OREMUS: 24 November 2010

Steve Benner steve.benner at oremus.org
Tue Nov 23 17:00:00 GMT 2010


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OREMUS for November 24

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

Hidden God, we worship you. 
By ourselves, we could not know you; 
no human wisdom can discover you, 
no argument lead to you, 
no enterprise reveal you; 
in the wealth of its knowledge 
the world fails to find you. 
But you came to search for us 
in the frailty of a human life; 
you trusted yourself to the fragile faith 
of wavering disciples. 
We praise you that in our very weakness 
we can know you; 
that stumbling blocks become stepping stones, 
and the foolishness of the cross 
the very truth that quickens us to life. 
Blessed be God for ever!

An opening canticle may be sung. 
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Psalm 116

I love the Lord,
   because he has heard the voice of my supplication,*
 because he has inclined his ear to me
   whenever I called upon him.
The cords of death entangled me;
   the grip of the grave took hold of me;*
 I came to grief and sorrow.
Then I called upon the name of the Lord:*
 'O Lord, I pray you, save my life.'
Gracious is the Lord and righteous;*
 our God is full of compassion.
The Lord watches over the innocent;*
 I was brought very low and he helped me.
Turn again to your rest, O my soul,*
 for the Lord has treated you well.
For you have rescued my life from death,*
 my eyes from tears and my feet from stumbling.
I will walk in the presence of the Lord*

 in the land of the living.
I believed, even when I said,
   'I have been brought very low.'*
 In my distress I said, 'No one can be trusted.'
How shall I repay the Lord*
 for all the good things he has done for me?
I will lift up the cup of salvation*
 and call upon the name of the Lord.
I will fulfil my vows to the Lord*
 in the presence of all his people.
Precious in the sight of the Lord*
 is the death of his servants.
O Lord, I am your servant;*
 I am your servant and the child of your handmaid;
   you have freed me from my bonds.
I will offer you the sacrifice of thanksgiving*
 and call upon the name of the Lord.
I will fulfil my vows to the Lord*
 in the presence of all his people.
In the courts of the Lord's house,*
 in the midst of you, O Jerusalem.
   Alleluia!

Psalm 117

Alleluia!
Praise the Lord, all you nations;*
 laud him, all you peoples.
For his lovingkindness towards us is great,*
 and the faithfulness of the Lord endures for ever.
   Alleluia!

Psalm 118

Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good;*
 his mercy endures for ever.
Let Israel now proclaim,*
 'His mercy endures for ever.'
Let the house of Aaron now proclaim,*
 'His mercy endures for ever.'
Let those who fear the Lord now proclaim,*
 'His mercy endures for ever.'
I called to the Lord in my distress;*
 the Lord answered by setting me free.
The Lord is at my side, therefore I will not fear;*
 what can anyone do to me?
The Lord is at my side to help me;*
 I will triumph over those who hate me.
It is better to rely on the Lord*
 than to put any trust in flesh.
It is better to rely on the Lord*
 than to put any trust in rulers.
All the ungodly encompass me;*
 in the name of the Lord I will repel them.
They hem me in, they hem me in on every side;*
 in the name of the Lord I will repel them.
They swarm about me like bees;
   they blaze like a fire of thorns;*
 in the name of the Lord I will repel them.
I was pressed so hard that I almost fell,*
 but the Lord came to my help.
The Lord is my strength and my song,*
 and he has become my salvation.
There is a sound of exultation and victory*
 in the tents of the righteous:
'The right hand of the Lord has triumphed!*
 the right hand of the Lord is exalted!
   the right hand of the Lord has triumphed!'
I shall not die, but live,*
 and declare the works of the Lord.
The Lord has punished me sorely,*
 but he did not hand me over to death.
Open for me the gates of righteousness;*
 I will enter them; I will offer thanks to the Lord.
'This is the gate of the Lord;*
 whoever is righteous may enter.'
I will give thanks to you, for you answered me*
 and have become my salvation.
The same stone which the builders rejected*
 has become the chief cornerstone.
This is the Lord's doing,*
 and it is marvellous in our eyes.
On this day the Lord has acted;*
 we will rejoice and be glad in it.
Hosanna, Lord, hosanna!*
 Lord, send us now success.
Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord;*
 we bless you from the house of the Lord.
God is the Lord; he has shined upon us;*
 form a procession with branches
   up to the horns of the altar.
'You are my God and I will thank you;*
 you are my God and I will exalt you.'
Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good;*
 his mercy endures for ever.

FIRST READING [Daniel 4:1–37]:

King Nebuchadnezzar to all peoples, nations, and languages that live throughout the earth: May you have abundant prosperity! The signs and wonders that the Most High God has worked for me I am pleased to recount. 
How great are his signs,
   how mighty his wonders!
His kingdom is an everlasting kingdom,
   and his sovereignty is from generation to generation. 

I, Nebuchadnezzar, was living at ease in my home and prospering in my palace. I saw a dream that frightened me; my fantasies in bed and the visions of my head terrified me. So I made a decree that all the wise men of Babylon should be brought before me, in order that they might tell me the interpretation of the dream. Then the magicians, the enchanters, the Chaldeans, and the diviners came in, and I told them the dream, but they could not tell me its interpretation. At last Daniel came in before me—he who was named Belteshazzar after the name of my god, and who is endowed with a spirit of the holy gods—and I told him the dream: 'O Belteshazzar, chief of the magicians, I know that you are endowed with a spirit of the holy gods and that no mystery is too difficult for you. Hear the dream that I saw; tell me its interpretation. 
Upon my bed this is what I saw;
   there was a tree at the centre of the earth,
   and its height was great. 
The tree grew great and strong,
   its top reached to heaven,
   and it was visible to the ends of the whole earth. 
Its foliage was beautiful,
   its fruit abundant,
   and it provided food for all.
The animals of the field found shade under it,
   the birds of the air nested in its branches,
   and from it all living beings were fed. 

'I continued looking, in the visions of my head as I lay in bed, and there was a holy watcher, coming down from heaven. He cried aloud and said:
"Cut down the tree and chop off its branches,
   strip off its foliage and scatter its fruit.
Let the animals flee from beneath it
   and the birds from its branches. 
But leave its stump and roots in the ground,
   with a band of iron and bronze,
   in the tender grass of the field.
Let him be bathed with the dew of heaven,
   and let his lot be with the animals of the field
   in the grass of the earth. 
Let his mind be changed from that of a human,
   and let the mind of an animal be given to him.
   And let seven times pass over him. 
The sentence is rendered by decree of the watchers,
   the decision is given by order of the holy ones,
in order that all who live may know
   that the Most High is sovereign over the kingdom of mortals;
he gives it to whom he will
   and sets over it the lowliest of human beings." 

'This is the dream that I, King Nebuchadnezzar, saw. Now you, Belteshazzar, declare the interpretation, since all the wise men of my kingdom are unable to tell me the interpretation. You are able, however, for you are endowed with a spirit of the holy gods.' 

Then Daniel, who was called Belteshazzar, was severely distressed for a while. His thoughts terrified him. The king said, 'Belteshazzar, do not let the dream or the interpretation terrify you.' Belteshazzar answered, 'My lord, may the dream be for those who hate you, and its interpretation for your enemies! The tree that you saw, which grew great and strong, so that its top reached to heaven and was visible to the end of the whole earth, whose foliage was beautiful and its fruit abundant, and which provided food for all, under which animals of the field lived, and in whose branches the birds of the air had nests— it is you, O king! You have grown great and strong. Your greatness has increased and reaches to heaven, and your sovereignty to the ends of the earth. And whereas the king saw a holy watcher coming down from heaven and saying, "Cut down the tree and destroy it, but leave its stump and roots in the ground, with a band of iron and bronze, in the grass of the field; and let him be bathed with the dew of heaven, and let his lot be with the animals of the field, until seven times pass over him"— this is the interpretation, O king, and it is a decree of the Most High that has come upon my lord the king: You shall be driven away from human society, and your dwelling shall be with the wild animals. You shall be made to eat grass like oxen, you shall be bathed with the dew of heaven, and seven times shall pass over you, until you have learned that the Most High has sovereignty over the kingdom of mortals, and gives it to whom he will. As it was commanded to leave the stump and roots of the tree, your kingdom shall be re-established for you from the time that you learn that Heaven is sovereign. Therefore, O king, may my counsel be acceptable to you: atone for your sins with righteousness, and your iniquities with mercy to the oppressed, so that your prosperity may be prolonged.' 

All this came upon King Nebuchadnezzar. At the end of twelve months he was walking on the roof of the royal palace of Babylon, and the king said, 'Is this not magnificent Babylon, which I have built as a royal capital by my mighty power and for my glorious majesty?' While the words were still in the king's mouth, a voice came from heaven: 'O King Nebuchadnezzar, to you it is declared: The kingdom has departed from you! You shall be driven away from human society, and your dwelling shall be with the animals of the field. You shall be made to eat grass like oxen, and seven times shall pass over you, until you have learned that the Most High has sovereignty over the kingdom of mortals and gives it to whom he will.' Immediately the sentence was fulfilled against Nebuchadnezzar. He was driven away from human society, ate grass like oxen, and his body was bathed with the dew of heaven, until his hair grew as long as eagles' feathers and his nails became like birds' claws. 

When that period was over, I, Nebuchadnezzar, lifted my eyes to heaven, and my reason returned to me.
I blessed the Most High,
   and praised and honoured the one who lives for ever.
For his sovereignty is an everlasting sovereignty,
   and his kingdom endures from generation to generation. 
All the inhabitants of the earth are accounted as nothing,
   and he does what he wills with the host of heaven
   and the inhabitants of the earth.
There is no one who can stay his hand
   or say to him, 'What are you doing?' 
At that time my reason returned to me; and my majesty and splendour were restored to me for the glory of my kingdom. My counsellors and my lords sought me out, I was re-established over my kingdom, and still more greatness was added to me. Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise and extol and honour the King of heaven,
for all his works are truth,
   and his ways are justice;
and he is able to bring low
   those who walk in pride. 

HYMN 
Words: William Gadsby (1773-1844)
Meter: 87 87 87 

O what matchless condescension
The eternal God displays;
Claiming our supreme attention,
To His boundless works and ways.
His own glory
He reveals in gospel days.

In the person of the Saviour
All His majesty is seen,
Love and justice shine for ever;
And without a veil between,
We approach Him,
And rejoice in His dear name.

Would we view His brightest glory,
Here it shines in Jesus' face;
Sing and tell the pleasing story,
O ye sinners saved by grace;
And with pleasure,
Bid the guilty Him embrace.

In His highest work, redemption,
See His glory in a blaze;
Nor can angels ever mention
Aught that more of God displays;
Grace and justice
Here unite to endless days.

True, 'tis sweet and solemn pleasure,
God to view in Christ the Lord;
Here He smiles and smiles for ever;
May my soul His name record;
Praise and bless Him,
And His wonders spread abroad.

SECOND READING [Revelation 21:1–8]:

Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying,
'See, the home of God is among mortals.
He will dwell with them;
they will be his peoples,
and God himself will be with them; 
he will wipe every tear from their eyes.
Death will be no more;
mourning and crying and pain will be no more,
for the first things have passed away.' 

And the one who was seated on the throne said, 'See, I am making all things new.' Also he said, 'Write this, for these words are trustworthy and true.' Then he said to me, 'It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give water as a gift from the spring of the water of life. Those who conquer will inherit these things, and I will be their God and they will be my children. But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the polluted, the murderers, the fornicators, the sorcerers, the idolaters, and all liars, their place will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulphur, which is the second death.' 

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

Prayer:
Jesus our exalted Lord has been given all authority.  
Let us seek his intercession that our prayers may be perfected by his prayer.

Jesus Christ, great high priest, living for ever to intercede for us:
pray for your Church, your broken body in the world(
Lord, hear us.
Lord, graciously hear us.

Jesus Christ, king of righteousness,
enthroned at the right hand of the majesty on high:
pray for the world, and make it subject to your gentle rule(
Lord, hear us.
Lord, graciously hear us.

Jesus Christ, Son of Man, drawing humanity into the life of God:
pray for your bothers and sisters in need, distress or sorrow(
Lord, hear us.
Lord, graciously hear us.

Jesus Christ, pioneer of our salvation,
bringing us to your glory through your death and resurrection:
receive into your kingdom those who have died trusting in your promises(
Lord, hear us.
Lord, graciously hear us.

Jesus Christ, Lord of all things,
ascended far above from the heavens and filling the universe:
pray for us who receive the gifts you give us for work in your service(
Lord, hear us.
Lord, graciously hear us.

Jesus Christ, 
keep the Church in the unity of the Spirit 
and in the bond of peace,
and bring the whole created order to worship at your feet;
for you are alive and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Living Lord,
you have made this day your own
and called us out of darkness into your marvellous light;
open the gates of righteousness
that your pilgrim people may enter
and be built into a living temple
on the cornerstone of our salvation,
Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
		
Gathering our prayers and praises into one,
let us pray as our Savior has taught us.

- The Lord's Prayer

May God take our hand as we go,
Christ be our constant companion,
and the Spirit guide us on the Way
this day and for evermore. 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 is from _Common Order_, 1994, The Church of Scotland, and the closing sentence is from _Uniting in Worship 2_, Uniting Church in Australia.


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