OREMUS: 29 December 2009

Steve Benner steve.benner at oremus.org
Mon Dec 28 17:00:00 GMT 2009


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OREMUS for Tuesday, December 29, 2009
Thomas Becket, Archbishop of Canterbury, Martyr, 1170

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

Blessed are you, loving and merciful God,
you fill our hearts with joy
as we recognize in Christ the revelation of your love.
No eye can see his glory as our God,
yet now he is seen like one of us.
Christ is your Son before all ages,
yet now he is born in time.
He has come to lift up all things to himself,
to restore unity to creation,
and to lead us from exile into your heavenly kingdom.
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 141

O Lord, I call to you; come to me quickly;*
 hear my voice when I cry to you.
Let my prayer be set forth in your sight as incense,*
 the lifting up of my hands as the evening sacrifice.
Set a watch before my mouth, O Lord,
   and guard the door of my lips;*
 let not my heart incline to any evil thing.
Let me not be occupied in wickedness with evildoers,*
 nor eat of their choice foods.
Let the righteous smite me in friendly rebuke;
   let not the oil of the unrighteous anoint my head;*
 for my prayer is continually against their wicked deeds.
Let their rulers be overthrown in stony places,*
 that they may know my words are true.
As when a plough turns over the earth in furrows,*
 let their bones be scattered at the mouth of the grave.
But my eyes are turned to you, Lord God;*
 in you I take refuge; do not strip me of my life.
Protect me from the snare which they have laid for me*
 and from the traps of the evildoers.
Let the wicked fall into their own nets,*
 while I myself escape.

Psalm 142

I cry to the Lord with my voice;*
 to the Lord I make loud supplication.
I pour out my complaint before him*
 and tell him all my trouble.
When my spirit languishes within me, you know my path;*
 in the way wherein I walk they have hidden a trap for me.
I look to my right hand and find no one who knows me;*
 I have no place to flee to and no one cares for me.
I cry out to you, O Lord;*
 I say, 'You are my refuge,
   my portion in the land of the living.'
Listen to my cry for help,
   for I have been brought very low;*
 save me from those who pursue me,
   for they are too strong for me.
Bring me out of prison,
   that I may give thanks to your name;*
 when you have dealt bountifully with me,
   the righteous will gather around me.

Psalm 143

Lord, hear my prayer,
   and in your faithfulness heed my supplications;*
 answer me in your righteousness.
Enter not into judgement with your servant,*
 for in your sight shall no one living be justified.
For my enemy has sought my life
   and has crushed me to the ground;*
 making me live in dark places
   like those who are long dead.
My spirit faints within me;*
 my heart within me is desolate.
I remember the time past;
   I muse upon all your deeds;*
 I consider the works of your hands.
I spread out my hands to you;*
 my soul gasps to you like a thirsty land.
O Lord, make haste to answer me; my spirit fails me;*
 do not hide your face from me
   or I shall be like those who go down to the Pit.
Let me hear of your lovingkindness in the morning,
   for I put my trust in you;*
 show me the road that I must walk,
   for I lift up my soul to you.
Deliver me from my enemies, O Lord,*
 for I flee to you for refuge.
Teach me to do what pleases you, for you are my God;*
 let your good Spirit lead me on level ground.
Revive me, O Lord, for your name's sake;*
 for your righteousness' sake, bring me out of trouble.

FIRST READING [Isaiah 56:1-8]:

Thus says the Lord:
   Maintain justice, and do what is right,
for soon my salvation will come,
   and my deliverance be revealed.

Happy is the mortal who does this,
   the one who holds it fast,
who keeps the sabbath, not profaning it,
   and refrains from doing any evil.

Do not let the foreigner joined to the Lord say,
   'The Lord will surely separate me from his people';
and do not let the eunuch say,
   'I am just a dry tree.'
For thus says the Lord:
To the eunuchs who keep my sabbaths,
   who choose the things that please me
   and hold fast my covenant,
I will give, in my house and within my walls,
   a monument and a name
   better than sons and daughters;
I will give them an everlasting name
   that shall not be cut off.

And the foreigners who join themselves to the Lord,
   to minister to him, to love the name of the Lord,
   and to be his servants,
all who keep the sabbath, and do not profane it,
   and hold fast my covenant 
these I will bring to my holy mountain,
   and make them joyful in my house of prayer;
their burnt-offerings and their sacrifices
   will be accepted on my altar;
for my house shall be called a house of prayer
   for all peoples.
Thus says the Lord God,
   who gathers the outcasts of Israel,
I will gather others to them
   besides those already gathered. 

HYMN 
Words: Jean Mauburn, 1494; trans. Elizabeth Charles, 1858
Tune: Mauburn

http://www.oremus.org/hymnal/d/d066.html
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Dost thou in a manger lie,
who hast all created,
stretching infant hands on high,
Savior, long awaited?
If a monarch, where thy state?
Where thy court on thee to wait?
Royal purple, where?
Here no regal pomp we see,
nought but need and penury:
why thus cradled here?

"Pitying love for fallen man
brought me down thus low;
for a race deep lost in sin
came I into woe.
By this lowly birth of mine,
sinner, riches shall be thine,
matchless gifts and free;
willingly this yoke I take,
and this sacrifice I make,
heaping joys for thee."

Fervent praise would I do to thee
evermore be raising;
for thy wondrous love to me
thee be ever praising.
Glory, glory be for ever
unto that most bounteous Giver,
and that loving Lord!
Better witness to thy worth,
purer praise than ours on earth,
angels' songs afford.

SECOND READING [Hebrews 1]:

Long ago God spoke to our ancestors in many and various ways by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by a Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, through whom he also created the worlds. He is the reflection of God’s glory and the exact imprint of God’s very being, and he sustains all things by his powerful word. When he had made purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, having become as much superior to angels as the name he has inherited is more excellent than theirs. 
 For to which of the angels did God ever say,
‘You are my Son;
   today I have begotten you’?
Or again,
‘I will be his Father,
   and he will be my Son’? 
And again, when he brings the firstborn into the world, he says,
‘Let all God’s angels worship him.’ 
Of the angels he says,
‘He makes his angels winds,
   and his servants flames of fire.’ 
But of the Son he says,
‘Your throne, O God, is for ever and ever,
   and the righteous sceptre is the sceptre of your kingdom. 
You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness;
therefore God, your God, has anointed you
   with the oil of gladness beyond your companions.’ 
And,
‘In the beginning, Lord, you founded the earth,
   and the heavens are the work of your hands; 
they will perish, but you remain;
   they will all wear out like clothing; 
like a cloak you will roll them up,
   and like clothing they will be changed.
But you are the same,
   and your years will never end.’ 
But to which of the angels has he ever said,
‘Sit at my right hand
   until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet’? 
Are not all angels spirits in the divine service, sent to serve for the sake of those who are to inherit salvation? 

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

Prayer:
Christ, for whom there was no room in the inn,
give courage to all who are homeless:
In your mercy,
hear our prayer.

Christ, who fled into Egypt,
give comfort to all refugees;
In your mercy,
hear our prayer.

Christ, who fasted in the desert,
give relief to all who are starving:
In your mercy,
hear our prayer.

Christ, who hung in agony on the cross,
give strength to all who suffer:
In your mercy,
hear our prayer.

Christ, who died to save us,
give peace to all who seek pardon.
In your mercy,
hear our prayer.

Gracious God,
your love unites heaven and earth
in a new festival of gladness:
Lift our spirits to learn the way of joy
that leads us to your banquet hall,
where all is golden with praise.
We ask this through Jesus Christ the Lord. Amen.

Lord God,
who gave grace to your servant Thomas Becket
to put aside all earthly fear
      and be faithful even to death:
grant that we, disregarding worldly esteem,
may fight all wrong,
uphold your rule,
and serve you to our life's end;
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.
       
Rejoicing in the presence of God here among us,
let us pray in faith and trust:

- The Lord's Prayer

May he who by his incarnation gathered into one
things earthly and heavenly,
bestow upon us the fullness of peace and goodwill. 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
_The Promise of His Glory_ (Mowbray), (c) The Central
Board of Finance  of the Church of England 1990, 1991, which is used with
permission.

The intercession is from _New Patterns for Worship_, copyright
(c) The Archbishops' Council, 2002.

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.

On December 29, we remember Thomas a Becket, Archbishop of Canterbury,
slain in his own cathedral in 1170, for his defiance of King Henry II. The death
of Thomas reminds us that a Christian, even when safe from pagans, can be in
danger from his fellow-Christians. It also reminds us that one can be martyred
in a cause where the merits of the particular issue at hand are not obvious to all
men of good will. The issue here, or one of the issues, was one of court
jurisdiction. King Henry claimed that a cleric accused of an ordinary crime
ought to be tried in the King's Courts like any layman. Thomas, who was
Henry's Chancellor and his close friend, vigorously upheld the king's position.
However, when he was made Archbishop of Canterbury with the king's
support, he reversed himself completely and upheld the right of clergy to be
tried only in Church courts, which could not inflict capital punishment. (This
reversal does not imply fickleness or treachery. As Chancellor, Thomas was
bound to serve the king. Now, as Archbishop, he was bound to defend the
Church.) Henry wanted an arrangement by which (for example) a priest
accused of murder would be tried by a Church Court, which if it found him
guilty would degrade him to the rank of a layman, whereupon a King's Court
would try him, and if it found him guilty would order him hanged. Thomas
objected that a man could not be tried and punished twice for the same offense.
Henry, being angered at opposition from someone whom he had counted
on for support, was heard to exclaim in anger, "This fellow who has eaten my
bread has lifted up his heel against me [see Psalm 41:9]. Have I no friend who
will rid me of this upstart priest?" Four of his knights promptly rode to
Canterbury, where they confronted the Archbishop and demanded that he back
down. When he did not, they killed him. Public reaction was immediate and
vigorous, and reckoned Thomas as a saint and a martyr, and Henry as a
blaspheming murderer. Henry swore that he had not intended his remark to be
taken seriously, and had himself publicly whipped at the tomb of Thomas.
Thomas was very soon canonized, and his tomb was one of the most popular
places of pilgrimage in Europe for the next three-and-a-half centuries. During a
war between England and France, a King of France obtained a cease-fire to
enable him to make a pilgrimage to Canterbury. Chaucer's Canterbury Tales is
concerned with a group of pilgrims on their way to the tomb of Thomas.
[James Kiefer]



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