OREMUS: 9 February 2012

Steve Benner steve.benner at oremus.org
Wed Feb 8 17:00:00 GMT 2012

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OREMUS for February 9

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

You are the light of the world.
Let your light shine before others,
so that theymay see your good works
and give glory to your Father in heaven.
Let us worship God.

Blessed are you, O God of light,
your searching Spirit reveals and illumines
your presence in creation.
You shine your radiant holiness into our lives,
that we may offer our hands and hearts
to your work, to heal and shelter,
to feed and clothe, to break every yoke,
and silence evil tongues.
For these and all your mercies, we praise you: 
Blessed be God for ever!

An opening canticle may be sung. 

Psalm 47

Clap your hands, all you peoples;*
 shout to God with a cry of joy. 
For the Lord Most High is to be feared;*
 he is the great king over all the earth. 
He subdues the peoples under us,*
 and the nations under our feet. 
He chooses our inheritance for us,*
 the pride of Jacob whom he loves. 
God has gone up with a shout,*
 the Lord with the sound of the ram’s-horn. 
Sing praises to God, sing praises;*
 sing praises to our king, sing praises. 
For God is king of all the earth;*
 sing praises with all your skill. 
God reigns over the nations;*
 God sits upon his holy throne. 
The nobles of the peoples
have gathered together*
 with the people of the God of Abraham. 
The rulers of the earth belong to God,*
 and he is highly exalted. 

Psalm 48

Great is the Lord and highly to be praised;*
 in the city of our God is his holy hill. 
Beautiful and lofty, the joy of all the earth,
is the hill of Zion,*
 the very centre of the world
 and the city of the great king. 
God is in her citadels;*
 he is known to be her sure refuge. 
Behold, the kings of the earth assembled*
 and marched forward together. 
They looked and were astounded;*
 they retreated and fled in terror. 
Trembling seized them there;*
 they writhed like a woman in childbirth,
 like ships of the sea
 when the east wind shatters them. 
As we have heard, so have we seen,
in the city of the Lord of hosts,
in the city of our God;*
 God has established her for ever. 
We have waited in silence
on your loving-kindness, O God,*
 in the midst of your temple. 
Your praise, like your name, O God,
reaches to the world’s end;*
 your right hand is full of justice. 
Let Mount Zion be glad
and the cities of Judah rejoice,*
 because of your judgements. 
Make the circuit of Zion;
walk round about her;*
 count the number of her towers. 
Consider well her bulwarks;
examine her strongholds;*
 that you may tell those who come after. 
This God is our God for ever and ever;*
 he shall be our guide for evermore. 

Psalm 49

Hear this, all you peoples;
hearken, all you who dwell in the world,*
 you of high degree and low,
 rich and poor together. 
My mouth shall speak of wisdom,*
 and my heart
 shall meditate on understanding. 
I will incline my ear to a proverb*
 and set forth my riddle upon the harp. 
Why should I be afraid in evil days,*
 when the wickedness
 of those at my heels surrounds me, 
The wickedness of those
who put their trust in their goods,*
 and boast of their great riches? 
We can never ransom ourselves,*
 or deliver to God the price of our life; 
For the ransom of our life is so great,*
 that we should never have enough to pay it, 
In order to live for ever and ever,*
 and never see the grave. 
For we see that the wise die also;
like the dull and stupid they perish*
 and leave their wealth
 to those who come after them. 
Their graves shall be their homes for ever,
their dwelling places
from generation to generation,*
 though they call the lands
 after their own names. 
Even though honoured,
they cannot live for ever;*
 they are like the beasts that perish. 
Such is the way of those
who foolishly trust in themselves,*
 and the end of those
 who delight in their own words. 
Like a flock of sheep
they are destined to die;
Death is their shepherd;*
 they go down straightway to the grave. 
Their form shall waste away,*
 and the land of the dead shall be their home. 
But God will ransom my life;*
 he will snatch me from the grasp of death. 
Do not be envious when some become rich,*
 or when the grandeur
 of their house increases; 
For they will carry nothing
away at their death,*
 nor will their grandeur follow them. 
Though they thought highly of themselves
while they lived,*
 and were praised for their success, 
They shall join
the company of their forebears,*
 who will never see the light again. 
Those who are honoured,
but have no understanding,*
 are like the beasts that perish. 
FIRST READING [Genesis 18:1-16]:

The Lord appeared to Abraham by the oaks of Mamre, as he sat at the entrance of his tent in the heat of the day. He looked up and saw three men standing near him. When he saw them, he ran from the tent entrance to meet them, and bowed down to the ground. He said, 'My lord, if I find favour with you, do not pass by your servant. Let a little water be brought, and wash your feet, and rest yourselves under the tree. Let me bring a little bread, that you may refresh yourselves, and after that you may pass on—since you have come to your servant.' So they said, 'Do as you have said.' And Abraham hastened into the tent to Sarah, and said, 'Make ready quickly three measures of choice flour, knead it, and make cakes.' Abraham ran to the herd, and took a calf, tender and good, and gave it to the servant, who hastened to prepare it. Then he took curds and milk and the calf that he had prepared, and set it before them; and he stood by them under the tree while they ate. 

They said to him, 'Where is your wife Sarah?' And he said, 'There, in the tent.' Then one said, 'I will surely return to you in due season, and your wife Sarah shall have a son.' And Sarah was listening at the tent entrance behind him. Now Abraham and Sarah were old, advanced in age; it had ceased to be with Sarah after the manner of women. So Sarah laughed to herself, saying, 'After I have grown old, and my husband is old, shall I have pleasure?' The Lord said to Abraham, 'Why did Sarah laugh, and say, “Shall I indeed bear a child, now that I am old?” Is anything too wonderful for the Lord? At the set time I will return to you, in due season, and Sarah shall have a son.' But Sarah denied, saying, 'I did not laugh'; for she was afraid. He said, 'Oh yes, you did laugh.' 

Then the men set out from there, and they looked towards Sodom; and Abraham went with them to set them on their way. 

Words: Frederick William Faber (1814-1863)
Tune: Westminster, Windsor

My God, how wonderful thou art,
thy majesty how bright,
how beautiful thy mercy-seat,
in depths of burning light!

How dread are thine eternal years,
O everlasting Lord,
by prostrate spirits day and night
incessantly adored!

How beautiful, how beautiful,
the sight of thee must be,
thine endless wisdom, boundless power,
and aweful purity!

O how I fear thee, living God,
with deepest, tenderest fears,
and worship thee with trembling hope,
and penitential tears!

Yet I may love thee too, O Lord,
almighty as thou art,
for thou hast stooped to ask of me
the love of my poor heart.

No earthly father loves like thee,
no mother, e'er so mild,
bears and forbears as thou hast done
with me thy sinful child.

O then this worse than worthless heart
in pity deign to take,
and make it love thee for thyself,
and for thy glory's sake.

Father of Jesus, love's reward,
what rapture will it be,
prostrate before thy throne to lie,
and gaze and gaze on thee!

SECOND READING [Luke 3:1-14]:

In the fifteenth year of the reign of Emperor Tiberius, when Pontius Pilate was governor of Judea, and Herod was ruler of Galilee, and his brother Philip ruler of the region of Ituraea and Trachonitis, and Lysanias ruler of Abilene, during the high-priesthood of Annas and Caiaphas, the word of God came to John son of Zechariah in the wilderness. He went into all the region around the Jordan, proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins, as it is written in the book of the words of the prophet Isaiah, 'The voice of one crying out in the wilderness: "Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight. Every valley shall be filled, and every mountain and hill shall be made low, and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough ways made smooth; and all flesh shall see the salvation of God." ' 

John said to the crowds that came out to be baptized by him, 'You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Bear fruits worthy of repentance. Do not begin to say to yourselves, "We have Abraham as our ancestor"; for I tell you, God is able from these stones to raise up children to Abraham. Even now the axe is lying at the root of the trees; every tree therefore that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.' 

And the crowds asked him, 'What then should we do?' In reply he said to them, 'Whoever has two coats must share with anyone who has none; and whoever has food must do likewise.' Even tax-collectors came to be baptized, and they asked him, 'Teacher, what should we do?' He said to them, 'Collect no more than the amount prescribed for you.' Soldiers also asked him, 'And we, what should we do?' He said to them, 'Do not extort money from anyone by threats or false accusation, and be satisfied with your wages.' 

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

Ever-present Spirit of God,
as we abide with you and you with us,
we cry out for our brothers and sisters:
Healing Spirit,
hear our prayer.

For all who suffer want,
loneliness or depression:
Healing Spirit,
hear our prayer.

For racial, cultural and national groups
who suffer prejudice, oppressive leaders
or economic exploitation.
Healing Spirit,
hear our prayer.

For the Church in those places
where it suffers blindness,
controversy, disorientation,
persecution or change.
Healing Spirit,
hear our prayer.

For those we have to tried
to love and serve today.
Healing Spirit,
hear our prayer.

Faithful God,
you have appointed us your witnesses,
to be light that shines in the world.
Let us not hide the bright hope
you have given us,
but tell everyone your love,
revealed in Jesus Christ the Lord,
who lives and reigns with you
in the unity of the Holy Spirit
one God, forever and ever.  Amen.
Gathering our prayers and praises into one,
let us pray as our Savior has taught us.

- The Lord's Prayer

Keep us from faithless fears 
and worldly anxieties,
that no cloud may hide from us
the light of your love
in 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 opening sentence is Matthew 5:14,16; the opening prayer of thanksgiving is reprinted from _Revised Common Lectionary Prayers_, copyright (c) 2002 Consultation on Common Texts. The collect is from _Book of Common Worship_, (c) 1993 Westminster / John Knox Press. The closing sentence is adapted from a prayer by the Lutheran Church of Australia.

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