OREMUS: 5 February 2010

Steve Benner steve.benner at oremus.org
Thu Feb 4 17:00:00 GMT 2010


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OREMUS for Friday, February 5, 2010
The Martyrs of Japan, 1597

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

Blessed are you, O God of all the prophets,
you knew us and chose us
before you formed us in the womb. 
You fill us with faith that speaks your word,
hope that does not disappoint,
and love that bears all things for your sake,
until that day when we shall know you fully,
even as we are known by you.
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/ocan.html

Psalm 27

The Lord is my light and my salvation;
   whom then shall I fear?*
 the Lord is the strength of my life;
   of whom then shall I be afraid?
When evildoers came upon me to eat up my flesh,*
 it was they, my foes and my adversaries,
   who stumbled and fell.
Though an army should encamp against me,*
 yet my heart shall not be afraid;
And though war should rise up against me,*
 yet will I put my trust in him.
One thing have I asked of the Lord;
   one thing I seek;*
 that I may dwell in the house of the Lord
   all the days of my life;
To behold the fair beauty of the Lord*
 and to seek him in his temple.
For in the day of trouble
   he shall keep me safe in his shelter;*
 he shall hide me in the secrecy of his dwelling
   and set me high upon a rock.
Even now he lifts up my head*
 above my enemies round about me;
Therefore I will offer in his dwelling an oblation
   with sounds of great gladness;*
 I will sing and make music to the Lord.
Hearken to my voice, O Lord, when I call;*
 have mercy on me and answer me.
You speak in my heart and say, 'Seek my face.'*
 Your face, Lord, will I seek.
Hide not your face from me,*
 nor turn away your servant in displeasure.
You have been my helper;
   cast me not away;*
 do not forsake me, O God of my salvation.
Though my father and my mother forsake me,*
 the Lord will sustain me.
Show me your way, O Lord;*
 lead me on a level path, because of my enemies.
Deliver me not into the hand of my adversaries,*
 for false witnesses have risen up against me,
   and also those who speak malice.
What if I had not believed
   that I should see the goodness of the Lord*
 in the land of the living!
O tarry and await the Lord's pleasure;
   be strong and he shall comfort your heart;*
 wait patiently for the Lord.

Psalm 28

O Lord, I call to you;
   my rock, do not be deaf to my cry;*
 lest, if you do not hear me,
   I become like those who go down to the Pit.
Hear the voice of my prayer when I cry out to you,*
 when I lift up my hands to your holy of holies.
Do not snatch me away with the wicked
   or with the evildoers,*
 who speak peaceably with their neighbours,
   while strife is in their hearts.
Repay them according to their deeds,*
 and according to the wickedness of their actions.
According to the work of their hands repay them,*
 and give them their just deserts.
They have no understanding of the Lord's doings,
   nor of the works of his hands;*
 therefore he will break them down
   and not build them up.
Blessed is the Lord!*
 for he has heard the voice of my prayer.
The Lord is my strength and my shield;*
 my heart trusts in him and I have been helped;
Therefore my heart dances for joy,*
 and in my song will I praise him.
The Lord is the strength of his people,*
 a safe refuge for his anointed.
Save your people and bless your inheritance;*
 shepherd them and carry them for ever.

Psalm 29

Ascribe to the Lord, you gods,*
 ascribe to the Lord glory and strength.
Ascribe to the Lord the glory due to his name;*
 worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness.
The voice of the Lord is upon the waters;
   the God of glory thunders;*
 the Lord is upon the mighty waters.
The voice of the Lord is a powerful voice;*
 the voice of the Lord is a voice of splendour.
The voice of the Lord breaks the cedar trees;*
 the Lord breaks the cedars of Lebanon;
He makes Lebanon skip like a calf,*
 and Mount Hermon like a young wild ox.
The voice of the Lord splits the flames of fire;
   the voice of the Lord shakes the wilderness;*
 the Lord shakes the wilderness of Kadesh.
The voice of the Lord makes the oak trees writhe*
 and strips the forests bare.
And in the temple of the Lord*
 all are crying, 'Glory!'
The Lord sits enthroned above the flood;*
 the Lord sits enthroned as king for evermore.
The Lord shall give strength to his people;*
 the Lord shall give his people the blessing of peace.

FIRST READING [Genesis 4:1-16]:

Now the man knew his wife Eve, and she conceived and bore Cain, saying, 'I have produced a man with the help of the Lord.' Next she bore his brother Abel. Now Abel was a keeper of sheep, and Cain a tiller of the ground. In the course of time Cain brought to the Lord an offering of the fruit of the ground, and Abel for his part brought of the firstlings of his flock, their fat portions. And the Lord had regard for Abel and his offering, but for Cain and his offering he had no regard. So Cain was very angry, and his countenance fell. The Lord said to Cain, 'Why are you angry, and why has your countenance fallen? If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin is lurking at the door; its desire is for you, but you must master it.' 

Cain said to his brother Abel, 'Let us go out to the field.' And when they were in the field, Cain rose up against his brother Abel and killed him. Then the Lord said to Cain, 'Where is your brother Abel?' He said, 'I do not know; am I my brother's keeper?' And the Lord said, 'What have you done? Listen; your brother's blood is crying out to me from the ground! And now you are cursed from the ground, which has opened its mouth to receive your brother's blood from your hand. When you till the ground, it will no longer yield to you its strength; you will be a fugitive and a wanderer on the earth.' Cain said to the Lord, 'My punishment is greater than I can bear! Today you have driven me away from the soil, and I shall be hidden from your face; I shall be a fugitive and a wanderer on the earth, and anyone who meets me may kill me.' Then the Lord said to him, 'Not so! Whoever kills Cain will suffer a sevenfold vengeance.' And the Lord put a mark on Cain, so that no one who came upon him would kill him. Then Cain went away from the presence of the Lord, and settled in the land of Nod, east of Eden. 

HYMN 
Words: Michael Hare Duke (born 1925)	
© 1992 Stainer & Bell Ltd Used with permission
Meter: 87 87 87

Sons and daughters of creation
By God's will we came to be.
Like a poet dreaming marvels
He has spun our history,
Working, till from shapeless chaos
He evoked humanity.

Dark within our first conceiving
Run the rifts that still divide:
Envy splits and anger hardens,
Colour, gender, wealth collide:
Sov'reign nations arm for conflict,
Violence thrusting peace aside.

Yet God holds his steadfast purpose
Of humanity made one.
Walls were breached and bounds transcended
By the death of his own Son:
And the way for love's encounter
Through the Spirit's power begun.

Down the restless generations,
Called of God, his church has grown.
Martyrs' heirs and prophets' children 
Penetrated lands unknown,
Challenged by unlikeness, finding
Gifts to complement their own.

Now as partners in one mission,
We must share across the earth
Hope of what God will accomplish,
Faith that promises new birth
To the selves that sin has shattered,
Love restoring each life's worth.

Rich from all that we inherit,
Strong with skills new worlds devise,
Father, may we serve your Kingdom;
Under crisis-clouded skies,
Confidently reaffirming
Where the morning's glory lies.

SECOND READING [Galatians 3:1-9]:

You foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? It was before your eyes that Jesus Christ was publicly exhibited as crucified! The only thing I want to learn from you is this: Did you receive the Spirit by doing the works of the law or by believing what you heard? Are you so foolish? Having started with the Spirit, are you now ending with the flesh? Did you experience so much for nothing?—if it really was for nothing. Well then, does God supply you with the Spirit and work miracles among you by your doing the works of the law, or by your believing what you heard? 

Just as Abraham 'believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness', so, you see, those who believe are the descendants of Abraham. And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, declared the gospel beforehand to Abraham, saying, 'All the Gentiles shall be blessed in you.' For this reason, those who believe are blessed with Abraham who believed. 

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

Prayer:
We pray for the coming of God's kingdom, saying,
Father, by your Spirit:
bring in your kingdom.

You came in Jesus to bring good news to the poor, 
sight to the blind, freedom to the captives, 
and salvation to your people:
anoint us with your Spirit; 

rouse us to work in his name.
Father, by your Spirit,
bring in your kingdom.

Send us to bring help to the poor 
and freedom to the oppressed:
Father, by your Spirit,
bring in your kingdom.

Send us to tell the world 
the good news of your healing love:
Father, by your Spirit,
bring in your kingdom.

Send us to those who mourn,
to bring joy and gladness instead of grief:
Father, by your Spirit,
bring in your kingdom.

Send us to proclaim that the time is here
for you to save your people:
Father, by your Spirit,
bring in your kingdom.

Holy God, to whom our love rightly belongs,
may we find true wisdom in your presence
and set our hope not on uncertain riches
but on the love that will hold us to the end,
on Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
		
O God, 
source of strength to all your saints, 
you brought the holy martyrs of Japan 
through the suffering of the cross to the joys of eternal life: 
Grant that we, encouraged by their example, 
may hold fast the faith we profess, even to death itself;
through Jesus Christ our Lord,
who lives and reigns with you and 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

Open our imaginations to new dimensions of your love,
and heal us of all that severs us from you and one another;
through Jesus Christ our Lord. 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 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
prayers reprinted from _Revised Common Lectionary Prayers_,
copyright (c) 2002 Consultation on Common Texts.

The second collect is from _The Proper for the Lesser Feasts and
Fasts_, 3rd edition, (c) 1980 The Church Pension Fund.

The Christian faith was first introduced into Japan in the sixteenth century by
Jesuit and later by Franciscan missionaries. By the end of that century, there
were probably about 300,000 baptized believers in Japan.
Unfortunately, this promising beginning met reverses, brought about by
rivalries between different groups of missionaries and political intrigues by the
Spanish and Portuguese governments, along with power politics among
factions in the Japanese government itself. The result was a suppression of
Christians.
The first victims were six Franciscan friars and twenty of their converts, who
were crucified as Nagasaki on 5 February 1597. After a short interval of
relative tolerance, many other Christians were arrested, imprisoned for life, or
tortured and killed; and the Church was totally driven underground by 1630.
However, when Japan was re-opened to Western contacts 250 years later, it
was found that a community of Japanese Christians had survived underground,
without clergy, without Scriptures, with only very sketchy instructions in the
doctrines of the faith, but with a firm commitment to Jesus as Lord.



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