OREMUS: 28 December 2009

Steve Benner steve.benner at oremus.org
Sun Dec 27 17:00:05 GMT 2009


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OREMUS for Monday, December 28, 2009
The Martyred Children of Bethlehem
(The Holy Innocents)

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

Blessed are you, loving and merciful God,
in love for our fallen human race,
you sent your Son 
into the world to lighten our darkness.
In his life, he rejoiced in the innocence of children;
in his death, he carried in his body 
the violence and cruelty of our world;
in his resurrection, he brought life and salvation to his people.
On his throne of mercy,
he hears our cries and knows our grief;
and all must give account to him.
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/chrocant.html

Psalm 136

Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good,*
 for his mercy endures for ever.
Give thanks to the God of gods,*
 for his mercy endures for ever.
Give thanks to the Lord of lords,*
 for his mercy endures for ever.
Who only does great wonders,*
 for his mercy endures for ever;
Who by his wisdom made the heavens,*
 for his mercy endures for ever;
Who spread out the earth upon the waters,*
 for his mercy endures for ever;
Who created great lights,*
 for his mercy endures for ever;
The sun to rule the day,*
 for his mercy endures for ever;
The moon and the stars to govern the night,*
 for his mercy endures for ever.
Who struck down the firstborn of Egypt,*
 for his mercy endures for ever;
And brought out Israel from among them,*
 for his mercy endures for ever;
With a mighty hand and a stretchedout arm,*
 for his mercy endures for ever;
Who divided the Red Sea in two,*
 for his mercy endures for ever;
And made Israel to pass through the midst of it,*
 for his mercy endures for ever;
But swept Pharaoh and his army into the Red Sea,*
 for his mercy endures for ever;
Who led his people through the wilderness,*
 for his mercy endures for ever.
Who struck down great kings,*
 for his mercy endures for ever;
And slew mighty kings,*
 for his mercy endures for ever;
Sihon, king of the Amorites,*
 for his mercy endures for ever;
And Og, the king of Bashan,*
 for his mercy endures for ever;
And gave away their lands for an inheritance,*
 for his mercy endures for ever;

An inheritance for Israel his servant,*
 for his mercy endures for ever.
Who remembered us in our low estate,*
 for his mercy endures for ever;
And delivered us from our enemies,*
 for his mercy endures for ever;
Who gives food to all creatures,*
 for his mercy endures for ever;
Give thanks to the God of heaven,*
 for his mercy endures for ever.

Psalm 137:1-6

By the waters of Babylon we sat down and wept,*
 when we remembered you, O Zion.
As for our harps, we hung them up*
 on the trees in the midst of that land.
For those who led us away captive asked us for a song,
   and our oppressors called for mirth:*
 'Sing us one of the songs of Zion.'
How shall we sing the Lord's song*
 upon an alien soil?
If I forget you, O Jerusalem,*
 let my right hand forget its skill.
Let my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth
   if I do not remember you,*
 if I do not set Jerusalem above my highest joy.

Remember the day of Jerusalem, O Lord,
   against the people of Edom,* 
 who said, ‘Down with it! down with it! 
   even to the ground!’ 
O Daughter of Babylon, doomed to destruction,* 
 happy the one who pays you back
   for what you have done to us! 
Happy shall he be who takes your little ones,* 
 and dashes them against the rock!

Psalm 137:1-6

By the waters of Babylon we sat down and wept,*
 when we remembered you, O Zion.
As for our harps, we hung them up*
 on the trees in the midst of that land.
For those who led us away captive asked us for a song,
   and our oppressors called for mirth:*
 'Sing us one of the songs of Zion.'
How shall we sing the Lord's song*
 upon an alien soil?
If I forget you, O Jerusalem,*
 let my right hand forget its skill.
Let my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth
   if I do not remember you,*
 if I do not set Jerusalem above my highest joy.

Remember the day of Jerusalem, O Lord,
   against the people of Edom,* 
 who said, ‘Down with it! down with it! 
   even to the ground!’ 
O Daughter of Babylon, doomed to destruction,* 
 happy the one who pays you back
   for what you have done to us! 
Happy shall he be who takes your little ones,* 
 and dashes them against the rock!

Psalm 138

I will give thanks to you, O Lord, with my whole heart;*
 before the gods I will sing your praise.
I will bow down towards your holy temple
   and praise your name,*
 because of your love and faithfulness;
For you have glorified your name*
 and your word above all things.
When I called, you answered me;*
 you increased my strength within me.
All the kings of the earth will praise you, O Lord,*
 when they have heard the words of your mouth.
They will sing of the ways of the Lord,*
 that great is the glory of the Lord.
Though the Lord be high, he cares for the lowly;*
 he perceives the haughty from afar.
Though I walk in the midst of trouble,
   you keep me safe;*
 you stretch forth your hand
   against the fury of my enemies;
   your right hand shall save me.
The Lord will make good his purpose for me;*
 O Lord, your love endures for ever;
   do not abandon the works of your hands.

FIRST READING [Jeremiah 31:1-6, 15-16]:

At that time, says the Lord, I will be the God of all the families of Israel, and they shall
be my people.
Thus says the Lord:
The people who survived the sword
   found grace in the wilderness;
when Israel sought for rest,
   the Lord appeared to him from far away.
I have loved you with an everlasting love;
   therefore I have continued my faithfulness to you.
Again I will build you, and you shall be built,
   O virgin Israel!
Again you shall take your tambourines,
   and go forth in the dance of the merrymakers.
Again you shall plant vineyards
   on the mountains of Samaria;
the planters shall plant,
   and shall enjoy the fruit.
For there shall be a day when sentinels will call
   in the hill country of Ephraim:
'Come, let us go up to Zion,
   to the Lord our God.'

Thus says the Lord:
A voice is heard in Ramah,
   lamentation and bitter weeping.
Rachel is weeping for her children;
   she refuses to be comforted for her children,
   because they are no more.
Thus says the Lord:
Keep your voice from weeping,
   and your eyes from tears;
for there is a reward for your work,
says the Lord:
   they shall come back from the land of the enemy. 

HYMN 
Words: (c) Marnie Barrell, 1996
Tune: Bethany

http://www.oremus.org/hymnal/barrell/mb03.html
Hit "Back" in your browser to return to Oremus.

Who are these who ride by starlight
from the corners of the earth,
leaving home, forsaking comfort,
drawn to one mysterious birth?
These are wise men seeking wisdom,
disciplined to watch and pray;
we will read the signs and follow,
see where Christ is born today.

Who is this who hears the wise men,
trembling while their tale is told,
sending troops to slaughter blindly,
crush what cannot be controlled?
This is Herod, every Herod
building power by others' pain;
we will mourn the murdered children
while their blood is shed again.

Who is this, a homeless exile,
destined from his earliest hour
for rejection, conflict, danger,
marked for death by worldly power?
Jesus, born to show God's glory
shining through despair and loss,
we will know you when we meet you
by the shadow of your cross.
SECOND READING [Matthew 2:13-18]:

Now after they had left, an angel of the Lord appeared to
Joseph in a dream and said, 'Get up, take the child and
his mother, and flee to Egypt, and remain there until I
tell you; for Herod is about to search for the child, to
destroy him.' Then Joseph got up, took the child and his
mother by night, and went to Egypt, and remained there
until the death of Herod. This was to fulfill what had
been spoken by the Lord through the prophet, 'Out of
Egypt I have called my son.'
When Herod saw that he had been tricked by the wise men,
he was infuriated, and he sent and killed all the
children in and around Bethlehem who were two years old
or under, according to the time that he had learned from
the wise men. Then was fulfilled what had been spoken
through the prophet Jeremiah: 'A voice was heard in
Ramah, wailing and loud lamentation, Rachel weeping for
her children; she refused to be consoled, because they
are no more.'

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

Prayer:
God of mercy,
every family in heaven and on earth
takes its name from you.
We pray for parents,
that they may give their children faith in you
and find help and support in your community.

We pray for children,
that with faith in you
they may grow up confident, full of hope,
merciful, gentle and creative
in all their dealings with others.

We pray, too, for those
who have seen their children destroyed by violence or hunger:
Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

We pray for all children orphaned by war.
Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

We pray for families who are homeless or separated,
or who live in unhealthy, brutalizing conditions:
Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

We pray for grace to show mercy and justice
that hope may be restored.
Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

We pray that our society
will strengthen and support family life,
so that children may grow up whole
for the good of the community.
Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

We pray that we may do justice
to holiness and your love,
which are stronger and surer than all our evil.
Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

Heavenly Father,
whose children suffered at the hands of Herod,
though they had done no wrong:
give us grace neither to act cruelly
nor to stand indifferently by,
but to defend the weak from the tyranny of the strong;
in the name of Jesus Christ who suffered for us,
but who is alive and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Rejoicing in the presence of God here among us,
let us pray in faith and trust:

- The Lord's Prayer

May God, who gives comfort to the desolate,
sustain us and keep us, now and always. 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 and the closing sentence are adapted from
material copyright (c) The Archbishops' Council, 2002.

The hymn is reproduced with the kind permission of the author. If you wish to
reproduce it further, please send her an email. Address found at the link above.

The intercession is from _Chalice Worship_, (c) Chalice Press,
1997. Reproduced with permission.

The collect is from The Alternative Service Book 1980_, (c)
The Central Board of Finance of the Church of England 1980.

We read in Matthew 2 that when Jesus was born in Bethlehem, King Herod,
fearing for his throne, ordered that all the male infants of Bethlehem be killed.
These children are regarded as martyrs for the Gospel -- "martyrs in fact
though not in will." Augustine called them "buds, killed by the frost of
persecution the moment they showed themselves." [James Kiefer]



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