OREMUS: 2 February 2012

Steve Benner steve.benner at oremus.org
Wed Feb 1 17:00:01 GMT 2012

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OREMUS for February 2
The Presentation of Our Lord Jesus Christ in the Temple

This day marks the completion of forty days since the birth of Jesus, when Mary and Joseph took the child to the Temple in Jerusalem. The requirement in Levitical law was for Mary to be 'cleansed', the completion of her purification following the birth of a male child. Until that day, she could touch no holy thing nor enter the sanctuary. Yet on seeing the holy family, Simeon praised God and acclaimed the infant as 'the light to enlighten the nations' and the prophet Anna gave thanks and proclaimed him her Redeemer. The image of Christ as the Light has led to the celebration of light countering darkness, with candles often taking a central place in the observance. 

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

We have beheld his glory,
glory as of the only Son of the Father,
full of grace and truth.
Let us worship God.

Blessed are you, almighty God,
for your Son Jesus Christ, 
the light to lighten the nations,
the Word made flesh
who searches the hearts of all your people
and brings to light
the brightness of your splendour.
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. 
Psalm 12

Help me, Lord,
for there is no godly one left;*
 the faithful have vanished from among us. 
Everyone speaks falsely
with their neighbour;*
 with a smooth tongue
 they speak from a double heart. 
O that the Lord
would cut off all smooth tongues,*
 and close the lips that utter proud boasts! 
Those who say,
'With our tongue will we prevail;*
 our lips are our own; who is lord over us?' 
'Because the needy are oppressed,
and the poor cry out in misery,*
 I will rise up', says the Lord,
 'and give them the help they long for.' 
The words of the Lord are pure words,*
 like silver refined from ore
 and purified seven times in the fire. 
O Lord, watch over us*
 and save us from this generation for ever. 
The wicked prowl on every side,*
 and that which is worthless
 is highly prized by everyone. 

Psalm 13

How long, O Lord;
will you forget me for ever?*
 how long will you hide your face from me? 
How long shall I have perplexity
in my mind, and grief in my heart,
day after day?*
 how long shall my enemy triumph over me? 
Look upon me and answer me,
O Lord my God;*
 give light to my eyes, lest I sleep in death; 
Lest my enemy say,
'I have prevailed over him',*
 and my foes rejoice that I have fallen. 
But I put my trust in your mercy;*
 my heart is joyful
 because of your saving help. 
I will sing to the Lord,
for he has dealt with me richly;*
 I will praise the name
 of the Lord Most High. 

Psalm 14

The fool has said in his heart,
'There is no God.'*
 All are corrupt
 and commit abominable acts;
 there is none who does any good. 
The Lord looks down from heaven
upon us all,*
 to see if there is any who is wise,
 if there is one who seeks after God. 
Everyone has proved faithless;
all alike have turned bad;*
 there is none who does good; no, not one. 
Have they no knowledge,
all those evildoers*
 who eat up my people like bread
 and do not call upon the Lord? 
See how they tremble with fear,*
 because God is 
 in the company of the righteous. 
Their aim is to confound 
the plans of the afflicted,*
 but the Lord is their refuge. 
O that Israel's deliverance
would come out of Zion!*
 when the Lord restores
 the fortunes of his people,
 Jacob will rejoice and Israel be glad. 

FIRST READING [Malachi 3:1-4]:

See, I am sending my messenger to prepare the way before me, and the Lord whom you seek will suddenly come to his temple. The messenger of the covenant in whom you delight—indeed, he is coming, says the Lord of hosts. But who can endure the day of his coming, and who can stand when he appears?

For he is like a refiner's fire and like fullers' soap; he will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver, and he will purify the descendants of Levi and refine them like gold and silver, until they present offerings to the Lord in righteousness. Then the offering of Judah and Jerusalem will be pleasing to the Lord as in the days of old and as in former years. 

Words: Alan Gaunt (born 1935) © Stainer & Bell Ltd
Tune: Chartres

Yes, Mary we have greeted
the arrival of your child,
who came with God's compassion
to a world so harsh and wild.
He grew to serve love's purpose
in ways you could not share,
and when his flesh was broken
you knew such deep despair.

And yet we hail you, Mary,
as a mother truly blest,
whose child still shines upon us,
making God's love manifest;
your son who bore earth's sorrow
and died to heal earth's pain,
yet as a humble servant,
still comes in love, to reign.

As we recall his coming
into troubled Bethlehem,
we pray for true goodwill there
and peace in Jerusalem.
We long to see the healing
of earth's hostility;
the end of fear and hatred
through his nativity.

If only we would let him
break our prejudice and pride,
and fill us with compassion
like his own, which loved and died;
if we dared recognize him
in every infant's birth,
there could be peace with justice
for every child on earth.

SECOND READING [Luke 2:22-40]:

When the time came for their purification according to the law of Moses, they brought him up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord (as it is written in the law of the Lord, 'Every firstborn male shall be designated as holy to the Lord'), and they offered a sacrifice according to what is stated in the law of the Lord, 'a pair of turtle-doves or two young pigeons.' 

Now there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon; this man was righteous and devout, looking forward to the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit rested on him. It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord's Messiah. Guided by the Spirit, Simeon came into the temple; and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him what was customary under the law, Simeon took him in his arms and praised God, saying, 'Master, now you are dismissing your servant in peace, according to your word; for my eyes have seen your salvation, which you have prepared in the presence of all peoples, a light for revelation to the Gentiles and for glory to your people Israel.' And the child's father and mother were amazed at what was being said about him. Then Simeon blessed them and said to his mother Mary, 'This child is destined for the falling and the rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be opposed so that the inner thoughts of many will be revealed—and a sword will pierce your own soul too.' 

There was also a prophet, Anna the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was of a great age, having lived with her husband for seven years after her marriage, then as a widow to the age of eighty-four. She never left the temple but worshipped there with fasting and prayer night and day. At that moment she came, and began to praise God and to speak about the child to all who were looking for the redemption of Jerusalem. 

When they had finished everything required by the law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee, to their own town of Nazareth. The child grew and became strong, filled with wisdom; and the favour of God was upon him. 

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

Let us pray to the Father through Christ our light and life.

Almighty Father, your Christ is acclaimed as the glory of Israel look in mercy on your Church, sharing its light ...
Lord, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy.

Your Christ in the temple brings judgement on the world look in mercy on the nations who long for his justice ...
Lord, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy.

Your Christ who was rich for our sake became poor look in mercy on all who are in need 
and those who suffer with him ...
Lord, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy.

Your Christ is the one in whom faithful servants find their peace look in mercy on the whole Church which glories in your salvation ...
Lord, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy.

Your Christ is the one destined for rejection look in mercy on us as we turn towards his passion.
Lord, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy.

Almighty God, clothed  in majesty,
your Spirit calls us to gather in your temple
to welcome your Son.
Enlighten our minds
and lay bare our inmost thoughts.
Purify your people, and make us obedient
to the demands of your law,
so that we may mature in your wisdom
and grow to full stature in your grace.
We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ,
your Son, who lives and reigns with you
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
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

Inspire us by your Holy Spirit 
to see with our own eyes him
who is the glory of Israel, 
and the light for all nations, 
your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. 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 biography is from Exciting Holiness © European Province of the Society of Saint Francis, 1997. The opening sentence is John 1:14. The opening prayer of thanksgiving is adapted by Stephen Benner using phrases from a preface in _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 intercession is from material copyright (c) The Archbishops' Council, 2002. The collect is in _Opening Prayers: Collects in Contemporary Language_. Canterbury Press, Norwich, 1999.

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