OREMUS: 29 December 2008

Steve Benner steve.benner at oremus.org
Sun Dec 28 17:00:00 GMT 2008


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OREMUS for Monday, December 29, 2008
Thomas Becket, Archbishop of Canterbury, Martyr, 1170

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

Blessed are you, loving and merciful God,
you fill our hearts with joy
as we recognize in Christ the revelation of your love.
No eye can see his glory as our God,
yet now he is seen like one of us.
Christ is your Son before all ages,
yet now he is born in time.
He has come to lift up all things to himself,
to restore unity to creation,
and to lead us from exile into your heavenly kingdom.
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/chrocant.html

Psalm 27

The Lord is my light and my salvation;
   whom then shall I fear?*
 the Lord is the strength of my life;
   of whom then shall I be afraid?
When evildoers came upon me to eat up my flesh,*
 it was they, my foes and my adversaries,
   who stumbled and fell.
Though an army should encamp against me,*
 yet my heart shall not be afraid;
And though war should rise up against me,*
 yet will I put my trust in him.
One thing have I asked of the Lord;
   one thing I seek;*
 that I may dwell in the house of the Lord
   all the days of my life;
To behold the fair beauty of the Lord*
 and to seek him in his temple.
For in the day of trouble
   he shall keep me safe in his shelter;*
 he shall hide me in the secrecy of his dwelling
   and set me high upon a rock.
Even now he lifts up my head*
 above my enemies round about me;
Therefore I will offer in his dwelling an oblation
   with sounds of great gladness;*
 I will sing and make music to the Lord.
Hearken to my voice, O Lord, when I call;*
 have mercy on me and answer me.
You speak in my heart and say, 'Seek my face.'*
 Your face, Lord, will I seek.
Hide not your face from me,*
 nor turn away your servant in displeasure.
You have been my helper;
   cast me not away;*
 do not forsake me, O God of my salvation.
Though my father and my mother forsake me,*
 the Lord will sustain me.
Show me your way, O Lord;*
 lead me on a level path, because of my enemies.
Deliver me not into the hand of my adversaries,*
 for false witnesses have risen up against me,
   and also those who speak malice.
What if I had not believed
   that I should see the goodness of the Lord*
 in the land of the living!
O tarry and await the Lord's pleasure;
   be strong and he shall comfort your heart;*
 wait patiently for the Lord.

A Song of God's Love (1 John 4.7-11,12b)

Beloved, let us love one another, 
for love is of God;  
everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. 
Whoever does not love does not know God,  
for God is love. 
In this the love of God was revealed among us,  
that God sent his only Son into the world, 
so that we might live through him. 
In this is love, 
not that we loved God but that he loved us,  
and sent his Son to be the expiation for our sins. 
Beloved, since God loved us so much,  
we ought also to love one another. 
For if we love one another, God abides in us,  
and God's love will be perfected in us.  

Psalm 146

Alleluia!
   Praise the Lord, O my soul!*
 I will praise the Lord as long as I live;
   I will sing praises to my God while I have my being.
Put not your trust in rulers,
   nor in any child of earth,*
 for there is no help in them.
When they breathe their last, they return to earth,*
 and in that day their thoughts perish.
Happy are they who have the God of Jacob
   for their help!*
 whose hope is in the Lord their God;
Who made heaven and earth, the seas,
   and all that is in them;*
 who keeps his promise for ever;
Who gives justice to those who are oppressed,*
 and food to those who hunger.
The Lord sets the prisoners free;
   the Lord opens the eyes of the blind;*
 the Lord lifts up those who are bowed down;
The Lord loves the righteous;
   the Lord cares for the stranger;*
 he sustains the orphan and widow,
   but frustrates the way of the wicked.
The Lord shall reign for ever,*
 your God, O Zion, throughout all generations.
   Alleluia!

FIRST READING [Isaiah 56:1-8]:

Thus says the Lord:
   Maintain justice, and do what is right,
for soon my salvation will come,
   and my deliverance be revealed.

Happy is the mortal who does this,
   the one who holds it fast,
who keeps the sabbath, not profaning it,
   and refrains from doing any evil.

Do not let the foreigner joined to the Lord say,
   'The Lord will surely separate me from his people';
and do not let the eunuch say,
   'I am just a dry tree.'
For thus says the Lord:
To the eunuchs who keep my sabbaths,
   who choose the things that please me
   and hold fast my covenant,
I will give, in my house and within my walls,
   a monument and a name
   better than sons and daughters;
I will give them an everlasting name
   that shall not be cut off.

And the foreigners who join themselves to the Lord,
   to minister to him, to love the name of the Lord,
   and to be his servants,
all who keep the sabbath, and do not profane it,
   and hold fast my covenant 
these I will bring to my holy mountain,
   and make them joyful in my house of prayer;
their burnt-offerings and their sacrifices
   will be accepted on my altar;
for my house shall be called a house of prayer
   for all peoples.
Thus says the Lord God,
   who gathers the outcasts of Israel,
I will gather others to them
   besides those already gathered. 

HYMN 
Words: Jean Mauburn, 1494; trans. Elizabeth Charles, 1858
Tune: Mauburn

http://www.oremus.org/hymnal/d/d066.html
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Dost thou in a manger lie,
who hast all created,
stretching infant hands on high,
Savior, long awaited?
If a monarch, where thy state?
Where thy court on thee to wait?
Royal purple, where?
Here no regal pomp we see,
nought but need and penury:
why thus cradled here?

"Pitying love for fallen man
brought me down thus low;
for a race deep lost in sin
came I into woe.
By this lowly birth of mine,
sinner, riches shall be thine,
matchless gifts and free;
willingly this yoke I take,
and this sacrifice I make,
heaping joys for thee."

Fervent praise would I do to thee
evermore be raising;
for thy wondrous love to me
thee be ever praising.
Glory, glory be for ever
unto that most bounteous Giver,
and that loving Lord!
Better witness to thy worth,
purer praise than ours on earth,
angels' songs afford.

SECOND READING [1 John 1]:

We declare to you what was from the beginning, what we have heard, what we have
seen with our eyes, what we have looked at and touched with our hands, concerning
the word of life  this life was revealed, and we have seen it and testify to it, and
declare to you the eternal life that was with the Father and was revealed to us  we
declare to you what we have seen and heard so that you also may have fellowship with
us; and truly our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ. We are
writing these things so that our joy may be complete.

This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light and
in him there is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with him while we
are walking in darkness, we lie and do not do what is true; but if we walk in the light
as he himself is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of
Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say that we have no sin, we deceive
ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he who is faithful and just
will forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have
not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us. 

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

Prayer:
Christ, for whom there was no room in the inn,
give courage to all who are homeless:
In your mercy,
hear our prayer.

Christ, who fled into Egypt,
give comfort to all refugees;
In your mercy,
hear our prayer.

Christ, who fasted in the desert,
give relief to all who are starving:
In your mercy,
hear our prayer.

Christ, who hung in agony on the cross,
give strength to all who suffer:
In your mercy,
hear our prayer.

Christ, who died to save us,
give peace to all who seek pardon.
In your mercy,
hear our prayer.

Gracious God,
your love unites heaven and earth
in a new festival of gladness:
Lift our spirits to learn the way of joy
that leads us to your banquet hall,
where all is golden with praise.
We ask this through Jesus Christ the Lord. Amen.

Lord God,
who gave grace to your servant Thomas Becket
to put aside all earthly fear
      and be faithful even to death:
grant that we, disregarding worldly esteem,
may fight all wrong,
uphold your rule,
and serve you to our life's end;
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.
       
Rejoicing in the presence of God here among us,
let us pray in faith and trust:

- The Lord's Prayer

May he who by his incarnation gathered into one
things earthly and heavenly,
bestow upon us the fullness of peace and goodwill. 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
_The Promise of His Glory_ (Mowbray), (c) The Central
Board of Finance  of the Church of England 1990, 1991, which is used with
permission.

The intercession is from _New Patterns for Worship_, copyright
(c) The Archbishops' Council, 2002.

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.

On December 29, we remember Thomas a Becket, Archbishop of Canterbury,
slain in his own cathedral in 1170, for his defiance of King Henry II. The death
of Thomas reminds us that a Christian, even when safe from pagans, can be in
danger from his fellow-Christians. It also reminds us that one can be martyred
in a cause where the merits of the particular issue at hand are not obvious to all
men of good will. The issue here, or one of the issues, was one of court
jurisdiction. King Henry claimed that a cleric accused of an ordinary crime
ought to be tried in the King's Courts like any layman. Thomas, who was
Henry's Chancellor and his close friend, vigorously upheld the king's position.
However, when he was made Archbishop of Canterbury with the king's
support, he reversed himself completely and upheld the right of clergy to be
tried only in Church courts, which could not inflict capital punishment. (This
reversal does not imply fickleness or treachery. As Chancellor, Thomas was
bound to serve the king. Now, as Archbishop, he was bound to defend the
Church.) Henry wanted an arrangement by which (for example) a priest
accused of murder would be tried by a Church Court, which if it found him
guilty would degrade him to the rank of a layman, whereupon a King's Court
would try him, and if it found him guilty would order him hanged. Thomas
objected that a man could not be tried and punished twice for the same offense.
Henry, being angered at opposition from someone whom he had counted
on for support, was heard to exclaim in anger, "This fellow who has eaten my
bread has lifted up his heel against me [see Psalm 41:9]. Have I no friend who
will rid me of this upstart priest?" Four of his knights promptly rode to
Canterbury, where they confronted the Archbishop and demanded that he back
down. When he did not, they killed him. Public reaction was immediate and
vigorous, and reckoned Thomas as a saint and a martyr, and Henry as a
blaspheming murderer. Henry swore that he had not intended his remark to be
taken seriously, and had himself publicly whipped at the tomb of Thomas.
Thomas was very soon canonized, and his tomb was one of the most popular
places of pilgrimage in Europe for the next three-and-a-half centuries. During a
war between England and France, a King of France obtained a cease-fire to
enable him to make a pilgrimage to Canterbury. Chaucer's Canterbury Tales is
concerned with a group of pilgrims on their way to the tomb of Thomas.
[James Kiefer]



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