OREMUS: 28 June 2008

Steve Benner steve.benner at oremus.org
Fri Jun 27 17:00:01 GMT 2008

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OREMUS for Saturday, June 28, 2008
Irenaeus, Bishop of Lyons, Teacher of the Faith, c.200

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. 


Psalm 47

Clap your hands, all you peoples;*
 shout to God with a cry of joy.
For the Lord Most High is to be feared;*
 he is the great king over all the earth.
He subdues the peoples under us,*
 and the nations under our feet.
He chooses our inheritance for us,*
 the pride of Jacob whom he loves.
God has gone up with a shout,*
 the Lord with the sound of the ram's-horn.
Sing praises to God, sing praises;*
 sing praises to our king, sing praises.
For God is king of all the earth;*
 sing praises with all your skill.
God reigns over the nations;*
 God sits upon his holy throne.
The nobles of the peoples have gathered together*
 with the people of the God of Abraham.
The rulers of the earth belong to God,*
 and he is highly exalted.

Psalm 48

Great is the Lord and highly to be praised;*
 in the city of our God is his holy hill.
Beautiful and lofty, the joy of all the earth,
   is the hill of Zion,*
 the very centre of the world
   and the city of the great king.
God is in her citadels;*
 he is known to be her sure refuge.
Behold, the kings of the earth assembled*
 and marched forward together.
They looked and were astounded;*
 they retreated and fled in terror.
Trembling seized them there;*
 they writhed like a woman in childbirth,
   like ships of the sea when the east wind shatters them.
As we have heard, so have we seen,
   in the city of the Lord of hosts, in the city of our God;*
 God has established her for ever.
We have waited in silence
   on your loving-kindness, O God,*
 in the midst of your temple.
Your praise, like your name, O God,
   reaches to the world's end;*
 your right hand is full of justice.
Let Mount Zion be glad
   and the cities of Judah rejoice,*
 because of your judgements.
Make the circuit of Zion; walk round about her;*
 count the number of her towers.
Consider well her bulwarks; examine her strongholds;*
 that you may tell those who come after.
This God is our God for ever and ever;*
 he shall be our guide for evermore.

A Song of Hannah (1 Samuel 2.1,2,3b-5,7,8)

My heart exults in the Lord;  
my strength is exalted in my God. 
My mouth derides my enemies,  
because I rejoice in your salvation. 
There is no Holy One like you, O Lord,  
nor any Rock like you, our God. 
For you are a God of knowledge  
and by you our actions are weighed. 
The bows of the mighty are broken,  
but the feeble gird on strength. 
Those who were full now hire themselves out for bread,  
but those who were hungry are well fed. 
The barren woman has borne sevenfold,  
but she who has many children is forlorn. 
Both the poor and the rich are of your making;  
you bring low and you also exalt. 
You raise up the poor from the dust,  
and lift the needy from the ash heap. 
You make them sit with the rulers  
and inherit a place of honour. 
For the pillars of the earth are yours  
and on them you have set the world.

Psalm 150

   Praise God in his holy temple;*
 praise him in the firmament of his power.
Praise him for his mighty acts;*
 praise him for his excellent greatness.
Praise him with the blast of the ram's-horn;*
 praise him with lyre and harp.
Praise him with timbrel and dance;*
 praise him with strings and pipe.
Praise him with resounding cymbals;*
 praise him with loud-clanging cymbals.
Let everything that has breath*
 praise the Lord.

FIRST READING [Daniel 2:1-6,10-13]:

In the second year of Nebuchadnezzar's reign, Nebuchadnezzar dreamed such dreams
that his spirit was troubled and his sleep left him. So the king commanded that the
magicians, the enchanters, the sorcerers, and the Chaldeans be summoned to tell the
king his dreams. When they came in and stood before the king, he said to them, 'I have
had such a dream that my spirit is troubled by the desire to understand it.' The
Chaldeans said to the king (in Aramaic), 'O king, live for ever! Tell your servants the
dream, and we will reveal the interpretation.' The king answered the Chaldeans, 'This
is a public decree: if you do not tell me both the dream and its interpretation, you shall
be torn limb from limb, and your houses shall be laid in ruins. But if you do tell me the
dream and its interpretation, you shall receive from me gifts and rewards and great
honour. Therefore tell me the dream and its interpretation.' The Chaldeans answered
the king, 'There is no one on earth who can reveal what the king demands! In fact no
king, however great and powerful, has ever asked such a thing of any magician or
enchanter or Chaldean. The thing that the king is asking is too difficult, and no one can
reveal it to the king except the gods, whose dwelling is not with mortals.'
Because of this the king flew into a violent rage and commanded that all the wise men
of Babylon be destroyed. The decree was issued, and the wise men were about to be
executed; and they looked for Daniel and his companions, to execute them. 

Words: Alan Gaunt (born 1935);   1997, 2003 Stainer & Bell Ltd Used with permission.
Meter: SM

Christ, lay your cross on me,
Let me sustain its weight
And carry love's integrity
Through earth's contempt and hate.

If pain or unsought grief
Should bring me to despair,
Convince me, in my unbelief,
It is your cross I bear.

But never let me make
The cross a cause of pride;
Not for my pride, but your love's sake,
I bear it at your side.

And never let me wield
The cross self-righteously,
Lest, judging others, I abuse
Your own humanity.

Give me humility,
To make it always true:
If others lay the cross on me,
I carry it for you.

Though sorrow pierces joy,
Keep me with you, to see
No power of evil can destroy
The love of Calvary.

SECOND READING [Acts 20:1-16]:

After the uproar had ceased, Paul sent for the disciples; and after encouraging them and
saying farewell, he left for Macedonia. When he had gone through those regions and had
given the believers much encouragement, he came to Greece, where he stayed for three
months. He was about to set sail for Syria when a plot was made against him by the
Jews, and so he decided to return through Macedonia. He was accompanied by Sopater
son of Pyrrhus from Beroea, by Aristarchus and Secundus from Thessalonica, by Gaius
from Derbe, and by Timothy, as well as by Tychicus and Trophimus from Asia. They
went ahead and were waiting for us in Troas; but we sailed from Philippi after the days
of Unleavened Bread, and in five days we joined them in Troas, where we stayed for
seven days.
On the first day of the week, when we met to break bread, Paul was holding a discussion
with them; since he intended to leave the next day, he continued speaking until midnight.
There were many lamps in the room upstairs where we were meeting. A young man
named Eutychus, who was sitting in the window, began to sink off into a deep sleep
while Paul talked still longer. Overcome by sleep, he fell to the ground three floors
below and was picked up dead. But Paul went down, and bending over him took him in
his arms, and said, 'Do not be alarmed, for his life is in him.' Then Paul went upstairs,
and after he had broken bread and eaten, he continued to converse with them until dawn;
then he left. Meanwhile they had taken the boy away alive and were not a little
We went ahead to the ship and set sail for Assos, intending to take Paul on board there;
for he had made this arrangement, intending to go by land himself. When he met us in
Assos, we took him on board and went to Mitylene. We sailed from there, and on the
following day we arrived opposite Chios. The next day we touched at Samos, and the
day after that we came to Miletus. For Paul had decided to sail past Ephesus, so that he
might not have to spend time in Asia; he was eager to be in Jerusalem, if possible, on the
day of Pentecost. 

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

Beginning and End of all things,
we bless you for the present that is ever yielding
to your new heaven and new earth.

For all the means of grace,
we praise you, O Lord.

For every prompting of your Spirit
we praise you, O Lord.

We yield our cares to your unceasing mercy:
Attend the sick and the suffering,
In your mercy, Lord, hear us.

Touch the dying:
In your mercy, Lord, hear us.

Claim the newborn:
In your mercy, Lord, hear us.

Shelter the homeless:
In your mercy, Lord, hear us.

Sing in the fearful:
In your mercy, Lord, hear us.

Chasten the arrogant and powerful:
In your mercy, Lord, hear us.

Lift up the lowly:
In your mercy, Lord, hear us.

Center the Church:
In your mercy, Lord, hear us.

Grant peace to Jerusalem and every people:
In your mercy, Lord, hear us.

Shape our lives by the mystery 
of Christ crucified, risen and interceding for us:
In your mercy, Lord, hear us.

Blessed are you, God of all the earth:
you have called us out of every people and nation
to be a royal priesthood and citizens of your holy city.
May our words of praise call the world to turn
to the joy of fellowship with you;
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

God of peace, 
who through the ministry of your servant Irenaeus 
strengthened the true faith 
and brought harmony to your Church: 
keep us steadfast in your true religion, 
and renew us in faith and love, 
that we may always walk in the way 
that leads to eternal life; 
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.

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 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

The first collect is from _Daily Prayer_, copyright (c) The
Scottish Episcopal Church, 1998. Used with permission. 

The closing prayer are adapted from prayers in _Opening Prayers:
Collects in Contemporary Language_. Canterbury Press, Norwich, 1999.

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.

Irenaeus (pronounced ear-a-NAY-us) was probably born around 125. As a
young man in Smyrna (near Ephesus, in what is now western Turkey) he heard
the preaching of Polycarp, who as a young man had heard the preaching of the
Apostle John. Afterward, probably while still a young man, Polycarp moved
west to Lyons in southern France. In 177, Pothinus, the bishop of Lyons, sent
him on a mission to Rome. During his absence a severe persecution broke out
in Lyons, claiming the lives of the bishop and others (see 2 June). When
Irenaeus returned to Lyons, he was made bishop. He died around 202. He is
thus an important link between the apostolic church and later times, and also
an important link between Eastern and Western Christianity.
His principal work is the Refutation of Heresies, a defense of orthodox
Christianity against its Gnostic rivals. A shorter work is his Proof of the
Apostolic Preaching, a brief summary of Christian teaching, largely concerned
with Christ as the fulfilment of Old Testament prophecy. An interesting bit of
trivia about this latter book is that it is, as far as I know, the first Christian
writing to refer to the earth as a sphere.
One of the earliest heresies to arise in the Christian church was Gnosticism,
and Irenaeus was one of its chief early opponents. Not all Gnostics believed
exactly the same thing, but the general outlines of the belief are fairly clear.
Gnostics were dualists, teaching that there are two great opposing forces: good
versus evil, light versus darkness, knowledge versus ignorance, spirit versus
matter. Since the world is material, and leaves much room for improvement,
they denied that God had made it. "How can the perfect produce the imperfect,
the infinite produce the finite, the spiritual produce the material?" they asked.
The Gnostics were Docetists (pronounced do-SEE-tists). This word comes
from the Greek word meaning "to seem." They taught that Christ did not really
have a material body, but only seemed to have one. It was an appearance, so
that he could communicate with men, but was not really there. (If holograms
had been known then, they would certainly have said that the supposed body of
Jesus was a hologram.) They went on to say that Jesus was not really born, and
did not really suffer or die, but merely appeared to do so. It was in opposition
to early Gnostic teachers that the Apostle John wrote (1 John 4:1-3) that
anyone who denies that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of antiChrist.
Gnostics claimed to be Christians, but Christians with a difference. They said
that Jesus had had two doctrines: one a doctrine fit for the common man, and
preached to everyone, and the other an advanced teaching, kept secret from
the multitudes, fit only for the chosen few, the spiritually elite. They, the
Gnostics, were the spiritually elite, and although the doctrines taught in the
churches were not exactly wrong, and were in fact as close to the truth as the
common man could hope to come, it was to the Gnostics that one must turn
for the real truth. 
In opposition to this idea, Irenaeus maintained that the Gospel message is for
everyone. He was perhaps the first to speak of the Church as "Catholic"
(universal). In using this term, he made three contrasts:
   1. He contrasted the over-all church with the single local congregation, so
that one spoke of the Church in Ephesus, but also of the Catholic Church, of
which the Churches in Ephesus, Corinth, Rome, Antioch, etc. were local
branches or chapters.
   2. He contrasted Christianity with Judaism, in that the task of Judaism was to
preserve the knowledge of the one God by establishing a solid national base for
it among a single people, but the task of Christianity was to set out from that
base to preach the Truth to all nations.
   3. He contrasted Christianity with Gnosticism, in that the Gnostics claimed to
have a message only for the few with the right aptitudes and temperaments,
whereas the Christian Gospel was to be proclaimed to all men everywhere.
Irenaeus then went on to say: If Jesus did have a special secret teaching, to
whom would He entrust it? Clearly, to His disciples, to the Twelve, who were
with Him constantly, and to whom he spoke without reservation (Mark 4:34).
And was the teaching of the Twelve different from that of Paul? Here the
Gnostics, and others since, have tried to drive a wedge between Paul and the
original Apostles, but Peter writes of Paul in the highest terms (2 Peter 3:15),
as one whose teaching is authentic. Again, we find Paul saying to the elders of
the church at Ephesus (Acts 20:27), that he has declared to them the whole
counsel of God. Where, then, do we look for Christ's authentic teaching? In the
congregations that were founded by the apostles, who set trustworthy men in
charge of them, and charged them to pass on the teaching unchanged to future
generations through carefully chosen successors. [James Kiefer, abridged]

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