OREMUS: 10 December 2007

Steve Benner steve.benner at oremus.org
Sun Dec 9 21:15:17 GMT 2007


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OREMUS for Monday, December 10, 2007 
Thomas Merton, Monk, Spiritual Writer, 1968

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. 

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Psalm 20

May the Lord answer you in the day of trouble,*
 the name of the God of Jacob defend you;
Send you help from his holy place*
 and strengthen you out of Zion;
Remember all your offerings*
 and accept your burnt sacrifice;
Grant you your heart's desire*
 and prosper all your plans.
We will shout for joy at your victory
   and triumph in the name of our God;*
 may the Lord grant all your requests.
Now I know that the Lord gives victory
   to his anointed;*
 he will answer him out of his holy heaven,
   with the victorious strength of his right hand.
Some put their trust in chariots and some in horses,*
 but we will call upon the name of the Lord our God.
They collapse and fall down,*
 but we will arise and stand upright.
O Lord, give victory to the king*
 and answer us when we call.

Psalm 21

The king rejoices in your strength, O Lord;*
 how greatly he exults in your victory!
You have given him his heart's desire;*
 you have not denied him the request of his lips.
For you meet him with blessings of prosperity,*
 and set a crown of fine gold upon his head.
He asked you for life and you gave it to him;*
 length of days, for ever and ever.
His honour is great, because of your victory;*
 splendour and majesty have you bestowed upon him.
For you will give him everlasting felicity*
 and will make him glad with the joy of your presence.
For the king puts his trust in the Lord;*
 because of the loving-kindness of the Most High,
   he will not fall.
Your hand will lay hold upon all your enemies;*
 your right hand will seize all those who hate you.
You will make them like a fiery furnace*
 at the time of your appearing, O Lord;
You will swallow them up in your wrath,*
 and fire shall consume them.
You will destroy their offspring from the land*
 and their descendants
   from among the peoples of the earth.
Though they intend evil against you
   and devise wicked schemes,*
 yet they shall not prevail.
For you will put them to flight*
 and aim your arrows at them.
Be exalted, O Lord, in your might;*
 we will sing and praise your power.

A Song of the Spirit (Revelation 22:12-14,16,17)
'Behold, I am coming soon', says the Lord, 
'and bringing my reward with me, . 
to give to everyone according to their deeds. 
'I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, . 
the beginning and the end.' 
Blessed are those who do God's commandments, 
that they may have the right to the tree of life, . 
and may enter into the city through the gates. 
'I, Jesus, have sent my angel to you, . 
with this testimony for all the churches. 
'I am the root and the offspring of David, . 
I am the bright morning star.' 
'Come!' say the Spirit and the Bride; . 
'Come!' let each hearer reply. 
Come forward, you who are thirsty, . 
let those who desire take the water of life as a gift. 

Psalm 150

Alleluia!
   Praise God in his holy temple;*
 praise him in the firmament of his power.
Praise him for his mighty acts;*
 praise him for his excellent greatness.
Praise him with the blast of the ram's-horn;*
 praise him with lyre and harp.
Praise him with timbrel and dance;*
 praise him with strings and pipe.
Praise him with resounding cymbals;*
 praise him with loud-clanging cymbals.
Let everything that has breath*
 praise the Lord.
   Alleluia!

FIRST READING [Isaiah 35]:

The wilderness and the dry land shall be glad,
   the desert shall rejoice and blossom;
like the crocus it shall blossom abundantly,
   and rejoice with joy and singing.
The glory of Lebanon shall be given to it,
   the majesty of Carmel and Sharon.
They shall see the glory of the Lord,
   the majesty of our God.

Strengthen the weak hands,
   and make firm the feeble knees.
Say to those who are of a fearful heart,
   'Be strong, do not fear!
Here is your God.
   He will come with vengeance,
with terrible recompense.
   He will come and save you.'

Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened,
   and the ears of the deaf unstopped;
then the lame shall leap like a deer,
   and the tongue of the speechless sing for joy.
For waters shall break forth in the wilderness,
   and streams in the desert;
the burning sand shall become a pool,
   and the thirsty ground springs of water;
the haunt of jackals shall become a swamp,
   the grass shall become reeds and rushes.

A highway shall be there,
   and it shall be called the Holy Way;
the unclean shall not travel on it,
   but it shall be for God's people;
   no traveller, not even fools, shall go astray.
No lion shall be there,
   nor shall any ravenous beast come up on it;
they shall not be found there,
   but the redeemed shall walk there.
And the ransomed of the Lord shall return,
   and come to Zion with singing;
everlasting joy shall be upon their heads;
   they shall obtain joy and gladness,
   and sorrow and sighing shall flee away. 

HYMN 
Words: Charles Wesley (1707-1788)
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1    Stupendous height of heavenly love,
     Of pitying tenderness divine;
     It brought the Saviour from above,
     It caused the springing day to shine;
     The sun of righteousness to appear,
     And gild our gloomy hemisphere.

2    God did in Christ himself reveal,
     To chase our darkness by his light,
     Our sin and ignorance dispel,
     Direct our wandering feet aright;
     And bring our souls, with pardon blest,
     To realms of everlasting rest.

3    Come then, O Lord, thy light impart,
     The faith that bids our terrors cease;
     Into thy love direct my heart,
     Into thy way of perfect peace;
     And cheer my soul, of death afraid,
     And guide me through the dreadful shade.

4    Answer thy mercy's whole design,
     My God incarnated for me;
     My spirit make thy radiant shrine,
     My light and full salvation be;
     And through the darkened vale unknown
     Conduct me to thy dazzling throne.

SECOND READING [Luke 5.17 26]:

One day, while Jesus was teaching, Pharisees and teachers of the law were sitting
nearby (they had come from every village of Galilee and Judea and from Jerusalem);
and the power of the Lord was with him to heal. Just then some men came, carrying a
paralysed man on a bed. They were trying to bring him in and lay him before Jesus; but
finding no way to bring him in because of the crowd, they went up on the roof and let
him down with his bed through the tiles into the middle of the crowd in front of Jesus.
When he saw their faith, he said, 'Friend, your sins are forgiven you.' Then the scribes
and the Pharisees began to question, 'Who is this who is speaking blasphemies? Who
can forgive sins but God alone?' When Jesus perceived their questionings, he
answered them, 'Why do you raise such questions in your hearts? Which is easier, to
say, "Your sins are forgiven you", or to say, "Stand up and walk"? But so that you
may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins' he said to the
one who was paralysed 'I say to you, stand up and take your bed and go to your
home.' Immediately he stood up before them, took what he had been lying on, and
went to his home, glorifying God. Amazement seized all of them, and they glorified
God and were filled with awe, saying, 'We have seen strange things today.'

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

Prayer:
O God, you are filled with possibility and mystery.
You hold our anxieties and our hopes. 

Your faithful forget to praise you, consumed by self-centered busyness,
O God of stillness, come into our hearts.

Your beloved community is baffled and broken,
O God of healing, come into our churches.

Your people wander in the streets without a place to lay their head,
O God our resting place, come into our neighborhoods.

Your world is torn apart by war and conflict,
O God of Peace, come into our world.

Night and day, we wait and pray, for you, our Emmanuel. Amen.

MY LORD GOD, I have no idea where I am going.
I do not see the road ahead of me.
I cannot know for certain where it will end.
Nor do I really know myself, and the fact that I think that I am following your will
does not mean that I am actually doing so.
But I believe that the desire to please you does in fact please you.
And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing.
I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire.
And I know that if I do this you will lead me by the right road 
though I may know nothing about it.
Therefore will I trust you always though I may seem to be lost 
and in the shadow of death.
I will not fear, for you are ever with me, 
and you will never leave me to face my perils alone. 

O God, 
whose blessed Son became poor 
that we through his poverty might be rich:  
Deliver us from an inordinate love of this world, 
that we, inspired by the devotion of your servant Thomas Merton,
may serve you with singleness of heart, 
and attain to the riches of the age to come; 
through Jesus Christ our Lord, 
who lives 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

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.

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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 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 first prayer is by Thomas Merton.
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.

Thomas Merton was born in 1915 in France, of American parents. His early
education was in France (Lycee de Montauban 1927-8) and England (Oakham
School, 1929-32; Clare College, Cambridge, 1933-4). He came to America and
attended Columbia University, graduated in English in 1938, worked there one
year as a teaching assistant, and got his MA in 1939. In 1939 he joined the
Roman Catholic Church, and taught at St Bonaventure for the next two years.
In 1941 he entered the Trappist monastery of Gethsemani near Louisville,
Kentucky. The Trappists, called more formally Cistercians of the Strict
Observance, are (or were before Vatican II) an extremely strict Roman
Catholic monastic order, devoted to communal prayer (they spend at least four
hours a day in chapel, chanting the praises of God), to private prayer and
contemplation, to study, and to manual labor. Except for those whose special
duties require otherwise, they are vowed not to speak except in praise of God.
Thus, when not singing in chapel, they are silent.
Toward the end of his life, Merton developed an interest in Buddhist and other
Far Eastern approaches to mysticism and contemplation, and their relation to
Christian approaches. He was attending an international conference on
Christian and Buddhist monasticism in Bangkok, Thailand, when he was
accidentally electrocuted on 10 December 1968. [James Kiefer]



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