OREMUS: 25 January 2011

Steve Benner steve.benner at oremus.org
Mon Jan 24 17:00:00 GMT 2011


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OREMUS for January 25
The Conversion of Saint Paul  

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

Blessed are you, almighty God,
for the wonders of your grace
displayed in your apostle Paul,
whom you chose to announce the good news to the gentiles.
We give you thanks for his example of his patient service,
by which he instructed us in the way of eternal life,
given to us in your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. 
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. 
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Psalm 119:33-40

Teach me, O Lord, the way of your statutes,*
 and I shall keep it to the end.

Give me understanding and I shall keep your law;*
 I shall keep it with all my heart.
Make me go in the path of your commandments,*
 for that is my desire.
Incline my heart to your decrees*
 and not to unjust gain.
Turn my eyes from watching what is worthless;*
 give me life in your ways.
Fulfil your promise to your servant,*
 which you make to those who fear you.
Turn away the reproach which I dread,*
 because your judgements are good.
Behold, I long for your commandments;*
 in your righteousness preserve my life.
Psalm 119:41-48

Let your lovingkindness come to me, O Lord,*
 and your salvation, according to your promise.
Then shall I have a word for those who taunt me,*
 because I trust in your words.
Do not take the word of truth out of my mouth,*
 for my hope is in your judgements.
I shall continue to keep your law;*
 I shall keep it for ever and ever.
I will walk at liberty,*
 because I study your commandments.
I will tell of your decrees before kings*
 and will not be ashamed.
I delight in your commandments,*
 which I have always loved.
I will lift up my hands to your commandments,*
 and I will meditate on your statutes.
Psalm 119:49-56

Remember your word to your servant,*
 because you have given me hope.
This is my comfort in my trouble,*
 that your promise gives me life.
The proud have derided me cruelly,*

 but I have not turned from your law.
When I remember your judgements of old,*
 O Lord, I take great comfort.
I am filled with a burning rage,*
 because of the wicked who forsake your law.
Your statutes have been like songs to me*
 wherever I have lived as a stranger.
I remember your name in the night, O Lord,*
 and dwell upon your law.
This is how it has been with me,*
 because I have kept your commandments.
Psalm 119:57-64

You only are my portion, O Lord;*
 I have promised to keep your words.
I entreat you with all my heart,*
 be merciful to me according to your promise.

I have considered my ways*
 and turned my feet towards your decrees.
I hasten and do not tarry*
 to keep your commandments.
Though the cords of the wicked entangle me,*
 I do not forget your law.
At midnight I will rise to give you thanks,*
 because of your righteous judgements.
I am a companion of all who fear you*
 and of those who keep your commandments.
The earth, O Lord, is full of your love;*
 instruct me in your statutes.
Psalm 119:65-72

O Lord, you have dealt graciously with your servant,*
 according to your word.
Teach me discernment and knowledge,*
 for I have believed in your commandments.
Before I was afflicted I went astray,*
 but now I keep your word.
You are good and you bring forth good;*
 instruct me in your statutes.
The proud have smeared me with lies,*
 but I will keep your commandments
   with my whole heart.
Their heart is gross and fat,*
 but my delight is in your law.
It is good for me that I have been afflicted,*
 that I might learn your statutes.
The law of your mouth is dearer to me*
 than thousands in gold and silver.

FIRST READING [Zechariah 1:1–21]:

In the eighth month, in the second year of Darius, the word of the Lord came to the prophet Zechariah son of Berechiah son of Iddo, saying: The Lord was very angry with your ancestors. Therefore say to them, Thus says the Lord of hosts: Return to me, says the Lord of hosts, and I will return to you, says the Lord of hosts. Do not be like your ancestors, to whom the former prophets proclaimed, 'Thus says the Lord of hosts, Return from your evil ways and from your evil deeds.' But they did not hear or heed me, says the Lord. Your ancestors, where are they? And the prophets, do they live for ever? But my words and my statutes, which I commanded my servants the prophets, did they not overtake your ancestors? So they repented and said, 'The Lord of hosts has dealt with us according to our ways and deeds, just as he planned to do.' 

On the twenty-fourth day of the eleventh month, the month of Shebat, in the second year of Darius, the word of the Lord came to the prophet Zechariah son of Berechiah son of Iddo; and Zechariah said, In the night I saw a man riding on a red horse! He was standing among the myrtle trees in the glen; and behind him were red, sorrel, and white horses. Then I said, 'What are these, my lord?' The angel who talked with me said to me, 'I will show you what they are.' So the man who was standing among the myrtle trees answered, 'They are those whom the Lord has sent to patrol the earth.' Then they spoke to the angel of the Lord who was standing among the myrtle trees, 'We have patrolled the earth, and lo, the whole earth remains at peace.' Then the angel of the Lord said, 'O Lord of hosts, how long will you withhold mercy from Jerusalem and the cities of Judah, with which you have been angry these seventy years?' Then the Lord replied with gracious and comforting words to the angel who talked with me. So the angel who talked with me said to me, Proclaim this message: Thus says the Lord of hosts; I am very jealous for Jerusalem and for Zion. And I am extremely angry with the nations that are at ease; for while I was only a little angry, they made the disaster worse. Therefore, thus says the Lord, I have returned to Jerusalem with compassion; my house shall be built in it, says the Lord of hosts, and the measuring line shall be stretched out over Jerusalem. Proclaim further: Thus says the Lord of hosts: My cities shall again overflow with prosperity; the Lord will again comfort Zion and again choose Jerusalem. 

And I looked up and saw four horns. I asked the angel who talked with me, 'What are these?' And he answered me, 'These are the horns that have scattered Judah, Israel, and Jerusalem.' Then the Lord showed me four blacksmiths. And I asked, 'What are they coming to do?' He answered, 'These are the horns that scattered Judah, so that no head could be raised; but these have come to terrify them, to strike down the horns of the nations that lifted up their horns against the land of Judah to scatter its people.'
 
HYMN 
Words: John Ellerton, 1871
Tune: King's Lynn, Munich, Ellacombe, Llangloffan, Missionary

We sing the glorious conquest
before Damascus' gate,
when Saul, the Church's spoiler
came breathing threats and hate.
The ravening wolf rushed forward
full early to the prey;
but lo! the Shepherd met him,
and bound him fast today.

O glory most excelling
that smote across his path!
O light that pierced and blinded
the zealot in his wrath!
O voice that spake within him
the calm, reproving word!
O love that sought and held him
the bondman of his Lord!

O Wisdom ordering all things
in order strong and sweet,
what nobler spoil was ever
cast at the Victor's feet?
What wiser master builder
e'er wrought at thine employ
than he, till now so furious
thy building to destroy?

Lord, teach thy Church the lesson,
still in her darkest hour
of weakness and of danger,
to trust thy hidden power;
thy grace by ways mysterious
the wrath of man can bind,
and in thy boldest foeman
thy chosen saint can find.

SECOND READING [Romans 14:1–23]:

Welcome those who are weak in faith, but not for the purpose of quarrelling over opinions. Some believe in eating anything, while the weak eat only vegetables. Those who eat must not despise those who abstain, and those who abstain must not pass judgement on those who eat; for God has welcomed them. Who are you to pass judgement on servants of another? It is before their own lord that they stand or fall. And they will be upheld, for the Lord is able to make them stand. 

Some judge one day to be better than another, while others judge all days to be alike. Let all be fully convinced in their own minds. Those who observe the day, observe it in honour of the Lord. Also those who eat, eat in honour of the Lord, since they give thanks to God; while those who abstain, abstain in honour of the Lord and give thanks to God. 

We do not live to ourselves, and we do not die to ourselves. If we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord; so then, whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord's. For to this end Christ died and lived again, so that he might be Lord of both the dead and the living. 

Why do you pass judgement on your brother or sister? Or you, why do you despise your brother or sister? For we will all stand before the judgement seat of God. For it is written, As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall give praise to God.' So then, each of us will be accountable to God. 

Let us therefore no longer pass judgement on one another, but resolve instead never to put a stumbling-block or hindrance in the way of another. I know and am persuaded in the Lord Jesus that nothing is unclean in itself; but it is unclean for anyone who thinks it unclean. If your brother or sister is being injured by what you eat, you are no longer walking in love. Do not let what you eat cause the ruin of one for whom Christ died. So do not let your good be spoken of as evil. For the kingdom of God is not food and drink but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. The one who thus serves Christ is acceptable to God and has human approval. Let us then pursue what makes for peace and for mutual edification. Do not, for the sake of food, destroy the work of God. Everything is indeed clean, but it is wrong for you to make others fall by what you eat; it is good not to eat meat or drink wine or do anything that makes your brother or sister stumble. The faith that you have, have as your own conviction before God. Blessed are those who have no reason to condemn themselves because of what they approve. But those who have doubts are condemned if they eat, because they do not act from faith; for whatever does not proceed from faith is sin.

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

Prayer:
O God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
our only Saviour, the Prince of Peace:
give us grace to seriously to lay to heart
the great dangers we are in by our unhappy divisions.
Take away all hatred and prejudice,
and whatever else may hinder us
from godly union and concord;
that, as there is but one Body and one Spirit,
one hope of our calling,
one Lord, one faith, one baptism,
one God and Father of us all,
so we may henceforth be 
all of one heart and of one soul,
united in one holy bond of peace, of faith and charity
and may with one mind and one mouth glorify you;
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

O God, 
by the preaching of your apostle Paul 
you have caused the light of your Gospel 
to shine throughout the world: 
Grant, we pray, that we, 
having his wonderful conversion in remembrance, 
may show ourselves thankful to you 
by following his holy teaching; 
through Jesus Christ our Lord, 
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, 
one God, now and forever. Amen.
		
Gathering our prayers and praises into one,
let us pray as our Savior has taught us.

- The Lord's Prayer

God, who formed us,
continue to shape us as a vessel of the Gospel. 
Christ Jesus, whom we bear, 
mark our life with the good news. 
The Holy Spirit, dwelling within, 
fill us with the healing, liberating power of 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 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 and the closing sentence are adapted from
from _Uniting in Worship 2_, (c) 2005 Uniting Church in Australia.

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

The collect is from The Book of Common Prayer_ (1979),
Charles Mortimer Guilbert, Custodian.

The conversion of the anti-Christian zealot, Saul, to the apostle of Christ, Paul, is clearly related in the reading from the Acts of the Apostles, but it has to be remembered that this was a beginning: Saul took some time to become Paul and some time to begin to understand that his call to preach -- to Jew and to Gentile -- the saving power of Jesus, the Son of God, was something that was a whole life's journey for him. Paul says in his Letter to the Church in Galatia, "God set me apart before I was born and called me through his grace ... Three years after (the Damascus Road conversion), I went up to Jerusalem." The preparation for this moment of his conversion was his whole life. This feast has been celebrated in the Church since the sixth century but became universal in the twelfth century.  [Exciting Holiness]



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