited by another
hand, is called Reliquiae Baxterianae, or Mr. Richard Baxter's Narrative of the
Most Memorable Passages of His Life and Times. [James Kiefer]

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