OREMUS: 3 September 2007

Steve Benner steve.benner at oremus.org
Sun Sep 2 17:00:01 GMT 2007

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OREMUS for Monday, September 3, 2007 
Gregory the Great, Bishop of Rome, Teacher of the Faith, 604
[Labor Day, US]

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

Blessed are you, Almighty God, Father of all mercies,
we give you thanks for all your goodness and loving-kindness
to us and to all whom you have made.
We bless you for our creation, preservation,
and all the blessings of this life;
but above all for your immeasurable love
in the redemption of the world by our Lord Jesus Christ;
for the means of grace, and for the hope of glory.
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 25

To you, O Lord, I lift up my soul;
   my God, I put my trust in you;*
 let me not be humiliated,
   nor let my enemies triumph over me.
Let none who look to you be put to shame;*
 let the treacherous be disappointed in their schemes.
Show me your ways, O Lord,*
 and teach me your paths.
Lead me in your truth and teach me,*
 for you are the God of my salvation;
   in you have I trusted all the day long.
Remember, O Lord, your compassion and love,*
 for they are from everlasting.
Remember not the sins of my youth
   and my transgressions;*
 remember me according to your love
   and for the sake of your goodness, O Lord.
Gracious and upright is the Lord;*
 therefore he teaches sinners in his way.
He guides the humble in doing right*
 and teaches his way to the lowly.
All the paths of the Lord are love and faithfulness*
 to those who keep his covenant and his testimonies.
For your name's sake, O Lord,*
 forgive my sin, for it is great.
Who are they who fear the Lord?*
 he will teach them the way that they should choose.
They shall dwell in prosperity,*
 and their offspring shall inherit the land.
The Lord is a friend to those who fear him*
 and will show them his covenant.
My eyes are ever looking to the Lord,*
 for he shall pluck my feet out of the net.
Turn to me and have pity on me,*
 for I am left alone and in misery.
The sorrows of my heart have increased;*
 bring me out of my troubles.
Look upon my adversity and misery*
 and forgive me all my sin.
Look upon my enemies, for they are many,*
 and they bear a violent hatred against me.
Protect my life and deliver me;*
 let me not be put to shame, for I have trusted in you.
Let integrity and uprightness preserve me,*
 for my hope has been in you.
Deliver Israel, O God,*
 out of all his troubles.

A Song of Judith (Judith 16:13-16)

I will sing a new song to my God,
for you are great and glorious,
truly strong and invincible.

May your whole creation serve you,
for you spoke and all things came to be.

You sent forth your Spirit and they were formed,
for no one can resist your voice.

Mountains and seas are stirred to their depths;
at your presence rocks shall melt like wax.

But to those who fear you,
you continue to show mercy.

No sacrifice, however fragrant, can please you,
but whoever fears the Lord
shall stand in your sight for ever.

Psalm 150

   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.

FIRST READING [Jeremiah 2:23-37]:

How can you say, 'I am not defiled,
   I have not gone after the Baals'?
Look at your way in the valley;
   know what you have done 
a restive young camel interlacing her tracks,
   a wild ass at home in the wilderness,
in her heat sniffing the wind!
   Who can restrain her lust?
None who seek her need weary themselves;
   in her month they will find her.
Keep your feet from going unshod
   and your throat from thirst.
But you said, 'It is hopeless,
   for I have loved strangers,
   and after them I will go.'

As a thief is shamed when caught,
   so the house of Israel shall be shamed 
they, their kings, their officials,
   their priests, and their prophets,
who say to a tree, 'You are my father',
   and to a stone, 'You gave me birth.'
For they have turned their backs to me,
   and not their faces.
But in the time of their trouble they say,
   'Come and save us!'
But where are your gods
   that you made for yourself?
Let them come, if they can save you,
   in your time of trouble;
for you have as many gods
   as you have towns, O Judah.

Why do you complain against me?
   You have all rebelled against me,
says the Lord.
In vain I have struck down your children;
   they accepted no correction.
Your own sword devoured your prophets
   like a ravening lion.
And you, O generation, behold the word of the Lord!
Have I been a wilderness to Israel,
   or a land of thick darkness?
Why then do my people say, 'We are free,
   we will come to you no more'?
Can a girl forget her ornaments,
   or a bride her attire?
Yet my people have forgotten me,
   days without number.

How well you direct your course
   to seek lovers!
So that even to wicked women
   you have taught your ways.
Also on your skirts is found
   the lifeblood of the innocent poor,
though you did not catch them breaking in.
   Yet in spite of all these things
you say, 'I am innocent;
   surely his anger has turned from me.'
Now I am bringing you to judgement
   for saying, 'I have not sinned.'
How lightly you gad about,
   changing your ways!
You shall be put to shame by Egypt
   as you were put to shame by Assyria.
>From there also you will come away
   with your hands on your head;
for the Lord has rejected those in whom you trust,
   and you will not prosper through them. 

Words: Jane Borthwick, 1859, 1863
Tune: Ora labora

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Come, labor on.
Who dares stand idle on the harvest plain,
while all around us waves the golden grain?
And to each servant does the Master say,
"Go work today."

Come, labor on.
The enemy is watching night and day,
to sow the tares, to snatch the seed away;
while we in sleep our duty have forgot,
he slumbered not.

Come, labor on.
Away with gloomy doubts and faithless fear!
No arm so weak but may do service here:
by feeblest agents may our God fulfill
his righteous will.

Come, labor on.
Claim the high calling angels cannot share--
to young and old the Gospel gladness bear;
redeem the time; its hours too swiftly fly.
The night draws nigh.

Come, labor on.
No time for rest, till glows the western sky,
till the long shadows o'er our pathway lie,
and a glad sound comes with the setting sun.
"Servants, well done."

Come, labor on.
The toil is pleasant, the reward is sure,
blessed are those who to the end endure;
how full their joy, how deep their rest shall be,
O Lord, with thee.

SECOND READING [Hebrews 13:7-21]:

Remember your leaders, those who spoke the word of God to you; consider the
outcome of their way of life, and imitate their faith. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday
and today and for ever. Do not be carried away by all kinds of strange teachings; for it
is well for the heart to be strengthened by grace, not by regulations about food, which
have not benefited those who observe them. We have an altar from which those who
officiate in the tent have no right to eat. For the bodies of those animals whose blood
is brought into the sanctuary by the high priest as a sacrifice for sin are burned outside
the camp. Therefore Jesus also suffered outside the city gate in order to sanctify the
people by his own blood. Let us then go to him outside the camp and bear the abuse
he endured. For here we have no lasting city, but we are looking for the city that is to
come. Through him, then, let us continually offer a sacrifice of praise to God, that is,
the fruit of lips that confess his name. Do not neglect to do good and to share what
you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.
Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls and
will give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with sighing for that would
be harmful to you.
Pray for us; we are sure that we have a clear conscience, desiring to act honourably in
all things. I urge you all the more to do this, so that I may be restored to you very
Now may the God of peace, who brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, the
great shepherd of the sheep, by the blood of the eternal covenant, make you complete
in everything good so that you may do his will, working among us that which is
pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be the glory for ever and ever.

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

Let us offer our prayers to God, who pronounced
all creation good, who sent his Son to live and
work as one like us, and who calls us to serve the poor and
those oppressed. 

For all those who work:
Lord, give success to the work of our hands.

For those who are unemployed or underemployed, or have lost their jobs
because of changing economic conditions, let us pray:
Lord, give success to the work of our hands.

For those who work in hazardous conditions without sufficient protection, let us
Lord, give success to the work of our hands.

For migrant workers and all who work the land, let us pray:
Lord, give success to the work of our hands.

For all employers that they may seek to provide a just work environment:
Lord, give success to the work of our hands.

For those who face discrimination, harassment, or abuse in the workplace, let us
Lord, give success to the work of our hands.

For those who must balance job commitments with the needs of their family, let us
Lord, give success to the work of our hands.

Loving God,
through your Son you gave us an example to love one another as he loved us. 
Give us the strength to continue working to bring forth your kingdom here on
a kingdom of justice and peace, kindness and compassion, grace and mercy. 
Grant this through Christ, our Lord. Amen.

Almighty God, 
whose Son Jesus Christ in his earthly life 
shared our toil and hallowed our labor: 
Be present with your people where they work; 
make those who carry on the industries and commerce of this land 
responsive to your will;
and give to us all a pride in what we do, 
and a just return for our labor;
through Jesus Christ our Lord, 
who lives and reigns with you, 
in the unity of the Holy Spirit, 
one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Merciful Father,
who chose your bishop Gregory
to be a servant of the servants of God:
grant that, like him, we may ever long to serve you
by proclaiming your gospel to the nations,
and may ever rejoice to sing your praises;
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.      

Gathering our prayers and praises into one,
let us pray as our Savior has taught us.

- The Lord's Prayer

Be a bright flame before us, O God,
and a guiding star above us.
Be a smooth path below us
and a kindly shepherd behind us,
today, tomorrow, and always. 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 uses sentences from prayers in The Book of
Common Prayer According to the Use of The Episcopal Church_.

The closing sentence is by St Columba.

Only two popes, Leo I and Gregory I, have been given the popular title of "the
Great." Both served during difficult times of barbarian invasions in Italy; and
during Gregory's term of office, Rome was also faced with famine and
Gregory was born around 540, of a politically influential family, and in 573 he
became Prefect of Rome; but shortly afterwards he resigned his office and
began to live as a monk. In 579 he was made apocrisiarius (representative of
the Pope to the Patriarch of Constantinople). Shortly after his return home, the
Pope died of the plague, and in 590 Gregory was elected Pope.
Like Leo before him, he became practical governor of central Italy, because the
job needed to be done and there was no one else to do it. When the Lombards
invaded, he organized the defense of Rome against them, and the eventual
signing of a treaty with them. When there was a shortage of food, he organized
the importation and distribution of grain from Sicily.
His influence on the forms of public worship throughout Western Europe was
enormous. He founded a school for the training of church musicians, and
Gregorian chant (plainchant) is named for him. The schedule of Scripture
readings for the various Sundays of the year, and the accompanying prayers
(many of them written by him), in use throughout most of Western
Christendom for the next thirteen centuries, is largely due to his passion for
organization. His treatise, On Pastoral Care, while not a work of creative
imagination, shows a dedication to duty, and an understanding of what is
required of a minister in charge of a Christian congregation. His sermons are
still readable today, and it is not without reason that he is accounted (along
with Ambrose, Jerome, and Augustine of Hippo) as one of the Four Latin
Doctors (=Teachers) of the ancient Church. (Athanasius, Gregory of
Nazianzen, Basil the Great, and John Chrysostom are the Four Greek
English-speaking Christians will remember Gregory for sending a party of
missionaries headed by Augustine of Canterbury (not to be confused with the
more famous Augustine of Hippo) to preach the Gospel to the pagan
Anglo-Saxon tribes that had invaded England and largely conquered or
displaced the Celtic Christians previously living there. Gregory had originally
hoped to go to England as a missionary himself, but was pressed into service
elsewhere, first as apocrisiarius and then as bishop of Rome. He accordingly
sent others, but took an active interest in their work, writing numerous letters
both to Augustine and his monks and to their English converts. [James Kiefer,

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