OREMUS: 31 March 2007

Steve Benner steve.benner at oremus.org
Fri Mar 30 20:23:27 GMT 2007

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OREMUS for Saturday, March 31, 2007 
John Donne, Priest, Poet, 1631

O God, make speed to save us;
O Lord, make haste to help us.

Blessed are you, holy Father, 
almighty and eternal God,
 through Jesus Christ our Lord.
For as the time of his passion and resurrection draws near
the whole world is called to acknowledge his hidden majesty.
The power of the life-giving cross
reveals the judgement that has come upon the world
and the triumph of Christ crucified.
He is the victim who dies no more,
the Lamb once slain, who lives for ever,
our advocate in heaven to plead our cause.
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 23

The Lord is my shepherd;*
 I shall not be in want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures*
 and leads me beside still waters.
He revives my soul*
 and guides me along right pathways for his name's sake.
Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
   I shall fear no evil;*
 for you are with me;
   your rod and your staff, they comfort me.
You spread a table before me
   in the presence of those who trouble me;*
 you have anointed my head with oil,
   and my cup is running over.
Surely your goodness and mercy shall follow me
   all the days of my life,*
 and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.

Psalm 88

O Lord, my God, my Saviour,*
 by day and night I cry to you.
Let my prayer enter into your presence;*
 incline your ear to my lamentation.
For I am full of trouble;*
 my life is at the brink of the grave.
I am counted among those who go down to the Pit;*
 I have become like one who has no strength;
Lost among the dead,*
 like the slain who lie in the grave,
Whom you remember no more,*
 for they are cut off from your hand.
You have laid me in the depths of the Pit,*
 in dark places and in the abyss.
Your anger weighs upon me heavily,*
 and all your great waves overwhelm me.
You have put my friends far from me;
   you have made me to be abhorred by them;*
 I am in prison and cannot get free.
My sight has failed me because of trouble;*
 Lord, I have called upon you daily;
   I have stretched out my hands to you.
Do you work wonders for the dead?*
 will those who have died
   stand up and give you thanks?
Will your loving-kindness be declared in the grave?*
 your faithfulness in the land of destruction?
Will your wonders be known in the dark?*
 or your righteousness in the country
   where all is forgotten?
But as for me, O Lord, I cry to you for help;*
 in the morning my prayer comes before you.
Lord, why have you rejected me?*
 why have you hidden your face from me?
Ever since my youth,
   I have been wretched and at the point of death;*
 I have borne your terrors with a troubled mind.
Your blazing anger has swept over me;*
 your terrors have destroyed me;
They surround me all day long like a flood;*
 they encompass me on every side.
My friend and my neighbour you have put away from me,*
 and darkness is my only companion.

FIRST READING [Leviticus 23:1-8]:

The Lord spoke to Moses, saying: Speak to the people of
Israel and say to them: These are the appointed festivals
of the Lord that you shall proclaim as holy convocations,
my appointed festivals.

For six days shall work be done; but the seventh day is a
sabbath of complete rest, a holy convocation; you shall
do no work: it is a sabbath to the Lord throughout your

These are the appointed festivals of the Lord, the holy
convocations, which you shall celebrate at the time
appointed for them. In the first month, on the fourteenth
day of the month, at twilight, there shall be a
passover-offering to the Lord, and on the fifteenth day
of the same month is the festival of unleavened bread to
the Lord; for seven days you shall eat unleavened bread.
On the first day you shall have a holy convocation; you
shall not work at your occupations. For seven days you
shall present the Lord's offerings by fire; on the
seventh day there shall be a holy convocation: you shall
not work at your occupations. 

Words: John Donne (1673-1631)
Tune: So giebst du nun
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Wilt thou forgive that sin, where I begun,
which is my sin, though it were done before?
Wilt thou forgive those sins through which I run,
and do run still, though still I do deplore?
When thou hast done, thou hast not done,
for I have more.

Wilt thou forgive that sin, by which I won
others to sin, and made my sin their door?
Wilt thou forgive that sin which I did not shun
a year or two, but wallowed in a score?
When thou hast done, thou hast not done,
for I have more.

I have a sin of fear that when I've spun
my last thread, I shall perish on the shore;
swear by thyself, that at my death thy Son
shall shine as he shines now, and heretofore.
And having done that, thou hast done,
I fear no more.

SECOND READING [Luke 22:1-13]:

Now the festival of Unleavened Bread, which is called the Passover, was near. The
chief priests and the scribes were looking for a way to put Jesus to death, for they
were afraid of the people.
Then Satan entered into Judas called Iscariot, who was one of the twelve; he went
away and conferred with the chief priests and officers of the temple police about how
he might betray him to them. They were greatly pleased and agreed to give him
money. So he consented and began to look for an opportunity to betray him to them
when no crowd was present.
Then came the day of Unleavened Bread, on which the Passover lamb had to be
sacrificed. So Jesus sent Peter and John, saying, 'Go and prepare the Passover meal
for us that we may eat it.' They asked him, 'Where do you want us to make
preparations for it?' 'Listen,' he said to them, 'when you have entered the city, a man
carrying a jar of water will meet you; follow him into the house he enters and say to
the owner of the house, "The teacher asks you, 'Where is the guest room, where I may
eat the Passover with my disciples?' " He will show you a large room upstairs, already
furnished. Make preparations for us there.' So they went and found everything as he
had told them; and they prepared the Passover meal. 

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

O Christ, 
out of your fullness we have received grace upon grace.
You are our eternal hope;
you are patient and full of mercy;
you are generous to all who call upon you.
Save us, O Lord.

O Christ, fountain of life and holiness,
you have taken away our sins.
On the cross you were wounded for our transgressions
and were bruised for our iniquities.
Save us, O Lord.

O Christ, obedient unto death,
source of all comfort,
our life and our resurrection,
our peace and reconciliation:
Save us, O Lord.

O Christ, Savior of all who trust you,
hope of all who die for yo,
and joy of all the saints:
Save us, O Lord.

O Lord, in your goodness 
you bestow abundant graces on your elect: 
Look with favor, we entreat you, upon those 
who in these Lenten days are being prepared for Holy Baptism, 
and grant them the help of your protection; 
through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, 
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, 
one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Almighty God, 
the root and fountain of all being: 
Open our eyes to see, with your servant John Donne, 
that whatever has any being is a mirror 
in which we may behold you; 
through Jesus Christ our Lord,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, 
one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Standing at the foot of the cross, BR>
let us pray as our Savior taught us:

- The Lord's Prayer

Christ crucified draw us to himself,
to find in him a sure ground for faith,
a firm support for hope,
and the assurance of sins forgiven. 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 adapts phrases from _Opening
Prayers: Collects in Contemporary Language_. Canterbury Press,
Norwich, 1999.

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

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

"All mankind is one volume. When one man dies, one chapter is torn out of the
book and translated into a better language. And every chapter must be so
translated. God employs several translators. Some pieces are translated by age,
some by sickness, some by war, some by justice. But God's hand shall bind up
all our scattered leaves again for that library where every book shall lie open to
Donne (rhymes with "sun") was born in 1573 (his father died in 1576) into a
Roman Catholic family, and from 1584 to 1594 was educated at Oxford and
Cambridge and Lincoln's Inn (this last a highly regarded law school). He
became an Anglican (probably around 1594) and aimed at a career in
government. He joined with Raleigh and Essex in raids on Cadiz and the
Azores, and became private secretary to Sir Thomas Egerton. But in 1601 he
secretly married Anne More, the 16-year-old niece of Egerton, and her enraged
father had Donne imprisoned. The years following were years of poverty, debt,
illness, and frustration. In 1615 he was ordained, perhaps largely because he
had given up hope of a career in Parliament.
>From the above information, the reader might conclude that Donne's professed
religious belief was mere opportunism. But the evidence of his poetry is that,
long before his ordination, and probably beginning with his marriage, his
thoughts were turned toward holiness, and he saw in his wife Anne (as Dante
had earlier seen in Beatrice) a glimpse of the glory of God, and in human love a
revelation of the nature of Divine Love.
After his ordination, his reputation as a preacher grew steadily. From 1622
until his death he was Dean of St. Paul's Cathedral in London, and drew huge
crowds to hear him, both at the Cathedral and at Paul's Cross, an outdoor
pulpit nearby. His prose style is in some ways outdated, but his theme
continues to fascinate: "the paradoxical and complex predicament of man as he
both seeks and yet draws away from the inescapable claim of God on him."
Various collections of his sermons (a ten-volume complete edition and a
one-volume selection) have been published. Most anthologies of English poetry
contain at least a few of his poems, and it is a poor college library that does not
have a complete set of them. His friend Izaak Walton (author of The Compleat
Angler) has written a biography. Three poems and a portion of a meditation
can be read at http://elvis.rowan.edu/~kilroy/JEK/03/31.html and a large
collection of his works can be read at http://www.ccel.org/d/donne/. [James

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