OREMUS: 7 December 2007

Steve Benner steve.benner at oremus.org
Thu Dec 6 20:19:57 GMT 2007


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OREMUS for Friday, December 7, 2007 
Ambrose, Bishop of Milan, Teacher of the Faith, 397

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

Blessed are you, loving God,
ever faithful to your promises
and ever close to your church.
The earth rejoices in hope of the Savior's coming
and looks forward with longing
to his return at the end of time.
You call us to prepare our hearts
and remove that which hinders us
from the joy and hope his presence will bestow.
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 10

Why do you stand so far off, O Lord,*
 and hide yourself in time of trouble?
The wicked arrogantly persecute the poor,*
 but they are trapped in the schemes they have devised.
The wicked boast of their heart's desire;*
 the covetous curse and revile the Lord.
The wicked are so proud that they care not for God;*
 their only thought is, 'God does not matter.'
Their ways are devious at all times;
   your judgements are far above out of their sight;*
 they defy all their enemies.
They say in their heart, 'I shall not be shaken;*
 no harm shall happen to me ever.'
Their mouth is full of cursing, deceit and oppression;*
 under their tongue are mischief and wrong.
They lurk in ambush in public squares
   and in secret places they murder the innocent;*
 they spy out the helpless.
They lie in wait, like a lion in a covert;
   they lie in wait to seize upon the lowly;*
 they seize the lowly and drag them away in their net.
The innocent are broken and humbled before them;*
 the helpless fall before their power.
They say in their heart, 'God has forgotten;*
 he hides his face; he will never notice.'
Rise up, O Lord;
   lift up your hand, O God;*
 do not forget the afflicted.
Why should the wicked revile God?*
 why should they say in their heart, 'You do not care'?
Surely, you behold trouble and misery;*
 you see it and take it into your own hand.
The helpless commit themselves to you,*
 for you are the helper of orphans.
Break the power of the wicked and evil;*
 search out their wickedness until you find none.
The Lord is king for ever and ever;*
 the ungodly shall perish from his land.
The Lord will hear the desire of the humble;*
 you will strengthen their heart and your ears shall hear;
To give justice to the orphan and oppressed,*
 so that mere mortals may strike terror no more.

Psalm 12

Help me, Lord, for there is no godly one left;*
 the faithful have vanished from among us.
Everyone speaks falsely with their neighbour;*
 with a smooth tongue they speak from a double heart.
O that the Lord would cut off all smooth tongues,*
 and close the lips that utter proud boasts!
Those who say, 'With our tongue will we prevail;*
 our lips are our own; who is lord over us?'
'Because the needy are oppressed,
   and the poor cry out in misery,*
 I will rise up', says the Lord,
   'and give them the help they long for.'
The words of the Lord are pure words,*
 like silver refined from ore
   and purified seven times in the fire.
O Lord, watch over us*
 and save us from this generation for ever.
The wicked prowl on every side,*
 and that which is worthless is highly prized by everyone.

A Song of Redemption (Colossians 1.13-18a,19,20a)
The Father has delivered us from the dominion of darkness,  
and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son; 
In whom we have redemption,  
the forgiveness of our sins. 
He is the image of the invisible God,  
the firstborn of all creation. 
For in him all things were created,  
in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible. 
All things were created through him and for him,  
he is before all things and in him all things hold together. 
He is the head of the body, the Church,  
he is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead. 
In him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell;  
and through him God was pleased to reconcile all things. 

Psalm 147:1-12

Alleluia!
   How good it is to sing praises to our God!*
 how pleasant it is to honour him with praise!
The Lord rebuilds Jerusalem;*
 he gathers the exiles of Israel.
He heals the brokenhearted*
 and binds up their wounds.
He counts the number of the stars*
 and calls them all by their names.
Great is our Lord and mighty in power;*
 there is no limit to his wisdom.
The Lord lifts up the lowly,*
 but casts the wicked to the ground.
Sing to the Lord with thanksgiving;*
 make music to our God upon the harp.
He covers the heavens with clouds*
 and prepares rain for the earth;
He makes grass to grow upon the mountains*
 and green plants to serve us all.
He provides food for flocks and herds*
 and for the young ravens when they cry.
He is not impressed by the might of a horse,*
 he has no pleasure in human strength;
But the Lord has pleasure in those who fear him,*
 in those who await his gracious favour.
 Alleluia!

FIRST READING [Isaiah 29.17 end]:

Shall not Lebanon in a very little while
   become a fruitful field,
   and the fruitful field be regarded as a forest?
On that day the deaf shall hear
   the words of a scroll,
and out of their gloom and darkness
   the eyes of the blind shall see.
The meek shall obtain fresh joy in the Lord,
   and the neediest people shall exult in the Holy One of Israel.
For the tyrant shall be no more,
   and the scoffer shall cease to be;
   all those alert to do evil shall be cut off 
those who cause a person to lose a lawsuit,
   who set a trap for the arbiter in the gate,
   and without grounds deny justice to the one in the right.

Therefore thus says the Lord, who redeemed Abraham,
concerning the house of Jacob:
No longer shall Jacob be ashamed,
   no longer shall his face grow pale.
For when he sees his children,
   the work of my hands, in his midst,
   they will sanctify my name;
they will sanctify the Holy One of Jacob,
   and will stand in awe of the God of Israel.
And those who err in spirit will come to understanding,
   and those who grumble will accept instruction. 

HYMN 
Words: Ambrose of Milan, circa 397; paraphrased by Martin Luther, 1523;
trans. William Morton Reynolds, 1851.
Tune: Nun komm der Heiden Heiland
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Savior of the nations, come;
virgin's Son, here make thy home!
Marvel now, O heaven and earth,
that the Lord chose such a birth.

Not by human flesh and blood;
by the Spirit of our God
was the Word of God made flesh,
woman's offspring, pure and fresh.

Wondrous birth! O wondrous child
of the Virgin undefiled!
Though by all the world disowned,
still to be in heaven enthroned.

>From the Father forth he came
and returneth to the same,
captive leading death and hell
high the song of triumph swell!

Thou, the Father's only Son,
hast over sin the victory won.
boundless shall thy kingdom be;
when shall we its glories see?

Brightly doth thy manger shine,
glorious is its light divine.
Let not sin overcloud this light;
ever be our faith thus bright.

Praise to God the Father sing,
praise to God the Son, our King,
praise to God the Spirit be
ever and eternally.

SECOND READING [Matthew 9.27 31]:

As Jesus went on from there, two blind men followed him, crying loudly, 'Have mercy
on us, Son of David!' When he entered the house, the blind men came to him; and
Jesus said to them, 'Do you believe that I am able to do this?' They said to him, 'Yes,
Lord.' Then he touched their eyes and said, 'According to your faith let it be done to
you.' And their eyes were opened. Then Jesus sternly ordered them, 'See that no one
knows of this.' But they went away and spread the news about him throughout that
district.

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

Prayer:
In joyful hope, we pray to you, O Lord:
Come, Lord Jesus!

Come to your Church as Lord and Judge
and give us a longing for your loving rule.
We pray especially for :
Come, Lord Jesus!

Come to your world as King of the nations
and let righteousness and peace prevail:
Come, Lord Jesus!

Come to us as Savior and Comforter,
breaking into our failure and freeing us to serve you:
Come, Lord Jesus!

Come to us with power and great joy,
that our hearts may be lifted to meet you in joy:
Come, Lord Jesus!

Lord Jesus Christ,
you are for me medicine when I am sick;
you are my strength when I need help;
you are life itself when I fear death;
you are the way when I long for heaven;
you are light when all is dark;
you are my food when I need nourishment. Amen.

God of hosts,
who called Ambrose from the governor's throne
to be a bishop in your Church
and an intrepid champion of your faithful people:
mercifully grant that, as he did not fear to rebuke rulers,
so we, with like courage,
may contend for the faith we have received;
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.

       
Awaiting his coming in glory,
let us pray as our Savior has taught us:

- The Lord's Prayer

O Son of God, our Savior,
today we await your coming,
and tomorrow we shall see your glory.
Reveal the good news to all of us
who long for your arrival.
Come, Love incarnate, do not delay.
Come, Lord Jesus! 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 and the closing sentence are adapted from
_Chalice Worship_, (c) Chalice Press, 1997. Reproduced with
permission.

The first collect is attributed to Saint Ambrose.

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.

Ambrose was governor of Northern Italy, with capital at Milan. When the see
of Milan fell vacant, it seemed likely that rioting would result, since the city
was evenly divided between Arians and Athanasians. (Explanatory Note:
Athanasians affirm that the Logos or Word (John 1:1) is fully God in the same
sense that the Father is, while Arians affirm that the Logos is a creature, the
first being created by the Father.) Ambrose went to the meeting where the
election was to take place, and appealed to the crowd for order and good will
on both sides. He ended up being elected bishop with the support of both
sides.
He gave away his wealth, and lived in simplicity. By his preaching, he
converted the diocese to the Athanasian position, except for the Goths and
some members of the Imperial Household. On one occasion, the Empress
ordered him to turn over a church to the Arians so that her Gothic soldiers
could worship in it. Ambrose refused, and he and his people occupied the
church. Ambrose composed Latin hymns in the long meter and taught them to
the people, who sang them in the church as the soldiers surrounded it. The
Goths were unwilling to attack a hymn-singing congregation, and Ambrose
won that dispute.
He subsequently won another dispute, when the Emperor, enraged by a crowd
who defied him, ordered them all killed by his soldiers. When he next appeared
at church, Ambrose met him at the door and said, "You may not come in.
There is blood on your hands." The emperor finally agreed to do public
penance and to promise that thereafter he would never carry out a sentence of
death without a forty-day delay after pronouncing it. Less creditable, to
modern Christians, is Ambrose's dispute with the emperor when certain
Christians burned a Jewish synagogue, and the emperor commanded them to
make restitution. Ambrose maintained that no Christian could be compelled to
provide money for the building of a non-Christian house of worship, no matter
what the circumstances.
Ambrose was largely responsible for the conversion of St. Augustine. The
hymn Te Deum Laudamus ("We praise Thee, O God") was long thought to
have been composed by Ambrose in thanksgiving for that conversion. The
current opinion is that Ambrose did not write it, but that he may well have
written the Creed known as the Athanasian Creed. He is perhaps the first
writer of Christian hymns with rhyme and (accentual) meter, and northern Italy
still uses his style of plainchant, known as Ambrosian chant, rather than the
more widespread Gregorian chant. He died 4 April 397, but (because this date
so often falls in Holy Week or Easter Week) he is commonly remembered on
the anniversary of his consecration as bishop, 7 December. [James Kiefer]



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