OREMUS: 13 February 2009

Steve Benner steve.benner at oremus.org
Thu Feb 12 17:00:00 GMT 2009


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OREMUS for , 2009
Absalom Jones, Priest, 1818

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

Blessed are you, O God,
through Jesus Christ, our Good Shepherd.
In the waters of baptism you give us new birth,
at your table you nourish us with heavenly food,
and in your goodness and mercy
you guide us beyond the terrors of evil and death
to your Father's home to dwell in eternal light.
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. 
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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.

A Song of Wisdom (Wisdom 9.15a,c,6,911)

O God of our ancestors and Lord of mercy,  
you have made all things by your word. 
By your wisdom you have formed us  
to have dominion over the creatures you have made; 
To rule the world in holiness and righteousness  
and to pronounce judgement in uprightness of soul. 
Give us the Wisdom that sits by your throne;  
do not reject us from among your servants, 
For we are your servants,  
with little understanding of judgement and laws. 
Even one who is perfect among us  
will be regarded as nothing 
without the wisdom that comes from you. 
With you is Wisdom, she who knows your works,  
and was present when you made the world. 
She understands what is pleasing in your sight  
and what is right according to your commandments. 
Send her forth from the holy heavens,  
from the throne of your glory send her. 
That she may labour at our side  
and that we may learn what is pleasing to you. 
For she knows and understands all things,  
she will guide us wisely in our actions 
and guard us with her glory.

Psalm 149

Alleluia!
   Sing to the Lord a new song;*
 sing his praise in the congregation of the faithful.
Let Israel rejoice in his maker;*
 let the children of Zion be joyful in their king.
Let them praise his name in the dance;*
 let them sing praise to him with timbrel and harp.
For the Lord takes pleasure in his people*
 and adorns the poor with victory.
Let the faithful rejoice in triumph;*
 let them be joyful on their beds.
Let the praises of God be in their throat*
 and a twoedged sword in their hand;
To wreak vengeance on the nations*
 and punishment on the peoples;
To bind their kings in chains*
 and their nobles with links of iron;
To inflict on them the judgement decreed;*
 this is glory for all his faithful people.
   Alleluia!

FIRST READING [Genesis 4:1-16]:

Now the man knew his wife Eve, and she conceived and bore Cain, saying, ‘I have produced a man with the help of the Lord.’ Next she bore his brother Abel. Now Abel was a keeper of sheep, and Cain a tiller of the ground. In the course of time Cain brought to the Lord an offering of the fruit of the ground, and Abel for his part brought of the firstlings of his flock, their fat portions. And the Lord had regard for Abel and his offering, but for Cain and his offering he had no regard. So Cain was very angry, and his countenance fell. The Lord said to Cain, ‘Why are you angry, and why has your countenance fallen? If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin is lurking at the door; its desire is for you, but you must master it.’ 

Cain said to his brother Abel, ‘Let us go out to the field.’ And when they were in the field, Cain rose up against his brother Abel and killed him. Then the Lord said to Cain, ‘Where is your brother Abel?’ He said, ‘I do not know; am I my brother’s keeper?’ And the Lord said, ‘What have you done? Listen; your brother’s blood is crying out to me from the ground! And now you are cursed from the ground, which has opened its mouth to receive your brother’s blood from your hand. When you till the ground, it will no longer yield to you its strength; you will be a fugitive and a wanderer on the earth.’ Cain said to the Lord, ‘My punishment is greater than I can bear! Today you have driven me away from the soil, and I shall be hidden from your face; I shall be a fugitive and a wanderer on the earth, and anyone who meets me may kill me.’ Then the Lord said to him, ‘Not so! Whoever kills Cain will suffer a sevenfold vengeance.’ And the Lord put a mark on Cain, so that no one who came upon him would kill him. Then Cain went away from the presence of the Lord, and settled in the land of Nod, east of Eden. 

HYMN 
Words: Fred Kaan (born 1929) © 1968 Stainer & Bell Ltd
 Used with permission.
Tune: Evelyns

When in his own image
God made humankind,
he enfolded freedom
in his great design.
For he loved us even
from before our birth;
granting us dominion
of our planet earth.

God entrusted to us
life as gift and aim.
Sin became our prison,
turning hope to shame.
Cain against his brother
lifted hand and sword,
and the Father's pleading
went unseen, unheard.

Then in time, our Maker
chose to intervene,
set his love in person
in the human scene.
Jesus broke the circle
of repeated sin,
so that our devotion
newly might begin.

Choose we now in freedom 
where we should belong, 
let us turn to Jesus, 
let our choice be strong. 
May the great obedience
which in Christ we see 
perfect all our service: 
then we shall be free!

SECOND READING [Mark 7:1-13]:

Now when the Pharisees and some of the scribes who had come from Jerusalem gathered around him, they noticed that some of his disciples were eating with defiled hands, that is, without washing them. (For the Pharisees, and all the Jews, do not eat unless they thoroughly wash their hands, thus observing the tradition of the elders; and they do not eat anything from the market unless they wash it; and there are also many other traditions that they observe, the washing of cups, pots, and bronze kettles.) So the Pharisees and the scribes asked him, ‘Why do your disciples not live according to the tradition of the elders, but eat with defiled hands?’ He said to them, ‘Isaiah prophesied rightly about you hypocrites, as it is written,
“This people honours me with their lips, 
   but their hearts are far from me; 
in vain do they worship me, 
   teaching human precepts as doctrines.” 
You abandon the commandment of God and hold to human tradition.’ 

Then he said to them, ‘You have a fine way of rejecting the commandment of God in order to keep your tradition! For Moses said, “Honour your father and your mother”; and, “Whoever speaks evil of father or mother must surely die.” But you say that if anyone tells father or mother, “Whatever support you might have had from me is Corban” (that is, an offering to God)— then you no longer permit doing anything for a father or mother, thus making void the word of God through your tradition that you have handed on. And you do many things like this.’ 

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

Prayer:
Great are you, Lord, and greatly to be praised!
There is no end to your greatness.
Let your Spirit shape and make new our character,
encourage us in constant prayer,
direct us in the way of love
and bring us at last to heaven with all your saints in light.

All that is unfinished in us and in the world,
we entrust to you, Lord.

Every aspiration, longing and dream
crushed by temptation, sin and dullness of heart,
we entrust to you, Lord.

Holy Church seeking to offer you worship
in every place and culture
we entrust to you, Lord.

Every people and tribe oppressed
by the greed and prejudice of others,
we entrust to you, Lord.

The empty and hungry places in our spirits
and in our relationships with others,
we entrust to you, Lord.

O God, 
you have called us into the fellowship of your dear Son: 
Draw into closer unity
the people of all races in this and every land, 
that in fellowship with you
they may understand and help one another, 
and that, serving you, they may find their perfect freedom; 
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Set us free, heavenly Father, 
from every bond of prejudice and fear; 
that, honoring the steadfast courage 
of your servant Absalom Jones, 
we may show forth in our lives 
the reconciling love and true freedom of the children of God, 
which you have given us in your Son our Savior Jesus Christ;
who lives 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

The God of love who calls us,
guide us this day and always:
his might uphold us,
his love enfold us,
his peace empower us;
in Jesus' Name. 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
prayers reprinted from _Revised Common Lectionary Prayers_,
copyright (c) 2002 Consultation on Common Texts.

The first collect is by Joost de Blank. The second collect is from _The Proper for the Lesser Feasts and Fasts_, 3rd edition, (c) 1980 The Church Pension Fund.

In 1786 the membership of St. George's Methodist Episcopal Church in
Philadelphia included both blacks and whites. However, the white members
met that year and decided that thereafter black members should sit only in the
balcony. Two black Sunday school teachers, Absalom Jones (1746-1818) and
Richard Allen (1760-1830), learned of the decision only when, on the
following Sunday, ushers tapped them on the shoulder during the opening
prayers, and demanded that they move to the balcony without waiting for the
end of the prayer. They walked out, followed by the other black members.
Absalom Jones conferred with William White, Episcopal Bishop of
Philadelphia, who agreed to accept the group as an Episcopal parish. Jones
would serve as lay reader, and, after a period of study, would be ordained and
serve as rector. Allen wanted the group to remain Methodist, and in 1793 he
left to form a Methodist congregation. In 1816 he left the Methodists to form a
new denomination, the African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church. Jones
(ordained deacon and priest in 1795 and 1802) and Allen (ordained deacon and
elder in 1799 and 1816) were the first two black Americans to receive formal
ordination in any denomination.



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