OREMUS: 25 February 2009

Steve Benner steve.benner at oremus.org
Tue Feb 24 17:00:00 GMT 2009

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OREMUS for Wednesday, February 25, 2009
Ash Wednesday

O God, make speed to save us;
O Lord, make haste to help us.

Blessed are you, eternal God, 
creator and ruler of the universe. 
You are our God, 
and we are the creatures of your hand. 
You made us from the dust of the earth, 
breathed into us the breath of life, 
and set us in your world to love and serve you. 
When we rejected your love 
and ignored your wisdom. 
you did not reject us. 
You loved us still
and call us again and again to turn to you
in obedience and in love. 
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. 
Psalm 32

Happy are they whose transgressions are forgiven,*
 and whose sin is put away!
Happy are they to whom the Lord imputes no guilt,*
 and in whose spirit there is no guile!
While I held my tongue, my bones withered away,*
 because of my groaning all day long.
For your hand was heavy upon me day and night;*
 my moisture was dried up as in the heat of summer.
Then I acknowledged my sin to you,*
 and did not conceal my guilt.
I said, 'I will confess my transgressions to the Lord';*
 then you forgave me the guilt of my sin.
Therefore all the faithful will make their prayers to you
   in time of trouble;*
 when the great waters overflow, they shall not reach them.
You are my hidingplace;
   you preserve me from trouble;*
 you surround me with shouts of deliverance.
'I will instruct you and teach you
   in the way that you should go;*
 I will guide you with my eye.
'Do not be like horse or mule,
   which have no understanding;*
 who must be fitted with bit and bridle,
   or else they will not stay near you.'
Great are the tribulations of the wicked;*
 but mercy embraces those who trust in the Lord.
Be glad, you righteous, and rejoice in the Lord;*
 shout for joy, all who are true of heart.

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.

The Song of Manasseh (Manasseh 1a,2,4,6,7a,b,9a,c,11,12,14b,15b)

Lord almighty and God of our ancestors,  
you who made heaven and earth in all their glory: 
All things tremble with awe at your presence,  
before your great and mighty power. 
Immeasurable and unsearchable is your promised mercy,  
for you are God, Most High. 
You are full of compassion, longsuffering and very merciful,  
and you relent at human suffering. 
O God, according to your great goodness,  
you have promised forgiveness for repentance 
to those who have sinned against you. 
The sins I have committed against you  
are more in number than the sands of the sea. 
I am not worthy to look up to the height of heaven,  
because of the multitude of my iniquities. 
And now I bend the knee of my heart before you,  
imploring your kindness upon me. 
I have sinned, O God, I have sinned,  
and I acknowledge my transgressions. 
Unworthy as I am, you will save me,  
according to your great mercy. 
For all the host of heaven sings your praise,  
and your glory is for ever and ever. 

Psalm 147:13-end

Worship the Lord, O Jerusalem;*
 praise your God, O Zion;
For he has strengthened the bars of your gates;*
 he has blessed your children within you.
He has established peace on your borders;*
 he satisfies you with the finest wheat.
He sends out his command to the earth,*
 and his word runs very swiftly.
He gives snow like wool;*
 he scatters hoarfrost like ashes.
He scatters his hail like bread crumbs;*
 who can stand against his cold?
He sends forth his word and melts them;*
 he blows with his wind and the waters flow.
He declares his word to Jacob,*
 his statutes and his judgements to Israel.
He has not done so to any other nation;*
 to them he has not revealed his judgements.

FIRST READING [Isaiah 58:1-12]:

Shout out, do not hold back! 
   Lift up your voice like a trumpet! 
Announce to my people their rebellion, 
   to the house of Jacob their sins.  
Yet day after day they seek me
   and delight to know my ways, 
as if they were a nation that practised righteousness
   and did not forsake the ordinance of their God; 
they ask of me righteous judgements, 
   they delight to draw near to God. 
‘Why do we fast, but you do not see? 
   Why humble ourselves, but you do not notice?’ 
Look, you serve your own interest on your fast-day, 
   and oppress all your workers. 
Look, you fast only to quarrel and to fight
   and to strike with a wicked fist. 
Such fasting as you do today
   will not make your voice heard on high. 
Is such the fast that I choose, 
   a day to humble oneself? 
Is it to bow down the head like a bulrush, 
   and to lie in sackcloth and ashes? 
Will you call this a fast, 
   a day acceptable to the Lord? 

Is not this the fast that I choose: 
   to loose the bonds of injustice, 
   to undo the thongs of the yoke, 
to let the oppressed go free, 
   and to break every yoke? 
Is it not to share your bread with the hungry, 
   and bring the homeless poor into your house; 
when you see the naked, to cover them, 
   and not to hide yourself from your own kin? 
Then your light shall break forth like the dawn, 
   and your healing shall spring up quickly; 
your vindicator shall go before you, 
   the glory of the Lord shall be your rearguard. 
Then you shall call, and the Lord will answer; 
   you shall cry for help, and he will say, Here I am. 

If you remove the yoke from among you, 
   the pointing of the finger, the speaking of evil, 
if you offer your food to the hungry
   and satisfy the needs of the afflicted, 
then your light shall rise in the darkness
   and your gloom be like the noonday. 
The Lord will guide you continually, 
   and satisfy your needs in parched places, 
   and make your bones strong; 
and you shall be like a watered garden, 
   like a spring of water, 
   whose waters never fail. 
Your ancient ruins shall be rebuilt; 
   you shall raise up the foundations of many generations; 
you shall be called the repairer of the breach, 
   the restorer of streets to live in. 

Words: Carl P. Daw, Jr. (c) Hope Publishing Co. Used with permission.
Tune: Southwell (Damon)

Restore in us, O God,
the splendor of your love;
renew your image in our hearts,
and all our sins remove.

O Spirit, wake in us
the wonder of your power;
from fruitless fear unfurl our lives
like springtime bud and flower.

Bring us, O Christ, to share
the fullness of your joy;
baptize us in the risen life
that death cannot destroy.

Three-personed God, fulfill
the promise of your grace,
that we, when our searching ends,
may see you face to face.

SECOND READING [Hebrews 12:1-14]:

Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight and the sin that clings so closely, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus the pioneer and perfecter of our faith, who for the sake of the joy that was set before him endured the cross, disregarding its shame, and has taken his seat at the right hand of the throne of God. 
 Consider him who endured such hostility against himself from sinners, so that you may not grow weary or lose heart. In your struggle against sin you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. And you have forgotten the exhortation that addresses you as children—
‘My child, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, 
   or lose heart when you are punished by him; 
for the Lord disciplines those whom he loves, 
   and chastises every child whom he accepts.’ 

Endure trials for the sake of discipline. God is treating you as children; for what child is there whom a parent does not discipline? If you do not have that discipline in which all children share, then you are illegitimate and not his children. Moreover, we had human parents to discipline us, and we respected them. Should we not be even more willing to be subject to the Father of spirits and live? For they disciplined us for a short time as seemed best to them, but he disciplines us for our good, in order that we may share his holiness. Now, discipline always seems painful rather than pleasant at the time, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it. 

Therefore lift your drooping hands and strengthen your weak knees, and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be put out of joint, but rather be healed. 

Pursue peace with everyone, and the holiness without which no one will see the Lord. 

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

Let us bow before God, our Creator and Redeemer,
and confess our sin.

* Silence may be kept for reflection and self-examination.

Almighty God, you alone are good and holy.
Purify our lives and make us brave disciples.
We do not ask you to keep us safe,
but to keep us loyal,
so we may serve Jesus Christ,
who, tempted in every way as we are,
was faithful to you. Amen.

>From lack of reverence for truth and beauty;
from a calculating or sentimental mind;
from going along with mean and ugly things:
O God, deliver us.

>From cowardice that dares not face truth;
laziness content with half-truth;
or arrogance that thinks we know it all:
O God, deliver us.

>From artificial life and worship;
from all that is hollow or insincere: 
O God, deliver us.

>From trite ideals and cheap pleasures;
from mistaking hard vulgarity for humor:
O God, deliver us.

>From being dull, pompous, or rude;
from putting down our neighbors:
O God, deliver us.

>From cynicism about others;
from intolerance or cruel indifference:
O God, deliver us.

>From being satisfied with things as they are,
in the church or in the world;
from failing to share you indignation about injustice:
O God, deliver us.

>From selfishness, self-indulgence, or self-pity: 
O God, deliver us.

>From token concern for the poor,
for lonely or loveless people;
from confusing faith with good feeling,
or love with wanting to be loved:
O God, deliver us.

For everything in us that may hide your light: 
O God, deliver us.

Have mercy on your prodigal children, O God,
and teach us to acknowledge our sinfulness,
so that, in repentance,
we may come to know your forgiveness
which is the fulfilment of our life in your Son,
Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Trusting in the compassion of God,
let us pray as our Savior taught us:

- The Lord's Prayer

May the God of peace
make us holy in every way
and keep our whole being--
spirit, soul, and body--
free from every fault
at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.

The psalms and 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 from _Book of Common Worship_, (c) 1993 Westminster / John Knox Press. The closing sentence is 1 Thessalonians 5:23, adapted.

The litany of confession is from _Book of Common Worship_,
(c) 1993 Westminster / John Knox Press. 

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