OREMUS: 17 February 2009

Steve Benner steve.benner at oremus.org
Mon Feb 16 17:00:00 GMT 2009


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OREMUS for Tuesday, February 17, 2009
Janani Luwum, Archbishop of Uganda, Martyr , 1977

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

Blessed are you, O God,
you lead us to the waters of refreshment and new life
through your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.
He calls us to leave behind the dusty desert 
of withered hopes and dreams
to become a spring of faith
that others may come near to the stream of 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. 
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Psalm 11

In the Lord have I taken refuge;*
 how then can you say to me,
   'Fly away like a bird to the hilltop;
'For see how the wicked bend the bow
   and fit their arrows to the string,*
 to shoot from ambush at the true of heart.
'When the foundations are being destroyed,*
 what can the righteous do?'
The Lord is in his holy temple;*
 the Lord's throne is in heaven.
His eyes behold the inhabited world;*
 his piercing eye weighs our worth.
The Lord weighs the righteous as well as the wicked,*
 but those who delight in violence he abhors.
Upon the wicked he shall rain coals of fire
   and burning sulphur;*
 a scorching wind shall be their lot.
For the Lord is righteous;
   he delights in righteous deeds;*
 and the just shall see his face.

Psalm 12

Help me, Lord, for there is no godly one left;*
 the faithful have vanished from among us.
Everyone speaks falsely with their neighbour;*
 with a smooth tongue they speak from a double heart.
O that the Lord would cut off all smooth tongues,*
 and close the lips that utter proud boasts!
Those who say, 'With our tongue will we prevail;*
 our lips are our own; who is lord over us?'
'Because the needy are oppressed,
   and the poor cry out in misery,*
 I will rise up', says the Lord,
   'and give them the help they long for.'
The words of the Lord are pure words,*
 like silver refined from ore
   and purified seven times in the fire.
O Lord, watch over us*
 and save us from this generation for ever.
The wicked prowl on every side,*
 and that which is worthless is highly prized by everyone.

Great and Wonderful (Revelation 15.3,4)

Great and wonderful are your deeds, . 
Lord God the Almighty. 
Just and true are your ways, . 
O ruler of the nations. 
Who shall not revere and praise your name, O Lord? . 
for you alone are holy. 
All nations shall come and worship in your presence: . 
for your just dealings have been revealed.

Psalm 147:1-12

Alleluia!
   How good it is to sing praises to our God!*
 how pleasant it is to honour him with praise!
The Lord rebuilds Jerusalem;*
 he gathers the exiles of Israel.
He heals the brokenhearted*
 and binds up their wounds.
He counts the number of the stars*
 and calls them all by their names.
Great is our Lord and mighty in power;*
 there is no limit to his wisdom.
The Lord lifts up the lowly,*
 but casts the wicked to the ground.
Sing to the Lord with thanksgiving;*
 make music to our God upon the harp.
He covers the heavens with clouds*
 and prepares rain for the earth;
He makes grass to grow upon the mountains*
 and green plants to serve us all.
He provides food for flocks and herds*
 and for the young ravens when they cry.
He is not impressed by the might of a horse,*
 he has no pleasure in human strength;

But the Lord has pleasure in those who fear him,*
 in those who await his gracious favour.
 Alleluia!

FIRST READING [Genesis 8:6-end]:

At the end of forty days Noah opened the window of the ark that he had made and sent out the raven; and it went to and fro until the waters were dried up from the earth. Then he sent out the dove from him, to see if the waters had subsided from the face of the ground; but the dove found no place to set its foot, and it returned to him to the ark, for the waters were still on the face of the whole earth. So he put out his hand and took it and brought it into the ark with him. He waited another seven days, and again he sent out the dove from the ark; and the dove came back to him in the evening, and there in its beak was a freshly plucked olive leaf; so Noah knew that the waters had subsided from the earth. Then he waited another seven days, and sent out the dove; and it did not return to him any more. 

In the six hundred and first year, in the first month, on the first day of the month, the waters were dried up from the earth; and Noah removed the covering of the ark, and looked, and saw that the face of the ground was drying. In the second month, on the twenty-seventh day of the month, the earth was dry. Then God said to Noah, ‘Go out of the ark, you and your wife, and your sons and your sons’ wives with you. Bring out with you every living thing that is with you of all flesh—birds and animals and every creeping thing that creeps on the earth—so that they may abound on the earth, and be fruitful and multiply on the earth.’ So Noah went out with his sons and his wife and his sons’ wives. And every animal, every creeping thing, and every bird, everything that moves on the earth, went out of the ark by families. 

Then Noah built an altar to the Lord, and took of every clean animal and of every clean bird, and offered burnt-offerings on the altar. And when the Lord smelt the pleasing odour, the Lord said in his heart, ‘I will never again curse the ground because of humankind, for the inclination of the human heart is evil from youth; nor will I ever again destroy every living creature as I have done. 
As long as the earth endures,
   seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, 
summer and winter, day and night, 
   shall not cease.’ 

HYMN 
Words: John Newton (1725-1807)
Tune: Hollingside

Does the gospel word proclaim
Rest for those who weary be?
Then, my soul, put in thy claim;
Sure that promise speaks to thee.
Marks of grace I cannot show;
All polluted is my breast;
Yet I weary am, I know,
And the weary long for rest.

Burdened with a load of sin;
Harassed with tormenting doubt;
Hourly conflicts from within;
Hourly crosses from without;
All my little strength is gone;
Sink I must without supply;
Sure upon the earth there's none
Can more weary be than I.

In the ark the weary dove
Found a welcome resting-place;
Thus my spirit longs to prove
Rest in Christ, the Ark of grace.
Tempest-tossed I long have been
And the flood increases fast;
Open, Lord, and take me in
Till the storm be overpast.

SECOND READING [Mark 8:11-26]:

The Pharisees came and began to argue with Jesus, asking him for a sign from heaven, to test him. And he sighed deeply in his spirit and said, ‘Why does this generation ask for a sign? Truly I tell you, no sign will be given to this generation.’ And he left them, and getting into the boat again, he went across to the other side. 

Now the disciples had forgotten to bring any bread; and they had only one loaf with them in the boat. And he cautioned them, saying, ‘Watch out—beware of the yeast of the Pharisees and the yeast of Herod.’ They said to one another, ‘It is because we have no bread.’ And becoming aware of it, Jesus said to them, ‘Why are you talking about having no bread? Do you still not perceive or understand? Are your hearts hardened? Do you have eyes, and fail to see? Do you have ears, and fail to hear? And do you not remember? When I broke the five loaves for the five thousand, how many baskets full of broken pieces did you collect?’ They said to him, ‘Twelve.’ ‘And the seven for the four thousand, how many baskets full of broken pieces did you collect?’ And they said to him, ‘Seven.’ Then he said to them, ‘Do you not yet understand?’ 

They came to Bethsaida. Some people brought a blind man to him and begged him to touch him. He took the blind man by the hand and led him out of the village; and when he had put saliva on his eyes and laid his hands on him, he asked him, ‘Can you see anything?’ And the man looked up and said, ‘I can see people, but they look like trees, walking.’ Then Jesus laid his hands on his eyes again; and he looked intently and his sight was restored, and he saw everything clearly. Then he sent him away to his home, saying, ‘Do not even go into the village.’ 

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

Prayer:
Baptizing God,
you have plunged us into the waters as death to sin
and have raised us to be alive to you in joy and service.

For all whose eager and resolute living in you
makes them saints to us:
We thank you, Lord.

For the community made holy in Christ,
the living and the dead, the near and the far away:
We thank you, Lord.

For an awareness of our kinship

to holy and just men and women:
We thank you, Lord.

For reminding us that perfection in you is a journey
of consistent love to you and to others:
We thank you, Lord.

For sustaining us in the faithful use of means of grace,
that we may resolve to live in your love and peace:
We thank you, Lord.

God of truth,
protector of your people,
come to the aid of all who are poor and oppressed.
By the power of your life-giving Word
lead us in the ways of peace and integrity,
and give us the help we long for
in Jesus Christ our Savior. Amen.

God of truth,
whose servant Janani Luwum walked in the light,
and in his death defied the powers of darkness:
free us from fear of those who kill the body,
that we too may walk as children of light,
through him who overcame darkness by the power of the cross,
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

Call us now and we shall awaken,
call us now by name and we shall arise. Amen.

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The psalms and the first collect 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 by Stephen Benner and uses some 
images from a hymn by Thomas Troeger. The closing prayer is by Stephen
Benner and uses some phrases from a song by Marty Haugen.

The intercession is reprinted from _THE DAILY OFFICE: A Book of Hours of Daily Prayer after the Use of the Order of Saint Luke_, (c) 1997 by The Order of Saint Luke. Used by 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.

The Church in Uganda began with the deaths of martyrs (the Martyrs of
Uganda, 3 June 1886, and James Hannington and his Companions, Martyrs, 29
October 1885). Around 1900, Uganda became a British protectorate, with the
chief of the Buganda tribe as nominal ruler, and with several other tribes
included in the protectorate. In 1962 Uganda became an independent country
within the British Commonwealth, with the Bugandan chief as president and
Milton Obote, of the Lango tribe, as Prime Minister. In 1966, Obote took full
control of the government. In 1971, he was overthrown by General Idi Amin,
Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces. Almost immediately, he began a policy of
repression, arresting anyone suspected of not supporting him. Hundreds of
soldiers from the Lango and Acholi tribes were shot down in their barracks.
Amin ordered the expulsion of the Asian population of Uganda, about 55,000
persons, mostly small shopkeepers from India and Pakistan. Over the next few
years, many Christians were killed for various offenses. A preacher who read
over the radio a Psalm which mentioned Israel was shot for this in 1972.
Early in 1977, there was a small army rebellion that was put down with only
seven men dead. However, Amin determined to stamp out all traces of dissent.
His men killed thousands, including the entire population of Milton Obote's
home village. On Sunday, 30 January, Bishop Festo Kivengere preached on
"The Preciousness of Life" to an audience including many high government
officials. He denounced the arbitrary bloodletting, and accused the government
of abusing the authority that God had entrusted to it. The government
responded on the following Saturday (5 February) by an early (1:30am) raid on
the home of the Archbishop, Janani Luwum, ostensibly to search for hidden
stores of weapons. The Archbishop called on President Amin to deliver a note
of protest at the policies of arbitrary killings and the unexplained
disappearances of many persons. Amin accused the Archbishop of treason,
produced a document supposedly by former President Obote attesting his guilt,
and had the Archbishop and two Cabinet members (both committed Christians)
arrested and held for military trial. The three met briefly with four other
prisoners who were awaiting execution, and were permitted to pray with them
briefly. Then the three were placed in a Land Rover and not seen alive again by
their friends. The government story is that one of the prisoners tried to seize
control of the vehicle and that it was wrecked and the passengers killed. The
story believed by the Archbishop's supporters is that he refused to sign a
confession, was beaten and otherwise abused, and finally shot. His body was
placed in a sealed coffin and sent to his native village for burial there.
However, the villagers opened the coffin and discovered the bullet holes. In the
capital city of Kampala a crowd of about 4,500 gathered for a memorial
service beside the grave that had been prepared for him next to that of the
martyred bishop Hannington. In Nairobi, the capital of nearby Kenya, about
10,000 gathered for another memorial service. Bishop Kivengere was informed
that he was about to be arrested, and he and his family fled to Kenya, as did the
widow and orphans of Archbishop Luwum.
The following June, about 25,000 Ugandans came to the capital to celebrate
the centennial of the first preaching of the Gospel in their country, among the
participants were many who had abandoned Christianity, but who had returned
to their Faith as a result of seeing the courage of Archbishop Luwum and his
companions in the face of death.[James Kiefer]



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