OREMUS: 13 September 2006

Steve Benner steve.benner at oremus.org
Tue Sep 12 19:59:34 GMT 2006


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OREMUS for Wednesday, September 13, 2006 
Cyprian, Bishop of Carthage, Martyr, 258

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

Blessed are you, God of the ages,
you call the Church to keep watch in the world
and to discern the signs of the times. 
You call us to proclaim your prophetic word with courage
and with the wisdom bestowed by the Spirit,
that the work you have set before us may be completed.
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. 

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Psalm 44

We have heard with our ears, O God,
   our forebears have told us,*
 the deeds you did in their days,
   in the days of old.
How with your hand you drove the peoples out
   and planted our forebears in the land;*
 how you destroyed nations and made your people flourish.
For they did not take the land by their sword,
   nor did their arm win the victory for them;*
 but your right hand, your arm,
   and the light of your countenance,
   because you favoured them.
You are my King and my God;*
 you command victories for Jacob.
Through you we pushed back our adversaries;*
 through your name we trampled on those
   who rose up against us.
For I do not rely on my bow,*
 and my sword does not give me the victory.
Surely, you gave us victory over our adversaries*
 and put those who hate us to shame.
Every day we gloried in God,*
 and we will praise your name for ever.
Nevertheless, you have rejected and humbled us*
 and do not go forth with our armies.
You have made us fall back before our adversary,*
 and our enemies have plundered us.
You have made us like sheep to be eaten*
 and have scattered us among the nations.
You are selling your people for a trifle*
 and are making no profit on the sale of them.
You have made us the scorn of our neighbours,*
 a mockery and derision to those around us.
You have made us a byword among the nations,*
 a laughing-stock among the peoples.
My humiliation is daily before me,*
 and shame has covered my face;
Because of the taunts of the mockers and blasphemers,*
 because of the enemy and avenger.
All this has come upon us;*
 yet we have not forgotten you,
   nor have we betrayed your covenant.
Our heart never turned back,*
 nor did our footsteps stray from your path;
Though you thrust us down into a place of misery,*
 and covered us over with deep darkness.
If we have forgotten the name of our God,*
 or stretched out our hands to some strange god,
Will not God find it out?*
 for he knows the secrets of the heart.
Indeed, for your sake we are killed all the day long;*
 we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.
Awake, O Lord! why are you sleeping?*
 Arise! do not reject us for ever.
Why have you hidden your face*
 and forgotten our affliction and oppression?
We sink down into the dust;*
 our body cleaves to the ground.
Rise up and help us,*
 and save us for the sake of your steadfast love.

A Song of the Messiah (from Isaiah 9

The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light;
those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness,
upon them the light has dawned.

You have increased their joy and given them great gladness;
they rejoiced before you as with joy at the harvest.

For you have shattered the yoke that burdened them;
the collar that lay heavy on their shoulders.

For to us a child is born and to us a son is given,
and the government will be upon his shoulder.

And his name will be called: Wonderful Counsellor,
the Mighty God;
the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace.

Of the increase of his government and of peace
there will be no end,

Upon the throne of David and over his kingdom,
to establish and uphold it with justice and righteousness.

>From this time forth and for evermore;
the zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this. 

Psalm 147:13-end

Alleluia!
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.
   Alleluia!

FIRST READING [Proverbs 14:1-9]:

The wise woman builds her house,
   but the foolish tears it down with her own hands.
Those who walk uprightly fear the Lord,
   but one who is devious in conduct despises him.
The talk of fools is a rod for their backs,
   but the lips of the wise preserve them.
Where there are no oxen, there is no grain;
   abundant crops come by the strength of the ox.
A faithful witness does not lie,
   but a false witness breathes out lies.
A scoffer seeks wisdom in vain,
   but knowledge is easy for one who understands.
Leave the presence of a fool,
   for there you do not find words of knowledge.
It is the wisdom of the clever 
to understand where they go,
   but the folly of fools misleads.
Fools mock at the guilt-offering,
   but the upright enjoy God's favour.

HYMN 
Words: Latin, fifth century; trans. John Mason Neale, 1851
Tune: Herr Jesu Christ, Illsley, Melcombe

http://www.oremus.org/hymnal/n/n143.html
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Now that the daylight fills the sky,
lift we our hearts to God on high,
that he, in all we do or say,
would keep us free from harm this day.

May he restrain our tongues, lest strife
break forth to mar the peace of life;
and guard with watchful care our eyes
from earth's absorbing vanities.

O may our inmost hearts be pure,
our thoughts from folly kept secure,
the pride of sinful flesh subdued
by temperate use of daily food.

So we, when this day's work is o'er,
and shades of night return once more,
our path of trial safely trod,
shall give the glory to our God.

All praise to God, the Father, be,
all praise, eternal Son, to thee,
whom with the Spirit we adore,
one God, both now and evermore.

SECOND READING [Matthew 17:14-21]:

When they came to the crowd, a man came to him, knelt before Jesus, and said, 'Lord,
have mercy on my son, for he is an epileptic and he suffers terribly; he often falls into
the fire and often into the water. And I brought him to your disciples, but they could
not cure him.' Jesus answered, 'You faithless and perverse generation, how much
longer must I be with you? How much longer must I put up with you? Bring him here
to me.' And Jesus rebuked the demon, and it came out of him, and the boy was cured
instantly. Then the disciples came to Jesus privately and said, 'Why could we not cast
it out?' He said to them, 'Because of your little faith. For truly I tell you, if you have
faith the size of a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, "Move from here to
there", and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you.'

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

Prayer:
Earth-shaking, sky-rumbling, all-powerful Trinity:
Behold your Church.

We thank you for claiming for yourself
servants from every nation and time
to be a royal priest dedicated to your service.
Lord of glory,
send us out to do the work you have given us to do.

We thank you for our common vocation
of giving witness to your coming reign.
Lord of glory,
send us out to do the work you have given us to do.

Sift us like wheat,
convert the catechumens,
turn homeward the penitents
and welcome those who are strangers.
Lord of glory,
send us out to do the work you have given us to do.

Clothe your Church with words and deeds that free and heal.
Lord of glory,
come in your might.

Light our lamps with the oil of your Spirit.
Lord of glory,
come in your might.

Make us and all your Church vigilant and alert
for your knocking on doors.
Lord of glory,
come in your might.

In the darkness of unknowing,
when your love seems absent
and your favour far away,
draw near to us, O God,
through Jesus Christ,
the forsaken one,
the risen one,
our Redeemer and our Lord. Amen.

Holy God,
who brought Cyprian to faith in Christ,
made him a bishop in the Church
and crowned his witness with a martyr's death:
grant that, after his example,
we may love the Church and her teachings,
find your forgiveness within her fellowship
and so come to share the heavenly banquet
you have prepared for us;
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

May God make safe to us each step,
May God open to us each door,
May God make clear to us each road.
May God enfold us in loving arms.Amen.

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

The first collect and 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 uses phrases from a prayer in
_Opening Prayers: Collects in Contemporary Language_.
Canterbury Press, Norwich, 1999.

The closing prayer is adapted from a prayer by Bruce Prewer, 2001. 

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.

Cyprian was born around 200 AD in North Africa, of pagan parents. He was a
prominent trial lawyer and teacher of rhetoric. Around 246 he became a
Christian, and in 248 was chosen Bishop of Carthage. A year later the
persecution under the Emperor Decius began, and Cyprian went into hiding.
He was severely censured for this (unjustly on my view -- see Mt 2:13; 10:23;
24:16). After the persecution had died down, it remained to consider how to
deal with the lapsed, meaning with those Christians who had denied the faith
under duress. Cyprian held that they ought to be received back into full
communion after suitable intervals of probation and penance, adjusted to the
gravity of the denial. In this he took a middle course between Novatus, who
received apostates with no probation at all, and Novatian, who would not
receive them back at all, and who broke communion with the rest of the
Church over this issue, forming a dissident group particularly strong in Rome
and Antioch. (Novatus, somewhat surprisingly, ended up joining the party of
Novatian.) Cyprian, who held the same position as the Bishop of Rome on the
treatment of the lapsed, wrote urging the Christians of Rome to stand with
their bishop.
Later, the question arose whether baptisms performed by heretical groups
ought to be recognized as valid by the Church, or whether converts from such
groups ought to be rebaptized. Cyprian favored re-baptism, and Bishop
Stephen of Rome did not. The resulting controversy was not resolved during
Cyprian's lifetime.
During the reign of the Emperor Valerian, Carthage suffered a severe plague
epidemic. Cyprian organized a program of medical relief and nursing of the
sick, available to all residents, but this did not prevent the masses from being
convinced that the epidemic resulted from the wrath of the gods at the spread
of Christianity. Another persecution arose, and this time Cyprian did not flee.
He was arrested, tried, and finally beheaded on 14 September 258. (Because
14 is Holy Cross Day, he is usually commemorated on a nearby open day.) We
have an account of his trial and martyrdom.
Many of his writings have been preserved. His essay On The Unity of The
Catholic Church stresses the importance of visible, concrete unity among
Christians, and the role of the bishops in guaranteeing that unity. It has greatly
influenced Christian thought, as have his essays and letters on Baptism and the
Lord's Supper. He has been quoted both for and against the Roman Catholic
claims for Papal authority.



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