OREMUS: 11 November 2008

Steve Benner steve.benner at oremus.org
Mon Nov 10 17:00:00 GMT 2008

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OREMUS for Tuesday, November 11, 2008
Martin, Bishop of Tours, c.397
Remembrance Day

Lord, open our lips,
and our mouth shall proclaim your praise.

Blessed are you, O God.
for all the saints
who have gone before us,
who have spoken to our hearts,
and have touched us with your fire.
Blessed are you, O God,
for all the saints
who live beside us,
whose weakness and strengths
are woven with our own.
Blessed are you, O God,
who live beyond us,
who challenge us
to change the world with them.
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 91

He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High,*
 abides under the shadow of the Almighty.
He shall say to the Lord,
   'You are my refuge and my stronghold,*
 my God in whom I put my trust.'
He shall deliver you from the snare of the hunter*
 and from the deadly pestilence.
He shall cover you with his pinions,
   and you shall find refuge under his wings;*
 his faithfulness shall be a shield and buckler.
You shall not be afraid of any terror by night,*
 nor of the arrow that flies by day;
Of the plague that stalks in the darkness,*
 nor of the sickness that lays waste at midday.
A thousand shall fall at your side
   and ten thousand at your right hand,*
 but it shall not come near you.
Your eyes have only to behold*
 to see the reward of the wicked.
Because you have made the Lord your refuge,*
 and the Most High your habitation.
There shall no evil happen to you,*
 neither shall any plague come near your dwelling.
For he shall give his angels charge over you,*
 to keep you in all your ways.
They shall bear you in their hands,*
 lest you dash your foot against a stone.
You shall tread upon the lion and adder;*
 you shall trample the young lion and the serpent
   under your feet.
Because he is bound to me in love,
   therefore will I deliver him;*
 I will protect him, because he knows my name.
He shall call upon me and I will answer him;*
 I am with him in trouble,
   I will rescue him and bring him to honour.
With long life will I satisfy him,*
 and show him my salvation.

A Song of God's Assembled (Hebrews 12.22-24a,28,29)

We have come before God's holy mountain,  
to the heavenly Jerusalem, the city of the living God. 
We have come before countless angels making festival,  
before the assembly of the firstborn citizens of heaven. 
We have come before God, who is judge of all,  
before the spirits of the just made perfect. 
We have come before Jesus,  
the mediator of the new covenant. 
We are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken:  
so let us give thanks and offer to God acceptable worship, 
Full of reverence and awe;  
for our God is a consuming fire.

Psalm 147:1-12

   How good it is to sing praises to our God!*
 how pleasant it is to honour him with praise!
The Lord rebuilds Jerusalem;*
 he gathers the exiles of Israel.
He heals the brokenhearted*
 and binds up their wounds.
He counts the number of the stars*
 and calls them all by their names.
Great is our Lord and mighty in power;*
 there is no limit to his wisdom.
The Lord lifts up the lowly,*
 but casts the wicked to the ground.
Sing to the Lord with thanksgiving;*
 make music to our God upon the harp.
He covers the heavens with clouds*
 and prepares rain for the earth;
He makes grass to grow upon the mountains*
 and green plants to serve us all.
He provides food for flocks and herds*
 and for the young ravens when they cry.
He is not impressed by the might of a horse,*
 he has no pleasure in human strength;
But the Lord has pleasure in those who fear him,*
 in those who await his gracious favour.

FIRST READING [Deuteronomy 25:1-3, 13-16]:

Suppose two persons have a dispute and enter into litigation, and the judges decide
between them, declaring one to be in the right and the other to be in the wrong. If the
one in the wrong deserves to be flogged, the judge shall make that person lie down
and be beaten in his presence with the number of lashes proportionate to the offence.
Forty lashes may be given but not more; if more lashes than these are given, your
neighbour will be degraded in your sight.

You shall not have in your bag two kinds of weights, large and small. You shall not
have in your house two kinds of measures, large and small. You shall have only a full
and honest weight; you shall have only a full and honest measure, so that your days
may be long in the land that the Lord your God is giving you. For all who do such
things, all who act dishonestly, are abhorrent to the Lord your God. 

Words: Isaac Watts (1674-1748), 1719
Tune: St. Anne

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O God, our help in ages past,
our hope for years to come,
our shelter from the stormy blast,
and our eternal home:

Under the shadow of thy throne,
thy saints have dwelt secure;
sufficient is thine arm alone,
and our defense is sure.

Before the hills in order stood,
or earth received her frame,
from everlasting thou art God,
to endless years the same.

A thousand ages in thy sight
are like an evening gone;
short as the watch that ends the night
before the rising sun.

Time, like an ever-rolling stream,
bears all its sons away;
they fly, forgotten, as a dream
dies at the opening day.

O God, our help in ages past,
our hope for years to come,
be thou our guide while troubles last,
and our eternal home!

SECOND READING [1 Thessalonians 2:1-16]:

You yourselves know, brothers and sisters, that our coming to you was not in vain,
but though we had already suffered and been shamefully maltreated at Philippi, as you
know, we had courage in our God to declare to you the gospel of God in spite of great
opposition. For our appeal does not spring from deceit or impure motives or trickery,
but just as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the message of the
gospel, even so we speak, not to please mortals, but to please God who tests our
hearts. As you know and as God is our witness, we never came with words of flattery
or with a pretext for greed; nor did we seek praise from mortals, whether from you or
from others, though we might have made demands as apostles of Christ. But we were
gentle among you, like a nurse tenderly caring for her own children. So deeply do we
care for you that we are determined to share with you not only the gospel of God but
also our own selves, because you have become very dear to us.

You remember our labour and toil, brothers and sisters; we worked night and day, so
that we might not burden any of you while we proclaimed to you the gospel of God.
You are witnesses, and God also, how pure, upright, and blameless our conduct was
towards you believers. As you know, we dealt with each one of you like a father with
his children, urging and encouraging you and pleading that you should lead a life
worthy of God, who calls you into his own kingdom and glory.

We also constantly give thanks to God for this, that when you received the word of
God that you heard from us, you accepted it not as a human word but as what it really
is, God's word, which is also at work in you believers. For you, brothers and sisters,
became imitators of the churches of God in Christ Jesus that are in Judea, for you
suffered the same things from your own compatriots as they did from the Jews, who
killed both the Lord Jesus and the prophets, and drove us out; they displease God and
oppose everyone by hindering us from speaking to the Gentiles so that they may be
saved. Thus they have constantly been filling up the measure of their sins; but God's
wrath has overtaken them at last.

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

Let us pray for the peace of the world:
for statesmen and rulers,
that they may have wisdom to know 
and courage to do what is right ...

for all who work to improve international relationships, 
that they may find the true way to reconcile people 
of different race, colour, and creed ...

and for men and women the world over, 
that they may have justice and freedom, 
and live in security and peace ...

Lord, in your mercy
Hear our prayer.

Most gracious God and Father,
in whose will is our peace:
turn our hearts and the hearts of all to yourself,
that by the power of your Spirit
the peace which is founded on righteousness
may be established throughout the whole world;
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Let us pray for all who suffer as a result of war:

for the injured and the disabled,
for the mentally distressed,
and for those whose faith in God and man has been
weakened or destroyed ...

for the homeless and refugees,
for those who are hungry,
and for all who have lost their livelihood and security ...

for those who mourn their dead,
those who have lost husband or wife,
children or parents,
and especially for those who have no hope in Christ
to sustain them in their grief ...

Lord, in your mercy
Hear our prayer.

Almighty God, our heavenly Father,
infinite in wisdom, love, and power:
have compassion on those for whom we pray;
and help us to use all suffering
in the cause of your kingdom;
through him who gave himself for us on the cross,
Jesus Christ your Son, our Lord. Amen. 

Living Lord,
you have made this day your own
and called us out of darkness into your marvellous light;
open the gates of righteousness
that your pilgrim people may enter
and be built into a living temple
on the cornerstone of our salvation,
Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
God all powerful, 
who called Martin from the armies of this world 
to be a faithful soldier of Christ: 
give us grace to follow him 
in his love and compassion for the needy 
and enable your Church to claim for all people 
their inheritance as children of God; 
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

Let us pledge ourselves anew to the service of God
and our fellow men and women:
that we may help, encourage, and comfort others,
and support those working for the relief of the needy
and for the peace and welfare of the nations:

Lord God our Father,
we pledge ourselves
to serve you and all humankind,
in the cause of peace,
for the relief of want and suffering,
and for the praise of your name.
Guide us by your Spirit;
give us wisdom;
give us courage;
give us hope;
and keep us faithful
now and always. 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 Janet Morley. The intercession and
closing prayer are from Remembrance Day services found in _Common Worship:
Times and Seasons (draft)_, material from which is included in this service is
copyright (c) The Archbishops' Council, 2004.

Martin was born around 330 of pagan parents. His father was a soldier, who enlisted
Martin in the army at the age of fifteen. One winter day he saw an ill-clad beggar at the
gate of the city of Amiens. Martin had no money to give, but he cut his cloak in half and
gave half to the beggar. (Paintings of the scene, such as that by El Greco, show Martin,
even without the cloak, more warmly clad than the beggar, which rather misses the point.)
In a dream that night, Martin saw Christ wearing the half-cloak. He had for some time
considered becoming a Christian, and this ended his wavering. He was promptly baptized.
At the end of his next military campaign, he asked to be released from the army, saying:
"Hitherto I have faithfully served Caesar. Let me now serve Christ." He was accused of
cowardice, and offered to stand unarmed between the contending armies. He was
imprisoned, but released when peace was signed.

He became a disciple of Hilary of Poitiers, a chief opponent in the West of the Arians, who
denied the full deity of Christ, and who had the favor of the emperor Constantius.
Returning to his parents' home in Illyricum (Yugoslavia, approximately), he opposed the
Arians with such effectiveness that he was publicly scourged and exiled. He was
subsequently driven from Milan, and eventually returned to Gaul. There he founded the
first monastary in Gaul, which lasted until the French Revolution.

In 371 he was elected bishop of Tours. His was a mainly pagan diocese, but his instruction
and personal manner of life prevailed. In one instance, the pagan priests agreed to fell their
idol, a large fir tree, if Martin would stand directly in the path of its fall. He did so, and it
missed him very narrowly. When an officer of the Imperial Guard arrived with a batch of
prisoners who were to be tortured and executed the next day, Martin intervened and
secured their release.

In the year 384, the heretic (Gnostic) Priscillian and six companions had been condemned
to death by the emperor Maximus. The bishops who had found them guilty in the
ecclesiastical court pressed for their execution. Martin contended that the secular power
had no authority to punish heresy, and that the excommunication by the bishops was an
adequate sentence. In this he was upheld by Ambrose, Bishop of Milan. He refused to
leave Treves until the emperor promised to reprieve them. No sooner was his back turned
than the bishops persuaded the emperor to break his promise; Priscillian and his followers
were executed. This was the first time that heresy was punished by death.

Martin was furious, and excommunicated the bishops responsible. But afterwards, he took
them back into communion in exchange for a pardon from Maximus for certain men
condemned to death, and for the emperor's promise to end the persecution of the
remaining Priscillianists. He never felt easy in his mind about this concession, and
thereafter avoided assmblies of bishops where he might encounter some of those
concerned in this affair. He died on or about 11 November 397 and his shrine at Tours
became a sanctuary for those seeking justice.

The Feast of Martin, a soldier who fought bravely and faithfully in the service of an earthly
sovereign, and then elisted in the service of Christ, is also the day of the Armistice which
marked the end of the First World War. On it we remember those who have risked or lost
their lives in what they perceived as the pursuit of justice and peace. [James Kiefer]

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