OREMUS: 13 September 2007

Steve Benner steve.benner at oremus.org
Wed Sep 12 18:53:16 GMT 2007

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OREMUS for Thursday, September 13, 2007 
Cyprian, Bishop of Carthage, Martyr, 258

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

Blessed are you, God of the ages,
you call the Church to keep watch in the world
and to discern the signs of the times. 
You call us to proclaim your prophetic word with courage
and with the wisdom bestowed by the Spirit,
that the work you have set before us may be completed.
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 18:29-50

You, O Lord, are my lamp;*
 my God, you make my darkness bright.
With you I will break down an enclosure;*
 with the help of my God I will scale any wall.
As for God, his ways are perfect;
   the words of the Lord are tried in the fire;*
 he is a shield to all who trust in him.
For who is God, but the Lord?*
 who is the rock, except our God?
It is God who girds me about with strength*
 and makes my way secure.
He makes me sure-footed like a deer*
 and lets me stand firm on the heights.
He trains my hands for battle*
 and my arms for bending even a bow of bronze.
You have given me your shield of victory;*
 your right hand also sustains me;
   your loving care makes me great.
You lengthen my stride beneath me,*
 and my ankles do not give way.
I pursue my enemies and overtake them;*
 I will not turn back till I have destroyed them.
I strike them down and they cannot rise;*
 they fall defeated at my feet.
You have girded me with strength for the battle;*
 you have cast down my adversaries beneath me;
   you have put my enemies to flight.
I destroy those who hate me;
   they cry out, but there is none to help them;*
 they cry to the Lord, but he does not answer.
I beat them small like dust before the wind;*
 I trample them like mud in the streets.
You deliver me from the strife of the peoples;*
 you put me at the head of the nations.
A people I have not known shall serve me;
   no sooner shall they hear than they shall obey me;*
 strangers will cringe before me.
The foreign peoples will lose heart;*
 they shall come trembling out of their strongholds.
The Lord lives! Blessed is my rock!*
 Exalted is the God of my salvation!
He is the God who gave me victory*
 and cast down the peoples beneath me.
You rescued me from the fury of my enemies;
   you exalted me above those who rose against me;*
 you saved me from my deadly foe;
Therefore will I extol you among the nations, O Lord,*
 and sing praises to your name.
He multiplies the victories of his king;*
 he shows loving-kindness to his anointed,
   to David and his descendants for ever.

A Song of Tobit (Tobit 13:1,3-6a)

Blessed be God, who lives for ever,
whose reign endures throughout all ages.

Declare God's praise before the nations,
you who are the children of Israel.

For if our God has scattered you among them,
there too has he shown you his greatness.

Exalt him in the sight of the living,
because he is our Lord and God and our Father for ever.

Though God punishes you for your wickedness,
mercy will be shown to you all.

God will gather you from every nation,
from wherever you have been scattered.

When you turn to the Lord
with all your heart and soul,
God will hide his face from you no more.

See what the Lord has done for you
and give thanks with a loud voice.

Praise the Lord of righteousness
and exalt the King of the ages.

Psalm 148

   Praise the Lord from the heavens;*
 praise him in the heights.
Praise him, all you angels of his;*
 praise him, all his host.
Praise him, sun and moon;*
 praise him, all you shining stars.
Praise him, heaven of heavens,*
 and you waters above the heavens.
Let them praise the name of the Lord;*
 for he commanded and they were created.
He made them stand fast for ever and ever;*
 he gave them a law which shall not pass away.
Praise the Lord from the earth,*
 you sea-monsters and all deeps;
Fire and hail, snow and fog,*
 tempestuous wind, doing his will;
Mountains and all hills,*
 fruit trees and all cedars;
Wild beasts and all cattle,*
 creeping things and winged birds;
Kings of the earth and all peoples,*
 princes and all rulers of the world;
Young men and maidens,*
 old and young together.
Let them praise the name of the Lord,*
 for his name only is exalted,
   his splendour is over earth and heaven.
He has raised up strength for his people
   and praise for all his loyal servants,*
 the children of Israel, a people who are near him.

FIRST READING [Colossians 3:12-17]:

As God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, clothe yourselves
with compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and
patience. Bear with one another and, if anyone has a
complaint against another, forgive each other; just as
the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.
Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds
everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace
of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were
called in the one body. And be thankful. Let the word of
Christ dwell in you richly; teach and admonish one
another in all wisdom; and with gratitude in your hearts
sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs to God. And
whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the
name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father
through him.

Words: John Fawcett, 1782
Tune: Boylston

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Blest be the tie that binds
our hearts in Christian love;
the fellowship of kindred minds
is like that to that above.

Before our Father's throne
we pour our ardent prayers;
our fears, our hopes, our aims are one
our comforts and our cares.

We share each other's woes,
our mutual burdens bear;
and often for each other flows
the sympathizing tear.

When we asunder part,
it gives us inward pain;
but we shall still be joined in heart,
and hope to meet again.

This glorious hope revives
our courage by the way;
while each in expectation lives,
and longs to see the day.

>From sorrow, toil and pain,
and sin, we shall be free,
and perfect love and friendship reign
through all eternity.

SECOND READING [Luke 6:27-38]:

Jesus said, 'But I say to you that listen, Love your enemies, do good to those who
hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you. If anyone strikes
you on the cheek, offer the other also; and from anyone who takes away your coat do
not withhold even your shirt. Give to everyone who begs from you; and if anyone
takes away your goods, do not ask for them again. Do to others as you would have
them do to you.
'If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love
those who love them. If you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that
to you? For even sinners do the same. If you lend to those from whom you hope to
receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, to receive as much
again. But love your enemies, do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return. Your
reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High; for he is kind to the
ungrateful and the wicked. Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.
'Do not judge, and you will not be judged; do not condemn, and you will not be
condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven; give, and it will be given to you. A
good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap;
for the measure you give will be the measure you get back.' 

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

God of the apostles and martyrs,
we thank you for the hope that is from the beginning.
We bless you for the good news of Jesus
crucified, risen, and interceding for us
until his coming again in glory.

We commend to your care
all who walk and weep in grief and regret.

We pray in hope of your mercy.

We commend to you
all who live far from your image.
We pray in hope of your salvation.

We commend Holy Church,
We pray in hope of your glory.

We commend to your justice all peoples
who participate in oppression, strife and domination of others.
We pray in hope of your justice and peace.

We commend to you all who have died.
We pray in hope of your resurrection.

We commend to you our unfinished business.
We pray in hope of rest in you.

In the darkness of unknowing,
when your love seems absent
and your favour far away,
draw near to us, O God,
through Jesus Christ,
the forsaken one,
the risen one,
our Redeemer and our Lord. Amen.

Holy God,
who brought Cyprian to faith in Christ,
made him a bishop in the Church
and crowned his witness with a martyr's death:
grant that, after his example,
we may love the Church and her teachings,
find your forgiveness within her fellowship
and so come to share the heavenly banquet
you have prepared for us;
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

May God make safe to us each step,
May God open to us each door,
May God make clear to us each road.
May God enfold us in loving arms.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 phrases from a prayer in
_Opening Prayers: Collects in Contemporary Language_.
Canterbury Press, Norwich, 1999.

 The closing prayer is adapted from a prayer by Bruce Prewer, 2001. 
The second collect is from _Common Worship: Services and Prayers for
the Church of England_, material from which is included in this service is
copyright (c) The Archbishops' Council, 2000.

Cyprian was born around 200 AD in North Africa, of pagan parents. He was a
prominent trial lawyer and teacher of rhetoric. Around 246 he became a
Christian, and in 248 was chosen Bishop of Carthage. A year later the
persecution under the Emperor Decius began, and Cyprian went into hiding.
He was severely censured for this (unjustly on my view -- see Mt 2:13; 10:23;
24:16). After the persecution had died down, it remained to consider how to
deal with the lapsed, meaning with those Christians who had denied the faith
under duress. Cyprian held that they ought to be received back into full
communion after suitable intervals of probation and penance, adjusted to the
gravity of the denial. In this he took a middle course between Novatus, who
received apostates with no probation at all, and Novatian, who would not
receive them back at all, and who broke communion with the rest of the
Church over this issue, forming a dissident group particularly strong in Rome
and Antioch. (Novatus, somewhat surprisingly, ended up joining the party of
Novatian.) Cyprian, who held the same position as the Bishop of Rome on the
treatment of the lapsed, wrote urging the Christians of Rome to stand with
their bishop.
Later, the question arose whether baptisms performed by heretical groups
ought to be recognized as valid by the Church, or whether converts from such
groups ought to be rebaptized. Cyprian favored re-baptism, and Bishop
Stephen of Rome did not. The resulting controversy was not resolved during
Cyprian's lifetime.
During the reign of the Emperor Valerian, Carthage suffered a severe plague
epidemic. Cyprian organized a program of medical relief and nursing of the
sick, available to all residents, but this did not prevent the masses from being
convinced that the epidemic resulted from the wrath of the gods at the spread
of Christianity. Another persecution arose, and this time Cyprian did not flee.
He was arrested, tried, and finally beheaded on 14 September 258. (Because
14 is Holy Cross Day, he is usually commemorated on a nearby open day.) We
have an account of his trial and martyrdom.
Many of his writings have been preserved. His essay On The Unity of The
Catholic Church stresses the importance of visible, concrete unity among
Christians, and the role of the bishops in guaranteeing that unity. It has greatly
influenced Christian thought, as have his essays and letters on Baptism and the
Lord's Supper. He has been quoted both for and against the Roman Catholic
claims for Papal authority.

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