OREMUS: 13 September 2008

Steve Benner steve.benner at oremus.org
Fri Sep 12 19:22:37 GMT 2008

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OREMUS for Saturday, September 13, 2008
Cyprian, Bishop of Carthage, Martyr, 258

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

Blessed are you, O God,
who shaped creation at earth's chaotic dawn,
who framed us in your image;
your goodness is revealed in mercy and compassion,
you touch us with tenderness,
and broken hearts are healed.
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 97

The Lord is king; let the earth rejoice;*
 let the multitude of the isles be glad.
Clouds and darkness are round about him,*
 righteousness and justice
   are the foundations of his throne.
A fire goes before him*
 and burns up his enemies on every side.
His lightnings light up the world;*
 the earth sees it and is afraid.
The mountains melt like wax
   at the presence of the Lord,*
 at the presence of the Lord of the whole earth.
The heavens declare his righteousness,*
 and all the peoples see his glory.
Confounded be all who worship carved images
   and delight in false gods!*
 Bow down before him, all you gods.
Zion hears and is glad and the cities of Judah rejoice,*
 because of your judgements, O Lord.
For you are the Lord: most high over all the earth;*
 you are exalted far above all gods.
The Lord loves those who hate evil;*
 he preserves the lives of his saints
   and delivers them from the hand of the wicked.
Light has sprung up for the righteous,*
 and joyful gladness for those who are true-hearted.
Rejoice in the Lord, you righteous,*
 and give thanks to his holy name.

Psalm 98

Sing to the Lord a new song,*
 for he has done marvellous things.
With his right hand and his holy arm*
 has he won for himself the victory.
The Lord has made known his victory;*
 his righteousness has he openly shown
   in the sight of the nations.
He remembers his mercy and faithfulness
   to the house of Israel,*
 and all the ends of the earth have seen
   the victory of our God.
Shout with joy to the Lord, all you lands;*
 lift up your voice, rejoice and sing.
Sing to the Lord with the harp,*
 with the harp and the voice of song.
With trumpets and the sound of the horn*
 shout with joy before the King, the Lord.
Let the sea make a noise and all that is in it,*
 the lands and those who dwell therein.
Let the rivers clap their hands,*
 and let the hills ring out with joy before the Lord,
   when he comes to judge the earth.
In righteousness shall he judge the world,*
 and the peoples with equity.

A Song of the Redeemed (Revelation 7.9,10,14b-17)

Behold, a great multitude
which no one could number, 
>From every nation, 
from all tribes and peoples and tongues,
standing before the throne and the Lamb. 
They were clothed in white robes 
and had palms in their hands, 
and they cried with a loud voice, saying, 
'Salvation belongs to our God 
who sits on the throne,  
and to the Lamb.' 
These are they 
who have come out of the great tribulation, 
they have washed their robes 
and made them white in the blood of the Lamb; 
Therefore they stand before the throne of God,
whom they serve day and night within the temple. 
And the One who sits upon the throne . 
will shelter them with his presence. 
They shall never again feel hunger or thirst, . 
the sun shall not strike them, 
nor any scorching heat. 
For the Lamb at the heart of the throne 
will be their Shepherd, 
He will guide them to springs of living water, 
and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes. 

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.


One day the heavenly beings came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan
also came among them to present himself before the Lord. The Lord said to Satan,
'Where have you come from?' Satan answered the Lord, 'From going to and fro on
the earth, and from walking up and down on it.' The Lord said to Satan, 'Have you
considered my servant Job? There is no one like him on the earth, a blameless and
upright man who fears God and turns away from evil. He still persists in his integrity,
although you incited me against him, to destroy him for no reason.' Then Satan
answered the Lord, 'Skin for skin! All that people have they will give to save their
lives. But stretch out your hand now and touch his bone and his flesh, and he will
curse you to your face.' The Lord said to Satan, 'Very well, he is in your power; only
spare his life.'
So Satan went out from the presence of the Lord, and inflicted loathsome sores on Job
from the sole of his foot to the crown of his head. Job took a potsherd with which to
scrape himself, and sat among the ashes.
Then his wife said to him, 'Do you still persist in your integrity? Curse God, and die.'
But he said to her, 'You speak as any foolish woman would speak. Shall we receive
the good at the hand of God, and not receive the bad?' In all this Job did not sin with
his lips.
Now when Job's three friends heard of all these troubles that had come upon him,
each of them set out from his home Eliphaz the Temanite, Bildad the Shuhite, and
Zophar the Naamathite. They met together to go and console and comfort him. When
they saw him from a distance, they did not recognize him, and they raised their voices
and wept aloud; they tore their robes and threw dust in the air upon their heads. They
sat with him on the ground for seven days and seven nights, and no one spoke a word
to him, for they saw that his suffering was very great. 

Words: William Young Fullerton (1857-1932), 1929;
Tune: Londonderry Air

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I cannot tell how he whom angels worship
should stoop to love the peoples of the earth,
or why as shepherd he should seek the wanderer
with his mysterious promise of new birth.
But this I know, that he was born of Mary,
when Bethlehem's manger was his only home,
and that he lived at Nazareth and labored,
and so the Savior, Savior of the world, is come.

I cannot tell how silently he suffered,
as with his peace he graced this place of tears,
or how his heart upon the cross was broken,
the crown of pain to three and thirty years.
But this I know, he heals the broken-hearted,
and stays our sin, and calms our lurking fear,
and lifts the burden from the heavy laden,
for yet the Savior, Savior of the world, is here.

I cannot tell how he will win the nations,
how he will claim his earthly heritage,
how satisfy the needs and aspirations
of east and west, of sinner and of sage.
But this I know, all flesh shall see his glory,
and he shall reap the harvest he has sown,
and some glad day his sun shall shine in splendor
when he the Savior, Savior of the world, is known.

I cannot tell how all the lands shall worship,
when, at his bidding, every storm is stilled,
or who can say how great the jubilation
when every heart with perfect love is filled.
But this I know, the skies will thrill with rapture,
and myriad, myriad human voices sing,
and earth to heaven, and heaven to earth, will answer:
'At last the Savior, Savior of the world, is King!' 

SECOND READING [Matthew 11:20-end]:

Then Jesus began to reproach the cities in which most of his deeds of power had been
done, because they did not repent. 'Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida!
For if the deeds of power done in you had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would
have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. But I tell you, on the day of judgement
it will be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon than for you. And you, Capernaum,
will you be exalted to heaven?
   No, you will be brought down to Hades.
For if the deeds of power done in you had been done in Sodom, it would have
remained until this day. But I tell you that on the day of judgement it will be more
tolerable for the land of Sodom than for you.'

At that time Jesus said, 'I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you
have hidden these things from the wise and the intelligent and have revealed them to
infants; yes, Father, for such was your gracious will. All things have been handed over
to me by my Father; and no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows
the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.

'Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give
you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in
heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is

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

Loving God, in Jesus Christ you teach us to pray:

Guide us by your Holy Spirit
that our prayers for others may serve your will
and show your steadfast love for all.
Lord, in your mercy,
hear our prayer.

Gracious God,
you have called together a people
to be the Church of Jesus Christ,
founded on the apostles.
May your people be one in faith and discipleship,
breaking bread together and telling good news.
Lord, in your mercy,
hear our prayer.

May the world come to believe that you are love,
turn to your ways and live in the light of your truth.
Lord, in your mercy,
hear our prayer.

You made all things and called them good.
May your planet earth be held in reverence by all people,
that its resources may be used wisely 
and its fragile balance between life and death respected.
Lord, in your mercy,
hear our prayer.

Hear our prayers for those who rule the nations,
that they may learn wisdom and truth,
establish justice and mercy
and seek the ways of peace.
Lord, in your mercy,
hear our prayer.

Almighty God,
your whole creation declares your glory.
May we perceive you in all your works
and live in the light of your righteousness,
through him who is the light of the world,
Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Holy God,
who brought Cyprian to faith in Christ,
made him a bishop in the Church
and crowned his witness with a martyr's death:
grant that, after his example,
we may love the Church and her teachings,
find your forgiveness within her fellowship
and so come to share the heavenly banquet
you have prepared for us;
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

May God make safe to us each step,
May God open to us each door,
May God make clear to us each road.
May God enfold us in loving arms.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 uses phrases from a hymn by William Watkins Reid, Jr..

 The closing prayer is adapted from a prayer by Bruce Prewer, 2001. 

The intercession is adapted from a prayer in _The Book of Common Worship. The
Presbyterian Church in Canada_, 1991. Used with permission.

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.

Cyprian was born around 200 AD in North Africa, of pagan parents. He was a
prominent trial lawyer and teacher of rhetoric. Around 246 he became a
Christian, and in 248 was chosen Bishop of Carthage. A year later the
persecution under the Emperor Decius began, and Cyprian went into hiding.
He was severely censured for this (unjustly on my view -- see Mt 2:13; 10:23;
24:16). After the persecution had died down, it remained to consider how to
deal with the lapsed, meaning with those Christians who had denied the faith
under duress. Cyprian held that they ought to be received back into full
communion after suitable intervals of probation and penance, adjusted to the
gravity of the denial. In this he took a middle course between Novatus, who
received apostates with no probation at all, and Novatian, who would not
receive them back at all, and who broke communion with the rest of the
Church over this issue, forming a dissident group particularly strong in Rome
and Antioch. (Novatus, somewhat surprisingly, ended up joining the party of
Novatian.) Cyprian, who held the same position as the Bishop of Rome on the
treatment of the lapsed, wrote urging the Christians of Rome to stand with
their bishop.
Later, the question arose whether baptisms performed by heretical groups
ought to be recognized as valid by the Church, or whether converts from such
groups ought to be rebaptized. Cyprian favored re-baptism, and Bishop
Stephen of Rome did not. The resulting controversy was not resolved during
Cyprian's lifetime.
During the reign of the Emperor Valerian, Carthage suffered a severe plague
epidemic. Cyprian organized a program of medical relief and nursing of the
sick, available to all residents, but this did not prevent the masses from being
convinced that the epidemic resulted from the wrath of the gods at the spread
of Christianity. Another persecution arose, and this time Cyprian did not flee.
He was arrested, tried, and finally beheaded on 14 September 258. (Because
14 is Holy Cross Day, he is usually commemorated on a nearby open day.) We
have an account of his trial and martyrdom.
Many of his writings have been preserved. His essay On The Unity of The
Catholic Church stresses the importance of visible, concrete unity among
Christians, and the role of the bishops in guaranteeing that unity. It has greatly
influenced Christian thought, as have his essays and letters on Baptism and the
Lord's Supper. He has been quoted both for and against the Roman Catholic
claims for Papal authority.

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