OREMUS: 20 August 2010

Steve Benner steve.benner at oremus.org
Thu Aug 19 20:06:41 GMT 2010

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OREMUS for Friday, August 20, 2010
Bernard, Abbot of Clairvaux, Teacher of the Faith, 1153

O Lord, open our lips.
And our mouth shall proclaim your praise.

Blessed are you, everloving Father,
your care extends beyond
the boundaries of race and nation,
to the hearts of all who live.
Your Spirit fills us with a living faith,
that we may receive your gift of mercy
and come to sit at the table of your heavenly banquet.
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 104

Bless the Lord, O my soul;*
 O Lord my God, how excellent is your greatness!
   you are clothed with majesty and splendour.
You wrap yourself with light as with a cloak*
 and spread out the heavens like a curtain.
You lay the beams of your chambers
   in the waters above;*
 you make the clouds your chariot;
   you ride on the wings of the wind.
You make the winds your messengers*
 and flames of fire your servants.
You have set the earth upon its foundations,*
 so that it never shall move at any time.
You covered it with the deep as with a mantle;*
 the waters stood higher than the mountains.
At your rebuke they fled;*
 at the voice of your thunder they hastened away.
They went up into the hills
   and down to the valleys beneath,*
 to the places you had appointed for them.
You set the limits that they should not pass;*
 they shall not again cover the earth.
You send the springs into the valleys;*
 they flow between the mountains.
All the beasts of the field drink their fill from them,*
 and the wild asses quench their thirst.
Beside them the birds of the air make their nests*
 and sing among the branches.
You water the mountains from your dwelling on high;*
 the earth is fully satisfied by the fruit of your works.
You make grass grow for flocks and herds*
 and plants to serve us all;
That they may bring forth food from the earth,*
 and wine to gladden our hearts,
Oil to make a cheerful countenance,*
 and bread to strengthen the heart.
The trees of the Lord are full of sap,*
 the cedars of Lebanon which he planted,
In which the birds build their nests,*
 and in whose tops the stork makes his dwelling.
The high hills are a refuge for the mountain goats,*
 and the stony cliffs for the rock badgers.
You appointed the moon to mark the seasons,*
 and the sun knows the time of its setting.
You make darkness that it may be night,*
 in which all the beasts of the forest prowl.
The lions roar after their prey*
 and seek their food from God.
The sun rises and they slip away*
 and lay themselves down in their dens.
The labourer goes forth to work*
 and to toil until the evening.
O Lord, how manifold are your works!*
 in wisdom you have made them all;
   the earth is full of your creatures.
Yonder is the great and wide sea
   with its living things too many to number,*
 creatures both small and great.
There move the ships,
   and there is that Leviathan,*
 which you have made for the sport of it.
All of them look to you*
 to give them their food in due season.
You give it to them, they gather it;*
 you open your hand and they are filled with good things.
You hide your face and they are terrified;*
 you take away their breath
   and they die and return to their dust.
You send forth your Spirit and they are created;*
 and so you renew the face of the earth.
May the glory of the Lord endure for ever;*
 may the Lord rejoice in all his works.
He looks at the earth and it trembles;*
 he touches the mountains and they smoke.
I will sing to the Lord as long as I live;*
 I will praise my God while I have my being.
May these words of mine please him;*
 I will rejoice in the Lord.
Let sinners be consumed out of the earth,*
 and the wicked be no more.
Bless the Lord, O my soul.*

FIRST READING [2 Sam. 5:1-10]:

Then all the tribes of Israel came to David at Hebron, and said, 'Look, we are your bone and flesh. For some time, while Saul was king over us, it was you who led out Israel and brought it in. The Lord said to you: It is you who shall be shepherd of my people Israel, you who shall be ruler over Israel.' So all the elders of Israel came to the king at Hebron; and King David made a covenant with them at Hebron before the Lord, and they anointed David king over Israel. David was thirty years old when he began to reign, and he reigned for forty years. At Hebron he reigned over Judah for seven years and six months; and at Jerusalem he reigned over all Israel and Judah for thirty-three years. 

The king and his men marched to Jerusalem against the Jebusites, the inhabitants of the land, who said to David, 'You will not come in here, even the blind and the lame will turn you back'—thinking, 'David cannot come in here.' Nevertheless, David took the stronghold of Zion, which is now the city of David. David had said on that day, 'Whoever wishes to strike down the Jebusites, let him get up the water shaft to attack the lame and the blind, those whom David hates.' Therefore it is said, 'The blind and the lame shall not come into the house.' David occupied the stronghold, and named it the city of David. David built the city all around from the Millo inwards. And David became greater and greater, for the Lord, the God of hosts, was with him. 

Words: Charles Wesley (1707-1788)
Tune: Abingdon, Cardiff, Das neugeborne Kindelein, Sagina, Surrey

And can it be that I should gain
An interest in the Saviour's blood?
Died he for me, who caused his pain?
For me, who him to death pursued?
Amazing love! How can it be
That thou, my God, shouldst die for me?

'Tis mystery all : the Immortal dies!
Who can explore his strange design?
In vain the first-born seraph tries
To sound the depths of love divine.
'Tis mercy all! Let earth adore,
Let angel minds enquire no more.

He left his Father's throne above -
So free, so infinite his grace -
Emptied himself of all but love,
And bled for Adam's helpless race.
'Tis mercy all, immense and free;
For, O my God, it found out me!

Long my imprisoned spirit lay
Fast bound in sin and nature's night;
Thine eye diffused a quickening ray -
I woke, the dungeon flamed with light,
My chains fell off, my heart was free,
I rose, went forth, and followed thee.

No condemnation now I dread;
Jesus, and all in him, is mine!
Alive in him, my living head,
And clothed in righteousness divine,
Bold I approach the eternal throne,
And claim the crown, through Christ, my own.

SECOND READING [Rom. 11:1-21]:

I ask, then, has God rejected his people? By no means! I myself am an Israelite, a descendant of Abraham, a member of the tribe of Benjamin. God has not rejected his people whom he foreknew. Do you not know what the scripture says of Elijah, how he pleads with God against Israel? 'Lord, they have killed your prophets, they have demolished your altars; I alone am left, and they are seeking my life.' But what is the divine reply to him? 'I have kept for myself seven thousand who have not bowed the knee to Baal.' So too at the present time there is a remnant, chosen by grace. But if it is by grace, it is no longer on the basis of works, otherwise grace would no longer be grace. 

What then? Israel failed to obtain what it was seeking. The elect obtained it, but the rest were hardened, as it is written, 'God gave them a sluggish spirit, eyes that would not see  and ears that would not hear,
down to this very day.' And David says, 'Let their table become a snare and a trap, a stumbling-block and a retribution for them; let their eyes be darkened so that they cannot see, and keep their backs for ever bent.' 

So I ask, have they stumbled so as to fall? By no means! But through their stumbling salvation has come to the Gentiles, so as to make Israel jealous. Now if their stumbling means riches for the world, and if their defeat means riches for Gentiles, how much more will their full inclusion mean! 

Now I am speaking to you Gentiles. Inasmuch then as I am an apostle to the Gentiles, I glorify my ministry in order to make my own people jealous, and thus save some of them. For if their rejection is the reconciliation of the world, what will their acceptance be but life from the dead! If the part of the dough offered as first fruits is holy, then the whole batch is holy; and if the root is holy, then the branches also are holy. 

But if some of the branches were broken off, and you, a wild olive shoot, were grafted in their place to share the rich root of the olive tree, do not vaunt yourselves over the branches. If you do vaunt yourselves, remember that it is not you that support the root, but the root that supports you. You will say, 'Branches were broken off so that I might be grafted in.' That is true. They were broken off because of their unbelief, but you stand only through faith. So do not become proud, but stand in awe. For if God did not spare the natural branches, perhaps he will not spare you.

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

Faithful God, Lord of all,
we offer our prayers to you
for a world in need.

Lord of the Church, we pray for your people throughout the world,
especially in the Diocese of
Give unity in the Spirit
that we may be one in the witness of saving love
and glorify you with one mind and mouth.
Faithful God,
hear our prayer.

Head of the Body,
give us wisdom to follow your commandments,
to live peacefully and do justly,
and to walk humbly with you.
Faithful God,
hear our prayer.

Creator and ruler of the universe,
give to all who exercise authority
wisdom and virtue to govern justly
and bring peace across the land.
Faithful God,
hear our prayer.

Source of all compassion,
give to all who suffer
the light of your presence and the caring of your people,
to bring calm and comfort.
Faithful God,
hear our prayer.

Giver of good to all,
take from us any evil thought or will
that we may forgive those who offend us or seek our harm
as you have forgiven us.
Faithful God,
hear our prayer.

Let your goodness, Lord, appear to us,
that we, made in your image,
may conform ourselves to it.
In our own strength we cannot imitate 
your majesty, power and wonder;
nor is it fitting for us to try.
But your mercy reaches from the heavens,
through the clouds, to the earth below.
You have come to us as a small child,
but you have brought the greatest of all gifts,
the gift of eternal love.
Caress us with your tiny hands,
embrace us with your tiny arms,
and piece our hearts with your soft, sweet cries. Amen.

Merciful Redeemer, 
who, by the life and preaching of your servant Bernard, 
rekindled the radiant light of your Church: 
grant us, in our generation, 
to be inflamed with the same spirit of discipline and love, 
and ever walk before you as children of light; 
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.
Gathering our prayers and praises into one,
let us pray as our Savior has taught us.

- The Lord's Prayer

Grant us so fully to manifest Christ in our lives
that people of all races and creeds 
may be drawn to him who is their whole salvation, 
our Savior Jesus Christ.  Amen.
The psalms are from _Celebrating Common Prayer_ (Mowbray), (c) The Society of Saint Francis 1992, which is used with permission.

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 is by Stephen Benner. The closing prayer is a sentence from
_Uniting in Worship_, The Uniting Church in Australia.

The first collect is by Bernard of Clairvaux.

Bernard, third son of a Burgundian nobleman, was born in 1090. His brothers
were trained as soldiers, but Bernard from youth was destined for scholarship.
One Christmas Eve as a child he had a dream about the infant Christ in the
manger; and the memory of it, and consequent devotion to the mystery of the
Word made flesh, remained with him throughout his life.
Bernard had good prospects of success as a secular scholar, but he began to
believe that he was called to the monastic life, and after a period of prayer for
guidance, he decided at age 22 to enter the monastery of Citeaux, an offshoot
of the Benedictines which had adopted a much stricter rule than theirs, and
became the founding house of the Cistercian order. He persuaded four of his
brothers, one uncle, and 26 other men to join him. They were the first novices
that Citeaux had had for several years. After three years, the abbot ordered
Bernard to take twelve monks and found a new house at La Ferte. The first
year was one of great hardship. They had no stores and lived chiefly on roots
and barley bread. Bernard imposed such severe discipline that his monks
became discouraged, but he realized his error and became more lenient. The
reputation of the monastery, known as Clairvaux, spread across Europe. Many
new monks joined it, and many persons wrote letters or came in person to seek
spiritual advice. By the time of his death, 60 new monasteries of the Cistercian
order were established under his direction.
For four years after 1130 Bernard was deeply involved with a disputed papal
election, championing the claims of Innocent II against his rival Anacletus II.
He travelled throughout France, Germany, and Italy mustering support for his
candidate (and, it should be added, preaching sermons denouncing injustices
done to Jews), and returned from one of these journeys with Peter Bernard of
Paganelli as a postulant for the monastery. The future Pope Eugenius III spent
the next year stoking the monastery fires. Years later, Bernard wrote a major
treatise of advice to Eugenius on the spiritual temptations of spiritual power.

The papal election was not the only dispute in which Bernard became involved.
He was highly critical of Peter Abelard, one of the most brilliant theologians of
the day. Bernard believed that Abelard was too rationalistic in his approach,
and failed to allow sufficiently for the element of mystery in the faith. When
Abelard rejected some of the ways of stating Christian doctrines to which
Bernard was accustomed, Bernard concluded, perhaps too hastily, that this was
equivalent to rejecting the doctrine itself. A conference was scheduled at Sens,
where Abelard's views were to be examined, but soon after it began Abelard
decided that he was not about to get a fair hearing, announced that he was
appealing to Rome, and left. He set out for Rome and got as far as Cluny,
where he stopped. Peter the Venerable, the abbot, was a friend of both Abelard
and Bernard, and managed to reconcile them before they died.
One of Bernard's most influential acts, for better or worse, was his preaching
of the Second Crusade. The First Crusade had given the Christian forces
control of a few areas in Palestine, including the city of Edessa. When Moslem
forces captured Edessa (now called Urfa and located in eastern Turkey) in
1144, King Louis VII of France (not to be confused with St. Louis IX, also a
Crusader, but more than a century later) was eager to launch a crusade to
retake Edessa and prevent a Moslem recapture of Jerusalem. He asked Bernard
for help, and Bernard refused. He then asked the Pope to order Bernard to
preach a Crusade. The pope gave the order, and Bernard preached, with
spectacular results. Whole villages were emptied of able-bodied males as
Bernard preached and his listeners vowed on the spot to head for Palestine and
defend the Sacred Shrines with their lives.
As for the Crusade, things went wrong from the start. The various rulers
leading the movement were distrustful of one another and not disposed to
work together. Of the soldiers who set out (contemporary estimates vary from
100,000 to 1,500,000), most died of disease and starvation before reaching
their goal, and most of the remainder were killed or captured soon after their
arrival. The impact on Bernard was devastating, and so was the impact on
In 1153, Bernard journeyed to reconcile the warring provinces Metz and
Lorraine. He persuaded them to peace and to an agreement drawn up under his
mediation, and then, in failing health, returned home to die.
If Bernard in controversy was fierce and not always fair, it partly because he
was a man of intense feeling and dedication, quick to respond to any real or
supposed threat to what he held sacred. It is his devotional writings, not his
polemical ones, that are still read today. Among the hymns attributed to him
are the Latin originals of "O Sacred Head, sore wounded," "Jesus, the very
thought of Thee," "O Jesus, joy of loving hearts," "Wide open are Thy hands
(to pay with more than gold the awful debt of guilt and sin, forever and of
old--see the Lutheran Book of Worship et alibi)," and "O Jesus, King most
wonderful." His sermons on the Song of Songs, treated as an allegory of the
love of Christ, are his best-known long work. [James Kiefer, abridged]

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