OREMUS: 24 March 2009

Steve Benner steve.benner at oremus.org
Mon Mar 23 17:00:01 GMT 2009


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OREMUS for Tuesday, March 24, 2009
Oscar Romero, Archbishop of San Salvador, Martyr, 1980

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

Glory to you, O Champion of all Loves,
who for our sake endured the cross,
encountered the enemy and tasted death.
Glory be to you, O King of all kings,
who for our salvation
wrestled with principalities and powers,
subdued the forces of hell
and won the greatest of all victories.
To you be all praise, all glory and all love;
now and for ever. Amen.

An opening canticle may be sung. 
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Psalm 93

The Lord is king; he has put on splendid apparel;*
 the Lord has put on his apparel
   and girded himself with strength.
He has made the whole world so sure*
 that it cannot be moved;
Ever since the world began,
   your throne has been established;*
 you are from everlasting.
The waters have lifted up, O Lord,
   the waters have lifted up their voice;*
 the waters have lifted up their pounding waves.
Mightier than the sound of many waters,
   mightier than the breakers of the sea,*
 mightier is the Lord who dwells on high.
Your testimonies are very sure,*
 and holiness adorns your house, O Lord,
   for ever and for evermore.

Psalm 96

Sing to the Lord a new song;*
 sing to the Lord, all the whole earth.
Sing to the Lord and bless his name;*
 proclaim the good news of his salvation from day to day.
Declare his glory among the nations*
 and his wonders among all peoples.
For great is the Lord and greatly to be praised;*
 he is more to be feared than all gods.
As for all the gods of the nations, they are but idols;*
 but it is the Lord who made the heavens.
O the majesty and magnificence of his presence!*
 O the power and the splendour of his sanctuary!
Ascribe to the Lord, you families of the peoples;*
 ascribe to the Lord honour and power.
Ascribe to the Lord the honour due to his name;*
 bring offerings and come into his courts.
Worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness;*
 let the whole earth tremble before him.
Tell it out among the nations: 'The Lord is king!*
 he has made the world so firm that it cannot be moved;
   he will judge the peoples with equity.'
Let the heavens rejoice and let the earth be glad;
   let the sea thunder and all that is in it;*
 let the field be joyful and all that is therein.
Then shall all the trees of the wood shout for joy
   before the Lord when he comes,*
 when he comes to judge the earth.
He will judge the world with righteousness*
 and the peoples with his truth.

The Song of Christ(s Glory (Philippians 2.511)

Christ Jesus was in the form of God,  
but he did not cling to equality with God. 
He emptied himself, taking the form of a servant,  
and was born in our human likeness. 
Being found in human form he humbled himself,  
and became obedient unto death, even death on a cross. 
Therefore God has highly exalted him,  
and bestowed on him the name above every name, 
That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,  
in heaven and on earth and under the earth; 
And every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord,  
to the glory of God the Father.

Psalm 147:1-12

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.

FIRST READING [Genesis 45]:

Then Joseph could no longer control himself before all those who stood by him, and he cried out, 'Send everyone away from me.' So no one stayed with him when Joseph made himself known to his brothers. And he wept so loudly that the Egyptians heard it, and the household of Pharaoh heard it. Joseph said to his brothers, 'I am Joseph. Is my father still alive?' But his brothers could not answer him, so dismayed were they at his presence. 

Then Joseph said to his brothers, 'Come closer to me.' And they came closer. He said, 'I am your brother Joseph, whom you sold into Egypt. And now do not be distressed, or angry with yourselves, because you sold me here; for God sent me before you to preserve life. For the famine has been in the land these two years; and there are five more years in which there will be neither ploughing nor harvest. God sent me before you to preserve for you a remnant on earth, and to keep alive for you many survivors. So it was not you who sent me here, but God; he has made me a father to Pharaoh, and lord of all his house and ruler over all the land of Egypt. Hurry and go up to my father and say to him, "Thus says your son Joseph, God has made me lord of all Egypt; come down to me, do not delay. You shall settle in the land of Goshen, and you shall be near me, you and your children and your children's children, as well as your flocks, your herds, and all that you have. I will provide for you there—since there are five more years of famine to come—so that you and your household, and all that you have, will not come to poverty." And now your eyes and the eyes of my brother Benjamin see that it is my own mouth that speaks to you. You must tell my father how greatly I am honoured in Egypt, and all that you have seen. Hurry and bring my father down here.' Then he fell upon his brother Benjamin's neck and wept, while Benjamin wept upon his neck. And he kissed all his brothers and wept upon them; and after that his brothers talked with him. 
 When the report was heard in Pharaoh's house, 'Joseph's brothers have come', Pharaoh and his servants were pleased. Pharaoh said to Joseph, 'Say to your brothers, "Do this: load your animals and go back to the land of Canaan. Take your father and your households and come to me, so that I may give you the best of the land of Egypt, and you may enjoy the fat of the land." You are further charged to say, "Do this: take wagons from the land of Egypt for your little ones and for your wives, and bring your father, and come. Give no thought to your possessions, for the best of all the land of Egypt is yours." ' 

The sons of Israel did so. Joseph gave them wagons according to the instruction of Pharaoh, and he gave them provisions for the journey. To each one of them he gave a set of garments; but to Benjamin he gave three hundred pieces of silver and five sets of garments. To his father he sent the following: ten donkeys loaded with the good things of Egypt, and ten female donkeys loaded with grain, bread, and provision for his father on the journey. Then he sent his brothers on their way, and as they were leaving he said to them, 'Do not quarrel along the way.' 

So they went up out of Egypt and came to their father Jacob in the land of Canaan. And they told him, 'Joseph is still alive! He is even ruler over all the land of Egypt.' He was stunned; he could not believe them. But when they told him all the words of Joseph that he had said to them, and when he saw the wagons that Joseph had sent to carry him, the spirit of their father Jacob revived. Israel said, 'Enough! My son Joseph is still alive. I must go and see him before I die.' 

HYMN 
Words: Charles Wesley (1707-1788)
Tune: Dunfermline, St. Bernard, St. David

Jesus, united by Thy grace
And each to each endeared,
With confidence we seek Thy face,
And know our prayer is heard.

Help us to help each other, Lord,
Each other's cross to bear,
Let all their friendly aid afford
And feel each other's care.

Still let us own our common Lord,
And bear Thine easy yoke,
A band of love, a threefold cord,
Which never can be broke.

Make us into one spirit drink;
Baptize into Thy name;
And let us always kindly think
And sweetly speak the same,

Touched by the loadstone of Thy love,
Let all our hearts agree,
And ever toward each other move,
And ever move toward Thee.

To Thee, inseparably joined,
Let all our spirits cleave;
O may we all the loving mind
That was in Thee receive.

This is the bond of perfectness,
Thy spotless charity;
O let us, still we pray, possess
The mind that was in Thee.

SECOND READING [1 Corinthians 12:31b-13:13]:

And I will show you a still more excellent way. 

If I speak in the tongues of mortals and of angels, but do not have love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give away all my possessions, and if I hand over my body so that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing. 

Love is patient; love is kind; love is not envious or boastful or arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices in the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. 

Love never ends. But as for prophecies, they will come to an end; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will come to an end. For we know only in part, and we prophesy only in part; but when the complete comes, the partial will come to an end. When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child; when I became an adult, I put an end to childish ways. For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then we will see face to face. Now I know only in part; then I will know fully, even as I have been fully known. And now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; and the greatest of these is love. 

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

Prayer:
Generous God, we thank you for being with us today, and
for every sign of your truth and love in Jesus Christ.
Especially we thank you for
     the gift of peace in Christ...
                   (We thank you, Lord.)
     reconciliation in our relationships...
     each new insight into your love...
     energy and courage to share your love...
     the ministries of the church...

Gracious God, we remember in our own hearts the needs of
others, that we may reach up to claim your love for them,
and reach out to give your love in the name of Christ.
Especially we pray for
     racial harmony and justice...
                   (Lord, hear our prayer.)
     those imprisoned...
     strangers we have met today...
     friends who are bereaved...

     Orthodox and Coptic churches...

You have established your throne, O Lord,
above the chaos of this world:
may your truth, which is from everlasting,
be ours for ever and ever;
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Almighty God,
whose Son became incarnate among the poor
and lived, worked and died in the midst of a city,
give us grace to follow the example of your servant Oscar Romero
and proclaim the message of life,
that we all may come to know
the eternal truth of your Gospel,
as revealed in your Son,
Jesus Christ our Lord,
who lives and reigns with you and 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

Help us, O Lord Jesus Christ,
to enter in your sorrows and to rejoice in your victory;
to embrace your cross and to wear your crown;
to receive the wounds of your love
and to behold you in glory and light;
for your own name's sake. 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 is by Thomas Ken (1637-1711) and the closing prayer is by St. Bridget of Sweden (1303-1373).

The second collect is by Stephen Benner, 2002, and is based on phrases from
the writings of Archbishop Romero.

Oscar Romero was born in Ciudad Barrios, a town in the mountainous east of
El Salvador, on 15 August 1917. He was the second of seven children. When
he was thirteen he declared a vocation to the priesthood.
He went to a seminary in San Miguel, then to the capital San Salvador, and
from there to Rome. He was ordained in 1942. In January 1944 he was
recalled to San Miguel by his bishop and was soon secretary of the diocese.
This position he held for  twenty-three years. In San Miguel his work
flourished and his reputation grew. He established a succession of new
organizations and inspired many with his sermons, broadcast by five local radio
stations and heard across the city.
Romero was impressed, though not always uncritical, of the new Catholicism
that was affirmed with such confidence in Vatican II. In 1970 he became
auxiliary bishop of San Salvador, and there he busied himself with
administration. Many found him a   conservative in views and by temperament.
In 1974 he became bishop of a rural diocese, Santiago de Maria. Three years
later, in February 1977, Oscar Romero became archbishop of San Salvador.

In that month a crowd of protesters were attacked by soldiers in the town
square of the capital. Then, on 12 March 1977, a radical priest, Rutilio Grande,
was murdered in Aguilares. Romero had known him. Now he observed that
there was no official  enquiry. He recognized that power lay in the hands of
violent men, and that they murdered with impunity. The wealthy sanctioned the
violence that maintained them. Death squads committed murder in the cities
while soldiers killed as they wished in the countryside. When a new
government which represented a coalition of powerful interests was elected it
was seen to be by fraud.  There was talk of revolution.
More and more Romero committed himself to the poor and the persecuted,
and he became the catalyst for radical moral prophecy in the church and
outside it. Meanwhile, his church began to document the abuse of human
rights, and to establish the truth in a country governed by lies, where men and
women simply disappeared without account. The press attacked him
vehemently. Romero, it was said, allied the church with revolutionaries. This
he repudiated: the church was not a political movement. But when a succession
of priests were murdered Romero found in their deaths 'testimony of a church
incarnated in the problems of its people.'
In May 1979 he visited the Pope in Rome and presented him with seven
dossiers filled with reports and documents describing the injustices of El
Salvador. But his friends sensed his isolation in the church, while the threats
and dangers against him mounted outside it. On 24 March 1980 he was
suddenly shot dead while celebrating mass in the chapel of the hospital where
he lived.
Today the memory of Oscar Romero is cherished by the people of El Salvador,
and by countless Christians across the world. [Westminster Abbey website]



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