OREMUS: 14 June 2011

Steve Benner steve.benner at oremus.org
Mon Jun 13 17:00:00 GMT 2011

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OREMUS for June 14
Richard Baxter, Puritan Divine, 1691

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

Blessed are you, eternal God,
whose loving power surveys all that you have made,
and beyond whose care there is nothing that has life or breath;
we bless you for your wisdom,
we give you thanks for your loving-kindness,
we praise you for your providence:
Father, Son, and Holy Spirit:
Blessed be God for ever!

An opening canticle may be sung. 


Psalm 73

Truly, God is good to Israel,*
 to those who are pure in heart.
But as for me, my feet had nearly slipped;*
 I had almost tripped and fallen;
Because I envied the proud*
 and saw the prosperity of the wicked:
For they suffer no pain,*
 and their bodies are sleek and sound;
In the misfortunes of others they have no share;*
 they are not afflicted as others are;
Therefore they wear their pride like a necklace*
 and wrap their violence about them like a cloak.
Their iniquity comes from gross minds,*
 and their hearts overflow with wicked thoughts.
They scoff and speak maliciously;*
 out of their haughtiness they plan oppression.
They set their mouths against the heavens,*
 and their evil speech runs through the world.
And so the people turn to them*
 and find in them no fault.
They say, 'How should God know?*
 is there knowledge in the Most High?'
So then, these are the wicked;*
 always at ease, they increase their wealth.
In vain have I kept my heart clean,*
 and washed my hands in innocence.
I have been afflicted all day long,*
 and punished every morning.
Had I gone on speaking this way,*
 I should have betrayed the generation of your children.
When I tried to understand these things,*
 it was too hard for me;
Until I entered the sanctuary of God*
 and discerned the end of the wicked.
Surely, you set them in slippery places;*
 you cast them down in ruin.
O how suddenly do they come to destruction,*
 come to an end and perish from terror!
Like a dream when one awakens, O Lord,*
 when you arise you will make their image vanish.
When my mind became embittered,*
 I was sorely wounded in my heart.

I was stupid and had no understanding;*
 I was like a brute beast in your presence.
Yet I am always with you;*
 you hold me by my right hand.
You will guide me by your counsel,*
 and afterwards receive me with glory.
Whom have I in heaven but you?*
 and having you I desire nothing upon earth.
Though my flesh and my heart should waste away,*
 God is the strength of my heart and my portion for ever.
Truly, those who forsake you will perish;*
 you destroy all who are unfaithful.
But it is good for me to be near God;*
 I have made the Lord God my refuge.
I will speak of all your works*
 in the gates of the city of Zion.

Psalm 74 [CCP]

O God, why have you utterly cast us off?*
 why is your wrath so hot
   against the sheep of your pasture?
Remember your congregation that you purchased long ago,*
 the tribe you redeemed to be your inheritance,
   and Mount Zion where you dwell.
Turn your steps towards the endless ruins;*
 the enemy has laid waste everything in your sanctuary.
Your adversaries roared in your holy place;*
 they set up their banners as tokens of victory.
They were like men coming up with axes
   to a grove of trees;*
 they broke down all your carved work
   with hatchets and hammers.
They set fire to your holy place;*
 they defiled the dwellingplace of your name
   and razed it to the ground.
They said to themselves, 'Let us destroy them altogether.'*
 They burned down all the meetingplaces of God
   in the land.
There are no signs for us to see;
   there is no prophet left;*
 there is not one among us who knows how long.
How long, O God, will the adversary scoff?*
 will the enemy blaspheme your name for ever?
Why do you draw back your hand?*
 why is your right hand hidden in your bosom?
Yet God is my king from ancient times,*
 victorious in the midst of the earth.
You divided the sea by your might*
 and shattered the heads of the dragons upon the waters;
You crushed the heads of Leviathan*
 and gave him to the people of the desert for food.
You split open spring and torrent;*
 you dried up everflowing rivers.
Yours is the day, yours also the night;*
 you established the moon and the sun.
You fixed all the boundaries of the earth;*
 you made both summer and winter.
Remember, O Lord, how the enemy scoffed,*
 how a foolish people despised your name.
Do not hand over the life of your dove to wild beasts;*
 never forget the lives of your poor.
Look upon your covenant;*
 the dark places of the earth are haunts of violence.
Let not the oppressed turn away ashamed;*
 let the poor and needy praise your name.
Arise, O God, maintain your cause;*
 remember how fools revile you all day long.
Forget not the clamour of your adversaries,*
 the unending tumult of those who rise up against you.


Job again took up his discourse and said: 
'O that I were as in the months of old,
   as in the days when God watched over me; 
when his lamp shone over my head,
   and by his light I walked through darkness; 
when I was in my prime,
   when the friendship of God was upon my tent; 
when the Almighty was still with me,
   when my children were around me; 
when my steps were washed with milk,
   and the rock poured out for me streams of oil! 
When I went out to the gate of the city,
   when I took my seat in the square, 
the young men saw me and withdrew,
   and the aged rose up and stood; 
the nobles refrained from talking,
   and laid their hands on their mouths; 
the voices of princes were hushed,
   and their tongues stuck to the roof of their mouths. 
When the ear heard, it commended me,
   and when the eye saw, it approved; 
because I delivered the poor who cried,
   and the orphan who had no helper. 
The blessing of the wretched came upon me,
   and I caused the widow's heart to sing for joy. 
I put on righteousness, and it clothed me;
   my justice was like a robe and a turban. 
I was eyes to the blind,
   and feet to the lame. 
I was a father to the needy,
   and I championed the cause of the stranger. 
I broke the fangs of the unrighteous,
   and made them drop their prey from their teeth. 
Then I thought, "I shall die in my nest,
   and I shall multiply my days like the phoenix; 
my roots spread out to the waters,
   with the dew all night on my branches; 
my glory was fresh with me,
   and my bow ever new in my hand." 

'They listened to me, and waited,
   and kept silence for my counsel. 
After I spoke they did not speak again,
   and my word dropped upon them like dew. 
They waited for me as for the rain;
   they opened their mouths as for the spring rain. 
I smiled on them when they had no confidence;
   and the light of my countenance they did not extinguish. 
I chose their way, and sat as chief,
   and I lived like a king among his troops,
   like one who comforts mourners.' 

Words: Richard Baxter (1615-1691)
Tune: Albano, Burford

Lord, it belongs not to my care
whether I die or live;
to love and serve thee is my share,
and this thy grace must give.

If life be long, I will be glad
that I may long obey;
if short, yet why should I be sad
to soar to endless day?

Christ leads me through no darker rooms
than he went through before;
he that into God's kingdom comes
must enter by this door.

Come Lord, when grace hath made me meet
thy blessed face to see;
for if thy work on earth be sweet,
what will thy glory be?

Then I shall end my sad complaints
and weary, sinful days,
and join with the triumphant saints
that sing Jehovah's praise.

My knowledge of that life is small;
the eye of faith is dim;
but 'tis enough that Christ knows all,
and I shall be with him.

SECOND READING [Luke 6.1–11]:

One sabbath while Jesus was going through the cornfields, his disciples plucked some heads of grain, rubbed them in their hands, and ate them. But some of the Pharisees said, 'Why are you doing what is not lawful on the sabbath?' Jesus answered, 'Have you not read what David did when he and his companions were hungry? He entered the house of God and took and ate the bread of the Presence, which it is not lawful for any but the priests to eat, and gave some to his companions?' Then he said to them, 'The Son of Man is lord of the sabbath.' 

On another sabbath he entered the synagogue and taught, and there was a man there whose right hand was withered. The scribes and the Pharisees watched him to see whether he would cure on the sabbath, so that they might find an accusation against him. Even though he knew what they were thinking, he said to the man who had the withered hand, 'Come and stand here.' He got up and stood there. Then Jesus said to them, 'I ask you, is it lawful to do good or to do harm on the sabbath, to save life or to destroy it?' After looking around at all of them, he said to him, 'Stretch out your hand.' He did so, and his hand was restored. But they were filled with fury and discussed with one another what they might do to Jesus. 

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

Merciful God,
you give us every good gift.
Hear our prayers which we now offer
through your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.

We pray for your Church.
May our divisions be healed,
that we may go into the world proclaiming your Good News.
Lord, in your mercy:
hear our prayer.

We pray for the physical and spiritual well-being
of our family and friends,
that they may rejoice in your mercy and love
and share in your joy in your heavenly Kingdom.
Lord, in your mercy:
hear our prayer.

We pray for those who work,
especially those who are stressed or overwhelmed,
that they may know you are their refuge and strength.
Lord, in your mercy:
hear our prayer.

We pray for those who are persecuted
for fighting for justice and liberty,
that they may remember that you are the source
of all things just and free.
Lord, in your mercy:
hear our prayer.

Keep us, O Lord, while we tarry on this earth,
in a serious seeking after thee,
and in an affectionate walking with thee,
every day of our lives;
that when thou comest, 
we may be found not hiding our talent,
nor serving the flesh,
nor yet asleep with our lamp unfurnished,
but waiting and longing for our Lord,
our glorious King, for ever and ever. Amen.

O heavenly Father, Shepherd of your people, 
we thank you for your servant Richard Baxter, 
who was faithful in the care and nurture of your flock; 
and we pray that, following his example and the teaching of his holy life, 
we may by your grace grow into the stature of the fullness 
of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ; 
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

May we trust in your hidden ways,
that we may pray with confidence,
and wait for your kingdom now growing in our midst. Amen.
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 Queen Anne. The first collect is by Richard Baxter. The closing sentence is from a prayer in _Opening Prayers: Collects in Contemporary Language_. Canterbury Press, Norwich, 1999.

Richard Baxter was born at Rowton in Shropshire in 1615. In 1633 he was at the court of King James I but was so disgusted with the low moral standards there that he returned home in order to study divinity. He was ordained but after the promulgation of an infamous Oath in 1640, which required obedience to a string of persons ending in the trite phrase 'et cetera', he rejected belief in episcopacy in its current English form and went as a curate to a poor area of the west Midlands. He opposed the Civil War and played a prominent part in the recall of Charles II, but his continuing dissatisfaction with the way episcopacy was practised led him to decline the See of Hereford. This refusal led him to be debarred from further office in the Church, though he continued to contribute to its life as a prolific hymn writer. He died in the year 1691. [Exciting Holiness]

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