OREMUS: 23 February 2009

Steve Benner steve.benner at oremus.org
Sun Feb 22 21:40:45 GMT 2009


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OREMUS for Monday, February 23, 2009
Polycarp, Bishop of Smyrna, Martyr, c.155

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

Blessed are you, God of majesty,
you brought light out of darkness
and set the sun to brighten the day.
We thank you for your Son, Jesus Christ, our Lord,
whose human body was transfigured on a lonely mountain.
In his face, we have glimpsed your glory.
In his life, we see your love.
You lead us by the light of your truth
into the way of righteousness and peace.
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 18:1-20

I love you, O Lord my strength,*
 O Lord my stronghold, my crag and my haven.
My God, my rock in whom I put my trust,*
 my shield, the horn of my salvation and my refuge;
   you are worthy of praise.
I will call upon the Lord,*
 and so shall I be saved from my enemies.
The breakers of death rolled over me,*
 and the torrents of oblivion made me afraid.
The cords of hell entangled me,*
 and the snares of death were set for me.
I called upon the Lord in my distress*
 and cried out to my God for help.
He heard my voice from his heavenly dwelling;*
 my cry of anguish came to his ears.
The earth reeled and rocked;*
 the roots of the mountains shook;
   they reeled because of his anger.
Smoke rose from his nostrils
   and a consuming fire out of his mouth;*
 hot burning coals blazed forth from him.
He parted the heavens and came down*
 with a storm cloud under his feet.
He mounted on cherubim and flew;*
 he swooped on the wings of the wind.
He wrapped darkness about him;*
 he made dark waters and thick clouds his pavilion.
>From the brightness of his presence, through the clouds,*
 burst hailstones and coals of fire.
The Lord thundered out of heaven;*
 the Most High uttered his voice.
He loosed his arrows and scattered them;*
 he hurled thunderbolts and routed them.
The beds of the seas were uncovered,
   and the foundations of the world laid bare,*
 at your battle cry, O Lord,
   at the blast of the breath of your nostrils.
He reached down from on high and grasped me;*
 he drew me out of great waters.
He delivered me from my strong enemies
   and from those who hated me;*
 for they were too mighty for me.

They confronted me in the day of my disaster;*
 but the Lord was my support.
He brought me out into an open place;*
 he rescued me because he delighted in me.

A Song of the Blessed (Matthew 5.310)

Blessed are the poor in spirit,  
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 
Blessed are those who mourn,  
for they shall be comforted. 
Blessed are the meek,  
for they shall inherit the earth. 
Blessed are those who hunger 
and thirst after righteousness,  
for they shall be satisfied. 
Blessed are the merciful,  
for they shall obtain mercy. 
Blessed are the pure in heart,  
for they shall see God. 
Blessed are the peacemakers,  
for they shall be called children of God. 
Blessed are those who suffer persecution 
for righteousness( sake,  
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Rejoice and be glad 
for you are the light of the world, 
and great is your reward in heaven. 

Psalm 146

Alleluia!
   Praise the Lord, O my soul!*
 I will praise the Lord as long as I live;
   I will sing praises to my God while I have my being.
Put not your trust in rulers,
   nor in any child of earth,*
 for there is no help in them.
When they breathe their last, they return to earth,*
 and in that day their thoughts perish.
Happy are they who have the God of Jacob
   for their help!*
 whose hope is in the Lord their God;
Who made heaven and earth, the seas,
   and all that is in them;*
 who keeps his promise for ever;
Who gives justice to those who are oppressed,*
 and food to those who hunger.
The Lord sets the prisoners free;
   the Lord opens the eyes of the blind;*
 the Lord lifts up those who are bowed down;
The Lord loves the righteous;
   the Lord cares for the stranger;*
 he sustains the orphan and widow,
   but frustrates the way of the wicked.
The Lord shall reign for ever,*
 your God, O Zion, throughout all generations.
   Alleluia!

FIRST READING [Genesis 18:1-16]:

The Lord appeared to Abraham by the oaks of Mamre, as he sat at the entrance of his tent in the heat of the day. He looked up and saw three men standing near him. When he saw them, he ran from the tent entrance to meet them, and bowed down to the ground. He said, ‘My lord, if I find favour with you, do not pass by your servant. Let a little water be brought, and wash your feet, and rest yourselves under the tree. Let me bring a little bread, that you may refresh yourselves, and after that you may pass on—since you have come to your servant.’ So they said, ‘Do as you have said.’ And Abraham hastened into the tent to Sarah, and said, ‘Make ready quickly three measures of choice flour, knead it, and make cakes.’ Abraham ran to the herd, and took a calf, tender and good, and gave it to the servant, who hastened to prepare it. Then he took curds and milk and the calf that he had prepared, and set it before them; and he stood by them under the tree while they ate. 

They said to him, ‘Where is your wife Sarah?’ And he said, ‘There, in the tent.’ Then one said, ‘I will surely return to you in due season, and your wife Sarah shall have a son.’ And Sarah was listening at the tent entrance behind him. Now Abraham and Sarah were old, advanced in age; it had ceased to be with Sarah after the manner of women. So Sarah laughed to herself, saying, ‘After I have grown old, and my husband is old, shall I have pleasure?’ The Lord said to Abraham, ‘Why did Sarah laugh, and say, “Shall I indeed bear a child, now that I am old?” Is anything too wonderful for the Lord? At the set time I will return to you, in due season, and Sarah shall have a son.’ But Sarah denied, saying, ‘I did not laugh’; for she was afraid. He said, ‘Oh yes, you did laugh.’ 

Then the men set out from there, and they looked towards Sodom; and Abraham went with them to set them on their way. 

HYMN 
Words: Shirley Erena Murray (c) Hope Publishing Co. Used with permission.
Tune: Cambodia

Stranger God, you come to us,
knock on doors and ask for shelter, 
wash our feet with towel and water, 
teach us how to pray, 
heed what women say. 

Stranger with compassion's face, 
here you speak of love and healing, 
shout your anger, cry your feeling, 
show a God that's weak --
turn the other cheek. 

Stranger God, you come to us, 
unexpected, unprotected, 
in our body resurrected
where our hope has died, 
hanging crucified. 

Strangest God of all you seem: 
though we mock you, or neglect you, 
never can we so reject you
that you let us go --
love cannot say "No!" 

Stranger God, you come to us, 
Stranger God, you come to us.

SECOND READING [Mark 9:38-end]:

 John said to Jesus, ‘Teacher, we saw someone casting out demons in your name, and we tried to stop him, because he was not following us.’ But Jesus said, ‘Do not stop him; for no one who does a deed of power in my name will be able soon afterwards to speak evil of me. Whoever is not against us is for us. For truly I tell you, whoever gives you a cup of water to drink because you bear the name of Christ will by no means lose the reward. 

‘If any of you put a stumbling-block before one of these little ones who believe in me, it would be better for you if a great millstone were hung around your neck and you were thrown into the sea. If your hand causes you to stumble, cut it off; it is better for you to enter life maimed than to have two hands and to go to hell, to the unquenchable fire. And if your foot causes you to stumble, cut it off; it is better for you to enter life lame than to have two feet and to be thrown into hell., And if your eye causes you to stumble, tear it out; it is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye than to have two eyes and to be thrown into hell, where their worm never dies, and the fire is never quenched. 

‘For everyone will be salted with fire. Salt is good; but if salt has lost its saltiness, how can you season it? Have salt in yourselves, and be at peace with one another.’ 

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

Prayer:

High and holy God,
robed in majesty,
Lord of heaven and earth,
we pray that you bring justice, faith
and salvation to all peoples.
Lord, hear us.
Lord, graciously hear us.

You chose us in Christ to be your people
and to be the temple of your Holy Spirit;
we pray that you will fill your Church with vision and hope.
Lord, hear us.
Lord, graciously hear us.

Your Spirit enables us to cry, (Abba! Father!(,

affirms that we are fellow-heirs with Christ
and pleads for us in our weakness;
we pray for all who are in need or distress.
Lord, hear us.
Lord, graciously hear us.

In the baptism and birth of Jesus,
you have opened heaven to us
and enabled us to share in your glory:
the joy of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit
from before the world was made.
May your Church, living and departed,
come to a joyful resurrection in your city of light.
Lord, hear us.
Lord, graciously hear us.

Praise to you, God of our salvation;

you come to our help and set us free.
May your strength be our shield
and your word be our lamp,
that we may serve you with pure hearts and find victory
through our Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.

Almighty God, 
who have to your servant Polycarp 
boldness to confess the name of our Savior Jesus Christ 
before the rulers of this world 
and courage to die for this faith: 
grant that we also may be ready to give 
an answer for the faith that is in us 
and to suffer gladly for the sake of our Lord 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

Transform us into the likeness of Jesus Christ,
that we may live for you, as he lived,
and love others, as he loved them. 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 in _Book of Common Worship_, (c) 1993 Westminster
/ John Knox Press. 

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

 Polycarp was Bishop of Smyrna (today known as Izmir), a city on the west
coast of Turkey. The letters to the "seven churches in Asia" at the beginning of
the book of Revelation include a letter to the church in Smyrna, identifying it
as a church undergoing persecution.
Polycarp is said to have known the Apostle John, and to have been instructed
by him in the Christian faith. Polycarp, in his turn, was known to Irenaeus, who
later became Bishop of Lyons in what is now France. We have (1) Irenaeus's
brief memoir of Polycarp; (2) a letter to Polycarp from Ignatius of Antioch,
written around 115 AD when Ignatius was passing through Turkey, being sent
in chains to Rome to be put to death; (3) a letter from Polycarp to the church
at Philippi, written at the same time; and (4) an account of the arrest, trial,
conviction, and martyrdom of Polycarp, written after his death by one or more
members of his congregation.
Polycarp was denounced to the government, arrested, and tried on the charge
of being a Christian. When the proconsul urged him to save his life by cursing
Christ, he replied: "Eighty-six years I have served him, and he never did me any
wrong. How can I blaspheme my King who saved me?" The magistrate was
reluctant to kill a a gentle old man, but he had no choice.
Polycarp was sentenced to be burned. As he waited for the fire to be lighted,
he prayed:
Lord God Almighty, Father of your blessed and beloved child Jesus Christ,
through whom we have received knowledge of you, God of angels and hosts
and all creation, and of the whole race of the upright who live in your
presence:
I bless you that you have thought me worthy of this day and hour, to be
numbered among the martyrs and share in the cup of Christ, for resurrection to
eternal life, for soul and body in the incorruptibility of the Holy Spirit. Among
them may I be accepted before you today, as a rich and acceptable sacrifice,
just as you, the faithful and true God, have prepared and foreshown and
brought about. For this reason and for all things I praise you, I bless you, I
glorify you, through the eternal heavenly high priest Jesus Christ, your beloved
child, through whom be glory to you, with him and the Holy Spirit, now and
for the ages to come. Amen.
The fire was then lit and shortly thereafter a soldier stabbed Polycarp to death
by order of the magistrate. His friends gave his remains honorable burial, and
wrote an account of his death to other churches. See the Penguin volume,
Ancient Christian Writers. [James Kiefer]



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