OREMUS: 14 November 2006

Steve Benner oremus at insight.rr.com
Tue Nov 14 00:48:04 GMT 2006

OREMUS for Tuesday, November 14, 2006
Samuel Seabury, First Bishop of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the USA, 

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

Blessed are you, ever-living God,
you inscribe our names in your book of life
so that we may share the firstfruits of salvation.
You protect the widows and strangers,
the oppressed and forgotten,
and feed the hungry with good things.
You stand among us in Christ, offering life to all.
You call us to respond with open hearts and minds to the world,
caring for those for whom you care.
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 73
Truly, God is good to Israel,*
  to those who are pure in heart.
But as for me, my feet had nearly slipped;*
  I had almost tripped and fallen;
Because I envied the proud*
  and saw the prosperity of the wicked:
For they suffer no pain,*
  and their bodies are sleek and sound;
In the misfortunes of others they have no share;*
  they are not afflicted as others are;
Therefore they wear their pride like a necklace*
  and wrap their violence about them like a cloak.
Their iniquity comes from gross minds,*
  and their hearts overflow with wicked thoughts.
They scoff and speak maliciously;*
  out of their haughtiness they plan oppression.
They set their mouths against the heavens,*
  and their evil speech runs through the world.
And so the people turn to them*
  and find in them no fault.
They say, ‘How should God know?*
  is there knowledge in the Most High?’
So then, these are the wicked;*
  always at ease, they increase their wealth.
In vain have I kept my heart clean,*
  and washed my hands in innocence.
I have been afflicted all day long,*
  and punished every morning.
Had I gone on speaking this way,*
  I should have betrayed the generation of your children.
When I tried to understand these things,*
  it was too hard for me;
Until I entered the sanctuary of God*
  and discerned the end of the wicked.
Surely, you set them in slippery places;*
  you cast them down in ruin.
O how suddenly do they come to destruction,*
  come to an end and perish from terror!
Like a dream when one awakens, O Lord,*
  when you arise you will make their image vanish.
When my mind became embittered,*
  I was sorely wounded in my heart.
I was stupid and had no understanding;*
  I was like a brute beast in your presence.
Yet I am always with you;*
  you hold me by my right hand.
You will guide me by your counsel,*
  and afterwards receive me with glory.
Whom have I in heaven but you?*
  and having you I desire nothing upon earth.
Though my flesh and my heart should waste away,*
  God is the strength of my heart and my portion for ever.
Truly, those who forsake you will perish;*
  you destroy all who are unfaithful.
But it is good for me to be near God;*
  I have made the Lord God my refuge.
I will speak of all your works*
  in the gates of the city of Zion.

A Song of the Redeemed (Revelation 7. 9-10,14b-17)

Behold, a great multitude
  which no one could number,

 From every nation,
from all tribes and peoples and tongues,
  standing before the throne and the Lamb.

They were clothed in white robes
  and had palms in their hands,
  and they cried with a loud voice, saying,

'Salvation belongs to our God
  who sits on the throne,
  and to the Lamb.'

These are they
who have come out of the great tribulation,
  they have washed their robes
  and made them white in the blood of the Lamb;

Therefore they stand before the throne of God,
  whom they serve day and night within the temple.

And the One who sits upon the throne
  will shelter them with his presence.

They shall never again feel hunger or thirst,
  the sun shall not strike them,
  nor any scorching heat.

For the Lamb at the heart of the throne
  will be their Shepherd,

He will guide them to springs of living water,
  and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.

To the One who sits on the throne and to the Lamb
  be blessing and honour and glory and might,
  for ever and ever. Amen.

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.

FIRST READING [Genesis 24:11-27]:

The servant of Abraham made the camels kneel down outside the city by the 
well of water; it was towards evening, the time when women go out to draw 
water. And he said, 'O Lord, God of my master Abraham, please grant me 
success today and show steadfast love to my master Abraham. I am standing 
here by the spring of water, and the daughters of the townspeople are 
coming out to draw water. Let the girl to whom I shall say, "Please offer 
your jar that I may drink", and who shall say, "Drink, and I will water 
your camels" let her be the one whom you have appointed for your servant 
Isaac. By this I shall know that you have shown steadfast love to my master.'

Before he had finished speaking, there was Rebekah, who was born to Bethuel 
son of Milcah, the wife of Nahor, Abraham's brother, coming out with her 
water-jar on her shoulder. The girl was very fair to look upon, a virgin 
whom no man had known. She went down to the spring, filled her jar, and 
came up. Then the servant ran to meet her and said, 'Please let me sip a 
little water from your jar.' 'Drink, my lord,' she said, and quickly 
lowered her jar upon her hand and gave him a drink. When she had finished 
giving him a drink, she said, 'I will draw for your camels also, until they 
have finished drinking.' So she quickly emptied her jar into the trough and 
ran again to the well to draw, and she drew for all his camels. The man 
gazed at her in silence to learn whether or not the Lord had made his 
journey successful.

When the camels had finished drinking, the man took a gold nose-ring 
weighing a half-shekel, and two bracelets for her arms weighing ten gold 
shekels, and said, 'Tell me whose daughter you are. Is there room in your 
father's house for us to spend the night?' She said to him, 'I am the 
daughter of Bethuel son of Milcah, whom she bore to Nahor.' She added, 'We 
have plenty of straw and fodder and a place to spend the night.' The man 
bowed his head and worshipped the Lord and said, 'Blessed be the Lord, the 
God of my master Abraham, who has not forsaken his steadfast love and his 
faithfulness towards my master. As for me, the Lord has led me on the way 
to the house of my master's kin.'

Words: Samuel John Stone, 1868
Tune: Aurelia

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The Church's one foundation
is Jesus Christ her Lord;
she is his new creation,
by water and the word:
from heaven he came and sought her
to be his holy bride;
with his own blood he bought her,
and for her life he died.

Elect from every nation,
yet one o'er all the earth,
her charter of salvation,
one Lord, one faith, one birth;
one holy Name she blesses,
partakes one holy food,
and to one hope she presses,
with every grace endued.

Though with a scornful wonder
men see her sore oppressed,
by schisms rent asunder,
by heresies distressed;
yet saints their watch are keeping,
their cry goes up, "How long?"
and soon the night of weeping
shall be the morn of song.

Mid toil and tribulation,
and tumult of her war
she waits the consummation
of peace for evermore;
till with the vision glorious
her longing eyes are blessed,
and the great Church victorious
shall be the Church at rest.

Yet she on earth hath union
with God, the Three in one,
and mystic sweet communion
with those whose rest is won.
O happy ones and holy!
Lord, give us grace that we
like them, the meek and lowly,
on high may dwell with thee.

SECOND READING [1 Timothy 5:9-16]:

Let a widow be put on the list if she is not less than sixty years old and 
has been married only once; she must be well attested for her good works, 
as one who has brought up children, shown hospitality, washed the saints' 
feet, helped the afflicted, and devoted herself to doing good in every way. 
But refuse to put younger widows on the list; for when their sensual 
desires alienate them from Christ, they want to marry, and so they incur 
condemnation for having violated their first pledge. Besides that, they 
learn to be idle, gadding about from house to house; and they are not 
merely idle, but also gossips and busybodies, saying what they should not 
say. So I would have younger widows marry, bear children, and manage their 
households, so as to give the adversary no occasion to revile us. For some 
have already turned away to follow Satan. If any believing woman has 
relatives who are really widows, let her assist them; let the church not be 
burdened, so that it can assist those who are real widows.

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

God our Father,
you give us gifts that we may work together
in the service of your Son.

Bless those who lead,
that they may be firm in faith,
yet humble before you.
Jesus, Lord of the Church,
in your mercy hear us.

Bless those who teach,
that they may increase our understanding,
and be open to your word for them:
Jesus, Lord of the Church,
in your mercy hear us.

Bless those who minister healing,
that they may bring wholeness to others,
yet know your healing in themselves:
Jesus, Lord of the Church,
in your mercy hear us.

Bless those who work for
the renewal of communion among Christians
and for the healing of our divisions, that the world may believe:
Jesus, Lord of the Church,
in your mercy hear us.

Bless those through whom you speak,
that they may proclaim your word in power,
yet open their ears to your gentle whisper:
Jesus, Lord of the Church,
in your mercy hear us.

Bless those who work in your world today
that in the complexity of their daily lives
they may live for you, fulfill your purposes
and seek your kingdom first.
Jesus, Lord of the Church,
in your mercy hear us.

Bless those who feel they have no gifts or value
and those who are powerless in this world's eyes,
that they may share their experience
of the work of your Spirit.
Jesus, Lord of the Church,
in your mercy hear us.

O God of unchangeable power and eternal light,
look favourably on your whole Church,
that wonderful and sacred mystery.
By the effectual working of your providence,
carry out in tranquillity the plan of salvation.
Let the whole world see and know
that things which were cast down are being raised up,
and things which had grown old are being made new,
and that all things are being brought to their perfection
by him through whom all things were made,
your Son Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Eternal God,
who blessed your servant Samuel Seabury
with the gift of perseverance
to renew the Anglican inheritance
in the churches of North America:
grant us unity in faith, steadfastness in hope,
and constancy in love,
that we may ever be true members
of the body of your Son Jesus Christ,
who is alive and reigns with you
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Uniting our prayers with the whole company of heaven,
let us pray as our Savior has taught us.

- The Lord's Prayer

Grant that as we serve yo now on earth,
so we may one day rejoice with all the saints
in your kingdom of light and peace,
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

The psalms are from Celebrating Common Prayer (Mowbray), © The Society of 
Saint Francis 1992, which is used with permission.

The canticle is from Common Worship: Daily Prayer, Preliminary Edition, 
copyright © The Archbishops' Council, 2002.

The biblical passage is from The New Revised Standard Version (Anglicized 
Edition), copyright © 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 © 
2002 Consultation on Common Texts

The second collect is from For All the Saints, © General Synod of the 
Anglican Church of Canada, 1994.

A crucial date for members of the Episcopal Church in the United States of 
America is the consecration of the first Bishop of the Anglican Communion 
in the United States. During the colonial era, there had been no Anglican 
bishops in the New World; and persons seeking to be ordained as clergy had 
had to travel to England for the purpose. After the achievement of American 
independence, it was important for the Church in the United States to have 
its own bishops, and an assembly of Connecticut clergy chose Samuel Seabury 
to go to England and there seek to be consecrated as a bishop.

However, the English bishops were forbidden by law to consecrate anyone who 
would not take an oath of allegiance to the British Crown. He accordingly 
turned to the Episcopal Church of Scotland. When the Roman Catholic king 
James II was deposed in 1688, some of the Anglican clergy (including some 
who had been imprisoned by James for defying him on religious issues) said 
that, having sworn allegiance to James as King, they could not during his 
lifetime swear allegiance to the new monarchs William and Mary. Those who 
took this position were known as non-Jurors (non-swearers), and they 
included almost all the bishops and clergy of the Episcopal Church in 
Scotland. Accordingly, the monarchs and Parliament declared that 
thenceforth the official church in Scotland should be the Presbyterian 
Church. The Episcopal Church of Scotland thereafter had no recognition by 
the government, and for some time operated under serious legal disablities. 
However, since it had no connection with the government, it was free to 
consecrate Seabury without government permission, and it did. This is why 
you see a Cross of St. Andrew on the Episcopal Church flag.

In Aberdeen, 14 November 1784, Samuel Seabury was consecrated to the 
Episcopate by the Bishop and the Bishop Coadjutor of Aberdeen and the 
Bishop of Ross and Caithness. He thus became part of the unbroken chain of 
bishops that links the Church today with the Church of the Apostles.

In return, he promised them that he would do his best to persuade the 
American Church to use as its Prayer of Consecration (blessing of the bread 
and wine at the Lord's Supper) the Scottish prayer, taken largely unchanged 
from the 1549 Prayer Book, rather than the much shorter one in use in 
England. The aforesaid prayer, adopted by the American Church with a few 
modifications, has been widely regarded as one of the greatest treasures of 
the Church in this country. [James Kiefer]

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