OREMUS: 16 December 2007

Steve Benner steve.benner at oremus.org
Sat Dec 15 17:00:00 GMT 2007

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OREMUS for Sunday, December 16, 2007 
The Third Sunday of Advent

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

Blessed are you, God of mercy and might!
You offer to your Church these holy days of Advent
to revive and sustain us in hope,
that we may walk as children of light, ever watchful,
and come at last to your eternal kingdom
where your Son, Jesus Christ reigns in peace.
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 19

The heavens declare the glory of God,*
 and the firmament shows his handiwork.
One day tells its tale to another,*
 and one night imparts knowledge to another.
Although they have no words or language,*
 and their voices are not heard,
Their sound has gone out into all lands,*
 and their message to the ends of the world.
In the deep has he set a pavilion for the sun;*
 it comes forth like a bridegroom out of his chamber;
   it rejoices like a champion to run its course.
It goes forth from the uttermost edge of the heavens
   and runs about to the end of it again;*
 nothing is hidden from its burning heat.
The law of the Lord is perfect
   and revives the soul;*
 the testimony of the Lord is sure
   and gives wisdom to the innocent.
The statutes of the Lord are just
   and rejoice the heart;*
 the commandment of the Lord is clear
   and gives light to the eyes.
The fear of the Lord is clean
   and endures for ever;*
 the judgements of the Lord are true
   and righteous altogether.
More to be desired are they than gold,
   more than much fine gold,*
 sweeter far than honey,
   than honey in the comb.
By them also is your servant enlightened,*
 and in keeping them there is great reward.
Who can tell how often he offends?*
 Cleanse me from my secret faults.
Above all, keep your servant from presumptuous sins;
   let them not get dominion over me;*
 then shall I be whole and sound,
   and innocent of a great offence.
Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart
   be acceptable in your sight,*
 O Lord, my strength and my redeemer.

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 [Isaiah 5:8-30]:

Ah, you who join house to house,
   who add field to field,
until there is room for no one but you,
   and you are left to live alone
   in the midst of the land!
The Lord of hosts has sworn in my hearing:
Surely many houses shall be desolate,
   large and beautiful houses, without inhabitant.
For ten acres of vineyard shall yield but one bath,
   and a homer of seed shall yield a mere ephah.

Ah, you who rise early in the morning
   in pursuit of strong drink,
who linger in the evening
   to be inflamed by wine,
whose feasts consist of lyre and harp,
   tambourine and flute and wine,
but who do not regard the deeds of the Lord,
   or see the work of his hands!
Therefore my people go into exile without knowledge;
their nobles are dying of hunger,
   and their multitude is parched with thirst.

Therefore Sheol has enlarged its appetite
   and opened its mouth beyond measure;
the nobility of Jerusalem and her multitude go down,
   her throng and all who exult in her.
People are bowed down, everyone is brought low,
   and the eyes of the haughty are humbled.
But the Lord of hosts is exalted by justice,
   and the Holy God shows himself holy by righteousness.
Then the lambs shall graze as in their pasture,
   fatlings and kids shall feed among the ruins.

Ah, you who drag iniquity along with cords of falsehood,
   who drag sin along as with cart-ropes,
who say, 'Let him make haste,
   let him speed his work
   that we may see it;
let the plan of the Holy One of Israel hasten to fulfilment,
   that we may know it!'
Ah, you who call evil good
   and good evil,
who put darkness for light
   and light for darkness,
who put bitter for sweet
   and sweet for bitter!
Ah, you who are wise in your own eyes,
   and shrewd in your own sight!
Ah, you who are heroes in drinking wine
   and valiant at mixing drink,
who acquit the guilty for a bribe,
   and deprive the innocent of their rights!

Therefore, as the tongue of fire devours the stubble,
   and as dry grass sinks down in the flame,
so their root will become rotten,
   and their blossom go up like dust;
for they have rejected the instruction of the Lord of hosts,
   and have despised the word of the Holy One of Israel.

Therefore the anger of the Lord was kindled against his people,
   and he stretched out his hand against them and struck them;
   the mountains quaked,
and their corpses were like refuse
   in the streets.
For all this his anger has not turned away,
   and his hand is stretched out still.

He will raise a signal for a nation far away,
   and whistle for a people at the ends of the earth;
Here they come, swiftly, speedily!
None of them is weary, none stumbles,
   none slumbers or sleeps,
not a loincloth is loose,
   not a sandal-thong broken;
their arrows are sharp,
   all their bows bent,
their horses' hoofs seem like flint,
   and their wheels like the whirlwind.
Their roaring is like a lion,
   like young lions they roar;
they growl and seize their prey,
   they carry it off, and no one can rescue.
They will roar over it on that day,
   like the roaring of the sea.
And if one looks to the land 
   only darkness and distress;
and the light grows dark with clouds. 

Words: Sydney Carter &Copy;
Tune: Lord of the Dance
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I danced in the morning
when the world was begun,
and I danced in the moon
and the stars and the sun,
and I came down from heaven
and I danced on the earth,
at Bethlehem
I had my birth.
Dance, then, wherever you may be,
I am the Lord of the Dance, said he,
and I'll lead you all, wherever you may be,
and I'll lead you all in the Dance, said he.

I danced for the scribe
and the pharisee,
but they would not dance
and they wouldn't follow me.
I danced for the fishermen,
for James and John -
they came with me
and the dance went on. Refrain

I danced on the Sabbath
and I cured the lame;
the holy people
said it was a shame.
they whipped and they stripped
and they hung me on high,
and they left me there
on a Cross to die. Refrain

I danced on a Friday
when the sky turned black;
it's hard to dance
with the devil on your back.
They buried my body
and they thought I'd gone,
but I am the Dance,
and I still go on. Refrain

They cut me down
and I leapt up high;
I am the life
that'll never, never die;
I'll live in you
if you'll live in me -
I am the Lord
of the Dance, said he. Refrain

SECOND READING [Acts 13:13-41]:

 Then Paul and his companions set sail from Paphos and came to Perga in Pamphylia.
John, however, left them and returned to Jerusalem; but they went on from Perga and
came to Antioch in Pisidia. And on the sabbath day they went into the synagogue and
sat down. After the reading of the law and the prophets, the officials of the synagogue
sent them a message, saying, 'Brothers, if you have any word of exhortation for the
people, give it.' So Paul stood up and with a gesture began to speak:

'You Israelites, and others who fear God, listen. The God of this people Israel chose
our ancestors and made the people great during their stay in the land of Egypt, and
with uplifted arm he led them out of it. For about forty years he put up with them in
the wilderness. After he had destroyed seven nations in the land of Canaan, he gave
them their land as an inheritance for about four hundred and fifty years. After that he
gave them judges until the time of the prophet Samuel. Then they asked for a king; and
God gave them Saul son of Kish, a man of the tribe of Benjamin, who reigned for forty
years. When he had removed him, he made David their king. In his testimony about
him he said, "I have found David, son of Jesse, to be a man after my heart, who will
carry out all my wishes." Of this man's posterity God has brought to Israel a Saviour,
Jesus, as he promised; before his coming John had already proclaimed a baptism of
repentance to all the people of Israel. And as John was finishing his work, he said,
"What do you suppose that I am? I am not he. No, but one is coming after me; I am
not worthy to untie the thong of the sandals on his feet."

 'My brothers, you descendants of Abraham's family, and others who fear God, to us
the message of this salvation has been sent. Because the residents of Jerusalem and
their leaders did not recognize him or understand the words of the prophets that are
read every sabbath, they fulfilled those words by condemning him. Even though they
found no cause for a sentence of death, they asked Pilate to have him killed. When
they had carried out everything that was written about him, they took him down from
the tree and laid him in a tomb. But God raised him from the dead; and for many days
he appeared to those who came up with him from Galilee to Jerusalem, and they are
now his witnesses to the people. And we bring you the good news that what God
promised to our ancestors he has fulfilled for us, their children, by raising Jesus; as also
it is written in the second psalm,
"You are my Son;
   today I have begotten you."
As to his raising him from the dead, no more to return to corruption, he has spoken in
this way,
"I will give you the holy promises made to David."
Therefore he has also said in another psalm,
"You will not let your Holy One experience corruption."
For David, after he had served the purpose of God in his own generation, died, was
laid beside his ancestors, and experienced corruption; but he whom God raised up
experienced no corruption. Let it be known to you therefore, my brothers, that
through this man forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you; by this Jesus everyone who
believes is set free from all those sins from which you could not be freed by the law of
Moses. Beware, therefore, that what the prophets said does not happen to you:
"Look, you scoffers!
   Be amazed and perish,
for in your days I am doing a work,
   a work that you will never believe, even if someone tells you." ' 

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

As we wait with joy for the glory of the Lord,
let us offer prayers to God.

For all who are called to wait, 
parents and children, artists and poets, 
refugees and exiles, and for all who yearn for God: 
that the Spirit may strengthen us 
through bringing light and hope to our waiting.
Risen Lord, in your mercy:
Hear our prayer.

For freedom from judgment and prejudice: 
that we may recognize the goodness in others 
even when their actions try our patience.
Risen Lord, in your mercy:
Hear our prayer.

For all who struggle with doubt: 
that our eyes and hearts may be opened to the marvelous things 
which God does within us and around us.
Risen Lord, in your mercy:
Hear our prayer.

For an end to war and healing for the nations: 
that violence and bloodshed may end, 
the innocent may be sheltered, terrorism ended, 
and peace be established in the hearts of all.
Risen Lord, in your mercy:
Hear our prayer.

For all who are gathered here
and for those who are absent: 
that we may rejoice God's presence in our lives 
and witness faithfully to the God who does wonders.
Risen Lord, in your mercy:
Hear our prayer.

For all who are facing their limits and brokenness, 
for those who are weak, fearful, or mourning: 
that they may experience the healing and renewing presence of God.
Risen Lord, in your mercy:
Hear our prayer.

Sustain us, O God, with the power of your love 
on our journey to meet the One who is coming: 
strengthen our weak hands, make firm our feeble knees, 
and open blind eyes to the dawning of your kingdom, 
so that our hearts may rejoice as we behold your majesty. 
We ask this through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Awaiting his coming in glory,
let us pray as our Savior has taught us:

- The Lord's Prayer

Kindle in us the fire of your Spirit
that when your Christ comes again
we may shine as lights before him. 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 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) 1963 by Stainer & Bell Ltd. 
(admin. 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, 
Rest of the World:  Stainer & Bell Ltd., 

The intercession is adapted from a prayer from Saint Louis University.

The collect is from _Uniting in Worship_, The Uniting Church in

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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