OREMUS: 7 March 2011

Steve Benner steve.benner at oremus.org
Sun Mar 6 20:13:34 GMT 2011


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OREMUS for March 7
Perpetua, Felicity and their Companions, Martyrs at Carthage, 203

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

Blessed are you, O Lord,
who turns the shadow of death into the morning,
and renews the face of the earth.
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 35

Fight those who fight me, O Lord;*
 attack those who are attacking me.
Take up shield and armour*
 and rise up to help me.
Draw the sword and bar the way
   against those who pursue me;*
 say to my soul, 'I am your salvation.'
Let those who seek after my life be shamed and humbled;*
 let those who plot my ruin fall back and be dismayed.
Then I will be joyful in the Lord;*
 I will glory in his victory.
My very bones will say, 'Lord, who is like you?*
 You deliver the poor
   from those who are too strong for them,
   the poor and needy from those who rob them.'
Malicious witnesses rise up against me;*
 they charge me with matters I know nothing about.
They pay me evil in exchange for good;*
 my soul is full of despair.
But when they were sick I dressed in sackcloth*
 and humbled myself by fasting;
I prayed with my whole heart,
   as one would for a friend or a brother;*
 I behaved like one who mourns for his mother,
   bowed down and grieving.
But when I stumbled,
   they were glad and gathered together;
   they gathered against me;*
 strangers whom I did not know
   tore me to pieces and would not stop.
They put me to the test and mocked me;*
 they gnashed at me with their teeth.
O Lord, how long will you look on?*
 rescue me from the roaring beasts,
   and my life from the young lions.
I will give you thanks in the great congregation;*
 I will praise you in the mighty throng.
Do not let my treacherous foes rejoice over me,*
 nor let those who hate me without a cause
   wink at each other.
For they do not plan for peace,*
 but invent deceitful schemes
   against the quiet in the land.
They opened their mouths at me and said,*
 'Aha! we saw it with our own eyes.'
You saw it, O Lord; do not be silent;*
 O Lord, be not far from me.
Awake, arise, to my cause!*
 to my defence, my God and my Lord!
Give me justice, O Lord my God,
   according to your righteousness;*
 do not let them triumph over me.
Do not let them say in their hearts,
   'Aha! just what we want!'*
 Do not let them say, 'We have swallowed him up.'
Let all who rejoice at my ruin be ashamed and disgraced;*
 let those who boast against me
   be clothed with dismay and shame.
Let those who favour my cause
   sing out with joy and be glad;*
 let them say always, 'Great is the Lord,
   who desires the prosperity of his servant.'
And my tongue shall be talking of your righteousness*
 and of your praise all the day long.

Psalm 36 [CCP]

There is a voice of rebellion deep in the heart of the wicked;*
 there is no fear of God before their eyes.
They flatter themselves in their own eyes*
 that their hateful sin will not be found out.
The words of their mouths are wicked and deceitful;*
 they have left off acting wisely and doing good.
They think up wickedness upon their beds
   and have set themselves in no good way;*
 they do not abhor that which is evil.
Your love, O Lord, reaches to the heavens,*
 and your faithfulness to the clouds.
Your righteousness is like the strong mountains,
   your justice like the great deep;*
 you save both human and beast, O Lord.
How priceless is your love, O God!*
 your people take refuge under the shadow of your wings.
They feast upon the abundance of your house;*
 you give them drink from the river of your delights.
For with you is the well of life,*
 and in your light we see light.
Continue your lovingkindness to those who know you,*
 and your favour to those who are true of heart.
Let not the foot of the proud come near me,*
 nor the hand of the wicked push me aside.
See how they are fallen, those who work wickedness!*
 they are cast down and shall not be able to rise.

FIRST READING [Habakkuk 1:1—2:1]:

The oracle that the prophet Habakkuk saw. 

O Lord, how long shall I cry for help,
   and you will not listen?
Or cry to you 'Violence!'
   and you will not save? 
Why do you make me see wrongdoing
   and look at trouble?
Destruction and violence are before me;
   strife and contention arise. 
So the law becomes slack
   and justice never prevails.
The wicked surround the righteous—
   therefore judgement comes forth perverted. 

Look at the nations, and see!
   Be astonished! Be astounded!
For a work is being done in your days
   that you would not believe if you were told. 
For I am rousing the Chaldeans,
   that fierce and impetuous nation,
who march through the breadth of the earth
   to seize dwellings not their own. 
Dread and fearsome are they;
   their justice and dignity proceed from themselves. 
Their horses are swifter than leopards,
   more menacing than wolves at dusk;
   their horses charge.
Their horsemen come from far away;
   they fly like an eagle swift to devour. 
They all come for violence,
   with faces pressing forward;
   they gather captives like sand. 
At kings they scoff,
   and of rulers they make sport.
They laugh at every fortress,
   and heap up earth to take it. 
Then they sweep by like the wind;
   they transgress and become guilty;
   their own might is their god! 

Are you not from of old,
   O Lord my God, my Holy One?
   You shall not die.
O Lord, you have marked them for judgement;
   and you, O Rock, have established them for punishment. 
Your eyes are too pure to behold evil,
   and you cannot look on wrongdoing;
why do you look on the treacherous,
   and are silent when the wicked swallow
   those more righteous than they? 
You have made people like the fish of the sea,
   like crawling things that have no ruler. 

The enemy brings all of them up with a hook;
   he drags them out with his net,
he gathers them in his seine;
   so he rejoices and exults. 
Therefore he sacrifices to his net
   and makes offerings to his seine;
for by them his portion is lavish,
   and his food is rich. 
Is he then to keep on emptying his net,
   and destroying nations without mercy? 
I will stand at my watch-post,
   and station myself on the rampart;
I will keep watch to see what he will say to me,
   and what he will answer concerning my complaint. 

HYMN 
Words: Stanbrook Abbey
Meter: LM

The Father's glory, Christ our light,
With love and mercy comes to bless
Our fallen world, and be the way
That leads from sin to holiness.

Christ yesterday and Christ today,
For all eternity the same,
The image of our hidden God:
Eternal Wisdom is his name.

He keeps his word from age to age,
Is with us to the end of days:
A cloud by day, a flame by night,
To go before us on his ways.

We bless you Father, fount of light,
And Christ, your well-beloved Son,
Who with the Spirit dwell in us:
Immortal Trinity in One.

SECOND READING [John 12:36b–50]:

After Jesus had said this, he departed and hid from them. Although he had performed so many signs in their presence, they did not believe in him. This was to fulfil the word spoken by the prophet Isaiah:
'Lord, who has believed our message,
   and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?' 
And so they could not believe, because Isaiah also said, 
'He has blinded their eyes
   and hardened their heart,
so that they might not look with their eyes,
   and understand with their heart and turn—
   and I would heal them.' 
Isaiah said this because he saw his glory and spoke about him. Nevertheless many, even of the authorities, believed in him. But because of the Pharisees they did not confess it, for fear that they would be put out of the synagogue; for they loved human glory more than the glory that comes from God. 

Then Jesus cried aloud: 'Whoever believes in me believes not in me but in him who sent me. And whoever sees me sees him who sent me. I have come as light into the world, so that everyone who believes in me should not remain in the darkness. I do not judge anyone who hears my words and does not keep them, for I came not to judge the world, but to save the world. The one who rejects me and does not receive my word has a judge; on the last day the word that I have spoken will serve as judge, for I have not spoken on my own, but the Father who sent me has himself given me a commandment about what to say and what to speak. And I know that his commandment is eternal life. What I speak, therefore, I speak just as the Father has told me.' 

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

Prayer:
Great and wonderful God, we praise and thank you for the
gift of renewal in Jesus Christ. Especially we thank you
for
     opportunities for rest and recreation...
                         (We thank you, Lord.)
     the regenerating gifts of the Holy Spirit...
     activities shared by young and old...
     fun and laughter...
     every service that proclaims your love...

You make all things new, O God, and we offer our prayers
for the renewal of the whole world and the healing of its
wounds. Especially we pray for
     those who have no leisure...
                         (Lord, hear our prayer.)
     people enslaved by addictions...
     those who entertain and enlighten...
     those confronted with temptation...
     the church in North America...

God of our salvation,
come quickly to free the poor from their oppressors,
and establish your reign of justice on earth,
that your people may sing out with joy;
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
		
Holy God,
who gave great courage to Perpetua, Felicity and their companions:
grant that we may be worthy to climb the ladder of sacrifice
and be received into the garden of peace;
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

To Jesus Christ, who loves us
and freed us from our sins by his blood
and made us to be a kingdom,
priests serving his God and Father,
to him be glory and dominion forever 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 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 is adapted from a prayer by Lancelot Andrewes. The closing prayer is Revelation 1:5-6, NRSV

The second collect is from _Common Worship: Services and Prayers for
the Church of England_, material from which is included in this service is
copyright (c) The Archbishops' Council, 2000.

The moving, contemporary account of these early third-century, African
martyrs proved to be of great significance in the life of the early Church. Vibia
Perpetua was a young, married noblewoman of Carthage and Felicity was her
personal slave. Saturas was possibly a priest and there were two other men,
Saturninus and Revocatus, the latter also a slave. Felicity was pregnant. It
seems most of them were catechumens when arrested and only baptised later in
prison. They were condemned as Christians by the Roman authorities and
dispatched to the public arena, there to be mauled by wild animals. They all
survived and were then taken to be executed by the sword. Before this, they all
exchanged the Kiss of Peace and affirmed their faith in Christ, the Son of God.
The contemporary account was much circulated secretly throughout the
Christian congregations and proved both to give renown to their courage and
to give encouragement to their fellow Christians in the face of adversity. They
were martyred for their faith on this day in the year 203. [Exciting Holiness]



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