OREMUS: 23 November 2007

Steve Benner steve.benner at oremus.org
Thu Nov 22 17:00:01 GMT 2007


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OREMUS for Friday, November 23, 2007 
Clement, Bishop of Rome, Martyr, c.100

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

Blessed are you, ever-living God,
the hope of the nations,
the builder of the city that is to come.
our love made visible in Jesus Christ
brings home the lost,
restores the sinner
and gives dignity to the despised.
In his face your light shines out,
flooding lives with goodness and truth,
gathering into one in your kingdom
a divided and broken humanity.
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 123

To you I lift up my eyes,*
 to you enthroned in the heavens.
As the eyes of servants look to the hand of their masters,*
 and the eyes of a maid to the hand of her mistress,
So our eyes look to the Lord our God,*
 until he show us his mercy.
Have mercy upon us, O Lord, have mercy,*
 for we have had more than enough of contempt,
Too much of the scorn of the indolent rich,*
 and of the derision of the proud.

Psalm 129

'Greatly have they oppressed me since my youth',*
 let Israel now say;
'Greatly have they oppressed me since my youth,*
 but they have not prevailed against me.'
Those who plow ploughed upon my back*
 and made their furrows long.
The Lord, the Righteous One,*
 has cut the cords of the wicked.
Let them be put to shame and thrown back,*
 all those who are enemies of Zion.
Let them be like grass upon the housetops,*
 which withers before it can be plucked;
Which does not fill the hand of the reaper,*
 nor the bosom of him who binds the sheaves;
So that those who go by say not so much as,
   'The Lord prosper you.*
 We wish you well in the name of the Lord.'

Psalm 137:1-6

By the waters of Babylon we sat down and wept,*
 when we remembered you, O Zion.
As for our harps, we hung them up*
 on the trees in the midst of that land.
For those who led us away captive asked us for a song,
   and our oppressors called for mirth:*
 'Sing us one of the songs of Zion.'
How shall we sing the Lord's song*
 upon an alien soil?
If I forget you, O Jerusalem,*
 let my right hand forget its skill.
Let my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth
   if I do not remember you,*
 if I do not set Jerusalem above my highest joy.

A Song of the New Creation (Isaiah 43.15,16,18,19,20c,21)
'I am the Lord, your Holy One,  
the Creator of Israel, your King.' 
Thus says the Lord, who makes a way in the sea,  
a path in the mighty waters, 
'Remember not the former things,  
nor consider the things of old. 
'Behold, I am doing a new thing;  
now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? 
'I will make a way in the wilderness 
and rivers in the desert,  
to give drink to my chosen people, 
'The people whom I formed for myself,  
that they might declare my praise.' 

Psalm 147:1-12

Alleluia!
   How good it is to sing praises to our God!*
 how pleasant it is to honour him with praise!
The Lord rebuilds Jerusalem;*
 he gathers the exiles of Israel.
He heals the brokenhearted*
 and binds up their wounds.
He counts the number of the stars*
 and calls them all by their names.
Great is our Lord and mighty in power;*
 there is no limit to his wisdom.
The Lord lifts up the lowly,*
 but casts the wicked to the ground.
Sing to the Lord with thanksgiving;*
 make music to our God upon the harp.
He covers the heavens with clouds*
 and prepares rain for the earth;
He makes grass to grow upon the mountains*
 and green plants to serve us all.
He provides food for flocks and herds*
 and for the young ravens when they cry.
He is not impressed by the might of a horse,*
 he has no pleasure in human strength;
But the Lord has pleasure in those who fear him,*
 in those who await his gracious favour.
 Alleluia!

FIRST READING [1 Maccabees 4:36-37,52-59]:

Judas and his brothers said, 'See, our enemies are crushed; let us go up to cleanse the
sanctuary and dedicate it.' So all the army assembled and went up to Mount Zion.
Early in the morning on the twenty-fifth day of the ninth month, which is the month of
Chislev, in the one hundred and forty-eighth year, they rose and offered sacrifice, as
the law directs, on the new altar of burnt-offering that they had built. At the very
season and on the very day that the Gentiles had profaned it, it was dedicated with
songs and harps and lutes and cymbals. All the people fell on their faces and
worshipped and blessed Heaven, who had prospered them. So they celebrated the
dedication of the altar for eight days, and joyfully offered burnt-offerings; they offered
a sacrifice of well-being and a thanksgiving-offering. They decorated the front of the
temple with golden crowns and small shields; they restored the gates and the chambers
for the priests, and fitted them with doors. There was very great joy among the people,
and the disgrace brought by the Gentiles was removed.
Then Judas and his brothers and all the assembly of Israel determined that every year
at that season the days of dedication of the altar should be observed with joy and
gladness for eight days, beginning with the twenty-fifth day of the month of Chislev. 

HYMN 
Words: Nahum Tate and Nicholas Brady, 1698
Tune: Mount Sion

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O 'twas a joyful sound to hear
our tribes devoutly say,
up, Israel! to the temple haste,
and keep your festal day.
at Salem's courts we must appear,
with our assembled powers,
in strong and beauteous order ranged,
like her united towers.

O ever pray for Salem's peace;
for they shall prosperous be,
thou holy city of our God,
who bear true love to thee.
May peace within thy sacred walls
a constant guest be found;
with plenty and prosperity
thy palaces be crowned.

For my dear brethren's sake, and friends
no less than brethren dear,
I'll pray: May peace in Salem's towers
a constant guest appear.
But most of all I'll seek thy good,
and ever wish thee well,
for Zion and the temple's sake,
where God vouchsafes to dwell.

SECOND READING [Luke 19:45-48]:

Jesus entered the temple and began to drive out those who were selling things there;
and he said, 'It is written,
"My house shall be a house of prayer";
   but you have made it a den of robbers.'
Every day he was teaching in the temple. The chief priests, the scribes, and the leaders
of the people kept looking for a way to kill him; but they did not find anything they
could do, for all the people were spellbound by what they heard. 

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

Prayer:
Let us with confidence present our prayers and supplications to the throne of
grace.

We pray for all those in positions of power,
that they may govern with wisdom and integrity, 
serving the needs of their people.
May your reign come;
Lord, hear our prayer.

We pray for the Church, the sign of your reign,
that it may extend your welcome to people of every race and background.
May your kingdom come;
Lord, hear our prayer.

We pray for Christians of every denomination,
that together we may come to understand the royal priesthood
you bestowed on us in baptism.  
May your dominion come;
Lord, hear our prayer.

We pray for those whose commitment to truth 
brings them into conflict with earthly powers, 
that they may have the courage to endure.
May your rule come;
Lord, hear our prayer.

We pray for this community of faith,
that attentive to your word, 
we may always worship in spirit and in truth.
May your reign come;
Lord, hear our prayer.

Loving God, 
you have taught us that the power of the heart
is greater than the power of wealth and might.
Hear us as we pray for the fulfilment of your reign.
We ask this through Jesus Christ our King;
to him be glory and power forever. Amen.

Almighty God, 
whose sovereign purpose none can make void: 
give us faith to be steadfast amid the tumults of this world, 
knowing that your kingdom shall come 
and your will be done, to your eternal glory; 
through Jesus Christ our Lord, 
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, 
one God, now and for ever. Amen.
       
Creator and Father of eternity,
whose martyr Clement bore witness with his blood
to the love he proclaimed and the gospel that he preached:
give us thankful hearts as we celebrate your faithfulness,
revealed to us in the lives of your saints,
and strengthen us in our pilgrimage as we follow your Son,
Jesus Christ our Lord,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever. Amen.
 
Uniting our prayers with the whole company of heaven,
let us pray as our Savior has taught us.

- The Lord's Prayer

May Christ who makes saints of sinners,
and who has transformed those who have gone before us,
raise and strengthen us that we may transform the world. 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 sentence are adapted from
_Common Worship: Times and Seasons (draft)_, material from which is
included in this service is copyright (c) The Archbishops' Council, 2004.

Clement is counted as the third bishop of Rome (after the apostles). His predecessors are
Linus and Cletus (or Anacletus, or Anencletus), about whom almost nothing is known.
They are simply names on a list. Clement is a little more than this, chiefly because he
wrote a letter to the Corinthians, which was highly valued by the early church, and has
been preserved to the present day. The letter itself does not carry his name, but is merely
addressed from the congregation at Rome to the congregation at Corinth. However, a
letter from Corinth to Rome a few decades later refers to "the letter we received from
your bishop Clement, which we still read regularly." Other early writers are unanimous in
attributing the letter to Clement. Perhaps because this letter made his name familiar, he has
had an early anonymous sermon (commonly called II Clement) attributed to him, and is a
character in some early religious romances (e.g. the Clementine Recognitions).
One story about Clement is that he was put to death by being tied to an anchor and thrown
into the sea. Accordingly, he is often depicted with an anchor, and many churches in port
towns intended to minister chiefly to mariners are named for him.
The Epistle of Clement to The Corinthians (also called I Clement) can be found in
collections of the writings of the Apostolic Fathers, such as the Penguin Paperback Early
Christian Writings, translated by Maxwell Staniforth. The letter is commonly dated around
96 AD, but an earlier date is suggested by John Robinson in his Redating the New
Testament.
The letter is occasioned by the fact that a group of Christians at Corinth had banded
together against their leaders and had deposed them from office. Clement writes to tell
them that they have behaved badly, and to remind them of the importance of Christian
unity and love. He speaks at length of the way in which each kind of official in the church
has his own function for the good of the whole. The letter is an important witness to the
early Christian understanding of Church government, but an ambiguous witness in that we
are never told precisely why the Corinthians had deposed their leaders, and therefore the
letter can be read as saying that presbyters ought not to be deposed without reasonable
grounds, or as saying that they cannot be deposed on any grounds at all. [James Kiefer,
abridged]



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