OREMUS: 29 December 2010

Steve Benner steve.benner at oremus.org
Tue Dec 28 17:00:01 GMT 2010


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OREMUS for December 29
Thomas Becket, Archbishop of Canterbury, Martyr, 1170

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

Blessed are you, loving and merciful God,
you fill our hearts with joy
as we recognize in Christ the revelation of your love.
No eye can see his glory as our God,
yet now he is seen like one of us.
Christ is your Son before all ages,
yet now he is born in time.
He has come to lift up all things to himself,
to restore unity to creation,
and to lead us from exile into your heavenly kingdom.
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 141

O Lord, I call to you; come to me quickly;*
 hear my voice when I cry to you.
Let my prayer be set forth in your sight as incense,*
 the lifting up of my hands as the evening sacrifice.
Set a watch before my mouth, O Lord,
   and guard the door of my lips;*
 let not my heart incline to any evil thing.
Let me not be occupied in wickedness with evildoers,*
 nor eat of their choice foods.
Let the righteous smite me in friendly rebuke;
   let not the oil of the unrighteous anoint my head;*
 for my prayer is continually against their wicked deeds.
Let their rulers be overthrown in stony places,*
 that they may know my words are true.
As when a plough turns over the earth in furrows,*
 let their bones be scattered at the mouth of the grave.
But my eyes are turned to you, Lord God;*
 in you I take refuge; do not strip me of my life.
Protect me from the snare which they have laid for me*
 and from the traps of the evildoers.
Let the wicked fall into their own nets,*
 while I myself escape.

Psalm 142

I cry to the Lord with my voice;*
 to the Lord I make loud supplication.
I pour out my complaint before him*
 and tell him all my trouble.
When my spirit languishes within me, you know my path;*
 in the way wherein I walk they have hidden a trap for me.
I look to my right hand and find no one who knows me;*
 I have no place to flee to and no one cares for me.
I cry out to you, O Lord;*
 I say, 'You are my refuge,
   my portion in the land of the living.'
Listen to my cry for help,
   for I have been brought very low;*
 save me from those who pursue me,
   for they are too strong for me.
Bring me out of prison,
   that I may give thanks to your name;*
 when you have dealt bountifully with me,
   the righteous will gather around me.

Psalm 143

Lord, hear my prayer,
   and in your faithfulness heed my supplications;*
 answer me in your righteousness.
Enter not into judgement with your servant,*
 for in your sight shall no one living be justified.
For my enemy has sought my life
   and has crushed me to the ground;*
 making me live in dark places
   like those who are long dead.
My spirit faints within me;*
 my heart within me is desolate.
I remember the time past;
   I muse upon all your deeds;*
 I consider the works of your hands.
I spread out my hands to you;*
 my soul gasps to you like a thirsty land.
O Lord, make haste to answer me; my spirit fails me;*
 do not hide your face from me
   or I shall be like those who go down to the Pit.
Let me hear of your lovingkindness in the morning,
   for I put my trust in you;*
 show me the road that I must walk,
   for I lift up my soul to you.
Deliver me from my enemies, O Lord,*
 for I flee to you for refuge.
Teach me to do what pleases you, for you are my God;*
 let your good Spirit lead me on level ground.
Revive me, O Lord, for your name's sake;*
 for your righteousness' sake, bring me out of trouble.

FIRST READING [Isaiah 55:1–13]:

Ho, everyone who thirsts,
   come to the waters;
and you that have no money,
   come, buy and eat!
Come, buy wine and milk
   without money and without price. 
Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread,
   and your labour for that which does not satisfy?
Listen carefully to me, and eat what is good,
   and delight yourselves in rich food. 
Incline your ear, and come to me;
   listen, so that you may live.
I will make with you an everlasting covenant,
   my steadfast, sure love for David. 
See, I made him a witness to the peoples,
   a leader and commander for the peoples. 
See, you shall call nations that you do not know,
   and nations that do not know you shall run to you,
because of the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel,
   for he has glorified you. 

Seek the Lord while he may be found,
   call upon him while he is near; 
let the wicked forsake their way,
   and the unrighteous their thoughts;
let them return to the Lord, that he may have mercy on them,
   and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon. 
For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
   nor are your ways my ways, says the Lord. 
For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
   so are my ways higher than your ways
   and my thoughts than your thoughts. 

For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven,
   and do not return there until they have watered the earth,
making it bring forth and sprout,
   giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater, 
so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth;
   it shall not return to me empty,
but it shall accomplish that which I purpose,
   and succeed in the thing for which I sent it. 

For you shall go out in joy,
   and be led back in peace;
the mountains and the hills before you
   shall burst into song,
   and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands. 
Instead of the thorn shall come up the cypress;
   instead of the brier shall come up the myrtle;
and it shall be to the Lord for a memorial,
   for an everlasting sign that shall not be cut off. 

HYMN 
Words: Jean Mauburn, 1494; trans. Elizabeth Charles, 1858
Tune: Mauburn

Dost thou in a manger lie,
who hast all created,
stretching infant hands on high,
Savior, long awaited?
If a monarch, where thy state?
Where thy court on thee to wait?
Royal purple, where?
Here no regal pomp we see,
nought but need and penury:
why thus cradled here?

"Pitying love for fallen man
brought me down thus low;
for a race deep lost in sin
came I into woe.
By this lowly birth of mine,
sinner, riches shall be thine,
matchless gifts and free;
willingly this yoke I take,
and this sacrifice I make,
heaping joys for thee."

Fervent praise would I do to thee
evermore be raising;
for thy wondrous love to me
thee be ever praising.
Glory, glory be for ever
unto that most bounteous Giver,
and that loving Lord!
Better witness to thy worth,
purer praise than ours on earth,
angels' songs afford.

SECOND READING [Luke 1:1–25]:

Since many have undertaken to set down an orderly account of the events that have been fulfilled among us, just as they were handed on to us by those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and servants of the word, I too decided, after investigating everything carefully from the very first, to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, so that you may know the truth concerning the things about which you have been instructed. 

In the days of King Herod of Judea, there was a priest named Zechariah, who belonged to the priestly order of Abijah. His wife was a descendant of Aaron, and her name was Elizabeth. Both of them were righteous before God, living blamelessly according to all the commandments and regulations of the Lord. But they had no children, because Elizabeth was barren, and both were getting on in years. 

Once when he was serving as priest before God and his section was on duty, he was chosen by lot, according to the custom of the priesthood, to enter the sanctuary of the Lord and offer incense. Now at the time of the incense-offering, the whole assembly of the people was praying outside. Then there appeared to him an angel of the Lord, standing at the right side of the altar of incense. When Zechariah saw him, he was terrified; and fear overwhelmed him. But the angel said to him, 'Do not be afraid, Zechariah, for your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you will name him John. You will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth, for he will be great in the sight of the Lord. He must never drink wine or strong drink; even before his birth he will be filled with the Holy Spirit. He will turn many of the people of Israel to the Lord their God. With the spirit and power of Elijah he will go before him, to turn the hearts of parents to their children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the righteous, to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.' Zechariah said to the angel, 'How will I know that this is so? For I am an old man, and my wife is getting on in years.' The angel replied, 'I am Gabriel. I stand in the presence of God, and I have been sent to speak to you and to bring you this good news. But now, because you did not believe my words, which will be fulfilled in their time, you will become mute, unable to speak, until the day these things occur.' 

Meanwhile, the people were waiting for Zechariah, and wondered at his delay in the sanctuary. When he did come out, he could not speak to them, and they realized that he had seen a vision in the sanctuary. He kept motioning to them and remained unable to speak. When his time of service was ended, he went to his home. 

After those days his wife Elizabeth conceived, and for five months she remained in seclusion. She said, 'This is what the Lord has done for me when he looked favourably on me and took away the disgrace I have endured among my people.' 

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

Prayer:
Christ, for whom there was no room in the inn,
give courage to all who are homeless:
In your mercy,
hear our prayer.

Christ, who fled into Egypt,
give comfort to all refugees;
In your mercy,
hear our prayer.

Christ, who fasted in the desert,
give relief to all who are starving:
In your mercy,
hear our prayer.

Christ, who hung in agony on the cross,
give strength to all who suffer:
In your mercy,
hear our prayer.

Christ, who died to save us,
give peace to all who seek pardon.
In your mercy,
hear our prayer.

Gracious God,
your love unites heaven and earth
in a new festival of gladness:
Lift our spirits to learn the way of joy
that leads us to your banquet hall,
where all is golden with praise.
We ask this through Jesus Christ the Lord. Amen.

Lord God,
who gave grace to your servant Thomas Becket
to put aside all earthly fear
      and be faithful even to death:
grant that we, disregarding worldly esteem,
may fight all wrong,
uphold your rule,
and serve you to our life's end;
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.
       
Rejoicing in the presence of God here among us,
let us pray in faith and trust:

- The Lord's Prayer

May he who by his incarnation gathered into one
things earthly and heavenly,
bestow upon us the fullness of peace and goodwill. 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
_The Promise of His Glory_ (Mowbray), (c) The Central
Board of Finance  of the Church of England 1990, 1991, which is used with
permission.

The intercession 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.

Thomas was born in London in 1118, of a family of merchants. After a good education he served as clerk to another burgess then entered the service of Archbishop Theobald of Canterbury. Thomas proved himself an excellent administrator and skilled diplomat. In 1155 he was appointed chancellor by King Henry II. For several years king and chancellor worked harmoniously together in mutual admiration and personal friendship. As a result, the king nominated Thomas as Archbishop of Canterbury to succeed Theobald in 1161. From the start there was friction, with Thomas insisting on every privilege of the Church. The conflict worsened until 1164 when Thomas fled to France. Encouraged by the Pope he pursued his arguments from exile, sending letters and pronouncing excommunications. Three efforts at mediation failed before an apparent reconciliation brought him back triumphant to Canterbury in 1170. But the nobility still opposed him, and words of anger at court led four knights to journey to Canterbury where they finally chased Thomas into the cathedral, and murdered him on the steps of the altar on this day in 1170. Thomas was undoubtedly a proud and stubborn man, for all his gifts, and his personal austerities as archbishop were probably an attempt at self- discipline after years of ostentatious luxury. His conflict with King Henry stemmed from their equal personal ambitions, exacerbated by the increasingly international claims of the papacy, played out in the inevitable tension between Church and State. [Exciting Holiness]



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