OREMUS: 7 August 2008

Steve Benner steve.benner at oremus.org
Wed Aug 6 17:00:05 GMT 2008

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OREMUS for Thursday, August 7, 2008
John Mason Neale, Priest, Hymn Writer, 1866

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

Blessed are you, O God,
beyond all seeing and knowing,
yet we meet you in the night of change and crisis,
and wrestle with you in the darkness of doubt.
You renew us with your your heavenly grace,
and in all our weakness
sustain us by your true and living bread,
Jesus Christ our Lord.
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 90

Lord, you have been our refuge*
 from one generation to another.
Before the mountains were brought forth,
   or the land and the earth were born,*
 from age to age you are God.
You turn us back to the dust and say,*
 'Go back, O child of earth.'
For a thousand years in your sight
   are like yesterday when it is past*
 and like a watch in the night.
You sweep us away like a dream;*
 we fade away suddenly like the grass.
In the morning it is green and flourishes;*
 in the evening it is dried up and withered.
For we consume away in your displeasure;*
 we are afraid because of your wrathful indignation.
Our iniquities you have set before you,*
 and our secret sins in the light of your countenance.
When you are angry, all our days are gone;*
 we bring our years to an end like a sigh.
The span of our life is seventy years,
   perhaps in strength even eighty;*
 yet the sum of them is but labour and sorrow,
   for they pass away quickly and we are gone.
Who regards the power of your wrath?*
 who rightly fears your indignation?
So teach us to number our days*
 that we may apply our hearts to wisdom.
Return, O Lord; how long will you tarry?*
 be gracious to your servants.
Satisfy us by your loving-kindness in the morning;*
 so shall we rejoice and be glad all the days of our life.
Make us glad by the measure of the days
   that you afflicted us*
 and the years in which we suffered adversity.
Show your servants your works*
 and your splendour to their children.
May the graciousness of the Lord our God be upon us;*
 prosper the work of our hands;
   prosper our handiwork.

A Song of God's Herald (Isaiah 40. 9-11)

Go up to a high mountain, 
herald of good tidings to Zion;  
lift up your voice with strength, 
herald of good tidings to Jerusalem. 
Lift up your voice, fear not;  
say to the cities of Judah, 'Behold your God!' 
See, the Lord God comes with might,  
and his arm rules for him. 
Behold, his reward is with him,  
and his recompense before him. 
God will feed his flock like a shepherd,  
and gather the lambs in his arms; 
He will carry them in his breast,  
and gently lead those that are with young. 

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 [Habakkuk 1:2-4,12-end;2:1-4]:

O Lord, how long shall I cry for help,
   and you will not listen?
Or cry to you 'Violence!'
   and you will not save?
Why do you make me see wrongdoing
   and look at trouble?
Destruction and violence are before me;
   strife and contention arise.
So the law becomes slack
   and justice never prevails.
The wicked surround the righteous 
   therefore judgement comes forth perverted.

Are you not from of old,
   O Lord my God, my Holy One?
   You shall not die.
O Lord, you have marked them for judgement;
   and you, O Rock, have established them for punishment.
Your eyes are too pure to behold evil,
   and you cannot look on wrongdoing;
why do you look on the treacherous,
   and are silent when the wicked swallow
   those more righteous than they?
You have made people like the fish of the sea,
   like crawling things that have no ruler.

The enemy brings all of them up with a hook;
   he drags them out with his net,
he gathers them in his seine;
   so he rejoices and exults.
Therefore he sacrifices to his net
   and makes offerings to his seine;
for by them his portion is lavish,
   and his food is rich.
Is he then to keep on emptying his net,
   and destroying nations without mercy?

I will stand at my watch-post,
   and station myself on the rampart;
I will keep watch to see what he will say to me,
   and what he will answer concerning my complaint.
Then the Lord answered me and said:
Write the vision;
   make it plain on tablets,
   so that a runner may read it.
For there is still a vision for the appointed time;
   it speaks of the end, and does not lie.
If it seems to tarry, wait for it;
   it will surely come, it will not delay.
Look at the proud!
   Their spirit is not right in them,
   but the righteous live by their faith.

Words: John Mason Neale, 1862
Tune: Stephanos, Cuttle Mills, Bullinger      

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Art thou weary, art thou languid,
art thou sore distressed?
"Come to Me," saith One, "and coming,
be at rest. "

Hath he marks to lead me to him,
if he be my guide?
In his feet and hands are wound prints
and his side.

Is there diadem, as monarch,
that his brow adorns?
Yes, a crown in very surety,
but of thorns.

If I find him, if I follow,
what his guerdon here?
Many a sorrow, many a labor,
many a tear.

If I still hold closely to him,
what hath he at last?
Sorrow vanquished, labor ended,
Jordan passed.

If I ask him to receive me,
will he say me nay?
Not till earth and not till heaven
pass away.

Finding, following, keeping, struggling,
is He sure to bless?
Saints, apostles, prophets, martyrs,
answer, yes!


Brothers and sisters, my heart's desire and prayer to God for them is that they may be
saved. I can testify that they have a zeal for God, but it is not enlightened. For, being
ignorant of the righteousness that comes from God, and seeking to establish their own,
they have not submitted to God's righteousness. For Christ is the end of the law so
that there may be righteousness for everyone who believes.

Moses writes concerning the righteousness that comes from the law, that 'the person
who does these things will live by them.' But the righteousness that comes from faith
says, 'Do not say in your heart, "Who will ascend into heaven?" ' (that is, to bring
Christ down) 'or "Who will descend into the abyss?" ' (that is, to bring Christ up from
the dead). But what does it say?
'The word is near you,
   on your lips and in your heart'
(that is, the word of faith that we proclaim); because if you confess with your lips that
Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be
saved. For one believes with the heart and so is justified, and one confesses with the
mouth and so is saved. The scripture says, 'No one who believes in him will be put to
shame.' For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; the same Lord is Lord of
all and is generous to all who call on him. For, 'Everyone who calls on the name of the
Lord shall be saved.'

 But how are they to call on one in whom they have not believed? And how are they to
believe in one of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without
someone to proclaim him? And how are they to proclaim him unless they are sent? As
it is written, 'How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!' But not all
have obeyed the good news; for Isaiah says, 'Lord, who has believed our message?'
So faith comes from what is heard, and what is heard comes through the word of

But I ask, have they not heard? Indeed they have; for
'Their voice has gone out to all the earth,
   and their words to the ends of the world.'
Again I ask, did Israel not understand? First Moses says,
'I will make you jealous of those who are not a nation;
   with a foolish nation I will make you angry.'
Then Isaiah is so bold as to say,
'I have been found by those who did not seek me;
   I have shown myself to those who did not ask for me.'
But of Israel he says, 'All day long I have held out my hands to a disobedient and
contrary people.' 

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

Almighty and gracious God,
we bless you for your mercy in Christ
and your nearness by the Word and the Spirit.

Hear us as we embrace in the circle of love:

the life and witness of your Church,
Generous God, hear us.

the world and its longing,
especially for peace in India and Pakistan,
Afghanistan, Israel and Palestine and wherever conflict persists.
Generous God, hear us.

the cares of our own lives,
Generous God, hear us.

and those particular concerns your Spirit awakens in us,
Generous God, hear us.

Eternal Father,
our refuge from generation to generation,
in Christ your salvation has dawned for your people:
prosper the work of our hands
that the promise of your glorious kingdom
may be fulfilled in our midst;
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Almighty God, 
beautiful in majesty, majestic in holiness, 
you have shown us the splendor of creation 
in the work of your servant John Mason Neale: 
Teach us to drive from the world 
the ugliness of chaos and disorder 
that our eyes may not be blind to your glory, 
and that at length everyone may know 
the inexhaustible richness of your new creation 
in Jesus Christ our Lord;
who lives and reigns with you and 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

Refresh us with your grace,
that we may not be weary in well-doing,
for the sake of him who has called us
to hunger and thirst to see right prevail,
Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

The psalms 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 uses phrases from a prayer in _Revised Common Lectionary
Prayers_, copyright (c) 2002 Consultation on Common Texts and from
_Book of Common Worship_, (c) 1993 Westminster / John Knox Press.
The closing prayer uses phrases from _Book of Common Worship_, (c)
1993 Westminster / John Knox Press. 

John Mason Neale was born in London in 1818, studied at Cambridge, and was ordained
to the priesthood in 1842. He was offered a parish, but chronic ill health, which was to
continue throughout his life, prevented him from taking it. In 1846 he was made warden of
Sackville College, a position he held for the rest of his life. Sackville College was not an
educational institution, but an almshouse, a charitable residence for the poor. 
In 1854 Neale co-founded the Sisterhood of St. Margaret, an order of women in the
Anglican Church dedicated to nursing the sick. Many Anglicans in his day, however, were
very suspicious of anything suggestive of Roman Catholicism. Only nine years earlier,
John H. Newman had encouraged Romish practices in the Anglican Church, and had
ended up joining the Romanists himself. This encouraged the suspicion that anyone like
Neale was an agent of the Vatican, assigned to destroy the Anglican Church by subverting
it from within. Once Neale was attacked and mauled at a funeral of one of the Sisters.
>From time to time unruly crowds threatened to stone him or to burn his house. He
received no honor or preferment in England, and his doctorate was bestowed by an
American college (Trinity College, Hartford, Connecticut). However, his basic goodness
eventually won the confidence of many who had fiercely opposed him, and the Sisterhood
of St. Margaret survived and prospered. 
Neale translated the Eastern liturgies into English, and wrote a mystical and devotional
commentary on the Psalms. However, he is best known as a hymn writer and translator,
having enriched English hymnody with many ancient and mediaeval hymns translated from
Latin and Greek. [James Kiefer, abridged]

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