OREMUS: 13 February 2007

Steve Benner steve.benner at oremus.org
Mon Feb 12 17:00:01 GMT 2007

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OREMUS for Tuesday, February 13, 2007 
Absalom Jones, Priest, 1818

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

Blessed are you, O God,
you lead us to the waters of refreshment and new life
through your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.
He calls us to leave behind the dusty desert 
of withered hopes and dreams
to become a spring of faith
that others may come near to the stream of life. 
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 26

Give judgement for me, O Lord,
   for I have lived with integrity;*
 I have trusted in the Lord and have not faltered.
Test me, O Lord, and try me;*
 examine my heart and my mind.
For your love is before my eyes;*
 I have walked faithfully with you.
I have not sat with the worthless,*
 nor do I consort with the deceitful.
I have hated the company of evildoers;*
 I will not sit down with the wicked.
I will wash my hands in innocence, O Lord,*
 that I may go in procession round your altar,
Singing aloud a song of thanksgiving*
 and recounting all your wonderful deeds.
Lord, I love the house in which you dwell*
 and the place where your glory abides.
Do not sweep me away with sinners,*
 nor my life with those who thirst for blood,
Whose hands are full of evil plots,*
 and their right hand full of bribes.
As for me, I will live with integrity;*
 redeem me, O Lord, and have pity on me.
My foot stands on level ground;*
 in the full assembly I will bless the Lord.

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 God's Chosen One (Isaiah 11.1-4a,6,9)

There shall come forth a shoot from the stock of Jesse,
and a branch shall grow out of his roots.

And the Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him,
the spirit of wisdom and understanding,

The spirit of counsel and might,
the spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord.

He shall not judge by what his eyes see,
or decide by what his ears hear,

But with righteousness he shall judge the poor,
and decide with equity for the meek of the earth.

The wolf shall dwell with the lamb,
and the leopard shall lie down with the kid.

The calf, the lion and the fatling together,
with a little child to lead them.

They shall not hurt or destroy in all my holy mountain,
for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord
as the waters cover the sea.

Psalm 146

   Praise the Lord, O my soul!*
 I will praise the Lord as long as I live;
   I will sing praises to my God while I have my being.
Put not your trust in rulers,
   nor in any child of earth,*
 for there is no help in them.
When they breathe their last, they return to earth,*
 and in that day their thoughts perish.
Happy are they who have the God of Jacob
   for their help!*
 whose hope is in the Lord their God;
Who made heaven and earth, the seas,
   and all that is in them;*
 who keeps his promise for ever;
Who gives justice to those who are oppressed,*
 and food to those who hunger.
The Lord sets the prisoners free;
   the Lord opens the eyes of the blind;*
 the Lord lifts up those who are bowed down;
The Lord loves the righteous;
   the Lord cares for the stranger;*
 he sustains the orphan and widow,
   but frustrates the way of the wicked.
The Lord shall reign for ever,*
 your God, O Zion, throughout all generations.

FIRST READING [Ezra 1:1-11]:

In the first year of King Cyrus of Persia, in order that
the word of the Lord by the mouth of Jeremiah might be
accomplished, the Lord stirred up the spirit of King
Cyrus of Persia so that he sent a herald throughout all
his kingdom, and also in a written edict declared:
'Thus says King Cyrus of Persia: The Lord, the God of
heaven, has given me all the kingdoms of the earth, and
he has charged me to build him a house at Jerusalem in
Judah. Any of those among you who are of his people may
their God be with them! are now permitted to go up to
Jerusalem in Judah, and rebuild the house of the Lord,
the God of Israel he is the God who is in Jerusalem; and
let all survivors, in whatever place they reside, be
assisted by the people of their place with silver and
gold, with goods and with animals, besides freewill
-offerings for the house of God in Jerusalem.'

The heads of the families of Judah and Benjamin, and the
priests and the Levites everyone whose spirit God had
stirred got ready to go up and rebuild the house of the
Lord in Jerusalem. All their neighbours aided them with
silver vessels, with gold, with goods, with animals, and
with valuable gifts, besides all that was freely offered.
King Cyrus himself brought out the vessels of the house
of the Lord that Nebuchadnezzar had carried away from
Jerusalem and placed in the house of his gods. King Cyrus
of Persia had them released into the charge of Mithredath
the treasurer, who counted them out to Sheshbazzar the
prince of Judah. And this was the inventory: gold basins,
thirty; silver basins, one thousand; knives, twenty-nine;
gold bowls, thirty; other silver bowls, four hundred and
ten; other vessels, one thousand; the total of the gold
and silver vessels was five thousand four hundred. All
these Sheshbazzar brought up, when the exiles were
brought up from Babylonia to Jerusalem. 

Words: Isaac Watts (1674-1748), 1707
Tune: Rockingham, O waly waly

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When I survey the wondrous cross
where the young Prince of Glory died,
my richest gain I count but loss,
and pour contempt on all my pride.

Forbid it, Lord, that I should boast,
save in the cross of Christ, my God:
all the vain things that charm me most,
I sacrifice them to his blood.

See, from his head, his hands, his feet,
sorrow and love flow mingled down!
Did e'er such love and sorrow meet,
or thorns compose so rich a crown?

Were the whole realm of nature mine,
that were an offering far too small;
love so amazing, so divine,
demands my soul, my life, my all.

SECOND READING [2 Corinthians 1:12-19]:

Indeed, this is our boast, the testimony of our conscience: we have behaved in the
world with frankness and godly sincerity, not by earthly wisdom but by the grace of
God and all the more towards you. For we write to you nothing other than what you
can read and also understand; I hope you will understand until the end  as you have
already understood us in part that on the day of the Lord Jesus we are your boast
even as you are our boast.
Since I was sure of this, I wanted to come to you first, so that you might have a
double favour; I wanted to visit you on my way to Macedonia, and to come back to
you from Macedonia and have you send me on to Judea. Was I vacillating when I
wanted to do this? Do I make my plans according to ordinary human standards, ready
to say 'Yes, yes' and 'No, no' at the same time? As surely as God is faithful, our word
to you has not been 'Yes and No.' For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, whom we
proclaimed among you, Silvanus and Timothy and I, was not 'Yes and No'; but in him
it is always 'Yes.' 

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

Baptizing God,
you have plunged us into the waters as death to sin
and have raised us to be alive to you in joy and service.

For all whose eager and resolute living in you
makes them saints to us:
We thank you, Lord.

For the community made holy in Christ,
the living and the dead, the near and the far away:
We thank you, Lord.

For an awareness of our kinship
to holy and just men and women:
We thank you, Lord.

For reminding us that perfection in you is a journey
of consistent love to you and to others:
We thank you, Lord.

For sustaining us in the faithful use of means of grace,
that we may resolve to live in your love and peace:
We thank you, Lord.

God our strength,
your power is for peace,
and the pride of your mighty acts
secures the city of the humble.
Teach us to put our trust in your salvation,
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Set us free, heavenly Father, 
from every bond of prejudice and fear; 
that, honoring the steadfast courage 
of your servant Absalom Jones, 
we may show forth in our lives 
the reconciling love and true freedom of the children of God, 
which you have given us in your Son our Savior Jesus Christ;
who lives and reigns with you and 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

Call us now and we shall awaken,
call us now by name and we shall arise. 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 by Stephen Benner and uses some 
images from a hymn by Thomas Troeger. The closing prayer is by Stephen
Benner and uses some phrases from a song by Marty Haugen.

The second collect is from _The Proper for the Lesser Feasts and
Fasts_, 3rd edition, (c) 1980 The Church Pension Fund.

In 1786 the membership of St. George's Methodist Episcopal Church in
Philadelphia included both blacks and whites. However, the white members
met that year and decided that thereafter black members should sit only in the
balcony. Two black Sunday school teachers, Absalom Jones (1746-1818) and
Richard Allen (1760-1830), learned of the decision only when, on the
following Sunday, ushers tapped them on the shoulder during the opening
prayers, and demanded that they move to the balcony without waiting for the
end of the prayer. They walked out, followed by the other black members.
Absalom Jones conferred with William White, Episcopal Bishop of
Philadelphia, who agreed to accept the group as an Episcopal parish. Jones
would serve as lay reader, and, after a period of study, would be ordained and
serve as rector. Allen wanted the group to remain Methodist, and in 1793 he
left to form a Methodist congregation. In 1816 he left the Methodists to form a
new denomination, the African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church. Jones
(ordained deacon and priest in 1795 and 1802) and Allen (ordained deacon and
elder in 1799 and 1816) were the first two black Americans to receive formal
ordination in any denomination.

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