OREMUS: 9 December 2007

Steve Benner steve.benner at oremus.org
Sat Dec 8 17:00:00 GMT 2007

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OREMUS for Sunday, December 9, 2007 
The Second Sunday of Advent

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

Blessed are you, God of mercy and might,
with tender comfort and transforming power
you come into our midst.
You remember your ancient promise
and make straight the paths that lead to you
and smooth out the rough ways,
that in our day
we might bring forth your compassion
for all humanity.
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 33

Rejoice in the Lord, you righteous;*
 it is good for the just to sing praises.
Praise the Lord with the harp;*
 play to him upon the psaltery and lyre.
Sing for him a new song;*
 sound a fanfare with all your skill upon the trumpet.
For the word of the Lord is right,*
 and all his works are sure.
He loves righteousness and justice;*
 the loving-kindness of the Lord fills the whole earth.
By the word of the Lord were the heavens made,*
 by the breath of his mouth all the heavenly hosts.
He gathers up the waters of the ocean
   as in a water-skin*
 and stores up the depths of the sea.
Let all the earth fear the Lord;*
 let all who dwell in the world stand in awe of him.
For he spoke and it came to pass;*
 he commanded and it stood fast.
The Lord brings the will of the nations to naught;*
 he thwarts the designs of the peoples.
But the Lord's will stands fast for ever,*
 and the designs of his heart from age to age.
Happy is the nation whose God is the Lord!*
 happy the people he has chosen to be his own!
The Lord looks down from heaven,*
 and beholds all the people in the world.
>From where he sits enthroned he turns his gaze*
 on all who dwell on the earth.
He fashions all the hearts of them*
 and understands all their works.
There is no king that can be saved by a mighty army;*
 the strong are not delivered by great strength.nbsp;
The horse is a vain hope for deliverance;*
 for all its strength it cannot save.
Behold, the eye of the Lord
   is upon those who fear him,*
 on those who wait upon his love,
To pluck their lives from death,*
 and to feed them in time of famine.
Our soul waits for the Lord;*
 he is our help and our shield.
Indeed, our heart rejoices in him,*
 for in his holy name we put our trust.
Let your loving-kindness, O Lord, be upon us,*
 as we have put our trust in you.

Psalm 126

When the Lord restored the fortunes of Zion,*
 then were we like those who dream.
Then was our mouth filled with laughter,*
 and our tongue with shouts of joy.
Then they said among the nations,*
 'The Lord has done great things for them.'
The Lord has done great things for us,*
 and we are glad indeed.
Restore our fortunes, O Lord,*
 like the watercourses of the Negev.
Those who sowed with tears*
 will reap with songs of joy.
Those who go out weeping, carrying the seed,*
 will come again with joy, shouldering their sheaves.

Psalm 24

The earth is the Lord's and all that is in it,*
 the world and all who dwell therein.
For it is he who founded it upon the seas*
 and made it firm upon the rivers of the deep.
'Who can ascend the hill of the Lord?*
 and who can stand in his holy place?'
'Those who have clean hands and a pure heart,*
 who have not pledged themselves to falsehood,
   nor sworn by what is a fraud.
'They shall receive a blessing from the Lord*
 and a just reward from the God of their salvation.'
Such is the generation of those who seek him,*
 of those who seek your face, O God of Jacob.
Lift up your heads, O gates;
   lift them high, O everlasting doors;*
 and the King of glory shall come in.
'Who is this King of glory?'*
 'The Lord, strong and mighty,
   the Lord, mighty in battle.'
Lift up your heads, O gates;
   lift them high, O everlasting doors;*
 and the King of glory shall come in.
'Who is he, this King of glory?'*
 'The Lord of hosts,
   he is the King of glory.'

Psalm 117

Praise the Lord, all you nations;*
 laud him, all you peoples.
For his loving-kindness towards us is great,*
 and the faithfulness of the Lord endures for ever.

FIRST READING [1 Kings 18:17-39]:

When Ahab saw Elijah, Ahab said to him, 'Is it you, you troubler of Israel?' He
answered, 'I have not troubled Israel; but you have, and your father's house, because
you have forsaken the commandments of the Lord and followed the Baals. Now
therefore have all Israel assemble for me at Mount Carmel, with the four hundred and
fifty prophets of Baal and the four hundred prophets of Asherah, who eat at Jezebel's
So Ahab sent to all the Israelites, and assembled the prophets at Mount Carmel. Elijah
then came near to all the people, and said, 'How long will you go limping with two
different opinions? If the Lord is God, follow him; but if Baal, then follow him.' The
people did not answer him a word. Then Elijah said to the people, 'I, even I only, am
left a prophet of the Lord; but Baal's prophets number four hundred and fifty. Let two
bulls be given to us; let them choose one bull for themselves, cut it in pieces, and lay it
on the wood, but put no fire to it; I will prepare the other bull and lay it on the wood,
but put no fire to it. Then you call on the name of your god and I will call on the name
of the Lord; the god who answers by fire is indeed God.' All the people answered,
'Well spoken!' Then Elijah said to the prophets of Baal, 'Choose for yourselves one
bull and prepare it first, for you are many; then call on the name of your god, but put
no fire to it.' So they took the bull that was given them, prepared it, and called on the
name of Baal from morning until noon, crying, 'O Baal, answer us!' But there was no
voice, and no answer. They limped about the altar that they had made. At noon Elijah
mocked them, saying, 'Cry aloud! Surely he is a god; either he is meditating, or he has
wandered away, or he is on a journey, or perhaps he is asleep and must be awakened.'
Then they cried aloud and, as was their custom, they cut themselves with swords and
lances until the blood gushed out over them. As midday passed, they raved on until the
time of the offering of the oblation, but there was no voice, no answer, and no
Then Elijah said to all the people, 'Come closer to me'; and all the people came closer
to him. First he repaired the altar of the Lord that had been thrown down; Elijah took
twelve stones, according to the number of the tribes of the sons of Jacob, to whom the
word of the Lord came, saying, 'Israel shall be your name'; with the stones he built an
altar in the name of the Lord. Then he made a trench around the altar, large enough to
contain two measures of seed. Next he put the wood in order, cut the bull in pieces,
and laid it on the wood. He said, 'Fill four jars with water and pour it on the
burnt-offering and on the wood.' Then he said, 'Do it a second time'; and they did it a
second time. Again he said, 'Do it a third time'; and they did it a third time, so that the
water ran all round the altar, and filled the trench also with water.
At the time of the offering of the oblation, the prophet Elijah came near and said, 'O
Lord, God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, let it be known this day that you are God in
Israel, that I am your servant, and that I have done all these things at your bidding.
Answer me, O Lord, answer me, so that this people may know that you, O Lord, are
God, and that you have turned their hearts back.' Then the fire of the Lord fell and
consumed the burnt-offering, the wood, the stones, and the dust, and even licked up
the water that was in the trench. When all the people saw it, they fell on their faces and
said, 'The Lord indeed is God; the Lord indeed is God.' 

Words: The Venerable Bede (673-735); trans. C.S. Calverley, 1906
Tune: Hail, Harbinger of Morn  

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Hail, harbinger of morn:
thou that art this day born,
and heraldest the Word with clarion voice!
Ye faithful ones, in him
behold the dawning dim
of the bright day, and let your hearts rejoice.

John--by that chosen name
to call him, Gabriel came
by God's appointment from his home on high:
what deeds that babe should do
to manhood when he grew,
God sent his Angel forth to testify.

There is none greater, none,
than Zechariah's son;
than this no mightier prophet hath been born:
of prophets he may claim
more than a prophet's fame;
sublimer deeds than theirs his brow adorn.

"Lo, to prepare thy way,"
did God the Father say,
"Before thy face my messenger I send,
thy coming to forerun;
as on the orient sun
doth the bright daystar morn by morn attend."

Praise therefore God most high;
praise him who came to die
for us, his Son that liveth evermore;
and to the Spirit raise,
the Comforter, like praise,
while time endureth, and when time is o'er.

SECOND READING [John 1:19-28]:

This is the testimony given by John when the Jews sent priests and Levites from
Jerusalem to ask him, 'Who are you?' He confessed and did not deny it, but confessed,
'I am not the Messiah.' And they asked him, 'What then? Are you Elijah?' He said, 'I
am not.' 'Are you the prophet?' He answered, 'No.' Then they said to him, 'Who are
you? Let us have an answer for those who sent us. What do you say about yourself?'
He said,
'I am the voice of one crying out in the wilderness,
"Make straight the way of the Lord" ',
as the prophet Isaiah said.

Now they had been sent from the Pharisees. They asked him, 'Why then are you
baptizing if you are neither the Messiah, nor Elijah, nor the prophet?' John answered
them, 'I baptize with water. Among you stands one whom you do not know, the one
who is coming after me; I am not worthy to untie the thong of his sandal.' This took
place in Bethany across the Jordan where John was baptizing. 

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

For the Church: 
that we may make ready a way for the Lord 
and make a straight path for God in our hearts:
Lord, hear our prayer.

For the grace of listening: 
that our hearts may be open to the Word of God 
as it comes to us and that our lives may be transformed by it:
Lord, hear our prayer.

For the grace of insight: 
that we may see the work of God in our time and our place 
and recognize God Who is with Us in events large and small in our lives:
Lord, hear our prayer.

For all who live the Gospel message in sincerity and humility:
that they may courageously witness to the power of grace 
even when confronted by the powerful of society:
Lord, hear our prayer.

For a reawakening of our hearts: 
that we may embrace the vision that God offers 
for wholeness, reconciliation and new beginnings for all:
Lord, hear our prayer.

For freedom and healing: 
that all who are struggling with obstacles, especially addictions and pride, 
may experience God's help in moving forward toward wholeness:
Lord, hear our prayer.

For all who are oppressed: t
hat God may smooth the pathways of their lives 
and bring low those who abuse their power and authority:
Lord, hear our prayer.

For all children: 
that the hope that fills their hearts in this season 
may become firmly planted and sustain them throughout life's journey:
Lord, hear our prayer.

For an end to war: 
that God's Spirit will inspire the hearts of all world leaders 
to take risks for peace and seek new ways 
to honor the dignity of each human person:
Lord, hear our prayer.

Stir up our hearts, O Lord, 
to prepare the way for your only Son: 
By his coming give us strength in our conflicts 
and shed light on our path through the darkness of this world; 
through your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord, 
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, 
one God, now and forever. Amen.
Awaiting his coming in glory,
let us pray as our Savior has taught us:

- The Lord's Prayer

Give us grace so to imitate your Son
in the humility and purity of his first coming
that, when he comes again,
we may be ready to greet him
with joyful love and firm faith. Amen.

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

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 a sentence from a prayer reprinted
from _Revised Common Lectionary Prayers_, copyright (c)
2002 Consultation on Common Texts; and another sentence from
_Opening Prayers: Collects in Contemporary Language_,
Canterbury Press, Norwich, 1999.

The closing prayer is adapted from a prayer 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.

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