OREMUS: 29 August 2011

Steve Benner steve.benner at oremus.org
Sun Aug 28 17:00:00 GMT 2011

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OREMUS for August 29
The Beheading of Saint John the Baptist

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

Blessed are you, God of power and might,
we praise your greatness which favored your herald John,
alone among all the prophets
who revealed the Lamb, the world's Redeemer.
He baptized Christ in waters which Christ himself had made holy;
and then, at last, he bore witness to the Christ
by the shedding of his own blood.
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 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 [Ecclus 1.11–end]:

The fear of the Lord is glory and exultation,
   and gladness and a crown of rejoicing. 
The fear of the Lord delights the heart,
   and gives gladness and joy and long life. 
Those who fear the Lord will have a happy end;
   on the day of their death they will be blessed. 

To fear the Lord is the beginning of wisdom;
   she is created with the faithful in the womb. 
She made among human beings an eternal foundation,
   and among their descendants she will abide faithfully. 
To fear the Lord is fullness of wisdom;
   she inebriates mortals with her fruits; 
she fills their whole house with desirable goods,
   and their storehouses with her produce. 
The fear of the Lord is the crown of wisdom,
   making peace and perfect health to flourish. 
She rained down knowledge and discerning comprehension,
   and she heightened the glory of those who held her fast. 
To fear the Lord is the root of wisdom,
   and her branches are long life. 

Unjust anger cannot be justified,
   for anger tips the scale to one’s ruin. 
Those who are patient stay calm until the right moment,
   and then cheerfulness comes back to them. 
They hold back their words until the right moment;
   then the lips of many tell of their good sense. 

In the treasuries of wisdom are wise sayings,
   but godliness is an abomination to a sinner. 
If you desire wisdom, keep the commandments,
   and the Lord will lavish her upon you. 
For the fear of the Lord is wisdom and discipline,
   fidelity and humility are his delight. 

Do not disobey the fear of the Lord;
   do not approach him with a divided mind. 
Do not be a hypocrite before others,
   and keep watch over your lips. 
Do not exalt yourself, or you may fall
   and bring dishonour upon yourself.
The Lord will reveal your secrets
   and overthrow you before the whole congregation,
because you did not come in the fear of the Lord,
   and your heart was full of deceit. 

Words: Andrew E Pratt (born 1948)   2000 Stainer & Bell Ltd Used with permission
Tune: Charlestown (87 87)

To a world so torn and tortured
Came the voice of one who knew
What it cost to lift oppression,
Challenge the accepted view.

John convicted crowds before him,
Charged hypocrisy with God;
Opened up the way for Jesus
Who would follow where he trod.

Then, imprisoned, John was silenced;
Yet a voice more powerful still
Challenged in and out of season
All who heard to do God's will.

Living, Christ would lift oppression,
Dying, he would seem to fail,
Crying out in desolation,
Yet God's love would still prevail.

SECOND READING [Matthew 14:1-12]:

At that time Herod the ruler heard reports about Jesus;
and he said to his servants, 'This is John the Baptist;
he has been raised from the dead, and for this reason
these powers are at work in him.' For Herod had arrested
John, bound him, and put him in prison on account of
Herodias, his brother Philip's wife, because John had
been telling him, 'It is not lawful for you to have her.'
Though Herod wanted to put him to death, he feared the
crowd, because they regarded him as a prophet. But when
Herod's birthday came, the daughter of Herodias danced
before the company, and she pleased Herod so much that he
promised on oath to grant her whatever she might ask.
Prompted by her mother, she said, 'Give me the head of
John the Baptist here on a platter.' The king was
grieved, yet out of regard for his oaths and for the
guests, he commanded it to be given; he sent and had John
beheaded in the prison. The head was brought on a platter
and given to the girl, who brought it to her mother. His
disciples came and took the body and buried it; then they
went and told Jesus.

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

In the power of the Spirit and in union with Christ,
let us pray to the Father, saying
Jesus, Lamb of God,
have mercy on us.

Lord God,
who promised Zechariah a son
filled with with the spirit and power of Elijah,
to prepare a people fit for the Lord
we pray for reconciliation among all people..
Jesus, Lamb of God,
have mercy on us.

Lord God,
when Elizabeth heard Mary's greeting
the baby leapt in her womb
may we bless among women she who believed your promise,
and proclaim with joy the good news of your Christ.
Jesus, Lamb of God,
have mercy on us.

Lord God,
at John's birth Zechariah proclaimed
he would be the prophet of the Most High
we pray for all who preach the Good News.
Jesus, Lamb of God,
have mercy on us.

Lord God,
when your Son came to the Jordan and was baptized by John
he saw the heavens open and the Spirit descending as a dove
may we who are baptized into your Church
faithfully proclaim in the world the words of your beloved Son.
Jesus, Lamb of God,
have mercy on us.

Lord God,
John proclaimed your Son as 'the Lamb of God'
and John's disciples followed Jesus
help us to follow him too,
and by our words and deeds
to bring our families and friends closer to you.
Jesus, Lamb of God,
have mercy on us.

Lord God,
who sent John to witness to the light,
to be the voice of one crying in the wilderness
and to make straight the way of the Lord
comfort your people
and bring your healing to the sick and needy,
to the broken-hearted and the oppressed,
to prisoners and captives.
Jesus, Lamb of God,
have mercy on us.

Lord God,
John preached the baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins
and suffered imprisonment and death for proclaiming your Law
we pray with and for all who have died in your service,
joining our prayers with John the Baptist, and all the saints,
and grant us with them a share in your eternal kingdom.
Jesus, Lamb of God,
have mercy on us.

In the tender compassion of our God,
the dawn from on high shall break upon us
Shine, Lord, on those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death
and guide our feet into the way of peace.
Merciful Father,
Accept these prayers
for the sake of your Son,
our Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen.

Almighty God,
who called your servant John the Baptist
to be the forerunner of your Son in birth and death
strengthen us by your grace
that, as he suffered for the truth,
so we may boldly resist corruption and vice
and receive with him the unfading crown of glory;
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

May the word of God dwell richly in our heart from hour to hour, 
so that all may see the triumph through Jesus' power and love. 

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

The intercession is by Simon Kershaw.

The 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 main celebration for John the Baptist is on 24 June, the date observing his birth, but John was also the forerunner of Christ in his death and, as the gospels of Matthew and Mark relate it, followed his denouncing of immoral ways and his call to repentance. On hearing of John's arrest, Christ's first words immediately take up John's call: Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near; repent, and believe the good news. [Exciting Holiness]

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