OREMUS: 26 May 2008

Steve Benner steve.benner at oremus.org
Sun May 25 17:00:00 GMT 2008

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OREMUS for Monday, May 26, 2008
Augustine, first Archbishop of Canterbury, 605

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

Blessed are you, O God,
you are the origin of all that exists,
yours is the life in everything that breathes.
You clothe the heavens with glory
and fill the earth with your praise.
You formed us, men and women,
to embody your likeness.
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 31

In you, O Lord, have I taken refuge;
   let me never be put to shame;*
 deliver me in your righteousness.
Incline your ear to me;*
 make haste to deliver me.
Be my strong rock, a castle to keep me safe,
   for you are my crag and my stronghold;*
 for the sake of your name, lead me and guide me.
Take me out of the net
   that they have secretly set for me,*
 for you are my tower of strength.
Into your hands I commend my spirit,*
 for you have redeemed me,
   O Lord, O God of truth.
I hate those who cling to worthless idols,*
 and I put my trust in the Lord.
I will rejoice and be glad because of your mercy;*
 for you have seen my affliction;
   you know my distress.
You have not shut me up in the power of the enemy;*
 you have set my feet in an open place.
Have mercy on me, O Lord, for I am in trouble;*
 my eye is consumed with sorrow,
   and also my throat and my belly.
For my life is wasted with grief,
   and my years with sighing;*
 my strength fails me because of affliction,
   and my bones are consumed.
I have become a reproach to all my enemies
   and even to my neighbours,
   a dismay to those of my acquaintance;*
 when they see me in the street they avoid me.
I am forgotten like the dead, out of mind;*
 I am as useless as a broken pot.
For I have heard the whispering of the crowd;
   fear is all around;*
 they put their heads together against me;
   they plot to take my life.
But as for me, I have trusted in you, O Lord.*
 I have said, 'You are my God.
'My times are in your hand;*
 rescue me from the hand of my enemies,
   and from those who persecute me.
'Make your face to shine upon your servant,*
 and in your loving-kindness save me.'
Lord, let me not be ashamed
   for having called upon you;*
 rather, let the wicked be put to shame;
   let them be silent in the grave.
Let the lying lips be silenced
   which speak against the righteous,*
 haughtily, disdainfully and with contempt.
How great is your goodness, O Lord,
   which you have laid up for those who fear you;*
 which you have done in the sight of all
   for those who put their trust in you.
You hide them in the covert of your presence
   from those who slander them;*
 you keep them in your shelter from the strife of tongues.
Blessed be the Lord!*
 for he has shown me the wonders of his love
   in a besieged city.
Yet I said in my alarm,
   'I have been cut off from the sight of your eyes.'*
 Nevertheless, you heard the sound of my entreaty
   when I cried out to you.
Love the Lord, all you who worship him;*
 the Lord protects the faithful,
   but repays to the full those who act haughtily.
Be strong and let your heart take courage,*
 all you who wait for the Lord.

A Song of God's Chosen One (Isaiah 11.1,2,3b-4a,6,9)

There shall come forth a shoot from the stock of Jesse,  
and a branch shall grow out of his roots. 
And the Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him,  
the spirit of wisdom and understanding, 
The spirit of counsel and might,  
the spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord. 
He shall not judge by what his eyes see,  
or decide by what his ears hear, 
But with righteousness he shall judge the poor,  
and decide with equity for the meek of the earth. 
The wolf shall dwell with the lamb,  
and the leopard shall lie down with the kid. 
The calf, the lion and the fatling together,  
with a little child to lead them. 
They shall not hurt or destroy in all my holy mountain,  
for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord 
as the waters cover the sea.

Psalm 146

   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.

FIRST READING [Ezra 5:1-2,6-17]:

Now the prophets, Haggai and Zechariah son of Iddo, prophesied to the Jews who
were in Judah and Jerusalem, in the name of the God of Israel who was over them.
Then Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel and Jeshua son of Jozadak set out to rebuild the
house of God in Jerusalem; and with them were the prophets of God, helping
The copy of the letter that Tattenai the governor of the province Beyond the River and
Shethar-bozenai and his associates the envoys who were in the province Beyond the
River sent to King Darius; they sent him a report, in which was written as follows: 'To
Darius the king, all peace! May it be known to the king that we went to the province
of Judah, to the house of the great God. It is being built of hewn stone, and timber is
laid in the walls; this work is being done diligently and prospers in their hands. Then
we spoke to those elders and asked them, "Who gave you a decree to build this house
and to finish this structure?" We also asked them their names, for your information, so
that we might write down the names of the men at their head. This was their reply to
us: "We are the servants of the God of heaven and earth, and we are rebuilding the
house that was built many years ago, which a great king of Israel built and finished.
But because our ancestors had angered the God of heaven, he gave them into the hand
of King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon, the Chaldean, who destroyed this house and
carried away the people to Babylonia. However, King Cyrus of Babylon, in the first
year of his reign, made a decree that this house of God should be rebuilt. Moreover,
the gold and silver vessels of the house of God, which Nebuchadnezzar had taken out
of the temple in Jerusalem and had brought into the temple of Babylon, these King
Cyrus took out of the temple of Babylon, and they were delivered to a man named
Sheshbazzar, whom he had made governor. He said to him, 'Take these vessels; go
and put them in the temple in Jerusalem, and let the house of God be rebuilt on its
site.' Then this Sheshbazzar came and laid the foundations of the house of God in
Jerusalem; and from that time until now it has been under construction, and it is not
yet finished." And now, if it seems good to the king, have a search made in the royal
archives there in Babylon, to see whether a decree was issued by King Cyrus for the
rebuilding of this house of God in Jerusalem. Let the king send us his pleasure in this

Words: Scottish Paraphrases, 1781
Tune: Bishopthorpe

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Behold! the mountain of the Lord
in latter days shall rise
on mountain tops above the hills,
and draw the wondering eyes.

To this the joyful nations round,
all tribes and tongues, shall flow;
up to the hill of God, they'll say,
and to his house we'll go.

The beam that shines from Zion hill
shall lighten every land;
the King who reigns in Salem's towers
shall all the world command.

Among the nations he shall judge;
his judgments truth shall guide;
his scepter shall protect the just,
and quell the sinner's pride.

No strife shall vex Messiah's reign
or mar the peaceful years;
to plowshares men shall beat their swords,
to pruning-hooks their spears.

No longer hosts, encountering hosts,
shall crowds of slain deplore;
they hang the trumpet in the hall,
and study war no more. 

Come then, O come, from every land
to worship at his shrine;
and, walking in the light of God,
with holy beauties shine.

SECOND READING [Acts 9:1-19]:

Meanwhile Saul, still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord,
went to the high priest and asked him for letters to the synagogues at Damascus, so
that if he found any who belonged to the Way, men or women, he might bring them
bound to Jerusalem. Now as he was going along and approaching Damascus, suddenly
a light from heaven flashed around him. He fell to the ground and heard a voice saying
to him, 'Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?' He asked, 'Who are you, Lord?' The
reply came, 'I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. But get up and enter the city, and
you will be told what you are to do.' The men who were travelling with him stood
speechless because they heard the voice but saw no one. Saul got up from the ground,
and though his eyes were open, he could see nothing; so they led him by the hand and
brought him into Damascus. For three days he was without sight, and neither ate nor
Now there was a disciple in Damascus named Ananias. The Lord said to him in a
vision, 'Ananias.' He answered, 'Here I am, Lord.' The Lord said to him, 'Get up and
go to the street called Straight, and at the house of Judas look for a man of Tarsus
named Saul. At this moment he is praying, and he has seen in a vision a man named
Ananias come in and lay his hands on him so that he might regain his sight.' But
Ananias answered, 'Lord, I have heard from many about this man, how much evil he
has done to your saints in Jerusalem; and here he has authority from the chief priests to
bind all who invoke your name.' But the Lord said to him, 'Go, for he is an instrument
whom I have chosen to bring my name before Gentiles and kings and before the
people of Israel; I myself will show him how much he must suffer for the sake of my
name.' So Ananias went and entered the house. He laid his hands on Saul and said,
'Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus, who appeared to you on your way here, has sent me so
that you may regain your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.' And immediately
something like scales fell from his eyes, and his sight was restored. Then he got up and
was baptized, and after taking some food, he regained his strength. For several days he
was with the disciples in Damascus.

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

Almighty God,
maker of all good things and Father of all;
you have shown us in Christ the purpose of your creation
and call us to be responsible in the world.

We pray for the world
all the nations....
our own country....
those in authority....
the peace of the world....
racial harmony....
those who maintain order....

We pray for the Church, especially

Almighty God, we give you thanks
for the order of created things
the resources of the earth
and the gift of human life....

for the continuing work of creation,
man's share in it,
and for creative vision and inventive skill....

for your faithfulness to man in patience and in love,
and for every human response of obedience
and humble achievement....

May we delight in your purpose
and work to bring all things to their true end;
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Helper of the helpless,
Comfort of the afflicted,
may your servants who stand in the midst of evil
find strength in the knowledge of your presence,
and praise you for the wonders of your love;
through Jesus Christ our Redeemer. Amen.

Everliving God,
you strengthened your servant Augustine,
though he was fearful and laden with doubt,
to lay the foundations of your Church
among the English people.
Grant us always to show forth the reason
for all your gifts so freely bestowed upon us,
by sharing with all peoples and races
your infinite gift of salvation;
through Jesus Christ our Lord,
who is alive 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

May we work with you, Lord, as builders of your world
in the power of your Spirit,
through 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 of thanksgiving and the closing sentence are adapted from a preface
by Alan Griffiths.

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

The Christian Church was established in the British Isles well before 300. Some scholars
believe that it was introduced by missionaries from the Eastern or Greek-speaking half of
the Mediterranean world. Celtic Christianity had its own distinctive culture, and Greek
scholarship flourished in Ireland for several centuries after it had died elsewhere in
Western Europe.
However, in the fifth century Britain was invaded by non-Christian Germanic tribes: the
Angles, Saxons, and Jutes. They conquered the native Celtic Christians (despite resistance
by, among others, a leader whose story has come down to us, doubtless with some
exaggeration, as that of King Arthur), or drove them north and west into Cornwall, Wales,
Scotland, and Ireland. From these regions Celtic Christian missionaries returned to
England to preach the Gospel to the heathen invaders. Meanwhile, the Bishop of Rome,
Gregory the Great, decided to send missionaries from Rome, a group of monks led by
their prior, Augustine (not to be confused with the more famous Augustine of Hippo).
They arrived in Kent (the southeast corner of England) in 597, and the king, whose wife
was a Christian, allowed them to settle and preach. Their preaching was outstandingly
successful, the people were hungry for the Good News of salvation, and they made
thousands of converts in a short time. In 601 the king himself was converted and baptised.
Augustine was consecrated bishop and established his headquarters at Canterbury. From
his day to the present, there has been an unbroken succession of archbishops of
In 603, he held a conference with the leaders of the already existing Christian
congregations in Britain, but failed to reach an accomodation with them, largely due to his
own tactlessness, and his insistence (contrary, it may be noted, to Gregory's explicit
advice) on imposing Roman customs on a church long accustomed to its own traditions of
worship. It is said that the English bishops, before going to meet Augustine, consulted a
hermit with a reputation for wisdom and holiness, asking him, "Shall we accept this man as
our leader, or not?" The hermit replied, "If, at your meeting, he rises to greet you, then
accept him, but if he remains seated, then he is arrogant and unfit to lead, and you ought
to reject him." Augustine, alas, remained seated. It took another sixty years before the
breach was healed. [James Kiefer]

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