OREMUS: 27 June 2008
steve.benner at oremus.org
Thu Jun 26 17:00:03 GMT 2008
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OREMUS for Friday, June 27, 2008
Cyril, Bishop of Alexandria, Teacher of the Faith, 444
O Lord, open our lips.
And our mouth shall proclaim your praise.
Blessed are you, Faithful God,
shaper of goodness and beauty out of the shadows of chaos.
You gladdened the soul of all creation
with stunning sunsets, clear-streamed valleys,
mountains towering into the sky.
These gifts, as well as your hopes and dreams, were for us,
but we sent them away into the wilderness of forgetfulness,
choosing to live in the long days of rebellion.
Seeking to unite us with you once more,
you sent Jesus, to baptize us with your life,
even as he was baptized into death for us.
For these and all your mercies, we praise you,
Blessed be God for ever!
An opening canticle may be sung.
Happy are they whose transgressions are forgiven,*
and whose sin is put away!
Happy are they to whom the Lord imputes no guilt,*
and in whose spirit there is no guile!
While I held my tongue, my bones withered away,*
because of my groaning all day long.
For your hand was heavy upon me day and night;*
my moisture was dried up as in the heat of summer.
Then I acknowledged my sin to you,*
and did not conceal my guilt.
I said, 'I will confess my transgressions to the Lord';*
then you forgave me the guilt of my sin.
Therefore all the faithful will make their prayers to you
in time of trouble;*
when the great waters overflow, they shall not reach them.
You are my hiding-place;
you preserve me from trouble;*
you surround me with shouts of deliverance.
'I will instruct you and teach you
in the way that you should go;*
I will guide you with my eye.
'Do not be like horse or mule,
which have no understanding;*
who must be fitted with bit and bridle,
or else they will not stay near you.'
Great are the tribulations of the wicked;*
but mercy embraces those who trust in the Lord.
Be glad, you righteous, and rejoice in the Lord;*
shout for joy, all who are true of heart.
Your love, O Lord, reaches to the heavens,*
and your faithfulness to the clouds.
Your righteousness is like the strong mountains,
your justice like the great deep;*
you save both human and beast, O Lord.
How priceless is your love, O God!*
your people take refuge under the shadow of your wings.
They feast upon the abundance of your house;*
you give them drink from the river of your delights.
For with you is the well of life,*
and in your light we see light.
Continue your loving-kindness to those who know you,*
and your favour to those who are true of heart.
Let not the foot of the proud come near me,*
nor the hand of the wicked push me aside.
See how they are fallen, those who work wickedness!*
they are cast down and shall not be able to rise.
A Song of Wisdom (Wisdom 9.1-5a,c,6,9-11)
O God of our ancestors and Lord of mercy,
you have made all things by your word.
By your wisdom you have formed us
to have dominion over the creatures you have made;
To rule the world in holiness and righteousness
and to pronounce judgement in uprightness of soul.
Give us the Wisdom that sits by your throne;
do not reject us from among your servants,
For we are your servants,
with little understanding of judgement and laws.
Even one who is perfect among us
will be regarded as nothing
without the wisdom that comes from you.
With you is Wisdom, she who knows your works,
and was present when you made the world.
She understands what is pleasing in your sight
and what is right according to your commandments.
Send her forth from the holy heavens,
from the throne of your glory send her.
That she may labour at our side
and that we may learn what is pleasing to you.
For she knows and understands all things,
she will guide us wisely in our actions
and guard us with her glory.
Sing to the Lord a new song;*
sing his praise in the congregation of the faithful.
Let Israel rejoice in his maker;*
let the children of Zion be joyful in their king.
Let them praise his name in the dance;*
let them sing praise to him with timbrel and harp.
For the Lord takes pleasure in his people*
and adorns the poor with victory.
Let the faithful rejoice in triumph;*
let them be joyful on their beds.
Let the praises of God be in their throat*
and a two-edged sword in their hand;
To wreak vengeance on the nations*
and punishment on the peoples;
To bind their kings in chains*
and their nobles with links of iron;
To inflict on them the judgement decreed;*
this is glory for all his faithful people.
FIRST READING [Daniel 1:1-7,17-21]:
In the third year of the reign of King Jehoiakim of Judah, King Nebuchadnezzar of
Babylon came to Jerusalem and besieged it. The Lord let King Jehoiakim of Judah fall
into his power, as well as some of the vessels of the house of God. These he brought
to the land of Shinar, and placed the vessels in the treasury of his gods.
Then the king commanded his palace master Ashpenaz to bring some of the Israelites
of the royal family and of the nobility, young men without physical defect and
handsome, versed in every branch of wisdom, endowed with knowledge and insight,
and competent to serve in the king's palace; they were to be taught the literature and
language of the Chaldeans. The king assigned them a daily portion of the royal rations
of food and wine. They were to be educated for three years, so that at the end of that
time they could be stationed in the king's court. Among them were Daniel, Hananiah,
Mishael, and Azariah, from the tribe of Judah. The palace master gave them other
names: Daniel he called Belteshazzar, Hananiah he called Shadrach, Mishael he called
Meshach, and Azariah he called Abednego. To these four young men God gave
knowledge and skill in every aspect of literature and wisdom; Daniel also had insight
into all visions and dreams.
At the end of the time that the king had set for them to be brought in, the palace
master brought them into the presence of Nebuchadnezzar, and the king spoke with
them. And among them all, no one was found to compare with Daniel, Hananiah,
Mishael, and Azariah; therefore they were stationed in the king's court. In every
matter of wisdom and understanding concerning which the king inquired of them, he
found them ten times better than all the magicians and enchanters in his whole
kingdom. And Daniel continued there until the first year of King Cyrus.
Words: Charles Wesley (1707-1788)
Tune: Falcon Street (SM)
And are we yet alive,
And see each other's face?
Glory and praise to Jesus give
For his redeeming grace!
Preserved by power divine
To full salvation here,
Again in Jesu's praise we join,
And in his sight appear.
What troubles have we seen,
What conflicts have we passed,
Fightings without, and fears within,
Since we assembled last!
But out of all the Lord
Hath brought us by his love;
And still he doth his help afford,
And hides our life above.
Then let us make our boast
Of his redeeming power,
Which saves us to the uttermost,
Till we can sin no more.
Let us take up the cross,
Till we the crown obtain;
And gladly reckon all things loss,
So we may Jesus gain.
Praise ye the Lord, alleluia!
Praise ye the Lord, alleluia!
Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia,
Praise ye the Lord!
SECOND READING [Acts 19:21-end]:
Now after these things had been accomplished, Paul resolved in the Spirit to go through
Macedonia and Achaia, and then to go on to Jerusalem. He said, 'After I have gone
there, I must also see Rome.' So he sent two of his helpers, Timothy and Erastus, to
Macedonia, while he himself stayed for some time longer in Asia.
About that time no little disturbance broke out concerning the Way. A man named
Demetrius, a silversmith who made silver shrines of Artemis, brought no little business
to the artisans. These he gathered together, with the workers of the same trade, and
said, 'Men, you know that we get our wealth from this business. You also see and hear
that not only in Ephesus but in almost the whole of Asia this Paul has persuaded and
drawn away a considerable number of people by saying that gods made with hands are
not gods. And there is danger not only that this trade of ours may come into disrepute
but also that the temple of the great goddess Artemis will be scorned, and she will be
deprived of her majesty that brought all Asia and the world to worship her.'
When they heard this, they were enraged and shouted, 'Great is Artemis of the
Ephesians!' The city was filled with the confusion; and people rushed together to the
theatre, dragging with them Gaius and Aristarchus, Macedonians who were Paul's
travelling-companions. Paul wished to go into the crowd, but the disciples would not let
him; even some officials of the province of Asia, who were friendly to him, sent him a
message urging him not to venture into the theatre. Meanwhile, some were shouting one
thing, some another; for the assembly was in confusion, and most of them did not know
why they had come together. Some of the crowd gave instructions to Alexander, whom
the Jews had pushed forward. And Alexander motioned for silence and tried to make a
defence before the people. But when they recognized that he was a Jew, for about two
hours all of them shouted in unison, 'Great is Artemis of the Ephesians!' But when the
town clerk had quietened the crowd, he said, 'Citizens of Ephesus, who is there that
does not know that the city of the Ephesians is the temple-keeper of the great Artemis
and of the statue that fell from heaven? Since these things cannot be denied, you ought
to be quiet and do nothing rash. You have brought these men here who are neither
temple-robbers nor blasphemers of our goddess. If therefore Demetrius and the artisans
with him have a complaint against anyone, the courts are open, and there are proconsuls;
let them bring charges there against one another. If there is anything further you want to
know, it must be settled in the regular assembly. For we are in danger of being charged
with rioting today, since there is no cause that we can give to justify this commotion.'
When he had said this, he dismissed the assembly.
The Benedictus (Morning),
the Magnificat (Evening), or
Nunc dimittis (Night) may
God of all time,
we bless you for the gift of this day
and for our hope in Christ Jesus.
In the midst of all that demands our attention,
free us to love you with all our hearts
and to love the world with your mercy and justice.
Let our love be genuine:
Let our affections be tempered with holiness:
Let our desires be shaped by the vision
of a new heaven and a new earth:
Let our actions reflect the balance of love
for your reign in all things:
Let our perceptions and feelings be ordered
by the hope we have in Christ:
God of justice and mercy,
open the eyes of sinners
that they may see the light of your truth,
know the power of your love,
and share in the bounty of your heavenly table;
through Jesus Christ our Savior. Amen.
Almighty God, our heavenly Father,
you gave your blessed Bishop Cyril
grace to maintain that the blessed Virgin Mary
is indeed the Mother of God:
Grant that by this teaching we may know you,
the one true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent;
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Gathering our prayers and praises into one,
let us pray as our Savior has taught us.
- The Lord's Prayer
Teach us always to reverence and love
your holy name that you have revealed to us
in 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 is adapted from a prayer by Thom Shurman and the closing sentence
is adapted from prayers by Alan Griffiths.
The second collect is by Stephen Benner. 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 _Daily Prayer_, copyright (c) The Scottish Episcopal
Church, 1998. Used with permission.
Ten years after the death of Athanasius, the great champion of faith in Christ as
fully God, the bishopric of Alexandria was bestowed on one Theophilus. He
was a man of fiery temperament, and ruthless and violent in the pursuit of what
he conceived to be his duty. Having obtained the consent of the government,
he destroyed pagan temples, and the monastaries of monks whose views
differed from his own. He is on the Egyptian (Coptic) and the Syrian calendars,
but not on most eastern or any western ones. Summary: unpleasant but
orthodox (Right but Repulsive). Upon his death in 412, he was succeeded by
his nephew Cyril.
Cyril began his career as Bishop of Alexandria by showing himself to be an
ill-tempered, quarrelsome, hasty, and violent man. He shut the churches of the
Novatianists (a group of Christians who were indistinguishable in doctrine and
manner of worship from other Christians, but who as descendants of those who
had stood firm in the persecutions 260 years earlier could have nothing to do
with the descendants of those who had not -- nearly a century earlier, the
emperor Constantine had disgustedly told their leader to set up a ladder and
climb to heaven by himself), he drove out the Jews, he quarrelled with the
imperial prefect Orestes, and with Orestes' friend Hypatia, a distinguished
neo-Platonist scholar. (Hypatia was murdered by a mob. There is no evidence
that Cyril was directly guilty, but the murderers were persons who regarded
him as their leader.) In short, he made a bad beginning.
Then there arose a controversy over the relation between Christ's Divinity and
His Humanity. One view, associated with the name of Nestorius, spoke of
Jesus as a sinless man in whom the Spirit of God fully dwelt, suggesting that
the difference between Jesus and any other good man was a matter of degree.
(Jones is an almost sinless man in whom the Spirit of God dwells almost fully.
He is therefore 99% whatever Jesus is 100%.) This may not do justice to the
subtlety of the Nestorian position, but it is the danger that others saw in it, and
the Nestorians were unable to explain what safeguards their position had
against this danger. Cyril wrote learnedly and with great logic and conviction
against the Nestorian position, and was largely instrumental in getting it
condemned at the Council of Ephesus in 431. Afterwards (surprisingly in view
of his earlier record), he worked to reconcile the two parties, and to bring
many of the less extreme Nestorians back into the fellowship of the church.
But it is as a theologian and a scholar, not as a bishop or human-relations man,
that Cyril is honored. [James Kiefer, abridged]
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