OREMUS: 28 December 2010

Steve Benner steve.benner at oremus.org
Mon Dec 27 17:00:00 GMT 2010


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OREMUS for December 28
The Martyred Children of Bethlehem
(The Holy Innocents)

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

Blessed are you, loving and merciful God,
in love for our fallen human race,
you sent your Son 
into the world to lighten our darkness.
In his life, he rejoiced in the innocence of children;
in his death, he carried in his body 
the violence and cruelty of our world;
in his resurrection, he brought life and salvation to his people.
On his throne of mercy,
he hears our cries and knows our grief;
and all must give account to him.
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/chrocant.html

Psalm 136

Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good,*
 for his mercy endures for ever.
Give thanks to the God of gods,*
 for his mercy endures for ever.
Give thanks to the Lord of lords,*
 for his mercy endures for ever.
Who only does great wonders,*
 for his mercy endures for ever;
Who by his wisdom made the heavens,*
 for his mercy endures for ever;
Who spread out the earth upon the waters,*
 for his mercy endures for ever;
Who created great lights,*
 for his mercy endures for ever;
The sun to rule the day,*
 for his mercy endures for ever;
The moon and the stars to govern the night,*
 for his mercy endures for ever.
Who struck down the firstborn of Egypt,*
 for his mercy endures for ever;
And brought out Israel from among them,*
 for his mercy endures for ever;
With a mighty hand and a stretchedout arm,*
 for his mercy endures for ever;
Who divided the Red Sea in two,*
 for his mercy endures for ever;
And made Israel to pass through the midst of it,*
 for his mercy endures for ever;
But swept Pharaoh and his army into the Red Sea,*
 for his mercy endures for ever;
Who led his people through the wilderness,*
 for his mercy endures for ever.
Who struck down great kings,*
 for his mercy endures for ever;
And slew mighty kings,*
 for his mercy endures for ever;
Sihon, king of the Amorites,*
 for his mercy endures for ever;
And Og, the king of Bashan,*
 for his mercy endures for ever;
And gave away their lands for an inheritance,*
 for his mercy endures for ever;
An inheritance for Israel his servant,*
 for his mercy endures for ever.
Who remembered us in our low estate,*
 for his mercy endures for ever;
And delivered us from our enemies,*
 for his mercy endures for ever;
Who gives food to all creatures,*
 for his mercy endures for ever;
Give thanks to the God of heaven,*
 for his mercy endures for ever.

Psalm 137:1-6

By the waters of Babylon we sat down and wept,*
 when we remembered you, O Zion.
As for our harps, we hung them up*
 on the trees in the midst of that land.
For those who led us away captive asked us for a song,
   and our oppressors called for mirth:*
 'Sing us one of the songs of Zion.'
How shall we sing the Lord's song*
 upon an alien soil?
If I forget you, O Jerusalem,*
 let my right hand forget its skill.
Let my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth
   if I do not remember you,*
 if I do not set Jerusalem above my highest joy.
!

Psalm 138

I will give thanks to you, O Lord, with my whole heart;*
 before the gods I will sing your praise.
I will bow down towards your holy temple
   and praise your name,*
 because of your love and faithfulness;
For you have glorified your name*
 and your word above all things.
When I called, you answered me;*
 you increased my strength within me.
All the kings of the earth will praise you, O Lord,*
 when they have heard the words of your mouth.
They will sing of the ways of the Lord,*
 that great is the glory of the Lord.
Though the Lord be high, he cares for the lowly;*
 he perceives the haughty from afar.
Though I walk in the midst of trouble,
   you keep me safe;*
 you stretch forth your hand
   against the fury of my enemies;
   your right hand shall save me.
The Lord will make good his purpose for me;*
 O Lord, your love endures for ever;
   do not abandon the works of your hands.

FIRST READING [Isaiah 52:13—53:9]:

See, my servant shall prosper;
   he shall be exalted and lifted up,
   and shall be very high. 
Just as there were many who were astonished at him
   —so marred was his appearance, beyond human semblance,
   and his form beyond that of mortals— 
so he shall startle many nations;
   kings shall shut their mouths because of him;
for that which had not been told them they shall see,
   and that which they had not heard they shall contemplate. 
Who has believed what we have heard?
   And to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed? 
For he grew up before him like a young plant,
   and like a root out of dry ground;
he had no form or majesty that we should look at him,
   nothing in his appearance that we should desire him. 
He was despised and rejected by others;
   a man of suffering and acquainted with infirmity;
and as one from whom others hide their faces
   he was despised, and we held him of no account. 

Surely he has borne our infirmities
   and carried our diseases;
yet we accounted him stricken,
   struck down by God, and afflicted. 
But he was wounded for our transgressions,
   crushed for our iniquities;
upon him was the punishment that made us whole,
   and by his bruises we are healed. 
All we like sheep have gone astray;
   we have all turned to our own way,
and the Lord has laid on him
   the iniquity of us all. 

He was oppressed, and he was afflicted,
   yet he did not open his mouth;
like a lamb that is led to the slaughter,
   and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent,
   so he did not open his mouth. 
By a perversion of justice he was taken away.
   Who could have imagined his future?
For he was cut off from the land of the living,
   stricken for the transgression of my people. 
They made his grave with the wicked
   and his tomb with the rich,
although he had done no violence,
   and there was no deceit in his mouth. 

HYMN 
Words: (c) Marnie Barrell, 1996
Tune: Bethany

Who are these who ride by starlight
from the corners of the earth,
leaving home, forsaking comfort,
drawn to one mysterious birth?
These are wise men seeking wisdom,
disciplined to watch and pray;
we will read the signs and follow,
see where Christ is born today.

Who is this who hears the wise men,
trembling while their tale is told,
sending troops to slaughter blindly,
crush what cannot be controlled?
This is Herod, every Herod
building power by others' pain;
we will mourn the murdered children
while their blood is shed again.

Who is this, a homeless exile,
destined from his earliest hour
for rejection, conflict, danger,
marked for death by worldly power?
Jesus, born to show God's glory
shining through despair and loss,
we will know you when we meet you
by the shadow of your cross.

SECOND READING [Matthew 2:13–23]:

Now after they had left, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, 'Get up, take the child and his mother, and flee to Egypt, and remain there until I tell you; for Herod is about to search for the child, to destroy him.' Then Joseph got up, took the child and his mother by night, and went to Egypt, and remained there until the death of Herod. This was to fulfil what had been spoken by the Lord through the prophet, 'Out of Egypt I have called my son.' 

When Herod saw that he had been tricked by the wise men, he was infuriated, and he sent and killed all the children in and around Bethlehem who were two years old or under, according to the time that he had learned from the wise men. Then was fulfilled what had been spoken through the prophet Jeremiah: 
'A voice was heard in Ramah,
   wailing and loud lamentation,
Rachel weeping for her children;
   she refused to be consoled, because they are no more.' 

When Herod died, an angel of the Lord suddenly appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt and said, 'Get up, take the child and his mother, and go to the land of Israel, for those who were seeking the child's life are dead.' Then Joseph got up, took the child and his mother, and went to the land of Israel. But when he heard that Archelaus was ruling over Judea in place of his father Herod, he was afraid to go there. And after being warned in a dream, he went away to the district of Galilee. There he made his home in a town called Nazareth, so that what had been spoken through the prophets might be fulfilled, 'He will be called a Nazorean.' 

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

Prayer:
God of mercy,
every family in heaven and on earth
takes its name from you.
We pray for parents,
that they may give their children faith in you
and find help and support in your community.

We pray for children,
that with faith in you
they may grow up confident, full of hope,
merciful, gentle and creative
in all their dealings with others.

We pray, too, for those
who have seen their children destroyed by violence or hunger:
Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

We pray for all children orphaned by war.
Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

We pray for families who are homeless or separated,
or who live in unhealthy, brutalizing conditions:
Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

We pray for grace to show mercy and justice
that hope may be restored.
Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

We pray that our society
will strengthen and support family life,
so that children may grow up whole
for the good of the community.
Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

We pray that we may do justice
to holiness and your love,
which are stronger and surer than all our evil.
Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

Heavenly Father,
whose children suffered at the hands of Herod,
though they had done no wrong:
give us grace neither to act cruelly
nor to stand indifferently by,
but to defend the weak from the tyranny of the strong;
in the name of Jesus Christ who suffered for us,
but who is alive and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Rejoicing in the presence of God here among us,
let us pray in faith and trust:

- The Lord's Prayer

May God, who gives comfort to the desolate,
sustain us and keep us, now and always. 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 and the closing sentence are adapted from
material copyright (c) The Archbishops' Council, 2002.

The hymn is reproduced with the kind permission of the author. If you wish to
reproduce it further, please send her an email. Address found at the link above.

The intercession is from _Chalice Worship_, (c) Chalice Press,
1997. Reproduced with permission.

The collect is from The Alternative Service Book 1980_, (c)
The Central Board of Finance of the Church of England 1980.

Herod 'the Great' was appointed King of the Jews by the Roman authorities in Palestine and he proved to be ruthlessly efficient in his thirty-three years of dealing with his subjects. In Matthew's gospel, he tried to persuade the Magi, to whom he played the host on their journey seeking the one 'who has been born king of the Jews', to bring word of where they had found him. His desire was to eliminate Jesus and, when he realised that the Magi had tricked him and left the country, Herod poured out his wrath on all the male infants in the land. These were God's 'innocent' ones, parallelling the story of Pharaoh slaughtering the Hebrew children in Egypt. [Exciting Holiness]



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