OREMUS: 7 March 2009

Steve Benner steve.benner at oremus.org
Fri Mar 6 17:00:00 GMT 2009


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OREMUS for Saturday, March 7, 2009
Perpetua, Felicity and their Companions, Martyrs at Carthage, 203

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

Blessed are you, God, rich in mercy,
you so loved the world 
that when we were dead in our sins,
you sent your only Son for our deliverance.
Lifted up from the earth,
he is light and life;
exalted upon the cross,
he is truth and salvation.
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 19

The heavens declare the glory of God,*
 and the firmament shows his handiwork.
One day tells its tale to another,*
 and one night imparts knowledge to another.
Although they have no words or language,*
 and their voices are not heard,
Their sound has gone out into all lands,*
 and their message to the ends of the world.
In the deep has he set a pavilion for the sun;*
 it comes forth like a bridegroom out of his chamber;
   it rejoices like a champion to run its course.
It goes forth from the uttermost edge of the heavens
   and runs about to the end of it again;*
 nothing is hidden from its burning heat.
The law of the Lord is perfect
   and revives the soul;*
 the testimony of the Lord is sure
   and gives wisdom to the innocent.
The statutes of the Lord are just
   and rejoice the heart;*
 the commandment of the Lord is clear
   and gives light to the eyes.
The fear of the Lord is clean
   and endures for ever;*
 the judgements of the Lord are true
   and righteous altogether.
More to be desired are they than gold,
   more than much fine gold,*
 sweeter far than honey,
   than honey in the comb.
By them also is your servant enlightened,*
 and in keeping them there is great reward.
Who can tell how often he offends?*
 Cleanse me from my secret faults.
Above all, keep your servant from presumptuous sins;
   let them not get dominion over me;*
 then shall I be whole and sound,
   and innocent of a great offence.
Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart
   be acceptable in your sight,*
 O Lord, my strength and my redeemer.

Psalm 23

The Lord is my shepherd;*
 I shall not be in want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures*
 and leads me beside still waters.
He revives my soul*
 and guides me along right pathways for his name's sake.
Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
   I shall fear no evil;*
 for you are with me;
   your rod and your staff, they comfort me.
You spread a table before me
   in the presence of those who trouble me;*
 you have anointed my head with oil,
   and my cup is running over.
Surely your goodness and mercy shall follow me
   all the days of my life,*
 and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.

A Song of the Rock (Deuteronomy 32.112)

Give ear, O heavens, and I will speak;  
and let the earth hear the words of my mouth. 
May my teaching drop as the rain, 
my speech distil as the dew,  
as the gentle rain on the grass, 
and as the showers upon the meadow. 
For I will proclaim the name of the Lord.  
Ascribe greatness to our God! 
The Rock, his work is perfect; for all his ways are just:  
a faithful God without deceit, just and upright is he. 
His degenerate children have dealt corruptly with him;  
a perverse and crooked generation. 
Do you thus repay the Lord, you foolish and senseless people?  
Is not he your father, who created you, 
who made you and established you? 
Remember the days of old, consider the years long past;  
ask your father, and he will show you; 
your elders, and they will tell you. 
When the Most High gave the nations their inheritance, 
when he divided the children of earth,  
he fixed the bounds of the peoples 
according to the number of the children of God. 
For the Lord(s own portion is his people,  
Jacob his allotted heritage. 
He sustained him in a desert land, 
in the howling waste of the wilderness;  
he shielded him and cared for him; 
he kept him as the apple of his eye. 
As an eagle stirs up its nest, and hovers over its young,  
spreading out its wings, takes them, 
and bears them aloft on its pinions, 
So the Lord alone did guide him,  
and no foreign god was with him.

Psalm 150

Praise God in his holy temple;*
 praise him in the firmament of his power.
Praise him for his mighty acts;*
 praise him for his excellent greatness.
Praise him with the blast of the ram'shorn;*
 praise him with lyre and harp.
Praise him with timbrel and dance;*
 praise him with strings and pipe.
Praise him with resounding cymbals;*
 praise him with loudclanging cymbals.
Let everything that has breath*
 praise the Lord.

FIRST READING [Ezekiel 34:17-25, 30-31]:

As for you, my flock, thus says the Lord God: I shall judge between sheep and sheep, between rams and goats: Is it not enough for you to feed on the good pasture, but you must tread down with your feet the rest of your pasture? When you drink of clear water, must you foul the rest with your feet? And must my sheep eat what you have trodden with your feet, and drink what you have fouled with your feet? 

Therefore, thus says the Lord God to them: I myself will judge between the fat sheep and the lean sheep. Because you pushed with flank and shoulder, and butted at all the weak animals with your horns until you scattered them far and wide, I will save my flock, and they shall no longer be ravaged; and I will judge between sheep and sheep. 

I will set up over them one shepherd, my servant David, and he shall feed them: he shall feed them and be their shepherd. And I, the Lord, will be their God, and my servant David shall be prince among them; I, the Lord, have spoken. 

I will make with them a covenant of peace and banish wild animals from the land, so that they may live in the wild and sleep in the woods securely. They shall know that I, the Lord their God, am with them, and that they, the house of Israel, are my people, says the Lord God. You are my sheep, the sheep of my pasture, and I am your God, says the Lord God. 

HYMN 
Words: Charles Wesley (1707-1788)
Tune: Mount Ephraim

Lord, if at thy command
The word of life we sow,
Watered by thy almighty hand,
The seed shall surely grow;

The virtue of thy grace
A large increase shall give,
And multiply the faithful race
Who to thy glory live.

Now then the ceaseless shower
Of gospel blessings send,
And let the soul-converting power
Thy ministers attend.

On multitudes confer
The heart-renewing love,
And by the joy of grace prepare
For fuller joys above.

SECOND READING [2 Timothy 2:1-15]:

You then, my child, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus; and what you have heard from me through many witnesses entrust to faithful people who will be able to teach others as well. Share in suffering like a good soldier of Christ Jesus. No one serving in the army gets entangled in everyday affairs; the soldier?s aim is to please the enlisting officer. And in the case of an athlete, no one is crowned without competing according to the rules. It is the farmer who does the work who ought to have the first share of the crops. Think over what I say, for the Lord will give you understanding in all things. 

Remember Jesus Christ, raised from the dead, a descendant of David?that is my gospel, for which I suffer hardship, even to the point of being chained like a criminal. But the word of God is not chained. Therefore I endure everything for the sake of the elect, so that they may also obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus, with eternal glory. The saying is sure:
If we have died with him, we will also live with him; 
if we endure, we will also reign with him; 
if we deny him, he will also denyÿus; 
if we are faithless, he remains faithful?
for he cannot deny himself. 

Remind them of this, and warn them before God that they are to avoid wrangling over words, which does no good but only ruins those who are listening. Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved by him, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly explaining the word of truth. 

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

Prayer:
O Lord, answer us in the day of trouble,
Send us help from your holy place.

Show us the path of life,
For in your presence is joy.

Give justice to the orphan and oppressed
And break the power of wickedness and evil.

Look upon the hungry and sorrowful
And grant them the help for which they long.

Let the heavens rejoice and the earth be glad;
May your glory endure for ever.

Your kingship has dominion over all
And with you is our redemption.

Glory to you, 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.
Glory to you for ever. Amen.

Holy God,
who gave great courage to Perpetua, Felicity and their companions:
grant that we may be worthy to climb the ladder of sacrifice
and be received into the garden of peace;
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.
		
Trusting in the compassion of God,
let us pray as our Savior taught us:

- The Lord's Prayer

May God give us
his comfort and his peace,
his light and his joy,
in this world and the next. 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 adapts phrases from _Opening
Prayers: Collects in Contemporary Language_. Canterbury Press,
Norwich, 1999.

The closing sentence 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.

The moving, contemporary account of these early third-century, African
martyrs proved to be of great significance in the life of the early Church. Vibia
Perpetua was a young, married noblewoman of Carthage and Felicity was her
personal slave. Saturas was possibly a priest and there were two other men,
Saturninus and Revocatus, the latter also a slave. Felicity was pregnant. It
seems most of them were catechumens when arrested and only baptised later in
prison. They were condemned as Christians by the Roman authorities and
dispatched to the public arena, there to be mauled by wild animals. They all
survived and were then taken to be executed by the sword. Before this, they all
exchanged the Kiss of Peace and affirmed their faith in Christ, the Son of God.
The contemporary account was much circulated secretly throughout the
Christian congregations and proved both to give renown to their courage and
to give encouragement to their fellow Christians in the face of adversity. They
were martyred for their faith on this day in the year 203. [Exciting Holiness]



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