OREMUS: 29 December 2007

Steve Benner steve.benner at oremus.org
Fri Dec 28 17:46:28 GMT 2007


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OREMUS for Saturday, December 29, 2007
Thomas Becket, Archbishop of Canterbury, Martyr, 1170

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

Blessed are you, loving and merciful God,
you fill our hearts with joy
as we recognize in Christ the revelation of your love.
No eye can see his glory as our God,
yet now he is seen like one of us.
Christ is your Son before all ages,
yet now he is born in time.
He has come to lift up all things to himself,
to restore unity to creation,
and to lead us from exile into your heavenly kingdom.
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/chrocant.html

Psalm 45

My heart is stirring with a noble song;
   let me recite what I have fashioned for the king;*
 my tongue shall be the pen of a skilled writer.
You are the fairest of men;*
 grace flows from your lips,
   because God has blessed you for ever.
Strap your sword upon your thigh, O mighty warrior,*
 in your pride and in your majesty.
Ride out and conquer in the cause of truth*
 and for the sake of justice.
Your right hand will show you marvellous things;*
 your arrows are very sharp, O mighty warrior.
The peoples are falling at your feet,*
 and the king's enemies are losing heart.
Your throne, O God, endures for ever and ever,*
 a sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of your kingdom;
   you love righteousness and hate iniquity;
Therefore God, your God, has anointed you*
 with the oil of gladness above your fellows.
All your garments are fragrant with myrrh, aloes and cassia,*
 and the music of strings from ivory palaces makes you glad.
' daughters stand among the ladies of the court;*
 on your right hand is the queen,
   adorned with the gold of Ophir.
'Hear, O daughter; consider and listen closely;*
 forget your people and your family's house.
'The king will have pleasure in your beauty;*
 he is your master; therefore do him honour.
'The people of Tyre are here with a gift;*
 the rich among the people seek your favour.'
All glorious is the princess as she enters;*
 her gown is cloth-of-gold.
In embroidered apparel she is brought to the king;*
 after her the bridesmaids follow in procession.
With joy and gladness they are brought,*
 and enter into the palace of the king.
'In place of fathers, O king, you shall have sons;*
 you shall make them princes over all the earth.
'I will make your name to be remembered
   from one generation to another;*
 therefore nations will praise you for ever and ever.'

Psalm 46

God is our refuge and strength,*
 a very present help in trouble;
Therefore we will not fear, though the earth be moved,*
 and though the mountains be toppled
   into the depths of the sea;
Though its waters rage and foam,*
 and though the mountains tremble at its tumult.
The Lord of hosts is with us;*
 the God of Jacob is our stronghold.
There is a river whose streams
   make glad the city of God,*
 the holy habitation of the Most High.
God is in the midst of her;
   she shall not be overthrown;*
 God shall help her at the break of day.
The nations make much ado
   and the kingdoms are shaken;*
 God has spoken and the earth shall melt away.
The Lord of hosts is with us;*
 the God of Jacob is our stronghold.
Come now and look upon the works of the Lord,*
 what awesome things he has done on earth.
It is he who makes war to cease in all the world;*
 he breaks the bow and shatters the spear
   and burns the shields with fire.
'Be still, then, and know that I am God;*
 I will be exalted among the nations;
   I will be exalted in the earth.'
The Lord of hosts is with us;*
 the God of Jacob is our stronghold.

A Song of the Holy City (Revelation 21.1-5a)
I saw a new heaven and a new earth,  
for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away 
and the sea was no more. 
And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, 
coming down out of heaven from God,  
prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. 
And I heard a great voice from the throne saying,  
'Behold, the dwelling of God is among mortals. 
'He will dwell with them and they shall be his peoples,  
and God himself will be with them. 
'He will wipe every tear from their eyes,  
and death shall be no more. 
'Neither shall there be mourning, 
nor crying, nor pain any more,  
for the former things have passed away.' 
And the One who sat upon the throne said,  
'Behold, I make all things new.'

Psalm 149

Alleluia!
   Sing to the Lord a new song;*
 sing his praise in the congregation of the faithful.
Let Israel rejoice in his maker;*
 let the children of Zion be joyful in their king.
Let them praise his name in the dance;*
 let them sing praise to him with timbrel and harp.
For the Lord takes pleasure in his people*
 and adorns the poor with victory.
Let the faithful rejoice in triumph;*
 let them be joyful on their beds.
Let the praises of God be in their throat*
 and a two-edged sword in their hand;
To wreak vengeance on the nations*
 and punishment on the peoples;
To bind their kings in chains*
 and their nobles with links of iron;
To inflict on them the judgement decreed;*
 this is glory for all his faithful people.
   Alleluia!

FIRST READING [1 John 2.3 11]:

Now by this we may be sure that we know him, if we obey his commandments. Whoever says, 'I
have come to know him', but does not obey his commandments, is a liar, and in such a person the
truth does not exist; but whoever obeys his word, truly in this person the love of God has reached
perfection. By this we may be sure that we are in him: whoever says, 'I abide in him', ought to
walk just as he walked.
Beloved, I am writing you no new commandment, but an old commandment that you have had
from the beginning; the old commandment is the word that you have heard. Yet I am writing you
a new commandment that is true in him and in you, because the darkness is passing away and the
true light is already shining. Whoever says, 'I am in the light', while hating a brother or sister, is
still in the darkness. Whoever loves a brother or sister lives in the light, and in such a person there
is no cause for stumbling. But whoever hates another believer is in the darkness, walks in the
darkness, and does not know the way to go, because the darkness has brought on blindness. 

HYMN 
Words: Jean Mauburn, 1494; trans. Elizabeth Charles, 1858
Tune: Mauburn
<a
href="http://www.oremus.org/hymnal/d/d066.html">http://www.oremus.org/hymnal/d/d066.html
Hit "Back" in your browser to return to Oremus.

Dost thou in a manger lie,
who hast all created,
stretching infant hands on high,
Savior, long awaited?
If a monarch, where thy state?
Where thy court on thee to wait?
Royal purple, where?
Here no regal pomp we see,
nought but need and penury:
why thus cradled here?

"Pitying love for fallen man
brought me down thus low;
for a race deep lost in sin
came I into woe.
By this lowly birth of mine,
sinner, riches shall be thine,
matchless gifts and free;
willingly this yoke I take,
and this sacrifice I make,
heaping joys for thee."

Fervent praise would I do to thee
evermore be raising;
for thy wondrous love to me
thee be ever praising.
Glory, glory be for ever
unto that most bounteous Giver,
and that loving Lord!
Better witness to thy worth,
purer praise than ours on earth,
angels' songs afford.

SECOND READING [Luke 2.22 35]:

When the time came for their purification according to the law of Moses, they brought him up to
Jerusalem to present him to the Lord (as it is written in the law of the Lord, 'Every firstborn male
shall be designated as holy to the Lord'), and they offered a sacrifice according to what is stated
in the law of the Lord, 'a pair of turtle-doves or two young pigeons.'

Now there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon; this man was righteous and devout,
looking forward to the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit rested on him. It had been
revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord's
Messiah. Guided by the Spirit, Simeon came into the temple; and when the parents brought in the
child Jesus, to do for him what was customary under the law, Simeon took him in his arms and
praised God, saying,
'Master, now you are dismissing your servant in peace,
   according to your word;
for my eyes have seen your salvation,
   which you have prepared in the presence of all peoples,
a light for revelation to the Gentiles
   and for glory to your people Israel.'

And the child's father and mother were amazed at what was being said about him. Then Simeon
blessed them and said to his mother Mary, 'This child is destined for the falling and the rising of
many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be opposed so that the inner thoughts of many will be
revealed and a sword will pierce your own soul too.' 

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

Prayer:
Christ, for whom there was no room in the inn,
give courage to all who are homeless:
In your mercy,
hear our prayer.

Christ, who fled into Egypt,
give comfort to all refugees;
In your mercy,
hear our prayer.

Christ, who fasted in the desert,
give relief to all who are starving:
In your mercy,
hear our prayer.

Christ, who hung in agony on the cross,
give strength to all who suffer:
In your mercy,
hear our prayer.

Christ, who died to save us,
give peace to all who seek pardon.
In your mercy,
hear our prayer.

Gracious God,
your love unites heaven and earth
in a new festival of gladness:
Lift our spirits to learn the way of joy
that leads us to your banquet hall,
where all is golden with praise.
We ask this through Jesus Christ the Lord. Amen.

Lord God,
who gave grace to your servant Thomas Becket
to put aside all earthly fear
      and be faithful even to death:
grant that we, disregarding worldly esteem,
may fight all wrong,
uphold your rule,
and serve you to our life's end;
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.

Rejoicing in the presence of God here among us,
let us pray in faith and trust:

- The Lord's Prayer

May he who by his incarnation gathered into one
things earthly and heavenly,
bestow upon us the fullness of peace and goodwill. Amen.

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The psalms and the first collect 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
_The Promise of His Glory_ (Mowbray), (c) The Central
Board of Finance  of the Church of England 1990, 1991, which is used with
permission.

The intercession is from _New Patterns for Worship_, copyright
(c) The Archbishops' Council, 2002.

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.

On December 29, we remember Thomas a Becket, Archbishop of Canterbury,
slain in his own cathedral in 1170, for his defiance of King Henry II. The death
of Thomas reminds us that a Christian, even when safe from pagans, can be in
danger from his fellow-Christians. It also reminds us that one can be martyred
in a cause where the merits of the particular issue at hand are not obvious to all
men of good will. The issue here, or one of the issues, was one of court
jurisdiction. King Henry claimed that a cleric accused of an ordinary crime
ought to be tried in the King's Courts like any layman. Thomas, who was
Henry's Chancellor and his close friend, vigorously upheld the king's position.
However, when he was made Archbishop of Canterbury with the king's
support, he reversed himself completely and upheld the right of clergy to be
tried only in Church courts, which could not inflict capital punishment. (This
reversal does not imply fickleness or treachery. As Chancellor, Thomas was
bound to serve the king. Now, as Archbishop, he was bound to defend the
Church.) Henry wanted an arrangement by which (for example) a priest
accused of murder would be tried by a Church Court, which if it found him
guilty would degrade him to the rank of a layman, whereupon a King's Court
would try him, and if it found him guilty would order him hanged. Thomas
objected that a man could not be tried and punished twice for the same offense.
Henry, being angered at opposition from someone whom he had counted
on for support, was heard to exclaim in anger, "This fellow who has eaten my
bread has lifted up his heel against me [see Psalm 41:9]. Have I no friend who
will rid me of this upstart priest?" Four of his knights promptly rode to
Canterbury, where they confronted the Archbishop and demanded that he back
down. When he did not, they killed him. Public reaction was immediate and
vigorous, and reckoned Thomas as a saint and a martyr, and Henry as a
blaspheming murderer. Henry swore that he had not intended his remark to be
taken seriously, and had himself publicly whipped at the tomb of Thomas.
Thomas was very soon canonized, and his tomb was one of the most popular
places of pilgrimage in Europe for the next three-and-a-half centuries. During a
war between England and France, a King of France obtained a cease-fire to
enable him to make a pilgrimage to Canterbury. Chaucer's Canterbury Tales is
concerned with a group of pilgrims on their way to the tomb of Thomas.
[James Kiefer]



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