OREMUS: 14 September 2006

Steve Benner steve.benner at oremus.org
Wed Sep 13 23:41:27 GMT 2006


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OREMUS for Thursday, September 14, 2006 
Holy Cross Day

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

Blessed are you, God of life,
for the cross, the sign of Christ's victory over death.
Once through the fruit of the forbidden tree, we fell;
now through this tree Christ cancels all our guilt.
On the tree of the cross our Redeemer hung,
becoming accursed for our sake,
to snatch us from our ancient foe
and lead us from death's dominion into eternal life.
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/ocan.html

Psalm 2

Why are the nations in an uproar?*
 Why do the peoples mutter empty threats?
Why do the kings of the earth rise up in revolt
   and the princes plot together,*
 against the Lord and against his anointed?
'Let us break their yoke', they say;*
 'let us cast off their bonds from us.'
He whose throne is in heaven is laughing;*
 the Lord has them in derision.
Then he speaks to them in his wrath*
 and his rage fills them with terror.
'I myself have set my king*
 upon my holy hill of Zion.'
Let me announce the decree of the Lord:*
 he said to me, 'You are my Son;
   this day have I begotten you.
'Ask of me and I will give you the nations for
   your inheritance*
 and the ends of the earth for your possession.
'You shall crush them with an iron rod*
 and shatter them like a piece of pottery.'
And now, you kings, be wise;*
 be warned, you rulers of the earth.
Submit to the Lord with fear,*
 and with trembling bow before him;
Lest he be angry and you perish;*
 for his wrath is quickly kindled.
Happy are they all*
 who take refuge in him!

Psalm 8

O Lord our governor,*
 how exalted is your name in all the world!
Out of the mouths of infants and children*
 your majesty is praised above the heavens.
You have set up a stronghold against your adversaries,*
 to quell the enemy and the avenger.
When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers,*
 the moon and the stars you have set in their courses,
What are mortals, that you should be mindful of them?*
 mere human beings, that you should seek them out?
You have made them little lower than the angels;*
 you adorn them with glory and honour.
You give them mastery over the works of your hands;*
 and put all things under their feet,
All sheep and oxen,*
 even the wild beasts of the field,
The birds of the air, the fish of the sea,*
 and whatsoever walks in the paths of the sea.
O Lord our governor,*
 how exalted is your name in all the world!

A Song of Solomon (cf. Song of Songs 8:6-7)

Set me as a seal upon your heart,
as a seal upon your arm;

For love is strong as death, passion fierce as the grave;
its flashes are flashes of fire, a raging flame.

Many waters cannot quench love,
neither can the floods drown it.

If all the wealth of our house were offered for love,
it would be utterly scorned.

Psalm 148

Alleluia!
   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.
   Alleluia!

READING [John 12:27-36a]:

Jesus said, 'Now my soul is troubled. And what should I
say "Father, save me from this hour"? No, it is for this
reason that I have come to this hour. Father, glorify
your name.' Then a voice came from heaven, 'I have
glorified it, and I will glorify it again.' The crowd
standing there heard it and said that it was thunder.
Others said, 'An angel has spoken to him.' Jesus
answered, 'This voice has come for your sake, not for
mine. Now is the judgement of this world; now the ruler
of this world will be driven out. And I, when I am lifted
up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.' He
said this to indicate the kind of death he was to die.
The crowd answered him, 'We have heard from the law that
the Messiah  remains for ever. How can you say that the
Son of Man must be lifted up? Who is this Son of Man?'
Jesus said to them, 'The light is with you for a little
longer. Walk while you have the light, so that the
darkness may not overtake you. If you walk in the
darkness, you do not know where you are going. While you
have the light, believe in the light, so that you may
become children of light.' After Jesus had said this, he
departed and hid from them.

For another Biblical reading,
Genesis
3:1-15

HYMN 
Words: Fred Pratt Green (c)
Tune: The Third Tune
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Hit "Back" in your browser to return to Oremus.

To mock your reign, O dearest Lord,
they made a crown of thorns;
set you with taunts along that road
from which no one returns.
They did not know, as we do now,
that glorious is your crown;
that thorns would flower upon your brow,
your sorrows heal our own.

In mock acclaim, O gracious Lord,
they snatched a purple cloak,
your passion turned, for all they cared,
into a soldier's joke.
They did not know, as we do now,
that though we merit blame
you will your robe of mercy throw
around our naked shame.

A sceptered reed, O patient Lord,
they thrust into your hand,
and acted out their grim charade
to its appointed end.
They did not know, as we do now,
though empires rise and fall,
your Kingdom shall not cease to grow
till love embraces all.

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

Prayer:
We glory in your cross, O Lord,
- and praise and glorify your holy resurrection;
  for by virtue of your cross
  joy has come to the whole world.

God, be merciful to us and bless us,
and show us the light of your countenance,
and come to us
- Let your ways may be known upon earth,
  your saving health among all nations.

Let the peoples praise you, O God;
let all the peoples praise you.

- We glory in your cross, O Lord,
  and praise and glorify your holy resurrection;
  for by virtue of your cross
  joy has come to the whole world.

Hear our prayers especially for those who died, have lost loved ones
or who are injured or are under distress. 
May the dead find rest for their souls,
may we find healing for our minds and bodies
and the strength to know that your Cross brings salvation to the world.
Lord, in your mercy:
hear our prayer.

Almighty God,
when the world's wars terrify us,
lift our eyes to your Son,
enthroned on Calvary,
whose meekness dumbfounds kings
and shatters earthly pride.
In his Name, we pray. Amen.

Almighty God, 
whose Son our Savior Jesus Christ 
was lifted high upon the cross 
that he might draw the whole world to himself: 
Mercifully grant that we, who glory in the mystery of our redemption, 
may have grace to take up our cross and follow him; 
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, 
one God, in glory everlasting. Amen.

       
Gathering our prayers and praises into one,
let us pray as our Savior has taught us.

- The Lord's Prayer

Grant us delight in the mercy that has found us
and bring all to rejoice at the feast of forgiveness. Amen.

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The psalms and the invitation to the Lord's Prayer 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 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.

Hymn (c) 1973 by Hope Publishing Co., Carol Stream, IL  60188.  
All rights reserved.  Used by permission.
For permission to reproduce this hymn, contact:
In US & Canada:  Hope Publishing Company, 
www.hopepublishing.com
Rest of the World:  Stainer & Bell Ltd., 
www.stainer.co.uk

The second collect is from The Book of Common Prayer_ (1979),
Charles Mortimer Guilbert, Custodian.

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

During the reign of Constantine, first Roman Emperor to profess the Christian
faith, his mother Helena went to Israel and there undertook to find the places
especially significant to Christians. (She was helped in this by the fact that in
their destructions around 135, the Romans had built pagan shrines over many
of these sites.) Having located, close together, what she believed to be the sites
of the Crucifixion and of the Burial (at locations that modern archaeologists
think may be correct), she then had built over them the Church of the Holy
Sepulchre, which was dedicated on 14 September 335. It has become a day for
recognizing the Cross (in a festal atmosphere that would be inappropriate on
Good Friday) as a symbol of triumph, as a sign of Christ's victory over death,
and a reminder of His promise, "And when I am lifted up, I will draw all men
unto me." (John 12:32)
Tertullian, in his De Corona (3:2), written around AD 211, says that Christians
seldom do anything significant without making the sign of the cross. Certainly
by his time the practice was well established. Justin Martyr, in chapters 55 and
60 of his First Apology (Defence of the Christian Faith, addressed to the
Emperor Antoninus Pius and therefore written between 148 and 155 AD),
refers to the cross as a standard Christian symbol, but not explicitly to tracing
the sign of the cross as a devotional gesture.
What is the significance of the sign of the cross? Well, in the first place, we
often place our initials or other personal mark on something to show that it
belongs to us. The Cross is the personal mark of Our Lord Jesus Christ, and
we mark it on ourselves as a sign that we belong to him, just as in the book of
Revelation, as noted above, the servants of God are sealed or marked on their
foreheads as a sign that they are his.
Again, as one preacher has said, if you were telling someone how to make a
cross, you might say (at least to an English speaker), "Draw an I and then cross
it out." As we make the sign, we first draw a vertical stroke, as if to say to
God, "Lord, here am I." Then we cancel it with a horizontal stroke, as if to say,
"Help me, Lord, to abandon my self-centeredness and self-will, and to make
you the center of my life instead. Fix all my attention and all my desire on you,
Lord, that I may forget my self, cancel my self, abandon myself completely to
your love and service." [James Kiefer, abridged]


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