OREMUS: 24 December 2010

Steve Benner steve.benner at oremus.org
Thu Dec 23 17:00:00 GMT 2010


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OREMUS for December 24
The Vigil of Christmas

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

Blessed are you, almighty God and everlasting Father,
through Jesus Christ your Son.
He is the one foretold by all the prophets,
whom the Virgin Mother bore with love beyond all telling.
John the Baptist was his herald
and made him known when at last he came.
In his love Christ fills us with joy
as we prepare to celebrate his birth,
so that when he comes again he may find us watching in prayer,
our hearts filled with wonder and praise.
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. 

http://www.oremus.org/advocant.html

Psalm 119:1-8

Happy are they whose way is blameless,*
 who walk in the law of the Lord!
Happy are they who observe his decrees*
 and seek him with all their hearts!
Who never do any wrong,*
 but always walk in his ways.
You laid down your commandments,*
 that we should fully keep them.
O that my ways were made so direct*
 that I might keep your statutes!
Then I should not be put to shame,*
 when I regard all your commandments.
I will thank you with an unfeigned heart,*
 when I have learned your righteous judgements.
I will keep your statutes;*
 do not utterly forsake me.
How shall the young cleanse their way?*
 By keeping to your words.
With my whole heart I seek you;*
 let me not stray from your commandments.
I treasure your promise in my heart,*
 that I may not sin against you.
Blessed are you, O Lord;*
 instruct me in your statutes.
With my lips will I recite*
 all the judgements of your mouth.
I have taken greater delight in the way of your decrees*
 than in all manner of riches.
I will meditate on your commandments*
 and give attention to your ways.
My delight is in your statutes;*
 I will not forget your word.
Deal bountifully with your servant,*
 that I may live and keep your word.
Open my eyes, that I may see*
 the wonders of your law.
I am a stranger here on earth;*
 do not hide your commandments from me.
My soul is consumed at all times*
 with longing for your judgements.
You have rebuked the insolent;*
 cursed are they who stray from your commandments!
Turn from me shame and rebuke,*
 for I have kept your decrees.
Even though rulers sit and plot against me,*
 I will meditate on your statutes.
For your decrees are my delight,*
 and they are my counsellors.

My soul cleaves to the dust;*
 give me life according to your word.
I have confessed my ways and you answered me;*
 instruct me in your statutes.
Make me understand the way of your commandments,*
 that I may meditate on your marvellous works.
My soul melts away for sorrow;*
 strengthen me according to your word.
Take from me the way of lying;*
 let me find grace through your law.
I have chosen the way of faithfulness;*
 I have set your judgements before me.
I hold fast to your decrees;*
 O Lord, let me not be put to shame.
I will run the way of your commandments,*
 for you have set my heart at liberty.

FIRST READING [Isaiah 45:8-13]:

Shower, O heavens, from above,
   and let the skies rain down righteousness;
let the earth open, that salvation may spring up,
   and let it cause righteousness to sprout up also;
   I the Lord have created it. 

Woe to you who strive with your Maker,
   earthen vessels with the potter!
Does the clay say to the one who fashions it, 'What are you making?'
   or 'Your work has no handles'? 
Woe to anyone who says to a father, 'What are you begetting?'
   or to a woman, 'With what are you in labour?' 
Thus says the Lord,
   the Holy One of Israel, and its Maker:
Will you question me about my children,
   or command me concerning the work of my hands? 
I made the earth,
   and created humankind upon it;
it was my hands that stretched out the heavens,
   and I commanded all their host. 
I have aroused Cyrus in righteousness,
   and I will make all his paths straight;
he shall build my city
   and set my exiles free,
not for price or reward,
   says the Lord of hosts. 

HYMN 
Words: Christina Rossetti (1830-1894), 1885
Tune: Gartan, Hermitage

Love came down at Christmas,
love all lovely, love divine;
love was born at Christmas:
star and angels gave the sign.

Worship we the Godhead,
love incarnate, love divine;
worship we our Jesus,
but wherewith the sacred sign?

Love shall be our token;
love be yours and love be mine,
Love to God and to all men,
love for plea and gift and sign.

SECOND READING [Revelation 12:1–17]:

A great portent appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars. She was pregnant and was crying out in birth pangs, in the agony of giving birth. Then another portent appeared in heaven: a great red dragon, with seven heads and ten horns, and seven diadems on his heads. His tail swept down a third of the stars of heaven and threw them to the earth. Then the dragon stood before the woman who was about to bear a child, so that he might devour her child as soon as it was born. And she gave birth to a son, a male child, who is to rule all the nations with a rod of iron. But her child was snatched away and taken to God and to his throne; and the woman fled into the wilderness, where she has a place prepared by God, so that there she can be nourished for one thousand two hundred and sixty days. 

And war broke out in heaven; Michael and his angels fought against the dragon. The dragon and his angels fought back, but they were defeated, and there was no longer any place for them in heaven. The great dragon was thrown down, that ancient serpent, who is called the Devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world—he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him. 

Then I heard a loud voice in heaven, proclaiming,
'Now have come the salvation and the power
   and the kingdom of our God
   and the authority of his Messiah,
for the accuser of our comrades has been thrown down,
   who accuses them day and night before our God. 
But they have conquered him by the blood of the Lamb
   and by the word of their testimony,
for they did not cling to life even in the face of death. 
Rejoice then, you heavens
   and those who dwell in them!
But woe to the earth and the sea,
   for the devil has come down to you
with great wrath,
   because he knows that his time is short!' 

So when the dragon saw that he had been thrown down to the earth, he pursued the woman who had given birth to the male child. But the woman was given the two wings of the great eagle, so that she could fly from the serpent into the wilderness, to her place where she is nourished for a time, and times, and half a time. Then from his mouth the serpent poured water like a river after the woman, to sweep her away with the flood. But the earth came to the help of the woman; it opened its mouth and swallowed the river that the dragon had poured from his mouth. Then the dragon was angry with the woman, and went off to make war on the rest of her children, those who keep the commandments of God and hold the testimony of Jesus. 

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

Prayer:
The time is at hand and your promises are fulfilled.
With joyful hearts we pray:
Today we shall see your salvation!

We eagerly await your coming:
come to those who are destitute and alone.
Today we shall see your salvation!

We eagerly await your coming,
come to the homeless, the addicted, and all held in bondage.
Today we shall see your salvation!

We eagerly await your coming,
to liberate your creation and set us free.
Today we shall see your salvation!

We eagerly await your coming,
to those who long to be taken to their eternal home.
Today we shall see your salvation!

We eagerly await your coming
upon the Church that we may proclaim
the good news of your birth.
Today we shall see your salvation!

Almighty God,
you make us glad with the yearly remembrance
of the birth of your Son Jesus Christ:
grant that, as we joyfully receive him as our redeemer,
so we may with sure confidence behold him
when he shall come to be our judge;
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Awaiting his coming in glory,
let us pray as our Savior has taught us:

- The Lord's Prayer

Make our hearts leap with joy
and fill our mouths with songs of praise,
that we may announce glad tidings of peace,
and welcome the Christ in our midst. 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 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 closing sentence is from a prayer reprinted from _Revised Common
Lectionary Prayers_, copyright (c) 2002 Consultation on Common
Texts



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