OREMUS: 15 February 2011

Steve Benner steve.benner at oremus.org
Mon Feb 14 17:00:01 GMT 2011


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OREMUS for February 15
Thomas Bray, Priest, Founder of the SPCK and the SPG, 1730

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

Blessed are you, all holy God,
how wonderful is the work of your hands! 
When sin had scarred the world, 
you entered into covenant to renew the whole creation. 
As a mother tenderly gathers her children, 
as a father joyfully welcomes his own, 
you embraced a people as your own
and filled them with longing
for a peace that would last
and for a justice that would never fail. 
For these and all your mercies, we praise you: 
Blessed be God for ever!

An opening canticle may be sung. 

http://www.oremus.org/ocan.html

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 [1 Maccabees 4:36-59]:

Then Judas and his brothers said, 'See, our enemies are crushed; let us go up to cleanse the sanctuary and dedicate it.' So all the army assembled and went up to Mount Zion. There they saw the sanctuary desolate, the altar profaned, and the gates burned. In the courts they saw bushes sprung up as in a thicket, or as on one of the mountains. They saw also the chambers of the priests in ruins. Then they tore their clothes and mourned with great lamentation; they sprinkled themselves with ashes and fell face down on the ground. And when the signal was given with the trumpets, they cried out to Heaven. 

Then Judas detailed men to fight against those in the citadel until he had cleansed the sanctuary. He chose blameless priests devoted to the law, and they cleansed the sanctuary and removed the defiled stones to an unclean place. They deliberated what to do about the altar of burnt-offering, which had been profaned. And they thought it best to tear it down, so that it would not be a lasting shame to them that the Gentiles had defiled it. So they tore down the altar, and stored the stones in a convenient place on the temple hill until a prophet should come to tell what to do with them. Then they took unhewn stones, as the law directs, and built a new altar like the former one. They also rebuilt the sanctuary and the interior of the temple, and consecrated the courts. They made new holy vessels, and brought the lampstand, the altar of incense, and the table into the temple. Then they offered incense on the altar and lit the lamps on the lampstand, and these gave light in the temple. They placed the bread on the table and hung up the curtains. Thus they finished all the work they had undertaken. 

Early in the morning on the twenty-fifth day of the ninth month, which is the month of Chislev, in the one hundred and forty-eighth year, they rose and offered sacrifice, as the law directs, on the new altar of burnt-offering that they had built. At the very season and on the very day that the Gentiles had profaned it, it was dedicated with songs and harps and lutes and cymbals. All the people fell on their faces and worshipped and blessed Heaven, who had prospered them. So they celebrated the dedication of the altar for eight days, and joyfully offered burnt-offerings; they offered a sacrifice of well-being and a thanksgiving-offering. They decorated the front of the temple with golden crowns and small shields; they restored the gates and the chambers for the priests, and fitted them with doors. There was very great joy among the people, and the disgrace brought by the Gentiles was removed. 

Then Judas and his brothers and all the assembly of Israel determined that every year at that season the days of dedication of the altar should be observed with joy and gladness for eight days, beginning with the twenty-fifth day of the month of Chislev. 

HYMN 
Words: Frederick William Faber (1814-1863)
Tune: Chalvey, Westminster, Windsor

My God, how wonderful thou art,
thy majesty how bright,
how beautiful thy mercy-seat,
in depths of burning light!

How dread are thine eternal years,
O everlasting Lord,
by prostrate spirits day and night
incessantly adored!

How beautiful, how beautiful,
the sight of thee must be,
thine endless wisdom, boundless power,
and aweful purity!

O how I fear thee, living God,
with deepest, tenderest fears,
and worship thee with trembling hope,
and penitential tears!

Yet I may love thee too, O Lord,
almighty as thou art,
for thou hast stooped to ask of me
the love of my poor heart.

No earthly father loves like thee,
no mother, e'er so mild,
bears and forbears as thou hast done
with me thy sinful child.

O then this worse than worthless heart
in pity deign to take,
and make it love thee for thyself,
and for thy glory's sake.

Father of Jesus, love's reward,
what rapture will it be,
prostrate before thy throne to lie,
and gaze and gaze on thee!

SECOND READING [John 5:19–29]:

Jesus said to them, 'Very truly, I tell you, the Son can do nothing on his own, but only what he sees the Father doing; for whatever the Father* does, the Son does likewise. 20The Father loves the Son and shows him all that he himself is doing; and he will show him greater works than these, so that you will be astonished. 21Indeed, just as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, so also the Son gives life to whomsoever he wishes. 22The Father judges no one but has given all judgement to the Son, 23so that all may honour the Son just as they honour the Father. Anyone who does not honour the Son does not honour the Father who sent him. 24Very truly, I tell you, anyone who hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life, and does not come under judgement, but has passed from death to life. 
25 
'Very truly, I tell you, the hour is coming, and is now here, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live. 26For just as the Father has life in himself, so he has granted the Son also to have life in himself; 27and he has given him authority to execute judgement, because he is the Son of Man. 28Do not be astonished at this; for the hour is coming when all who are in their graves will hear his voice 29and will come out—those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of condemnation.' 

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

Prayer:
All-seeing, all-loving God,
you behold the human family as one.
You regard each of us as loved, redeemed, a temple of your Spirit.
Beholding you, we respond in thanks and praise as one Church.

Renew the Church in a dynamic sense of your grace.
Renew us, O Lord.

Work in us a continuing conversion:
Renew us, O Lord.

Give all your disciples eyes to see you in the ordinary:
Renew us, O Lord.

Lift the heavy hands of oppression
from the poor, the abused and the exploited:
Renew us, O Lord.

Kindle in the suffering and desperate
the warmth of your nearness and consolation:
Renew us, O Lord.

Stir up in us attention to the Spirit breathing within us:
Renew us, O Lord.

God of pilgrims, strengthen our faith, we pray. Guide us through the uncertainties of  our journey, and hold before us the vision of your eternal kingdom, made known to us in Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

O God of compassion, 
you opened the eyes of your servant Thomas Bray 
to see the needs of the Church in the New World,
and led him to found societies to meet those needs: 
Make the Church in this land diligent at all times 
to propragate the Gospel among those who have not received it, 
and to promote the spread of Christian knowledge;
through Jesus Christ our Lord, 
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, 
one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

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

- The Lord's Prayer

Eternal God, 
let your Holy Spirit move in power over us
that we may become one in Christ. 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 in _Book of Common Worship_, (c) 1993 Westminster
/ John Knox Press. 

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

Born at Marton in Shropshire in 1656, Thomas Bray was educated at Oxford and subsequently ordained. He was chosen by the Bishop of London to assist with the work of organising the church in Maryland in the USA but, during an extended delay in his setting out, he managed to organise a system of free libraries, initially for use in America but later instituted in England. This led to his founding the Society for the Promotion of Christian Knowledge (SPCK) in 1698. On his return to Europe in 1699, he also founded The Society for the Propagation of the Gospel (SPG). He died on this day in the year 1730. [Exciting Holiness]


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