OREMUS: 29 September 2010

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

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OREMUS for Tuesday, September 29, 2009
Saint Michael and All Angels

O Lord, open our lips.
And our mouth shall proclaim your praise.

Blessed are you, God of power and might,
the glorious Lord of the universe:
you created the host of angels and archangels
to become your eternal crown of praise
while carrying into your presence
our own acts of worship, faith and prayer.
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. 


Psalm 139

Lord, you have searched me out and known me;*
 you know my sitting down and my rising up;
   you discern my thoughts from afar.
You trace my journeys and my restingplaces*
 and are acquainted with all my ways.
Indeed, there is not a word on my lips,*
 but you, O Lord, know it altogether.
You press upon me behind and before*
 and lay your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me;*
 it is so high that I cannot attain to it.
Where can I go then from your Spirit?*
 where can I flee from your presence?
If I climb up to heaven, you are there;*
 if I make the grave my bed, you are there also.
If I take the wings of the morning*
 and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,
Even there your hand will lead me*
 and your right hand hold me fast.
If I say, 'Surely the darkness will cover me,*
 and the light around me turn to night',
Darkness is not dark to you;
   the night is as bright as the day;*
 darkness and light to you are both alike.
For you yourself created my inmost parts;*
 you knit me together in my mother's womb.
I will thank you because I am marvellously made;*
 your works are wonderful and I know it well.
My body was not hidden from you,*
 while I was being made in secret
   and woven in the depths of the earth.
Your eyes beheld my limbs, yet unfinished in the womb;
   all of them were written in your book;*
 they were fashioned day by day,
   when as yet there was none of them.
How deep I find your thoughts, O God!*
 how great is the sum of them!
If I were to count them,
   they would be more in number than the sand;*
 to count them all,
   my life span would need to be like yours.
Search me out, O God, and know my heart;*
 try me and know my restless thoughts.
Look well whether there be any wickedness in me*
 and lead me in the way that is everlasting.

Psalm 140

Deliver me, O Lord, from evildoers;*
 protect me from the violent,
Who devise evil in their hearts*
 and stir up strife all day long.
They have sharpened their tongues like a serpent;*
 adder's poison is under their lips.
Keep me, O Lord, from the hands of the wicked;*
 protect me from the violent,
   who are determined to trip me up.
The proud have hidden a snare for me
   and stretched out a net of cords;*
 they have set traps for me along the path.
I have said to the Lord, 'You are my God;*
 listen, O Lord, to my supplication.
'O Lord God, the strength of my salvation,*
 you have covered my head in the day of battle.
'Do not grant the desires of the wicked, O Lord,*
 nor let their evil plans prosper.
I know that the Lord will maintain the cause of the poor*
 and render justice to the needy.
Surely, the righteous will give thanks to your name,*
 and the upright shall continue in your sight.

FIRST READING [2 Kings 6:8-17]:

Once when the king of Aram was at war with Israel, he took counsel with his officers.
He said, 'At such and such a place shall be my camp.' But the man of God sent word
to the king of Israel, 'Take care not to pass this place, because the Arameans are going
down there.' The king of Israel sent word to the place of which the man of God spoke.
More than once or twice he warned such a place so that it was on the alert.

The mind of the king of Aram was greatly perturbed because of this; he called his
officers and said to them, 'Now tell me who among us sides with the king of Israel?'
Then one of his officers said, 'No one, my lord king. It is Elisha, the prophet in Israel,
who tells the king of Israel the words that you speak in your bedchamber.' He said,
'Go and find where he is; I will send and seize him.' He was told, 'He is in Dothan.'
So he sent horses and chariots there and a great army; they came by night, and
surrounded the city.

When an attendant of the man of God rose early in the morning and went out, an army
with horses and chariots was all around the city. His servant said, 'Alas, master! What
shall we do?' He replied, 'Do not be afraid, for there are more with us than there are
with them.' Then Elisha prayed: 'O Lord, please open his eyes that he may see.' So the
Lord opened the eyes of the servant, and he saw; the mountain was full of horses and
chariots of fire all around Elisha. 

Words: Latin, ninth century, attributed to Rabanus Maurus (ca. 776-856);
Trans. C. S. Phillips
Tune: Caelites plaudant (Rouen)

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Christ, the fair glory of the holy angels,
ruler of all, and author of creation,
grant us in thy mercy grace to win by patience
realms everlasting.

Send forth thine angel Michael from thy presence:
peacemaker bless d, may he hover o'er us
hallow our dwellings, that for us thy children
all things may prosper.

Send forth thine angel Gabriel the mighty;
on strong wings flying, may he come from heaven,
drive from thy temple Satan the old foeman,
succor our weakness.

Send forth thine angel Raphael the healer
through him with wholesome medicines of salvation,
heal our backsliding, and in paths of goodness
guide our steps daily.

May the blest Mother of our God and Savior,
may all the countless company of angels,
may the assembly of the saints in glory,
ever assist us.

Father Almighty, Son, and Holy Spirit,
Godhead eternal, grant us our petition;
thine be the glory through the whole creation
now and for ever.

SECOND READING [Acts 12:1-11]:

About that time King Herod laid violent hands upon some who belonged to the
church. He had James, the brother of John, killed with the sword. After he saw that it
pleased the Jews, he proceeded to arrest Peter also. (This was during the festival of
Unleavened Bread.) When he had seized him, he put him in prison and handed him
over to four squads of soldiers to guard him, intending to bring him out to the people
after the Passover. While Peter was kept in prison, the church prayed fervently to God
for him.

The very night before Herod was going to bring him out, Peter, bound with two
chains, was sleeping between two soldiers, while guards in front of the door were
keeping watch over the prison. Suddenly an angel of the Lord appeared and a light
shone in the cell. He tapped Peter on the side and woke him, saying, 'Get up quickly.'
And the chains fell off his wrists. The angel said to him, 'Fasten your belt and put on
your sandals.' He did so. Then he said to him, 'Wrap your cloak around you and
follow me.' Peter went out and followed him; he did not realize that what was
happening with the angel's help was real; he thought he was seeing a vision. After they
had passed the first and the second guard, they came before the iron gate leading into
the city. It opened for them of its own accord, and they went outside and walked along
a lane, when suddenly the angel left him. Then Peter came to himself and said, 'Now I
am sure that the Lord has sent his angel and rescued me from the hands of Herod and
from all that the Jewish people were expecting.' 

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

Father in heaven, by his blood your Christ has ransomed us to you,
and has made us a kingdom and priests to you our God.
As the angels minister to you in heaven,
strengthen your Church to serve you here on earth.
Lord, hear us.
Lord, graciously hear us.

Father in heaven,
when the angels greeted the birth of your Son
they sang for joy 'Glory to God and peace on earth'.
Bless with Christ's peace the nations of the world...
Lord, hear us.
Lord, graciously hear us.

Father in heaven,
your Son has promised to your children
the care of the guardian angels who look upon your face.
Protect by your mercy our neighbours, families and friends...
Lord, hear us.
Lord, graciously hear us.

Father in heaven,
your angel declares 'Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord.'
'Blessed indeed,' says the Spirit,
'for they may rest from their labours,
for they take with them the record of their deeds.'
Enfold in your love (... and) all who come in faith
to your judgement seat in heaven.
Lord, hear us.
Lord, graciously hear us.

Father in heaven,
the angels sing by day and night around your throne
'Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty.'
With Michael, prince of the angels, who contends by our side,
with Gabriel, your herald, who brings glad tidings,
and with the whole company of heaven,
we worship you, we give you glory,
we sing your praise and exalt you for ever.  Amen.

Everlasting God,
you have ordained and constituted the ministries
of angels and mortals in a wonderful order
grant that as your holy angels
always serve you in heaven,
so, at your command,
they may help and defend us on earth;
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.

Gathering our prayers and praises into one,
let us pray as our Savior has taught us.

- The Lord's Prayer

Send your holy angels to watch over us,
O loving God,
that on our lips will be found your truth
and in our hearts your love;
for his sake who died for love of our love,
even Jesus Christ our Saviour. Amen.

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 is by Stephen Benner and is based on a
prayer from _We Give You Thanks and Praise: The Ambrosian
Eucharistic Prefaces_, translated by Alan Griffiths, (c) The
Canterbury Press Norwich, 1999.

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.

The intercession and the closing sentence are from _Enriching the
Christian Year_  SPCK, compilation (c)Michael Perham 1993.

Hymn (c) 1932 Hope Publishing Company, Carol Stream, IL 60188.
All rights reserved.  Used by permission.
For permission to reproduce this hymn in all territories except the UK, contact:
Hope Publishing Company, 
In the UK, contact:  Hymns Ancient & Modern Ltd.,
St. Mary's Works, St. Mary's Plain, Norwich, Norfolk  NR3 3BH  England

On the Feast of Michael and all Angels, popularly called Michaelmas, we give
thanks for the many ways in which God's loving care watches over us, both
directly and indirectly, and we are reminded that the richness and variety of
God's creation far exceeds our knowledge of it.
The Holy Scriptures often speak of created intelligences other than humans
who worship God in heaven and act as His messengers and agents on earth.
We are not told much about them, and it is not clear how much of what we are
told is figurative. Jesus speaks of them as rejoicing over penitent sinners (Lk
15:10). Elsewhere, in a statement that has been variously understood (Mt
18:10), He warns against misleading a child, because their angels behold the
face of God. (Acts 12:15 may refer to a related idea.)<P
In the Hebrew Scriptures, it is occasionally reported that someone saw a man
who spoke to him with authority, and who he then realized was no mere man,
but a messenger of God. Thus we have a belief in super-human rational created
beings, either resembling men in appearance or taking human appearance when
they are to communicate with us. They are referred to as "messengers of God,"
or simply as "messengers." The word for a messenger in Hebrew is MALACH,
in Greek, ANGELOS, from which we get our word "angel."
By the time of Christ, Jewish popular belief included many specifics about
angels, with names for many of them. There were thought to be four
archangels, named Michael, Gabriel, Raphael, and Uriel. An alternative
tradition has seven archangels (see Tobit 12:15 and 1 Enoch 20). Sometimes
each archangel is associated with one of the seven planets of the Ptolemaic
system (the moon, Mercury, Venus, the Sun, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn). Michael is
associated with Saturn and Uriel with the Sun. The other pairings I forget, but
I believe that you will find a list in the long narrative poem called "The Golden
Legend," by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. 
Michael (the name means "Who is like God?") is said to be the captain of the
heavenly armies. He is mentioned in the Scriptures in Daniel 10:13,31; 12:1
(where he is said to be the prince of the people of Israel); in Jude 9 (where he
is said to have disputed with the devil about the body of Moses); and in
Revelation 12:7 (where he is said to have led the heavenly armies against those
of the great dragon). He is generally pictured in full armor, carrying a lance,
and with his foot on the neck of a dragon. 
Gabriel (the name means "God is my champion") is thought of as the special
bearer of messages from God to men. He appears in Daniel 8:16; 9:21 as an
explainer of some of Daniel's visions. According to the first chapter of Luke,
he announced the forthcoming births of John the Baptist and of our Lord to
Zachariah and the Virgin Mary respectively.
Raphael (the name means "God heals") is mentioned in the Apocrypha, in the
book of Tobit, where, disguised as a man, he accompanies the young man
Tobias on a quest, enables him to accomplish it, and gives him a remedy for the
blindness of his aged father.
Uriel (the name means "God is my light" -- compare with "Uriah", which
means "the LORD is my light") is mentioned in 4 Esdras.
It is thought by many scholars that the seven lamps of Revelation 4:5 are an
image suggested by (among many other things) the idea of seven
What is the value to us of remembering the Holy Angels? Well, since they
appear to excel us in both knowledge and power, they remind us that, even
among created things, we humans are not the top of the heap. Since it is the
common belief that demons are angels who have chosen to disobey God and to
be His enemies rather than His willing servants, they remind us that the higher
we are the lower we can fall. The greater our natural gifts and talents, the
greater the damage if we turn them to bad ends. The more we have been given,
the more will be expected of us. And, in the picture of God sending His angels
to help and defend us, we are reminded that apparently God, instead of doing
good things directly, often prefers to do them through His willing servants,
enabling those who have accepted His love to show their love for one another.
The major post-New-Testament source for Christian ideas about angels is
a writer (probably a fifth-century Syrian monk) who signed himself "Dionysius
the Areopagite." His writings were taken to be those of a convert of the
Apostle Paul, mentioned in Acts 17:34. Accordingly, when he wrote on angels
(or any other theological subject), he was assumed to know what he was
talking about. His writings had a considerable influence on the portrayal of
angels in art and in the popular imagination. [James Kiefer]

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