OREMUS: 15 April 2011

Steve Benner steve.benner at oremus.org
Thu Apr 14 17:00:00 GMT 2011


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OREMUS for April 15

O God, make speed to save us;
O Lord, make haste to help us.

Blessed are you, Lord God of truth,
for by the breath of your mouth
you have spoken your Word,
and all things have come into being.
You fashioned us in your image
and placed us in the garden of your delight.
Though we chose the path of rebellion
you would not abandon your own.
Again and again you drew us into your covenant of grace.
You gave your people the law and taught us by your prophets
to look for your reign of justice, mercy and peace.
As we watch for the signs of your kingdom on earth,
we praise you: Father, Son and Holy Spirit:
Blessed be God for ever!

An opening canticle may be sung. 
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Psalm 78

Hear my teaching, O my people;*
 incline your ears to the words of my mouth.
I will open my mouth in a parable;*
 I will declare the mysteries of ancient times.
That which we have heard and known,
   and what our forebears have told us,*
 we will not hide from their children.
We will recount to generations to come
   the praiseworthy deeds and the power of the Lord,*
 and the wonderful works he has done.
He gave his decrees to Jacob
   and established a law for Israel,*
 which he commanded them to teach their children;
That the generations to come might know,
   and the children yet unborn;*
 that they in their turn might tell it to their children;
So that they might put their trust in God,*
 and not forget the deeds of God,
   but keep his commandments;
And not be like their forebears,
   a stubborn and rebellious generation,*
 a generation whose heart was not steadfast,
   and whose spirit was not faithful to God.
The people of Ephraim, armed with the bow,*
 turned back in the day of battle;
They did not keep the covenant of God,*
 and refused to walk in his law;
They forgot what he had done,*
 and the wonders he had shown them.
He worked marvels in the sight of their forebears,*
 in the land of Egypt, in the field of Zoan.
He split open the sea and let them pass through;*
 he made the waters stand up like walls.
He led them with a cloud by day,*
 and all the night through with a glow of fire.
He split the hard rocks in the wilderness*
 and gave them drink as from the great deep.
He brought streams out of the cliff,*
 and the waters gushed out like rivers.
But they went on sinning against him,*
 rebelling in the desert against the Most High.
They tested God in their hearts,*

   demanding food for their craving.
They railed against God and said,*
 'Can God set a table in the wilderness?
'True, he struck the rock, the waters gushed out,
   and the gullies overflowed;*
 but is he able to give bread
   or to provide meat for his people?'
When the Lord heard this, he was full of wrath;*
 a fire was kindled against Jacob,
   and his anger mounted against Israel;
For they had no faith in God,*
 nor did they put their trust in his saving power.
So he commanded the clouds above*
 and opened the doors of heaven.
He rained down manna upon them to eat*
 and gave them grain from heaven.
So mortals ate the bread of angels;*
 he provided for them food enough.
He caused the east wind to blow in the heavens*
 and led out the south wind by his might.
He rained down flesh upon them like dust*
 and winged birds like the sand of the sea.
He let it fall in the midst of their camp*
 and round about their dwellings.
So they ate and were well filled,*
 for he gave them what they craved.
But they did not stop their craving,*
 though the food was still in their mouths.
So God's anger mounted against them;*
 he slew their strongest men
   and laid low the youth of Israel.
In spite of all this, they went on sinning*
 and had no faith in his wonderful works.
So he brought their days to an end like a breath*
 and their years in sudden terror.
Whenever he slew them, they would seek him,*
 and repent and diligently search for God.
They would remember that God was their rock,*
 and the Most High God their redeemer.
But they flattered him with their mouths*
 and lied to him with their tongues.
Their heart was not steadfast towards him,*
 and they were not faithful to his covenant.
But he was so merciful that he forgave their sins
   and did not destroy them;*

 many times he held back his anger
   and did not permit his wrath to be roused.
For he remembered that they were but flesh,*
 a breath that goes forth and does not return.
How often the people disobeyed God in the wilderness*
 and offended him in the desert!
Again and again they tempted God*
 and provoked the Holy One of Israel.
They did not remember his power*
 in the day when he ransomed them from the enemy;
How he wrought his signs in Egypt*
 and his omens in the field of Zoan.
He turned their rivers into blood,*
 so that they could not drink of their streams.
He sent swarms of flies among them, which ate them up,*
 and frogs, which destroyed them.
He gave their crops to the caterpillar,*
 the fruit of their toil to the locust.
He killed their vines with hail*
 and their sycamores with frost.
He delivered their cattle to hailstones*
 and their livestock to hot thunderbolts.
He poured out upon them his blazing anger:*
 fury, indignation and distress,
   a troop of destroying angels.
He gave full rein to his anger;
   he did not spare their souls from death;*
 but delivered their lives to the plague.
He struck down all the firstborn of Egypt,*
 the flower of manhood in the dwellings of Ham.
He led out his people like sheep*
 and guided them in the wilderness like a flock.
He led them to safety and they were not afraid;*
 but the sea overwhelmed their enemies.
He brought them to his holy land,*
 the mountain his right hand had won.
He drove out the Canaanites before them
   and apportioned an inheritance to them by lot;*
 he made the tribes of Israel to dwell in their tents.
But they tested the Most High God and defied him,*
 and did not keep his commandments.
They turned away and were disloyal like their forebears;*
 they were undependable like a warped bow.
They grieved him with their hillaltars*
 and provoked his displeasure with their idols.
When God heard this, he was angry*
 and utterly rejected Israel.
He forsook the shrine at Shiloh,*
 the tabernacle where he had lived among his people.
He delivered the ark into captivity,*
 his glory into the adversary's hand.
He gave his people to the sword*
 and was angered against his inheritance.
The fire consumed their young men;*
 there were no wedding songs for their maidens.
Their priests fell by the sword,*
 and their widows made no lamentation.
Then the Lord woke as though from sleep,*
 like a warrior refreshed with wine.
He struck his enemies from behind*
 and put them to perpetual shame.
He rejected the tent of Joseph*
 and did not choose the tribe of Ephraim;
He chose instead the tribe of Judah*
 and Mount Zion, which he loved.
He built his sanctuary like the heights of heaven,*
 like the earth which he founded for ever.
He chose David his servant,*
 and took him away from the sheepfolds.
He brought him from following the ewes,*
 to be a shepherd over Jacob his people
   and over Israel his inheritance.
So he shepherded them with a faithful and true heart*
 and guided them with the skilfulness of his hands.

FIRST READING [Deuteronomy 3.18–end]:

At that time, I charged you as follows: 'Although the Lord your God has given you this land to occupy, all your troops shall cross over armed as the vanguard of your Israelite kin. Only your wives, your children, and your livestock—I know that you have much livestock—shall stay behind in the towns that I have given to you. When the Lord gives rest to your kindred, as to you, and they too have occupied the land that the Lord your God is giving them beyond the Jordan, then each of you may return to the property that I have given to you.' And I charged Joshua as well at that time, saying: 'Your own eyes have seen everything that the Lord your God has done to these two kings; so the Lord will do to all the kingdoms into which you are about to cross. Do not fear them, for it is the Lord your God who fights for you.' 

At that time, too, I entreated the Lord, saying: 'O Lord God, you have only begun to show your servant your greatness and your might; what god in heaven or on earth can perform deeds and mighty acts like yours! Let me cross over to see the good land beyond the Jordan, that good hill country and the Lebanon.' But the Lord was angry with me on your account and would not heed me. The Lord said to me, 'Enough from you! Never speak to me of this matter again! Go up to the top of Pisgah and look around you to the west, to the north, to the south, and to the east. Look well, for you shall not cross over this Jordan. But charge Joshua, and encourage and strengthen him, because it is he who shall cross over at the head of this people and who shall secure their possession of the land that you will see.' So we remained in the valley opposite Beth-peor. 
 
HYMN 
Words: John Greenleaf Whittier (1807-1892)
Tune: St Hugh, St Austin, Stracathro

All as God wills, who wisely heeds
To give or to withhold,
And knoweth more of all my needs
Than all my prayers have told.

Enough that blessings undeserved
Have marked my erring track;
That whereso'er my feet have swerved,
His chastening turned me back;

That more and more a providence
Of love is understood,
Making the springs of time and sense
Sweet with eternal good;

That death seems but a covered way
Which opens into light
Wherein no blinded child can stray
Beyond the Father's sight;

That care and trial seem at last,
Through memory's sunset air,
Like mountain ranges overpast,
In purple distance fair;

That all the jarring notes of life
Seem blending in a psalm,
And all the angles of its strife
Slow rounding into calm.

And so the shadows fall apart,
And so the west winds play;
And all the windows of my heart
I open to the day.

SECOND READING [Romans 9.19–end]:

You will say to me then, 'Why then does he still find fault? For who can resist his will?' But who indeed are you, a human being, to argue with God? Will what is moulded say to the one who moulds it, 'Why have you made me like this?' Has the potter no right over the clay, to make out of the same lump one object for special use and another for ordinary use? What if God, desiring to show his wrath and to make known his power, has endured with much patience the objects of wrath that are made for destruction; and what if he has done so in order to make known the riches of his glory for the objects of mercy, which he has prepared beforehand for glory— including us whom he has called, not from the Jews only but also from the Gentiles? As indeed he says in Hosea,
'Those who were not my people I will call “my people”,
   and her who was not beloved I will call “beloved”. ' 
'And in the very place where it was said to them, “You are not my people”,
   there they shall be called children of the living God.' 

And Isaiah cries out concerning Israel, 'Though the number of the children of Israel were like the sand of the sea, only a remnant of them will be saved; for the Lord will execute his sentence on the earth quickly and decisively.' And as Isaiah predicted,
'If the Lord of hosts had not left survivors to us,
   we would have fared like Sodom
   and been made like Gomorrah.' 

What then are we to say? Gentiles, who did not strive for righteousness, have attained it, that is, righteousness through faith; but Israel, who did strive for the righteousness that is based on the law, did not succeed in fulfilling that law. Why not? Because they did not strive for it on the basis of faith, but as if it were based on works. They have stumbled over the stumbling-stone, as it is written,
'See, I am laying in Zion a stone that will make people stumble, a rock that will make them fall,
 and whoever believes in him will not be put to shame.' 

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

Prayer:
Good Shepherd, within your embrace we are safe and secure. Within your embrace we know that we are precious in your sight. Within your embrace we feel the warmth of family and belonging. Within your embrace we grow and are nurtured together as one flock, the people of your pasture under your loving care and protection.
Come, let us bow down 
 Before the LORD our Maker.

Good Shepherd, within your embrace we find comfort and healing. We bring to you those who are weak, or struggling with physical, mental or spiritual health. You are the great healer, and we pray for healing of mind and body for those we now name in the silence of our hearts.
Come, let us bow down 
 Before the LORD our Maker.

Good Shepherd, within your embrace we find justice. We bring to you the brave voices who cry out for freedom, those prepared to stand up and be heard without counting the cost. We pray for those who have been imprisoned or tortured for their race, colour, caste or faith. For all Christians who have taken up the Cross and know its weight and pain.
Come, let us bow down 
 Before the LORD our Maker.

Good Shepherd, within your embrace we find peace. We bring to you those orphaned, crippled or dispossessed by war, for refugees wandering this earth in search of a home, for all victims of strife and warfare, and for all those who have dedicated their lives for the search for peace and reconciliation.
Come, let us bow down 
 Before the LORD our Maker.

Bend your ears to our prayers, Lord Christ,
and come among us.
By your gracious life and death for us,
bring light into the darkness of our hearts,
and anoint us with your Spirit,
for you live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and forever. Amen.
		
Trusting in the compassion of God,
let us pray as our Savior taught us:

- The Lord's Prayer

Come let us follow Jesus, the light of the world;
whoever follows Jesus will have the light of life. 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.


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