OREMUS: 26 October 2006

Steve Benner steve.benner at oremus.org
Wed Oct 25 22:32:54 GMT 2006

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OREMUS for Thursday, October 26, 2006 
Alfred the Great, King of the West Saxons, Scholar, 899

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

Blessed are you, tireless Guardian of your people,
you are always ready to hear the cry of your chosen ones;
you teach us to rely day and night on your care.
You impel us to seek your enduring justice
and your ever-present help
revealed in your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.
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 113

   Give praise, you servants of the Lord;*
 praise the name of the Lord.
Let the name of the Lord be blessed,*
 from this time forth for evermore.
>From the rising of the sun to its going down*
 let the name of the Lord be praised.
The Lord is high above all nations,*
 and his glory above the heavens.
Who is like the Lord our God,
   who sits enthroned on high,*
 but stoops to behold the heavens and the earth?
He takes up the weak out of the dust*
 and lifts up the poor from the ashes.
He sets them with the princes,*
 with the princes of his people.
He makes the woman of a childless house*
 to be a joyful mother of children.

Psalm 122

I was glad when they said to me,*
 'Let us go to the house of the Lord.'
Now our feet are standing*
 within your gates, O Jerusalem.
Jerusalem is built as a city*
 that is at unity with itself.
To which the tribes go up, the tribes of the Lord,*
 the assembly of Israel, to praise the name of the Lord.
For there are the thrones of judgement,*
 the thrones of the house of David.
Pray for the peace of Jerusalem:*
 'May they prosper who love you.
'Peace be within your walls*
 and quietness within your towers.
'For my family and companions' sake,*
 I pray for your prosperity.
'Because of the house of the Lord our God,*
 I will seek to do you good.'

Great and Wonderful (Revelation 15:3-4)

Great and wonderful are your deeds,
Lord God the Almighty.

Just and true are your ways,
O ruler of the nations.

Who shall not revere and praise your name, O Lord?
for you alone are holy.

All nations shall come and worship in your presence:
for your just dealings have been revealed.

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 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.

FIRST READING [2 Kings 20:12-19]:

At that time King Merodach-baladan son of Baladan of
Babylon sent envoys with letters and a present to
Hezekiah, for he had heard that Hezekiah had been sick.
Hezekiah welcomed them; he showed them all his treasure
house, the silver, the gold, the spices, the precious
oil, his armoury, all that was found in his storehouses;
there was nothing in his house or in all his realm that
Hezekiah did not show them. Then the prophet Isaiah came
to King Hezekiah, and said to him, 'What did these men
say? From where did they come to you?' Hezekiah answered,
'They have come from a far country, from Babylon.' He
said, 'What have they seen in your house?' Hezekiah
answered, 'They have seen all that is in my house; there
is nothing in my storehouses that I did not show
Then Isaiah said to Hezekiah, 'Hear the word of the Lord:
Days are coming when all that is in your house, and that
which your ancestors have stored up until this day, shall
be carried to Babylon; nothing shall be left, says the
Lord. Some of your own sons who are born to you shall be
taken away; they shall be eunuchs in the palace of the
king of Babylon.' Then Hezekiah said to Isaiah, 'The word
of the Lord that you have spoken is good.' For he
thought, 'Why not, if there will be peace and security in
my days?' 

Words: Carl P. Daw, Jr. (c)
Tune: Jerusalem

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O day of peace that dimly shines
through all our hopes and prayers and dreams,
guide us to justice, truth, and love,
delivered from our selfish schemes.
May the swords of hate fall from our hands,
our hearts from envy find release,
till by God's grace our warring world
shall see Christ's promised reign of peace.

Then shall the wolf dwell with the lamb,
nor shall the fierce devour the small;
as beasts and cattle calmly graze,
a little child shall lead them all.
Then enemies shall learn to love,
all creatures find their true accord;
the hope of peace shall be fulfilled,
for all the earth shall know the Lord.

SECOND READING [Hebrews 7:1-10]:

This 'King Melchizedek of Salem, priest of the Most High God, met Abraham as he
was returning from defeating the kings and blessed him'; and to him Abraham
apportioned 'one-tenth of everything'. His name, in the first place, means 'king of
righteousness'; next he is also king of Salem, that is, 'king of peace'. Without father,
without mother, without genealogy, having neither beginning of days nor end of life,
but resembling the Son of God, he remains a priest for ever.
See how great he is! Even Abraham the patriarch gave him a tenth of the spoils. And
those descendants of Levi who receive the priestly office have a commandment in the
law to collect tithes from the people, that is, from their kindred, though these also are
descended from Abraham. But this man, who does not belong to their ancestry,
collected tithes from Abraham and blessed him who had received the promises. It is
beyond dispute that the inferior is blessed by the superior. In the one case, tithes are
received by those who are mortal; in the other, by one of whom it is testified that he
lives. One might even say that Levi himself, who receives tithes, paid tithes through
Abraham, for he was still in the loins of his ancestor when Melchizedek met him. 

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

We pray for the family of the church, for loving relationships,
and for the life of families around us, saying
Jesus, Lord of love:
in your mercy, hear us.

Jesus, born in poverty and soon a refugee,
be with families today who are poor 
and live in hunger and want. . .
Jesus, Lord of love:
in your mercy, hear us.

Jesus, who grew in wisdom and in favor with God and the people
in the family of Joseph the carpenter,
bring wisdom and the presence of God
into the work and growth of families today. . . 
Jesus, Lord of love:
in your mercy, hear us.

Jesus, who blessed marriage in the wedding at Cana,
be with those preparing for marriage
and with those who come to the end of their resources. . . 
Jesus, Lord of love:
in your mercy, hear us.

Jesus, who healed Peter's mother in law,
bring healing to hurt relationships and families today. . . 
Jesus, Lord of love:
in your mercy, hear us.

Jesus, who on the cross said,
'Mother, behold your son',
provide today for those who lose their families,
the bereaved and childless, orphans and widows. . . 
Jesus, Lord of love:
in your mercy, hear us.

Jesus, who on the seashore provided food for the disciples,
bring the whole Church on earth and in heaven
 into your risen presence to eat at the eternal banquet.
Jesus, Lord of love:
in your mercy, hear us.

Lord Jesus,
I give you my hands to do your work.
I give you my feet to walk in your way.
I give you my tongue to speak your word,
and I give you my heart
that through me
you may love the Father
and every human soul,
today and always. Amen.

God, our maker and redeemer,
we pray you of your great mercy
and by the power of your holy cross
to guide us by your will and to shield us from our foes:
that, after the example of your servant Alfred,
we may inwardly love you above all things;
through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever. Amen.
Gathering our prayers and praises into one,
let us pray as our Savior has taught us.

- The Lord's Prayer

Grant us boldness to desire a place in your kingdom,
the courage to drink the cup of suffering,
and the grace to find in service
the glory you promise. Amen.

The psalms 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 use phrases from a
prayer in _Opening Prayers: Collects in Contemporary Language_.
Canterbury Press, Norwich, 1999.
Hymn (c) 1982 by Hope Publishing Co., Carol Stream, IL  60188.   
All rights reserved.  Used by permission.
For permission to reproduce this hymn, contact:  Hope Publishing Company, 

The intecession is from _Patterns for Worship_, material from
which is included in this service is copyright (c) The Archbishops'
Council, 1995.

The second collect is from _Common Worship: Services and Prayers for
the Church of England_, material from which is included in this service is
copyright (c) The Archbishops' Council, 2000.

When the Gospel was first preached in Britain, the island was inhabited by
Celtic peoples. In the 400's, pagan Germanic tribes, the Angles, Saxons, and
Jutes, invaded Britain and drove the Christian Celts out of what is now
England into Wales, Scotland, and Ireland. The new arrivals (called collectively
the Anglo-Saxons) were then converted by Celtic missionaries moving in from
the one side and Roman missionaries moving in from the other. (They then sent
missionaries of their own, such as Boniface, to their pagan relatives on the
In the 800's the cycle partly repeated itself, as the Christian Anglo-Saxons were
invaded by the Danes, pagan raiders, who rapidly conquered the northeast
portion of England. They seemed about to conquer the entire country and
eliminate all resistance when they were turned back by Alfred, King of the
West Saxons.
Alfred was born in 849 at Wantage, Berkshire, youngest of five sons of King
Aethelwulf. He wished to become a monk, but after the deaths (all in battle, I
think) of his father and his four older brothers, he was made king in 871. He
proved to be skilled at military tactics, and devised a defensive formation which
the Danish charge was unable to break. After a decisive victory at Edington in
878, he reached an agreement with the Danish leader Guthrum, by which the
Danes would retain a portion of northeastern England and be given other
concessions in return for their agreement to accept baptism and Christian
instruction. From a later point of view, it seems obvious that such a promise
could not involve a genuine change of heart, and was therefore meaningless
(and indeed, one Dane complained that the white robe that he was given after
his baptism was not nearly so fine as the two that he had received after the two
previous times that he had been defeated and baptized). However, Alfred's
judgement proved sound. Guthrum, from his point of view, agreed to become a
vassal of Christ. His nobles and chief warriors, being his vassals, were thereby
obligated to give their feudal allegiance to Christ as well. They accepted
baptism and the presence among them of Christian priests and missionaries to
instruct them. The door was opened for conversions on a more personal level
in that and succeeding generations.
In his later years, having secured a large degree of military security for his
people, Alfred devoted his energies to repairing the damage that war had done
to the cultural life of his people. He translated Boethius's Consolations of
Philosophy into Old English, and brought in scholars from Wales and the
Continent with whose help various writings of Bede, Augustine of Canterbury,
and Gregory the Great were likewise translated. He was much impressed by
the provisions in the Law of Moses for the protection of the rights of ordinary
citizens, and gave order that similar provisions should be made part of English
law. He promoted the education of the parish clergy. In one of his treatises, he
"He seems to me a very foolish man, and very wretched, who will not increase
his understanding while he is in the world, and ever wish and long to reach that
endless life where all shall be made clear."
He died on 26 October 899, and was buried in the Old Minster at Winchester.
Alone among English monarchs, he is known as "the Great." [James Kiefer,
slightly abridged]

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