OREMUS: 11 January 2011

Steve Benner steve.benner at oremus.org
Mon Jan 10 17:00:00 GMT 2011


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OREMUS for January 11
Mary Slessor, Missionary in West Africa, 1915

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

Blessed are you,  God, most ancient and most new,
food for eternity and power of our being,
you are inexhaustible in your love and infinite in your glory.
You are the source of all goodness and fountain of all life.
Father, Son, and Holy Spirit:
Blessed be God for ever!

An opening canticle may be sung. 

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

Psalm 56

Have mercy on me, O God,
   for my enemies are hounding me;*
 all day long they assault and oppress me.
They hound me all the day long;*
 truly there are many who fight against me, O Most High.
Whenever I am afraid,*
 I will put my trust in you.
In God, whose word I praise,
   in God I trust and will not be afraid,*
 for what can flesh do to me?
All day long they damage my cause;*
 their only thought is to do me evil.
They band together; they lie in wait;*
 they spy upon my footsteps; because they seek my life.
Shall they escape despite their wickedness?*
 O God, in your anger, cast down the peoples.
You have noted my lamentation;
   put my tears into your bottle;*
 are they not recorded in your book?
Whenever I call upon you,
   my enemies will be put to flight;*
 this I know, for God is on my side.
In God the Lord, whose word I praise,
   in God I trust and will not be afraid,*
 for what can mortals do to me?
I am bound by the vow I made to you, O God;*
 I will present to you thankofferings;
For you have rescued my soul from death
   and my feet from stumbling,*
 that I may walk before God in the light of the living.

Psalm 57

Be merciful to me, O God, be merciful,
   for I have taken refuge in you;*
 in the shadow of your wings will I take refuge
   until this time of trouble has gone by.
I will call upon the Most High God,*
 the God who maintains my cause.
He will send from heaven and save me;
   he will confound those who trample upon me;*
 God will send forth his love and his faithfulness.
I lie in the midst of lions that devour the people;*
 their teeth are spears and arrows,
   their tongue a sharp sword.
They have laid a net for my feet and I am bowed low;*
 they have dug a pit before me
   but have fallen into it themselves.
Exalt yourself above the heavens, O God,*
 and your glory over all the earth.
My heart is firmly fixed, O God, my heart is fixed;*
 I will sing and make melody.
Wake up, my spirit; awake, lute and harp;*
 I myself will waken the dawn.
I will confess you among the peoples, O Lord;*
 I will sing praise to you among the nations.
For your lovingkindness is greater than the heavens,*
 and your faithfulness reaches to the clouds.
Exalt yourself above the heavens, O God,*
 and your glory over all the earth.

Psalm 58
Do you indeed decree righteousness, you rulers?*
 do you judge the peoples with equity?
No; you devise evil in your hearts,*
 and your hands deal out violence in the land.
The wicked are perverse from the womb;*
 liars go astray from their birth.
They are as venomous as a serpent,*
 they are like the deaf adder which stops its ears,
Which does not heed the voice of the charmer,*
 no matter how skilful his charming.
O God, break their teeth in their mouths;*
 pull the fangs of the young lions, O Lord.
Let them vanish like water that runs off;*
 let them wither like trodden grass.
Let them be like the snail that melts away,*
 like a stillborn child that never sees the sun.
Before they bear fruit, let them be cut down like a brier;*
 like thorns and thistles let them be swept away.
The righteous will be glad when they see the vengeance;*
 they will bathe their feet in the blood of the wicked.
And they will say,
   'Surely, there is a reward for the righteous;*
 surely, there is a God who rules in the earth.'

FIRST READING [Ezekiel 33:1–20]:

The word of the Lord came to me: O Mortal, speak to your people and say to them, If I bring the sword upon a land, and the people of the land take one of their number as their sentinel; and if the sentinel sees the sword coming upon the land and blows the trumpet and warns the people; then if any who hear the sound of the trumpet do not take warning, and the sword comes and takes them away, their blood shall be upon their own heads. They heard the sound of the trumpet and did not take warning; their blood shall be upon themselves. But if they had taken warning, they would have saved their lives. But if the sentinel sees the sword coming and does not blow the trumpet, so that the people are not warned, and the sword comes and takes any of them, they are taken away in their iniquity, but their blood I will require at the sentinel's hand. 

So you, mortal, I have made a sentinel for the house of Israel; whenever you hear a word from my mouth, you shall give them warning from me. If I say to the wicked, 'O wicked ones, you shall surely die', and you do not speak to warn the wicked to turn from their ways, the wicked shall die in their iniquity, but their blood I will require at your hand. But if you warn the wicked to turn from their ways, and they do not turn from their ways, the wicked shall die in their iniquity, but you will have saved your life. 

Now you, mortal, say to the house of Israel, Thus you have said: 'Our transgressions and our sins weigh upon us, and we waste away because of them; how then can we live?' Say to them, As I live, says the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from their ways and live; turn back, turn back from your evil ways; for why will you die, O house of Israel? And you, mortal, say to your people, The righteousness of the righteous shall not save them when they transgress; and as for the wickedness of the wicked, it shall not make them stumble when they turn from their wickedness; and the righteous shall not be able to live by their righteousness when they sin. Though I say to the righteous that they shall surely live, yet if they trust in their righteousness and commit iniquity, none of their righteous deeds shall be remembered; but in the iniquity that they have committed they shall die. Again, though I say to the wicked, 'You shall surely die', yet if they turn from their sin and do what is lawful and right— if the wicked restore the pledge, give back what they have taken by robbery, and walk in the statutes of life, committing no iniquity—they shall surely live, they shall not die. None of the sins that they have committed shall be remembered against them; they have done what is lawful and right, they shall surely live. 

Yet your people say, 'The way of the Lord is not just', when it is their own way that is not just. When the righteous turn from their righteousness, and commit iniquity, they shall die for it. And when the wicked turn from their wickedness, and do what is lawful and right, they shall live by it. Yet you say, 'The way of the Lord is not just.' O house of Israel, I will judge all of you according to your ways! 

HYMN 
Words: Frederick Faber (1814-1863)
Tune: Cross of Jesus, Omni Die

Souls of men, why do you scatter
like a crowd of frightened sheep?
foolish hearts, why do you wander
from a love so true and deep?

There's a wideness in God's mercy
like the wideness of the sea,
and forgiveness in his justice
sealed for us on Calvary.

There is plentiful redemption
in the blood that has been shed:
there is joy for all the members
in the sorrows of the Head.

For the love of God is broader
than the measures of man's mind;
and the heart of the Eternal
is most wonderfully kind.

But we make his love too narrow
by false limits of our own,
and we magnify his strictness
with a zeal he will not own.

If our love were but more simple
we should take him at his word;
and our lives would be illumined
by the goodness of our Lord.

SECOND READING [Romans 3:1–18]:

Then what advantage has the Jew? Or what is the value of circumcision? Much, in every way. For in the first place the Jews were entrusted with the oracles of God. What if some were unfaithful? Will their faithlessness nullify the faithfulness of God? By no means! Although everyone is a liar, let God be proved true, as it is written,
'So that you may be justified in your words,
   and prevail in your judging.' 
But if our injustice serves to confirm the justice of God, what should we say? That God is unjust to inflict wrath on us? (I speak in a human way.) By no means! For then how could God judge the world? But if through my falsehood God's truthfulness abounds to his glory, why am I still being condemned as a sinner? And why not say (as some people slander us by saying that we say), 'Let us do evil so that good may come'? Their condemnation is deserved! 

What then? Are we any better off? No, not at all; for we have already charged that all, both Jews and Greeks, are under the power of sin, as it is written:
'There is no one who is righteous, not even one; 
   there is no one who has understanding,
     there is no one who seeks God. 
All have turned aside, together they have become worthless;
   there is no one who shows kindness,
     there is not even one.' 
'Their throats are opened graves;
   they use their tongues to deceive.'
'The venom of vipers is under their lips.' 
   'Their mouths are full of cursing and bitterness.' 
'Their feet are swift to shed blood; 
   ruin and misery are in their paths, 
and the way of peace they have not known.' 
   'There is no fear of God before their eyes.' 

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

Prayer:
Aware of God(s gracious love for all creation,
let us pray for Christ(s Church, the world and all who stand in need.

For the Church throughout the world,
that we  may proclaim the Good News
and bring reconciliation and healing to this planet.
Lord, in your mercy,
hear our prayer.

For all Christians, 
that they may know the power of the living Christ
and serve in faithful discipleship
filled with grace and love and peace.
Lord, in your mercy,
hear our prayer.

For our country,
that its leaders may govern wisely and with compassion;
that its people may act responsibly toward one another
with fairness and for the common good.
Lord, in your mercy,
hear our prayer.

For all nations,
that all peoples shall know peace with justice,
that together they may recognize their common interdependence
in sharing the resources of earth.
Lord, in your mercy,
hear our prayer.

For the ties that bind us together,
that family members may respect one another with tender care,
that children are reared with a trust in the goodness of life,
that relations between friend and friend be open in loving honesty.
Lord, in your mercy,
hear our prayer.

For those who are in trouble or in danger,
that regardless of circumstance
they may find hope and release
and know that they are not alone, but abide in you.
Lord, in your mercy,
hear our prayer.

For the spread of God's good news to all the world,
that people shall increasingly seek to know God
and find their rest in him who came to save us,
Jesus Christ our Lord.
Lord, in your mercy,
hear our prayer.

Shed forth your everlasting light, O God, 
that faith may open the doors of our hearts, 
to welcome Christ, in whom are found
the riches of simplicity, 
the treasures of peace, 
and the joy of grace. 
We ask this through him, 
the Sun of holiness which never sets. Amen.

Everlasting God,
whose servant Mary Slessor carried the good news of your Son
to the people of western Africa,
grant that we who commemorate her service
may know the hope of the gospel in our hearts
and manifest its light in all our ways;
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 God the holy and undivided Trinity
guard our bodies, save our souls,
and bring us safely to the heavenly country,
where God lives and reigns for ever and ever. 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 is based on a prayer by John Henry Newman and the closing sentence is  reprinted by permission from _The Worship Sourcebook_, (c) 2004 CRC Publications.

Mary Slessor was born into a working-class, Presbyterian family in Aberdeen in 1848. As a child in Dundee, she was enthralled by stories of missions in Africa. For years, she read diligently as she worked in the mills, and eventually, in 1875, she was accepted as a teacher for the mission in Calabar, Nigeria. Her fluency in the local language, physical resilience and lack of pretension endeared her to those to whom she ministered. She adopted unwanted children, particularly twins who would otherwise, according to local superstition, have been put to death. She was influential in organising trade and in settling disputes, contributing much to the development of the Okoyong people with whom she later settled. She died, still in Africa, on this day in 1915. [Exciting Holiness]


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