OREMUS: 14 September 2008

Steve Benner steve.benner at oremus.org
Sat Sep 13 17:00:00 GMT 2008


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OREMUS for Sunday, September 14, 2008
Holy Cross Day

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

Blessed are you, God of life,
for the cross, the sign of Christ's victory over death.
Once through the fruit of the forbidden tree, we fell;
now through this tree Christ cancels all our guilt.
On the tree of the cross our Redeemer hung,
becoming accursed for our sake,
to snatch us from our ancient foe
and lead us from death's dominion into eternal life.
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. 

http://www.oremus.org/ocan.html

Psalm 2

Why are the nations in an uproar?*
 Why do the peoples mutter empty threats?
Why do the kings of the earth rise up in revolt
   and the princes plot together,*
 against the Lord and against his anointed?
'Let us break their yoke', they say;*
 'let us cast off their bonds from us.'
He whose throne is in heaven is laughing;*
 the Lord has them in derision.
Then he speaks to them in his wrath*
 and his rage fills them with terror.
'I myself have set my king*
 upon my holy hill of Zion.'
Let me announce the decree of the Lord:*
 he said to me, 'You are my Son;
   this day have I begotten you.
'Ask of me and I will give you the nations for
   your inheritance*
 and the ends of the earth for your possession.
'You shall crush them with an iron rod*
 and shatter them like a piece of pottery.'
And now, you kings, be wise;*
 be warned, you rulers of the earth.
Submit to the Lord with fear,*
 and with trembling bow before him;
Lest he be angry and you perish;*
 for his wrath is quickly kindled.
Happy are they all*
 who take refuge in him!

Psalm 8

O Lord our governor,*
 how exalted is your name in all the world!
Out of the mouths of infants and children*
 your majesty is praised above the heavens.
You have set up a stronghold against your adversaries,*
 to quell the enemy and the avenger.
When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers,*
 the moon and the stars you have set in their courses,
What are mortals, that you should be mindful of them?*
 mere human beings, that you should seek them out?
You have made them little lower than the angels;*
 you adorn them with glory and honour.
You give them mastery over the works of your hands;*
 and put all things under their feet,
All sheep and oxen,*
 even the wild beasts of the field,
The birds of the air, the fish of the sea,*
 and whatsoever walks in the paths of the sea.
O Lord our governor,*
 how exalted is your name in all the world!

A Song of Solomon (cf. Song of Songs 8:6-7)

Set me as a seal upon your heart,
as a seal upon your arm;

For love is strong as death, passion fierce as the grave;
its flashes are flashes of fire, a raging flame.

Many waters cannot quench love,
neither can the floods drown it.

If all the wealth of our house were offered for love,
it would be utterly scorned.

Psalm 117

Alleluia!
Praise the Lord, all you nations;*
 laud him, all you peoples.
For his loving-kindness towards us is great,*
 and the faithfulness of the Lord endures for ever.
   Alleluia!

FIRST READING [Isaiah 63:1-16]:

'Who is this that comes from Edom,
   from Bozrah in garments stained crimson?
Who is this so splendidly robed,
   marching in his great might?'

'It is I, announcing vindication,
   mighty to save.'

'Why are your robes red,
   and your garments like theirs who tread the wine press?'

'I have trodden the wine press alone,
   and from the peoples no one was with me;
I trod them in my anger
   and trampled them in my wrath;
their juice spattered on my garments,
   and stained all my robes.
For the day of vengeance was in my heart,
   and the year for my redeeming work had come.
I looked, but there was no helper;
   I stared, but there was no one to sustain me;
so my own arm brought me victory,
   and my wrath sustained me.
I trampled down peoples in my anger,
   I crushed them in my wrath,
   and I poured out their lifeblood on the earth.'

I will recount the gracious deeds of the Lord,
   the praiseworthy acts of the Lord,
because of all that the Lord has done for us,
   and the great favour to the house of Israel
that he has shown them according to his mercy,
   according to the abundance of his steadfast love.
For he said, 'Surely they are my people,
   children who will not deal falsely';
and he became their saviour
   in all their distress.
It was no messenger or angel
   but his presence that saved them;
in his love and in his pity he redeemed them;
   he lifted them up and carried them all the days of old.

But they rebelled
   and grieved his holy spirit;
therefore he became their enemy;
   he himself fought against them.
Then they remembered the days of old,
   of Moses his servant.
Where is the one who brought them up out of the sea
   with the shepherds of his flock?
Where is the one who put within them
   his holy spirit,
who caused his glorious arm
   to march at the right hand of Moses,
who divided the waters before them
   to make for himself an everlasting name,
   who led them through the depths?
Like a horse in the desert,
   they did not stumble.
Like cattle that go down into the valley,
   the spirit of the Lord gave them rest.
Thus you led your people,
   to make for yourself a glorious name.

Look down from heaven and see,
   from your holy and glorious habitation.
Where are your zeal and your might?
   The yearning of your heart and your compassion?
   They are withheld from me.
For you are our father,
   though Abraham does not know us
   and Israel does not acknowledge us;
you, O Lord, are our father;
   our Redeemer from of old is your name. 

HYMN 
Words: Fred Pratt Green (c)
Tune: The Third Tune

http://www.oremus.org/hymnal/t/t747.html
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To mock your reign, O dearest Lord,
they made a crown of thorns;
set you with taunts along that road
from which no one returns.
They did not know, as we do now,
that glorious is your crown;
that thorns would flower upon your brow,
your sorrows heal our own.

In mock acclaim, O gracious Lord,
they snatched a purple cloak,
your passion turned, for all they cared,
into a soldier's joke.
They did not know, as we do now,
that though we merit blame
you will your robe of mercy throw
around our naked shame.

A sceptered reed, O patient Lord,
they thrust into your hand,
and acted out their grim charade
to its appointed end.
They did not know, as we do now,
though empires rise and fall,
your Kingdom shall not cease to grow
till love embraces all.

SECOND READING [1 Corinthians 1:18-25]:

For the message about the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us
who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written,
'I will destroy the wisdom of the wise,
   and the discernment of the discerning I will thwart.'
Where is the one who is wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age?
Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since, in the wisdom of God,
the world did not know God through wisdom, God decided, through the foolishness of
our proclamation, to save those who believe. For Jews demand signs and Greeks
desire wisdom, but we proclaim Christ crucified, a stumbling-block to Jews and
foolishness to Gentiles, but to those who are the called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ
the power of God and the wisdom of God. For God's foolishness is wiser than human
wisdom, and God's weakness is stronger than human strength.

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

Prayer:
We glory in your cross, O Lord,
- and praise and glorify your holy resurrection;
  for by virtue of your cross
  joy has come to the whole world.

God, be merciful to us and bless us,
and show us the light of your countenance,
and come to us
- Let your ways may be known upon earth,
  your saving health among all nations.

Let the peoples praise you, O God;
let all the peoples praise you.

- We glory in your cross, O Lord,
  and praise and glorify your holy resurrection;
  for by virtue of your cross
  joy has come to the whole world.

Hear our prayers especially for those who died, have lost loved ones
or who are injured or are under distress. 
May the dead find rest for their souls,
may we find healing for our minds and bodies
and the strength to know that your Cross brings salvation to the world.
Lord, in your mercy:
hear our prayer.

Almighty God,
when the world's wars terrify us,
lift our eyes to your Son,
enthroned on Calvary,
whose meekness dumbfounds kings
and shatters earthly pride.
In his Name, we pray. Amen.

Almighty God, 
whose Son our Savior Jesus Christ 
was lifted high upon the cross 
that he might draw the whole world to himself: 
Mercifully grant that we, who glory in the mystery of our redemption, 
may have grace to take up our cross and follow him; 
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, 
one God, in glory everlasting. Amen.

Gathering our prayers and praises into one,
let us pray as our Savior has taught us.

- The Lord's Prayer

Grant us delight in the mercy that has found us
and bring all to rejoice at the feast of forgiveness. Amen.

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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 is adapted by Stephen Benner from
_We Give You Thanks and Praise: The Ambrosian Eucharistic
Prefaces_, translated by Alan Griffiths, (c) The Canterbury Press
Norwich, 1999.

Hymn (c) 1973 by Hope Publishing Co., Carol Stream, IL  60188.  
All rights reserved.  Used by permission.
For permission to reproduce this hymn, contact:
In US & Canada:  Hope Publishing Company, 
www.hopepublishing.com
Rest of the World:  Stainer & Bell Ltd., 
www.stainer.co.uk

The second collect is from The Book of Common Prayer_ (1979),
Charles Mortimer Guilbert, Custodian.

The closing prayer uses phrases from a prayer in _Opening Prayers:
Collects in Contemporary Language_. Canterbury Press, Norwich, 1999.

During the reign of Constantine, first Roman Emperor to profess the Christian
faith, his mother Helena went to Israel and there undertook to find the places
especially significant to Christians. (She was helped in this by the fact that in
their destructions around 135, the Romans had built pagan shrines over many
of these sites.) Having located, close together, what she believed to be the sites
of the Crucifixion and of the Burial (at locations that modern archaeologists
think may be correct), she then had built over them the Church of the Holy
Sepulchre, which was dedicated on 14 September 335. It has become a day for
recognizing the Cross (in a festal atmosphere that would be inappropriate on
Good Friday) as a symbol of triumph, as a sign of Christ's victory over death,
and a reminder of His promise, "And when I am lifted up, I will draw all men
unto me." (John 12:32)
Tertullian, in his De Corona (3:2), written around AD 211, says that Christians
seldom do anything significant without making the sign of the cross. Certainly
by his time the practice was well established. Justin Martyr, in chapters 55 and
60 of his First Apology (Defence of the Christian Faith, addressed to the
Emperor Antoninus Pius and therefore written between 148 and 155 AD),
refers to the cross as a standard Christian symbol, but not explicitly to tracing
the sign of the cross as a devotional gesture.
What is the significance of the sign of the cross? Well, in the first place, we
often place our initials or other personal mark on something to show that it
belongs to us. The Cross is the personal mark of Our Lord Jesus Christ, and
we mark it on ourselves as a sign that we belong to him, just as in the book of
Revelation, as noted above, the servants of God are sealed or marked on their
foreheads as a sign that they are his.
Again, as one preacher has said, if you were telling someone how to make a
cross, you might say (at least to an English speaker), "Draw an I and then cross
it out." As we make the sign, we first draw a vertical stroke, as if to say to
God, "Lord, here am I." Then we cancel it with a horizontal stroke, as if to say,
"Help me, Lord, to abandon my self-centeredness and self-will, and to make
you the center of my life instead. Fix all my attention and all my desire on you,
Lord, that I may forget my self, cancel my self, abandon myself completely to
your love and service." [James Kiefer, abridged]


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