OREMUS: 17 July 2008

Steve Benner steve.benner at oremus.org
Wed Jul 16 17:00:01 GMT 2008

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OREMUS for Thursday, July 17, 2008
William White, Bishop of Pennsylvania, 1836

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

Blessed are you, Lord of all creation;
in your love you made us for yourself.
When we turned away you did not reject us,
but came to meet us in your Son.
You embraced us as your children
and welcomed us to sit and eat with you.
In Christ you shared our life
that we might live in him and he in us.
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 132

Lord, remember David*
 and all the hardships he endured;
How he swore an oath to the Lord*
 and vowed a vow to the Mighty One of Jacob:
'I will not come under the roof of my house,*
 nor climb up into my bed;
'I will not allow my eyes to sleep,*
 nor let my eyelids slumber;
'Until I find a place for the Lord,*
 a dwelling for the Mighty One of Jacob.'
'The Ark! We heard it was in Ephrathah;*
 we found it in the fields of Jearim.
'Let us go to God's dwelling place;*
 let us fall upon our knees before his footstool.'
Arise, O Lord, into your resting-place,*
 you and the ark of your strength.
Let your priests be clothed with righteousness;*
 let your faithful people sing with joy.
For your servant David's sake,*
 do not turn away the face of your anointed.
The Lord has sworn an oath to David;*
 in truth, he will not break it:
'A son, the fruit of your body*
 will I set upon your throne.
'If your children keep my covenant
   and my testimonies that I shall teach them,*
 their children will sit upon your throne for evermore.'
For the Lord has chosen Zion,*
 he has desired her for his habitation:
'This shall be my resting-place for ever;*
 here will I dwell, for I delight in her.
'I will surely bless her provisions,*
 and satisfy her poor with bread.
'I will clothe her priests with salvation,*
 and her faithful people will rejoice and sing.
'There will I make the horn of David flourish;*
 I have prepared a lamp for my anointed.
'As for his enemies, I will clothe them with shame;*
 but as for him, his crown will shine.'

Psalm 134

Behold now, bless the Lord,
   all you servants of the Lord,*
 you that stand by night in the house of the Lord.
Lift up your hands in the holy place
   and bless the Lord;*
 the Lord who made heaven and earth
   bless you out of Zion.

A Song of Faith (1 Peter 1.3-5,18,19,21)

Blessed be the God and Father  
of our Lord Jesus Christ! 
By his great mercy we have been born anew to a living hope  
through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 
Into an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled and unfading,  
kept in heaven for you, 
Who are being protected by the power of God through faith,  
for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. 
You were ransomed from the futile ways of your ancestors  
not with perishable things like silver or gold 
But with the precious blood of Christ  
like that of a lamb without spot or stain. 
Through him you have confidence in God, 
who raised him from the dead and gave him glory,  
so that your faith and hope are set on God.

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 [Esther 2:5-8,17-23]:

Now there was a Jew in the citadel of Susa whose name was Mordecai son of Jair son
of Shimei son of Kish, a Benjaminite. Kish had been carried away from Jerusalem
among the captives carried away with King Jeconiah of Judah, whom King
Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon had carried away. Mordecai had brought up Hadassah,
that is Esther, his cousin, for she had neither father nor mother; the girl was fair and
beautiful, and when her father and her mother died, Mordecai adopted her as his own
daughter. So when the king's order and his edict were proclaimed, and when many
young women were gathered in the citadel of Susa in the custody of Hegai, Esther also
was taken into the king's palace and put in the custody of Hegai, who had charge of
the women. the king loved Esther more than all the other women; of all the virgins she
won his favour and devotion, so that he set the royal crown on her head and made her
queen instead of Vashti. Then the king gave a great banquet to all his officials and
ministers 'Esther's banquet.' He also granted a holiday to the provinces, and gave
gifts with royal liberality.
When the virgins were being gathered together, Mordecai was sitting at the king's
gate. Now Esther had not revealed her kindred or her people, as Mordecai had
charged her; for Esther obeyed Mordecai just as when she was brought up by him. In
those days, while Mordecai was sitting at the king's gate, Bigthan and Teresh, two of
the king's eunuchs, who guarded the threshold, became angry and conspired to
assassinate King Ahasuerus. But the matter came to the knowledge of Mordecai, and
he told it to Queen Esther, and Esther told the king in the name of Mordecai. When
the affair was investigated and found to be so, both the men were hanged on the
gallows. It was recorded in the book of the annals in the presence of the king. 

Words: Fred Pratt Green (c) Hope Publishing Co. Used with permission.
Tune: Dunedin

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The church of Christ in every age,
beset by change but Spirit-led,
must claim and test its heritage
and keep on rising from the dead.

Across the world, across the street,
the victims of injustice cry
for shelter and for bread to eat,
and never live until they die.

The let the servant church arise,
a caring church that longs to be
a partner in Christ's sacrifice,
and clothed in Christ's humanity.

For he alone, whose blood was shed,
can cure the fever in our blood,
and teach us how to share our bread
and feed the starving multitude.

We have no mission but to serve
in full obedience to our Lord:
to care for all, without reserve,
and spread his liberating word. 

SECOND READING [Acts 27:27-end]:

When the fourteenth night had come, as we were drifting across the sea of Adria,
about midnight the sailors suspected that they were nearing land. So they took
soundings and found twenty fathoms; a little farther on they took soundings again and
found fifteen fathoms. Fearing that we might run on the rocks, they let down four
anchors from the stern and prayed for day to come. But when the sailors tried to
escape from the ship and had lowered the boat into the sea, on the pretext of putting
out anchors from the bow, Paul said to the centurion and the soldiers, 'Unless these
men stay in the ship, you cannot be saved.' Then the soldiers cut away the ropes of the
boat and set it adrift.
Just before daybreak, Paul urged all of them to take some food, saying, 'Today is the
fourteenth day that you have been in suspense and remaining without food, having
eaten nothing. Therefore I urge you to take some food, for it will help you survive; for
none of you will lose a hair from your heads.' After he had said this, he took bread;
and giving thanks to God in the presence of all, he broke it and began to eat. Then all
of them were encouraged and took food for themselves. (We were in all two hundred
and seventy-six persons in the ship.) After they had satisfied their hunger, they
lightened the ship by throwing the wheat into the sea.
In the morning they did not recognize the land, but they noticed a bay with a beach, on
which they planned to run the ship ashore, if they could. So they cast off the anchors
and left them in the sea. At the same time they loosened the ropes that tied the
steering-oars; then hoisting the foresail to the wind, they made for the beach. But
striking a reef, they ran the ship aground; the bow stuck and remained immovable, but
the stern was being broken up by the force of the waves. The soldiers' plan was to kill
the prisoners, so that none might swim away and escape; but the centurion, wishing to
save Paul, kept them from carrying out their plan. He ordered those who could swim
to jump overboard first and make for the land, and the rest to follow, some on planks
and others on pieces of the ship. And so it was that all were brought safely to land. 

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,
especially the Anglican Communion and its Bishops,
meeting this month at Lambeth.
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.

Heart of our own hearts, 
in these days we have been invited 
over the threshold of our fears 
and into the warmth of your love, 
we have been embraced by justice and mercy, 
as we travel may we remain forever in your love 
and follow in the steps of the one 
who shows us the Way to Life. Amen.
O Lord, 
in a time of turmoil and confusion 
you raised up your servant William White, 
and endowed him with wisdom, patience, 
and a reconciling temper, 
that he might lead your Church 
into ways of stability and peace: 
Hear our prayer, and give us wise and faithful leaders, 
that through their ministry 
your people may be blessed and your will be done; 
through 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

You have opened to us the Scriptures, O Christ.
Abide with us, we pray,
that, blessed by your royal presence,
we may walk with you
all the days of our life,
and at its end behold you
in the glory of the eternal Trinity,
one God for ever and ever. 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 and closing sentence are adapted 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.

The intercession is reprinted from _THE DAILY OFFICE: A Book of Hours of
Daily Prayer after the Use of the Order of Saint Luke_, (c) 1997 by The Order
of Saint Luke. Used by permission.

The first collect is from Inclusive Church, www.inclusivechurch.net

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

Before the American Revolution, there were no bishops in the colonies (partly
because the British government was reluctant to give the colonies the kind of
autonomy that this would have implied, and partly because many of the
colonists were violently opposed to their presence). After the Revolution, the
establishment of an American episcopate became imperative. Samuel Seabury
was the first American to be consecrated, in 1784 (see 14 Nov), and in 1787
William White and Samuel Provoost, having been elected to the bishoprics of
Pennsylvania and New York respectively, sailed to England and were
consecrated bishops on 14 February by the Archbishop of Canterbury, the
Archbishop of York, the Bishop of Bath and Wells, and the Bishop of
William White was born in Philadelphia in 1747, went to England in 1770 to be
ordained deacon and priest, returned in 1772 and became first an assistant and
then the rector of the Church of Christ and Saint Peter in Philadelphia. He
served as Chaplain of the Continental Congress from 1777 to 1789, and then as
Chaplain of the Senate.
White was largely responsible for the Constitution of the Protestant Episcopal
Church in the United States of America. At his suggestion, the system of
church government was established more or less as we have it today. (What
follows is a rough draft. I welcome notes of correction and clarification.) Only
a bishop can ordain a deacon or priest, and only bishops (normally at least
three) can consecrate a bishop. When a bishop dies or retires, a new bishop is
elected by a convention in his diocese, in which clergy sit in the upper house
and lay delegates (elected by the vestries of the local congregations) sit in the
lower house, and a majority in each house is required to elect. (Afterwards, a
majority of bishops and a majority of Standing Committees (each diocese has
an elected Standing Committee) are required to confirm.) National business is
conducted by the General Convention, which meets every three years and
consists for voting purposes of three Houses: Bishops, Clerical Deputies, and
Lay Deputies. A majority of each is required to pass a measure. (All the
Deputies meet and debate together and are called the House of Deputies, but
Lay and Clerical Deputies vote separately whenever any deputy so requests--in
other words, whenever it might make a difference.) In all this, the Episcopal
Church undertakes to follow, as nearly as modern circumstances permit, the
government of the early church as attested back at least to the second and third
centuries. A section follows from White's writings on Church Government.
    The power of electing a superior order of ministers ought to be in the clergy
and laity together, they being both interested in the choice. In England, the
bishops are appointed by the civil authority, which was a usurpation of the
crown at the Norman conquest, but since confirmed by acts of parliament. The
primitive churches were generally supplied by popular elections; even in the
city of Rome, the privilege of electing the bishop continued with the people to
the tenth or eleventh century, and near those times there are resolves of
councils, that none should be promoted to ecclesiastical dignities, but by
election of the clergy and people. It cannot be denied that this right vested in
numerous bodies, occasioned great disorders; which it is expected will be
avoided, when the people shall exercise the right by representation.
    Let us next take a view of the grounds on which the authority of episcopacy
is asserted.
    The advocates for this form maintain, that there having been an episcopal
power originally lodged by Jesus Christ with his apostles, and by them
generally exercised in person, but sometimes by delegation (as in the instances
of Timothy and Titus) the same was conveyed by them before their decease to
one pastor in each church, which generally comprehended all the Christians in a
city and a convenient surrounding district. Thus were created the apostolic
successors, who on account of their settled residence are called bishops by
restraint; whereas the apostles themselves were bishops at large, exercising
episcopal power over all the churches, except in the case of St. James, who
from the beginning was bishop of Jerusalem. From this time the word
"episcopos," used in the New Testament indiscriminately with the word
"presbyteros" (particularly in the 20th chapter of the Acts where the same
persons are called "episcopoi" and "presbyteroi"), became appropriated to the
superior order of ministers. That the apostles were thus succeeded by an order
of ministers superior to pastors in general, episcopalians think they prove by
the testimonies of the ancient fathers, and from the improbability that so great
an innovation (as some conceive it) could have found general and peaceable
possession in the 2d or 3d century, when epicopacy is on both sides
acknowledged to have been prevalent. The argument is here concisely stated,
but (as is believed) impartially. 
White was Presiding Bishop of PECUSA at its first General Convention in
1789, and again from 1795 till his death on 17 July 1830. [James Kiefer]

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