OREMUS: 5 February 2008

Steve Benner steve.benner at oremus.org
Mon Feb 4 20:33:46 GMT 2008


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OREMUS for Tuesday, February 5, 2008
The Martyrs of Japan, 1597

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

Blessed are you, God of majesty,
you brought light out of darkness
and set the sun to brighten the day.
We thank you for your Son, Jesus Christ, our Lord,
whose human body was transfigured on a lonely mountain.
In his face, we have glimpsed your glory.
In his life, we see your love.
You lead us by the light of your truth
into the way of righteousness and peace.
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/epiocant.html

Psalm 106:24-48
Our forebears refused the pleasant land*
 and would not believe God's promise.
They grumbled in their tents*
 and would not listen to the voice of the Lord.
So he lifted his hand against them,*
 to overthrow them in the wilderness,
To cast out their seed among the nations,*
 and to scatter them throughout the lands.
They joined themselves to Baal-Peor*
 and ate sacrifices offered to the dead.
They provoked him to anger with their actions,*
 and a plague broke out among them.
Then Phinehas stood up and interceded,*
 and the plague came to an end.
This was reckoned to him as righteousness*
 throughout all generations for ever.
Again they provoked his anger at the waters of Meribah,*
 so that he punished Moses because of them;
For they so embittered his spirit*
 that he spoke rash words with his lips.
They did not destroy the peoples*
 as the Lord had commanded them.
They intermingled with the heathen*
 and learned their pagan ways,
So that they worshipped their idols,*
 which became a snare to them
They sacrificed their sons*
 and their daughters to evil spirits.
They shed innocent blood,
   the blood of their sons and daughters,*
 which they offered to the idols of Canaan,
   and the land was defiled with blood.
Thus they were polluted by their actions*
 and went whoring in their evil deeds;
Therefore the wrath of the Lord
   was kindled against his people*
 and he abhorred his inheritance.
He gave them over to the hand of the heathen,*
 and those who hated them ruled over them.
Their enemies oppressed them,*
 and they were humbled under their hand.
Many a time did he deliver them,
   but they rebelled through their own devices,*
 and were brought down in their iniquity.
Nevertheless, he saw their distress,*
 when he heard their lamentation.
He remembered his covenant with them*
 and relented in accordance with his great mercy.
He caused them to be pitied*
 by those who held them captive.
Save us, O Lord our God,
   and gather us from among the nations,*
 that we may give thanks to your holy name
   and glory in your praise.
Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel,
   from everlasting and to everlasting;*
 and let all the people say, 'Amen!'
   Alleluia!

A Song of the Blessed (Matthew 5.3-10)

Blessed are the poor in spirit,  
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 
Blessed are those who mourn,  
for they shall be comforted. 
Blessed are the meek,  
for they shall inherit the earth. 
Blessed are those who hunger 
and thirst after righteousness,  
for they shall be satisfied. 
Blessed are the merciful,  
for they shall obtain mercy. 
Blessed are the pure in heart,  
for they shall see God. 
Blessed are the peacemakers,  
for they shall be called children of God. 
Blessed are those who suffer persecution 
for righteousness' sake,  
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Rejoice and be glad 
for you are the light of the world, 
and great is your reward in heaven. 

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 [2 Samuel 18.9 10, 14, 24 25, 30   19.3]:

Absalom happened to meet the servants of David. Absalom was riding on his mule, and the mule
went under the thick branches of a great oak. His head caught fast in the oak, and he was left
hanging between heaven and earth, while the mule that was under him went on. A man saw it, and
told Joab, 'I saw Absalom hanging in an oak.' Joab said, 'I will not waste time like this with you.'
He took three spears in his hand, and thrust them into the heart of Absalom, while he was still
alive in the oak.
Now David was sitting between the two gates. The sentinel went up to the roof of the gate by the
wall, and when he looked up, he saw a man running alone. The sentinel shouted and told the king.
The king said, 'If he is alone, there are tidings in his mouth.' He kept coming, and drew near. The
king said, 'Turn aside, and stand here.' So he turned aside, and stood still.
Then the Cushite came; and the Cushite said, 'Good tidings for my lord the king! For the Lord
has vindicated you this day, delivering you from the power of all who rose up against you.' The
king said to the Cushite, 'Is it well with the young man Absalom?' The Cushite answered, 'May
the enemies of my lord the king, and all who rise up to do you harm, be like that young man.'
The king was deeply moved, and went up to the chamber over the gate, and wept; and as he went,
he said, 'O my son Absalom, my son, my son Absalom! Would that I had died instead of you, O
Absalom, my son, my son!'
It was told Joab, 'The king is weeping and mourning for Absalom.' So the victory that day was
turned into mourning for all the troops; for the troops heard that day, 'The king is grieving for his
son.' The troops stole into the city that day as soldiers steal in who are ashamed when they flee in
battle. 

HYMN 
Words: James Montgomery, 1818
Tune: Mendip

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Prayer is the soul's sincere desire,
unuttered or expressed;
the motion of a hidden fire
that trembles in the breast.

Prayer is the burden of a sigh,
the falling of a tear
the upward glancing of an eye,
when none but God is near.

Prayer is the contrite sinner's voice,
returning from his ways,
while angels in their songs rejoice
and cry, "Behold, he prays!"

The saints in prayer appear as one
in word, in deed, and mind,
while with the Father and the Son
sweet fellowship they find.

No prayer is made by man alone
the Holy Spirit pleads,
and Jesus, on th'eternal throne,
for sinners intercedes.

Prayer is the Christian's vital breath,
the Christian's native air,
his watchword at the gates of death;
he enters heaven with prayer.

O thou, by whom we come to God,
the Life, the Truth, the Way;
the path of prayer thyself hast trod:
Lord, teach us how to pray!

SECOND READING [Mark 5.21 end]:

When Jesus had crossed again in the boat to the other side, a great crowd gathered round him;
and he was by the lake. Then one of the leaders of the synagogue named Jairus came and, when
he saw him, fell at his feet and begged him repeatedly, 'My little daughter is at the point of death.
Come and lay your hands on her, so that she may be made well, and live.' So he went with
him.
And a large crowd followed him and pressed in on him. Now there was a woman who had been
suffering from haemorrhages for twelve years. She had endured much under many physicians, and
had spent all that she had; and she was no better, but rather grew worse. She had heard about
Jesus, and came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak, for she said, 'If I but touch his
clothes, I will be made well.' Immediately her haemorrhage stopped; and she felt in her body that
she was healed of her disease. Immediately aware that power had gone forth from him, Jesus
turned about in the crowd and said, 'Who touched my clothes?' And his disciples said to him,
'You see the crowd pressing in on you; how can you say, "Who touched me?" ' He looked all
round to see who had done it. But the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came in fear
and trembling, fell down before him, and told him the whole truth. He said to her, 'Daughter, your
faith has made you well; go in peace, and be healed of your disease.'
While he was still speaking, some people came from the leader's house to say, 'Your daughter is
dead. Why trouble the teacher any further?' But overhearing what they said, Jesus said to the
leader of the synagogue, 'Do not fear, only believe.' He allowed no one to follow him except
Peter, James, and John, the brother of James. When they came to the house of the leader of the
synagogue, he saw a commotion, people weeping and wailing loudly. When he had entered, he
said to them, 'Why do you make a commotion and weep? The child is not dead but sleeping.' And
they laughed at him. Then he put them all outside, and took the child's father and mother and
those who were with him, and went in where the child was. He took her by the hand and said to
her, 'Talitha cum', which means, 'Little girl, get up!' And immediately the girl got up and began
to walk about (she was twelve years of age). At this they were overcome with amazement. He
strictly ordered them that no one should know this, and told them to give her something to eat. 

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

Prayer:
Let us pray for our own needs and for the needs of others,
following the pattern which Jesus gave
when he taught us to pray to God our Father.

Through our love of the countryside,
through our care for animals,
through our respect for property and tools,
Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name.

On our farms and in our homes,
in our colleges and schools,
where machinery is made, and where policy is planned,
Father, your kingdom come.

By our seeking your guidance,
by our keeping your commandments,
by our living true to our consciences,
Father, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.

For the millions who live in poverty and hunger,
for our own needs, and the requirements of our neighbours,
by co-operation, sympathy, and generosity,
Give us today our daily bread.

Because we have broken your commandments, 
doing what we ought not to do,
and neglecting what we ought to do,
Forgive us our sins.

If any have injured us by injustice, double dealing or exploitation,
We forgive those who sin against us.

When prosperity lulls us to false security, 
or adversity prompts us to despair,
when success makes us boastful, 
or failure makes us bitter,
Save us from the time of trial, and deliver us from evil.

In the assurance of faith,
in the confidence of hope,
in the will to serve,
help us to love Christ as Lord, 
and our neighbour as ourselves.
For the kingdom, the power, 
and the glory are yours now and for ever. Amen.

O God almighty,
who in your enduring goodness
recall your erring children to unending life:
spare us who declare the mighty acts of your salvation,
for we have sinned, as all our forebears;
this we ask through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

O God, 
source of strength to all your saints, 
you brought the holy martyrs of Japan 
through the suffering of the cross to the joys of eternal life: 
Grant that we, encouraged by their example, 
may hold fast the faith we profess, even to death itself;
through Jesus Christ our Lord,
who lives and reigns with you and 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

Transform us into the likeness of Jesus Christ,
that we may live for you, as he lived,
and love others, as he loved them. Amen.

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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
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
prayers in _Book of Common Worship_, (c) 1993 Westminster
/ John Knox Press. 

The second collect is from _The Proper for the Lesser Feasts and
Fasts_, 3rd edition, (c) 1980 The Church Pension Fund.

The Christian faith was first introduced into Japan in the sixteenth century by
Jesuit and later by Franciscan missionaries. By the end of that century, there
were probably about 300,000 baptized believers in Japan.
Unfortunately, this promising beginning met reverses, brought about by
rivalries between different groups of missionaries and political intrigues by the
Spanish and Portuguese governments, along with power politics among
factions in the Japanese government itself. The result was a suppression of
Christians.
The first victims were six Franciscan friars and twenty of their converts, who
were crucified as Nagasaki on 5 February 1597. After a short interval of
relative tolerance, many other Christians were arrested, imprisoned for life, or
tortured and killed; and the Church was totally driven underground by 1630.
However, when Japan was re-opened to Western contacts 250 years later, it
was found that a community of Japanese Christians had survived underground,
without clergy, without Scriptures, with only very sketchy instructions in the
doctrines of the faith, but with a firm commitment to Jesus as Lord.



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