OREMUS: 18 June 2007

Steve Benner steve.benner at oremus.org
Sun Jun 17 22:40:39 GMT 2007


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OREMUS for Monday, June 18, 2007 
Bernard Mizeki, Apostle of the MaShona, Martyr, 1896

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

All glory and praise are yours, Lord God,,
creator of the universe and Father of all:
we thank you for calling us in Jesus
to be your beloved people
and temples of your Holy Spirit.
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 110:1-5

The Lord said to my lord, 'Sit at my right hand,*
 until I make your enemies your footstool.'
The Lord will send the sceptre of your power
   out of Zion,*
 saying, 'Rule over your enemies round about you.
'Princely state has been yours
   from the day of your birth,*
 in the beauty of holiness have I begotten you,
   like dew from the womb of the morning.'
The Lord has sworn and he will not recant:*
 'You are a priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek.'

Psalm 111

Alleluia!
   I will give thanks to the Lord with my whole heart,*
 in the assembly of the upright, in the congregation.
Great are the deeds of the Lord!*
 they are studied by all who delight in them.
His work is full of majesty and splendour,*
 and his righteousness endures for ever.
He makes his marvellous works to be remembered;*
 the Lord is gracious and full of compassion.
He gives food to those who fear him;*
 he is ever mindful of his covenant.
He has shown his people the power of his works*
 in giving them the lands of the nations.
The works of his hands are faithfulness and justice;*
 all his commandments are sure.
They stand fast for ever and ever,*
 because they are done in truth and equity.
He sent redemption to his people;
   he commanded his covenant for ever;*
 holy and awesome is his name.
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom;*
 those who act accordingly have a good understanding;
   his praise endures for ever.

A Song of Ezekiel (Ezekiel 36:24-26,28b)

I will take you from the nations,
and gather you from all the countries.

I will sprinkle clean water upon you,
and you shall be clean from all your impurities.

A new heart I will give you,
and put a new spirit within you,

And I will remove from your body the heart of stone
and give you a heart of flesh.

You shall be my people,
and I will be your God.

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 [1 Kings 20:35-43]:

At the command of the Lord a certain member of a company
of prophets said to another, 'Strike me!' But the man
refused to strike him. Then he said to him, 'Because you
have not obeyed the voice of the Lord, as soon as you
have left me, a lion will kill you.' And when he had left
him, a lion met him and killed him. Then he found another
man and said, 'Strike me!' So the man hit him, striking
and wounding him. Then the prophet departed, and waited
for the king along the road, disguising himself with a
bandage over his eyes. As the king passed by, he cried to
the king and said, 'Your servant went out into the thick
of the battle; then a soldier turned and brought a man to
me, and said, "Guard this man; if he is missing, your
life shall be given for his life, or else you shall pay a
talent of silver." While your servant was busy here and
there, he was gone.' The king of Israel said to him, 'So
shall your judgement be; you yourself have decided it.'
Then he quickly took the bandage away from his eyes. The
king of Israel recognized him as one of the prophets.
Then he said to him, 'Thus says the Lord, "Because you
have let the man go whom I had devoted to destruction,
therefore your life shall be for his life, and your
people for his people." ' The king of Israel set out
towards home, resentful and sullen, and came to Samaria.

HYMN 
Words: Traditional South African

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1 We are marching in the light of God,
we are marching in the light of God, 
we are marching in the light of God, 
we are marching in the light of God. 
We are marching, oh, we are marching in the light of God.
We are marching, oh, we are marching in the light of God.

2 We are living in the love of God, 
we are living in the love of God, 
we are living in the love of God, 
we are living in the love of God. 
We are living, oh, we are living in the love of God. 
We are living, oh, we are living in the love of God. 

3 We are moving in the power of God, 
we are moving in the power of God, 
we are moving in the power of God, 
we are moving in the power of God. 
We are moving, oh, we are moving in the power of God. 
We are moving, oh, we are moving in the power of God. 

SECOND READING [Galatians 3:1-9]:

You foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? It was before your eyes that Jesus
Christ was publicly exhibited as crucified! The only thing I want to learn from you is
this: Did you receive the Spirit by doing the works of the law or by believing what you
heard? Are you so foolish? Having started with the Spirit, are you now ending with the
flesh? Did you experience so much for nothing? if it really was for nothing. Well
then, does God supply you with the Spirit and work miracles among you by your
doing the works of the law, or by your believing what you heard?
Just as Abraham 'believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness', so, you
see, those who believe are the descendants of Abraham. And the scripture, foreseeing
that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, declared the gospel beforehand to
Abraham, saying, 'All the Gentiles shall be blessed in you.' For this reason, those who
believe are blessed with Abraham who believed. 

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

Prayer:
Merciful God,
you give us every good gift.
Hear our prayers which we now offer
through your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.

We pray for your Church.
May our divisions be healed,
that we may go into the world proclaiming your Good News.
Lord, in your mercy:
hear our prayer.

We pray for the physical and spiritual well-being
of our family and friends,
that they may rejoice in your mercy and love
and share in your joy in your heavenly Kingdom.
Lord, in your mercy:
hear our prayer.

We pray for those who work,
especially those who are stressed or overwhelmed,
that they may know you are their refuge and strength.
Lord, in your mercy:
hear our prayer.

We pray for those who are persecuted
for fighting for justice and liberty,
that they may remember that you are the source
of all things just and free.
Lord, in your mercy:
hear our prayer.

Father of all mercies,
teach us to be merciful,
as you are merciful.
Father of all forgiveness,
help us to forgive others,
as you have forgiven us.
For Jesus Christ's sake. Amen.

Lord of all nations, 
by the conversion of Bernard Mizeki 
you raised up from the people of Africa 
a missionary faithful even to death: 
Fill your people with love 
in the face of hatred and fear 
and make us ready to live or die 
for the name of Jesus; 
who is alive and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, 
one God, now and forever. Amen.
       
Gathering our prayers and praises into one,
let us pray as our Savior has taught us.

- The Lord's Prayer

Bless us in all we do
and bless all the places
in which your people will meet and work and play.
Help us to recognize your presence among us,
fill us with your joy,
and guide us at all times. 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 and the closing prayer use phrases from a prayer by
Roy Williamson.

Bernard Mizeki was born in Portuguese East Africa (Mozambique) in about
1861. When he was twelve or a little older, he left his home and went to
Capetown, South Africa, where for the next ten years he worked as a laborer,
living in the slums of Capetown, but (perceiving the disastrous effects of
drunkenness on many workers in the slums) firmly refusing to drink alcohol,
and remaining largely uncorrupted by his surroundings. After his day's work,
he attended night classes at an Anglican school. Under the influence of his
teachers, from the Society of Saint John the Evangelist (SSJE, an Anglican
religious order for men, popularly called the Cowley Fathers), he became a
Christian and was baptized on 9 March 1886. Besides the fundamentals of
European schooling, he mastered English, French, high Dutch, and at least
eight local African languages. In time he would be an invaluable assistant when
the Anglican church began translating its sacred texts into African languages.

After graduating from the school, he accompanied Bishop Knight-Bruce to
Mashonaland, a tribal area in Southern Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe), to work
there as a lay catechist. In 1891 the bishop assigned him to Nhowe, the village
of paramount-chief Mangwende, and there he built a mission-complex. He
prayed the Anglican hours each day, tended his subsistence garden, studied the
local language (which he mastered better than any other foreigner in his day),
and cultivated friendships with the villagers. He eventually opened a school,
and won the hearts of many of the Mashona through his love for their children.

He moved his mission complex up onto a nearby plateau, next to a grove of
trees sacred to the ancestral spirits of the Mashona. Although he had the chief's
permission, he angered the local religious leaders when he cut some of the
trees down and carved crosses into others. Although he opposed some local
traditional religious customs, Bernard was very attentive to the nuances of the
Shona Spirit religion. He developed an approach that built on people's already
monotheistic faith in one God, Mwari, and on their sensitivity to spirit life,
while at the same time he forthrightly proclaimed the Christ. Over the next five
years (1891-1896), the mission at Nhowe produced an abundance of converts.

Many black African nationalists regarded all missionaries as working for the
European colonial governments. During an uprising in 1896, Bernard was
warned to flee. He refused, since he did not regard himself as working for
anyone but Christ, and he would not desert his converts or his post. On 18
June 1896, he was fatally speared outside his hut. His wife and a helper went to
get food and blankets for him. They later reported that, from a distance, they
saw a blinding light on the hillside where he had been lying, and heard a
rushing sound, as though of many wings. When they returned to the spot his
body had disappeared. The place of his death has become a focus of great
devotion for Anglicans and other Christians, and one of the greatest of all
Christian festivals in Africa takes place there every year around the feast day
that marks the anniversary of his martyrdom, June 18. [James Kiefer]


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