OREMUS: 10 December 2008

Steve Benner steve.benner at oremus.org
Tue Dec 9 17:00:00 GMT 2008


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OREMUS for Wednesday, December 10, 2008
Thomas Merton, Monk, Spiritual Writer, 1968

Lord, open our lips,
and our mouth shall proclaim your praise.

Blessed are you, God of eternity!
When the voice of the prophet was silent
and the faith of your people low;
when darkness had obscured light
and indifferenced displaced zeal:
you saw that the time was right,
and prepared to send yoiur Son
to set us free from fear and despair
that we may be ready to welcome him
who comes as Savior and 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. 

http://www.oremus.org/ocan.html

Psalm 49

Hear this, all you peoples;
   hearken, all you who dwell in the world,*
 you of high degree and low, rich and poor together.
My mouth shall speak of wisdom,*
 and my heart shall meditate on understanding.
I will incline my ear to a proverb*
 and set forth my riddle upon the harp.
Why should I be afraid in evil days,*
 when the wickedness of those at my heels surrounds me,
The wickedness of those
   who put their trust in their goods,*
 and boast of their great riches?
We can never ransom ourselves,*
 or deliver to God the price of our life;
For the ransom of our life is so great,*
 that we should never have enough to pay it,
In order to live for ever and ever,*
 and never see the grave.
For we see that the wise die also;
   like the dull and stupid they perish*
 and leave their wealth to those who come after them.
Their graves shall be their homes for ever,
   their dwelling places from generation to generation,*
 though they call the lands after their own names.
Even though honoured, they cannot live for ever;*
 they are like the beasts that perish.
Such is the way of those
   who foolishly trust in themselves,*
 and the end of those who delight in their own words.
Like a flock of sheep they are destined to die;
   Death is their shepherd;*
 they go down straightway to the grave.
Their form shall waste away,*
 and the land of the dead shall be their home.
But God will ransom my life;*
 he will snatch me from the grasp of death.
Do not be envious when some become rich,*
 or when the grandeur of their house increases;
For they will carry nothing away at their death,*
 nor will their grandeur follow them.
Though they thought highly of themselves
   while they lived,*
 and were praised for their success,
They shall join the company of their forebears,*
 who will never see the light again.
Those who are honoured, but have no understanding,*
 are like the beasts that perish.

A Song of the Lamb (Revelation 19.1b,2a,5b,6b,7,9b)

Salvation and glory and power belong to our God, . 
whose judgements are true and just. 
Praise our God, all you his servants, . 
all who fear him, both small and great. 
The Lord our God, the Almighty, reigns: . 
let us rejoice and exult and give him the glory. 
For the marriage of the Lamb has come . 
and his bride has made herself ready. 
Blessed are those who are invited . 
to the wedding banquet of the Lamb.

Psalm 147:13-end

Alleluia!
Worship the Lord, O Jerusalem;*
 praise your God, O Zion;
For he has strengthened the bars of your gates;*
 he has blessed your children within you.
He has established peace on your borders;*
 he satisfies you with the finest wheat.
He sends out his command to the earth,*
 and his word runs very swiftly.
He gives snow like wool;*
 he scatters hoarfrost like ashes.
He scatters his hail like bread crumbs;*
 who can stand against his cold?
He sends forth his word and melts them;*
 he blows with his wind and the waters flow.
He declares his word to Jacob,*
 his statutes and his judgements to Israel.
He has not done so to any other nation;*
 to them he has not revealed his judgements.
   Alleluia!

FIRST READING [Isaiah 11:1-10]:

A shoot shall come out from the stock of Jesse,
   and a branch shall grow out of his roots.
The spirit of the Lord shall rest on him,
   the spirit of wisdom and understanding,
   the spirit of counsel and might,
   the spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord.
His delight shall be in the fear of the Lord.

He shall not judge by what his eyes see,
   or decide by what his ears hear;
but with righteousness he shall judge the poor,
   and decide with equity for the meek of the earth;
he shall strike the earth with the rod of his mouth,
   and with the breath of his lips he shall kill the wicked.
Righteousness shall be the belt around his waist,
   and faithfulness the belt around his loins.

The wolf shall live with the lamb,
   the leopard shall lie down with the kid,
the calf and the lion and the fatling together,
   and a little child shall lead them.
The cow and the bear shall graze,
   their young shall lie down together;
   and the lion shall eat straw like the ox.
The nursing child shall play over the hole of the asp,
   and the weaned child shall put its hand on the adder's den.
They will not hurt or destroy
   on all my holy mountain;
for the earth will be full of the knowledge of the Lord
   as the waters cover the sea.

On that day the root of Jesse shall stand as a signal to the peoples; the nations shall
inquire of him, and his dwelling shall be glorious. 

HYMN 
stanzas 1-2: German, fifteenth century carol;
trans. Theodore Baker, 1894.
stanzas 3-4: Friedrich Layritz (1808-1859);
trans. Harriet Reynolds Krauth (1845-1925). 
Tune: Es ist ein Ros

http://www.oremus.org/hymnal/l/l189.html
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Lo, how a Rose e'er blooming
from tender stem hath sprung!
of Jesse's lineage coming,
as those of old have sung.
It came, a floweret bright,
amid the cold of winter,
when half spent was the night.

Isaiah 'twas foretold it,
the Rose I have in mind;
with Mary we behold it,
the Virgin Mother kind.
To show God's love aright,
she bore to us a Savior,
when half spent was the night.

The shepherds heard the story
proclaimed by angels bright,
how Christ, the Lord of glory
was born on earth this night.
To Bethlehem they sped
and in the manger they found him,
as angel heralds said.

This Flower, whose fragrance tender
with sweetness fills the air,
dispels with glorious splendor
the darkness everywhere;
true man, yet very God,
from sin and death he saves us,
and lightens every load. 

SECOND READING [Mark 3:20-end]:

Jesus went home and the crowd came together again, so that they could not even eat.
When his family heard it, they went out to restrain him, for people were saying, 'He
has gone out of his mind.' And the scribes who came down from Jerusalem said, 'He
has Beelzebul, and by the ruler of the demons he casts out demons.' And he called
them to him, and spoke to them in parables, 'How can Satan cast out Satan? If a
kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. And if a house is divided
against itself, that house will not be able to stand. And if Satan has risen up against
himself and is divided, he cannot stand, but his end has come. But no one can enter a
strong man's house and plunder his property without first tying up the strong man;
then indeed the house can be plundered.

'Truly I tell you, people will be forgiven for their sins and whatever blasphemies they
utter; but whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit can never have forgiveness, but
is guilty of an eternal sin'  for they had said, 'He has an unclean spirit.'

Then his mother and his brothers came; and standing outside, they sent to him and
called him. A crowd was sitting around him; and they said to him, 'Your mother and
your brothers and sisters are outside, asking for you.' And he replied, 'Who are my
mother and my brothers?' And looking at those who sat around him, he said, 'Here are
my mother and my brothers! Whoever does the will of God is my brother and sister
and mother.' 

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

Prayer:
Jesus our exalted Lord has been given all authority. 
Let us seek his intercession that our prayers may be perfected by his prayer.
 
Jesus Christ, great high priest, living for ever to intercede for us
pray for your Church, your broken body in the world 
Lord, hear us.
Lord, graciously hear us.
 
Jesus Christ, king of righteousness,
enthroned at the right hand of the majesty on high
pray for the world, and make it subject to your gentle rule 
Lord, hear us.
Lord, graciously hear us.
 
Jesus Christ, Son of Man, drawing humanity into the life of God
pray for your bothers and sisters in need, distress or sorrow 
Lord, hear us.
Lord, graciously hear us.
 
Jesus Christ, pioneer of our salvation,
bringing us to your glory through your death and resurrection
receive into your kingdom those who have died 
  trusting in your promises 
Lord, hear us.
Lord, graciously hear us.
 
Jesus Christ, Lord of all things,
ascended far above from the heavens and filling the universe
pray for us who receive the gifts you give us 
  for work in your service 
Lord, hear us.
Lord, graciously hear us.
 
Jesus Christ, 
keep the Church in the unity of the Spirit 
  and in the bond of peace,
and bring the whole created order to worship at your feet;
for you are alive and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever. Amen.

God of our salvation,
save us from envy,
and teach us to be content with what is enough.
We ask this in the Name of Jesus Christ the Lord. Amen.

O God, 
whose blessed Son became poor 
that we through his poverty might be rich:  
Deliver us from an inordinate love of this world, 
that we, inspired by the devotion of your servant Thomas Merton,
may serve you with singleness of heart, 
and attain to the riches of the age to come; 
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. 
       
Awaiting his coming in glory,
let us pray as our Savior has taught us:

- The Lord's Prayer

Remove those things which hinder love of you, O God,
that when your Son comes
he may find us waiting in awe and wonder.  Amen.

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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 of thanksgiving and the closing sentence are adapted from
_Book of Common Order of the Church of Scotland_, (c) 1994, Panel on
Worship of the Church of Scotland.

The intercession is from _Common Worship: Times and Seasons_, material
from which is included in this service is copyright (c) The Archbishops' Council,
2006. Used with permission. The first collect is from _Daily Prayer_, copyright
(c) The Scottish Episcopal Church, 1998. Used with permission. 
http://www.scottishepiscopal.com. 

Thomas Merton was born in 1915 in France, of American parents. His early
education was in France (Lycee de Montauban 1927-8) and England (Oakham
School, 1929-32; Clare College, Cambridge, 1933-4). He came to America and
attended Columbia University, graduated in English in 1938, worked there one
year as a teaching assistant, and got his MA in 1939. In 1939 he joined the
Roman Catholic Church, and taught at St Bonaventure for the next two years.
In 1941 he entered the Trappist monastery of Gethsemani near Louisville,
Kentucky. The Trappists, called more formally Cistercians of the Strict
Observance, are (or were before Vatican II) an extremely strict Roman
Catholic monastic order, devoted to communal prayer (they spend at least four
hours a day in chapel, chanting the praises of God), to private prayer and
contemplation, to study, and to manual labor. Except for those whose special
duties require otherwise, they are vowed not to speak except in praise of God.
Thus, when not singing in chapel, they are silent.
Toward the end of his life, Merton developed an interest in Buddhist and other
Far Eastern approaches to mysticism and contemplation, and their relation to
Christian approaches. He was attending an international conference on
Christian and Buddhist monasticism in Bangkok, Thailand, when he was
accidentally electrocuted on 10 December 1968. [James Kiefer]



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