OREMUS: 23 February 2011

Steve Benner steve.benner at oremus.org
Tue Feb 22 17:00:00 GMT 2011


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OREMUS for Tuesday, February 23, 2010
Polycarp, Bishop of Smyrna, Martyr, c.155

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

Blessed are you, O God most mighty,
O God most merciful, 
O God our rock and our salvation. 
When the world was a formless void, 
you formed order and beauty. 
You entered our sorrows
in Jesus our brother. 
He was born among the poor, 
lived under oppression, 
and wept over the city. 
With infinite love, 
he brought your life to all people. 
For these and all your mercies, we praise you: 
Blessed be God for ever!

An opening canticle may be sung. 
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Psalm 114

Alleluia!
   When Israel came out of Egypt,*
 the house of Jacob from a people of strange speech,
Judah became God's sanctuary*
 and Israel his dominion.
The sea beheld it and fled;*
 Jordan turned and went back.
The mountains skipped like rams,*
 and the little hills like young sheep.
What ailed you, O sea, that you fled?*
 O Jordan, that you turned back?
You mountains, that you skipped like rams?*
 you little hills like young sheep?
Tremble, O earth, at the presence of the Lord,*
 at the presence of the God of Jacob,
Who turned the hard rock into a pool of water*
 and flintstone into a flowing spring.

Psalm 115

Not to us, O Lord, not to us,
   but to your name give glory;*
 because of your love and because of your faithfulness.
Why should the heathen say,*
 'Where then is their God?'
Our God is in heaven;*
 whatever he wills to do he does.
Their idols are silver and gold,*
 the work of human hands.
They have mouths, but they cannot speak;*
 eyes have they, but they cannot see;
They have ears, but they cannot hear;*
 noses, but they cannot smell;
They have hands, but they cannot feel;
   feet, but they cannot walk;*
 they make no sound with their throat.
Those who make them are like them,*
 and so are all who put their trust in them.
O Israel, trust in the Lord;*
 he is their help and their shield.
O house of Aaron, trust in the Lord;*
 he is their help and their shield.
You who fear the Lord, trust in the Lord;*
 he is their help and their shield.
The Lord has been mindful of us and he will bless us;*
 he will bless the house of Israel;
   he will bless the house of Aaron;
He will bless those who fear the Lord,*
 both small and great together.
May the Lord increase you more and more,*
 you and your children after you.
May you be blessed by the Lord,*
 the maker of heaven and earth.
The heaven of heavens is the Lord's,*
 but he entrusted the earth to its peoples.
The dead do not praise the Lord,*
 nor all those who go down into silence;
But we will bless the Lord,*
 from this time forth for evermore.
   Alleluia!

FIRST READING [Micah 7:1-7]:

Woe is me! For I have become like one who,
   after the summer fruit has been gathered,
   after the vintage has been gleaned,
finds no cluster to eat;
   there is no first-ripe fig for which I hunger. 
The faithful have disappeared from the land,
   and there is no one left who is upright;
they all lie in wait for blood,
   and they hunt each other with nets. 
Their hands are skilled to do evil;
   the official and the judge ask for a bribe,
and the powerful dictate what they desire;
   thus they pervert justice. 
The best of them is like a brier,
   the most upright of them a thorn hedge.
The day of their sentinels, of their punishment, has come;
   now their confusion is at hand. 
Put no trust in a friend,
   have no confidence in a loved one;
guard the doors of your mouth
   from her who lies in your embrace; 
for the son treats the father with contempt,
   the daughter rises up against her mother,
the daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law;
   your enemies are members of your own household. 
But as for me, I will look to the Lord,
   I will wait for the God of my salvation;
   my God will hear me. 

HYMN 
Words: Shirley Erena Murray (c) Hope Publishing Co. Used with permission.
Tune: Cambodia

Stranger God, you come to us,
knock on doors and ask for shelter, 
wash our feet with towel and water, 
teach us how to pray, 
heed what women say. 

Stranger with compassion's face, 
here you speak of love and healing, 
shout your anger, cry your feeling, 
show a God that's weak --
turn the other cheek. 

Stranger God, you come to us, 
unexpected, unprotected, 
in our body resurrected
where our hope has died, 
hanging crucified. 

Strangest God of all you seem: 
though we mock you, or neglect you, 
never can we so reject you
that you let us go --
love cannot say "No!" 

Stranger God, you come to us, 
Stranger God, you come to us.

SECOND READING [John 8:1–20]:

After Jesus went to the Mount of Olives, early in the morning he came again to the temple. All the people came to him and he sat down and began to teach them. The scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in adultery; and making her stand before all of them, they said to him, 'Teacher, this woman was caught in the very act of committing adultery. Now in the law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?' They said this to test him, so that they might have some charge to bring against him. Jesus bent down and wrote with his finger on the ground. When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, 'Let anyone among you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.' And once again he bent down and wrote on the ground. When they heard it, they went away, one by one, beginning with the elders; and Jesus was left alone with the woman standing before him. Jesus straightened up and said to her, 'Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?' She said, 'No one, sir.' And Jesus said, 'Neither do I condemn you. Go your way, and from now on do not sin again.'

Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, 'I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness but will have the light of life.' Then the Pharisees said to him, 'You are testifying on your own behalf; your testimony is not valid.' Jesus answered, 'Even if I testify on my own behalf, my testimony is valid because I know where I have come from and where I am going, but you do not know where I come from or where I am going. You judge by human standards; I judge no one. Yet even if I do judge, my judgement is valid; for it is not I alone who judge, but I and the Father who sent me. In your law it is written that the testimony of two witnesses is valid. I testify on my own behalf, and the Father who sent me testifies on my behalf.' Then they said to him, 'Where is your Father?' Jesus answered, 'You know neither me nor my Father. If you knew me, you would know my Father also.' He spoke these words while he was teaching in the treasury of the temple, but no one arrested him, because his hour had not yet come. 

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

Prayer:
Show us your mercy, O Lord;
And grant us your salvation.

O Lord, save our nation;
And teach wisdom to those in authority.

Let your priests be clothed with righteousness;
Let your faithful people sing with joy.

Let your ways be known upon earth;
Your saving health among all nations.

Give your people the blessing of peace
And may all the earth be filled with your glory.

Create in us clean hearts, O God,
And renew a right spirit within us.

O God, generous and supreme,
your loving Son lived among us,
instructing us in the ways of humility and justice.
Continue to ease our burdens,
and lead us to serve alongside him,
Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord. Amen.

Almighty God, 
who have to your servant Polycarp 
boldness to confess the name of our Savior Jesus Christ 
before the rulers of this world 
and courage to die for this faith: 
grant that we also may be ready to give 
an answer for the faith that is in us 
and to suffer gladly for the sake of our Lord Jesus Christ, 
who lives and reigns with you and 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

Grant that we may eagerly follow Jesus' call,
and bring us with all your saints into your life of justice and joy. 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, the first collect, and the closing sentence are adapted from
_Evangelical Lutheran Worship_, (c) 2006 Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.

Honoured as one of the first Christian martyrs, Polycarp had been Bishop of Smyrna on the Adriatic coast of Asia Minor for over forty years when the persecution of Christians began. He was arrested and given the option to renounce his faith and so save his life. His response was: "I have been Christ's servant for eighty-six years and he has done me no harm. Can I now blaspheme my King and my Saviour?" He was immediately burnt at the stake. His remains were gathered together and buried outside the city; thus began the practice of celebrating the eucharist over his burial place on the anniversary of his death, a practice which also grew over the martyrs' tombs in the Roman catacombs. Polycarp died in the year 155. [Exciting Holiness]



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