OREMUS: 13 February 2012

Steve Benner steve.benner at oremus.org
Sun Feb 12 21:02:24 GMT 2012

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OREMUS for February 13
Absalom Jones, Priest, 1818

Absalom Jones was born a house slave in 1746 in Delaware. He taught himself to read out of the New Testament, among other books, and was sold at the age of 16 to a store owner in Philadelphia. There he attended a Quaker night school for Blacks, married another slave, and eventually purchased both her and his freedom. He served as lay minister for the black members of St. George’s Methodist Episcopal Church. As the black membership of St. George's greatly increased, the church leadership decided to segregate blacks into an upstairs gallery, without notifying them. During a Sunday service when ushers attempted to
remove them, the blacks indignantly walked out in a body. The next, black Christians organized the Free African Society, with Absalom Jones and Richard Allen as overseers. By 1794, they organized into an independent church, St. Thomas', which applied to join the the Episcopal Diocese of Pennsylvania. Jones was ordained deacon in 1795 and as priest on September 21, 1802. Richard Allen went on to found the African Methodist Episcopal Church. 

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

For freedom Christ has set us free.
Stand firm, therefore, and do not submit
again to a yoke of slavery.
For in Christ Jesus
neither circumcision nor uncircumcision
counts for anything;
the only thing that counts
is faith working through love.
Let us worship God.

Blessed are you, God of our weary tears,
God of our silent tears,
you have brough us this far along the way.
In times of bitterness you did not abandon us,
but guided us into the path of love and light.
In every age you sen prophets
to make known your loving will
for all humanity.
The cry of the poor has become your own cry;
our hunger and thirst for justice
is your own desire.
For these and all your most gracious mercies,
we praise you, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit:
Blessed be God for ever!

An opening canticle may be sung. 

Psalm 69

Save me, O God,*
 for the waters have risen up to my neck. 
I am sinking in deep mire,*
 and there is no firm ground for my feet. 
I have come into deep waters,*
 and the torrent washes over me. 
I have grown weary with my crying;
   my throat is inflamed;*
 my eyes have failed
 from looking for my God. 
Those who hate me without a cause
are more than the hairs of my head;
my lying foes
who would destroy me are mighty.*
 Must I then give back what I never stole? 
O God, you know my foolishness,*
 and my faults are not hidden from you. 
Let not those who hope in you
be put to shame through me,
Lord God of hosts;*
 let not those who seek you be disgraced
 because of me, O God of Israel. 
Surely, for your sake
have I suffered reproach,*
 and shame has covered my face. 
I have become a stranger
to my own kindred,*
 an alien to my mother's children. 
Zeal for your house has eaten me up;*
 the scorn of those
 who scorn you has fallen upon me. 
I humbled myself with fasting,*
 but that was turned to my reproach. 
I put on sack-cloth also,*
 and became a byword among them. 
Those who sit at the gate
murmur against me,*
 and the drunkards make songs about me. 
But as for me, this is my prayer to you,*
 at the time you have set, O Lord: 
'In your great mercy, O God,*
 answer me with your unfailing help. 
'Save me from the mire; do not let me sink;*
 let me be rescued from those who hate me
 and out of the deep waters. 
'Let not the torrent of waters wash over me,
neither let the deep swallow me up;*
 do not let the Pit shut its mouth upon me. 
'Answer me, O Lord, for your love is kind;*
 in your great compassion, turn to me. 
'Hide not your face from your servant;*
 be swift and answer me, for I am in distress. 
'Draw near to me and redeem me;*
 because of my enemies deliver me. 
'You know my reproach,
my shame and my dishonour;*
 my adversaries are all in your sight.' 
Reproach has broken my heart
and it cannot be healed;*
 I looked for sympathy, but there was none,
 for comforters, but I could find no one. 
They gave me gall to eat,*
 and when I was thirsty,
 they gave me vinegar to drink. 
Let the table before them be a trap*
 and their sacred feasts a snare. 
Let their eyes be darkened,
that they may not see,*
 and give them continual trembling
 in their loins. 
Pour out your indignation upon them,*
 and let the fierceness of your anger
 overtake them. 
Let their camp be desolate,*
 and let there be none to dwell in their tents. 
For they persecute him
whom you have stricken*
 and add to the pain
 of those whom you have pierced. 
Lay to their charge guilt upon guilt,*
 and let them not receive your vindication. 
Let them be wiped out
of the book of the living*
 and not be written among the righteous.
As for me, I am afflicted and in pain;*
 your help, O God, will lift me up on high. 
I will praise the name of God in song;*
 I will proclaim 
 his greatness with thanksgiving. 
This will please the Lord
more than an offering of oxen,*
 more than bullocks with horns and hoofs. 
The afflicted shall see and be glad;*
 you who seek God, your heart shall live. 
For the Lord listens to the needy,*
 and his prisoners he does not despise. 
Let the heavens and the earth praise him,*
 the seas and all that moves in them; 
For God will save Zion
and rebuild the cities of Judah;*
 they shall live there
 and have it in possession. 
The children of his servants will inherit it,*
 and those who love his name
 will dwell therein. 

Psalm 70

Be pleased, O God, to deliver me;*
 O Lord, make haste to help me. 
Let those who seek my life
be ashamed and altogether dismayed;*
 let those who take pleasure
 in my misfortune
draw back and be disgraced. 
Let those who say to me 'Aha!'
and gloat over me turn back,*
 because they are ashamed. 
Let all who seek you rejoice
and be glad in you;*
 let those who love your salvation
 say for ever, 'Great is the Lord!' 
But as for me, I am poor and needy;*
 come to me speedily, O God. 
You are my helper and my deliverer;*
 O Lord, do not tarry. 
FIRST READING [Genesis 19:1-14]:

The two angels came to Sodom in the evening, and Lot was sitting in the gateway of Sodom. When Lot saw them, he rose to meet them, and bowed down with his face to the ground. He said, 'Please, my lords, turn aside to your servant's house and spend the night, and wash your feet; then you can rise early and go on your way.' They said, 'No; we will spend the night in the square.' But he urged them strongly; so they turned aside to him and entered his house; and he made them a feast, and baked unleavened bread, and they ate. But before they lay down, the men of the city, the men of Sodom, both young and old, all the people to the last man, surrounded the house; and they called to Lot, 'Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us, so that we may know them.' Lot went out of the door to the men, shut the door after him, and said, 'I beg you, my brothers, do not act so wickedly. Look, I have two daughters who have not known a man; let me bring them out to you, and do to them as you please; only do nothing to these men, for they have come under the shelter of my roof.' But they replied, 'Stand back!' And they said, 'This fellow came here as an alien, and he would play the judge! Now we will deal worse with you than with them.' Then they pressed hard against the man Lot, and came near the door to break it down. But the men inside reached out their hands and brought Lot into the house with them, and shut the door. And they struck with blindness the men who were at the door of the house, both small and great, so that they were unable to find the door. 

Then the men said to Lot, 'Have you anyone else here? Sons-in-law, sons, daughters, or anyone you have in the city—bring them out of the place. For we are about to destroy this place, because the outcry against its people has become great before the Lord, and the Lord has sent us to destroy it.' So Lot went out and said to his sons-in-law, who were to marry his daughters, 'Up, get out of this place; for the Lord is about to destroy the city.' But he seemed to his sons-in-law to be jesting. 

Words: James Johnson, 1899
Tune: Lift Every Voice & Sing

Lift every voice and sing, till earth and Heaven ring,
Ring with the harmonies of liberty;
Let our rejoicing rise, high as the listening skies,
Let it resound loud as the rolling sea.
Sing a song full of the faith that the dark past has taught us,
Sing a song full of the hope that the present has brought us;
Facing the rising sun of our new day begun,
Let us march on till victory is won.

Stony the road we trod, bitter the chastening rod,
Felt in the days when hope unborn had died;
Yet with a steady beat, have not our weary feet,
Come to the place for which our fathers sighed?
We have come over a way that with tears has been watered,
We have come, treading our path through the blood of the slaughtered;
Out from the gloomy past, till now we stand at last
Where the white gleam of our bright star is cast.

God of our weary years, God of our silent tears,
Thou Who hast brought us thus far on the way;
Thou Who hast by Thy might, led us into the light,
Keep us forever in the path, we pray.
Lest our feet stray from the places, our God, where we met Thee.
Lest our hearts, drunk with the wine of the world, we forget Thee.
Shadowed beneath Thy hand, may we forever stand,
True to our God, true to our native land.

SECOND READING [John 14:1-14]:

Jesus said, 'Do not let your hearts be troubled. Believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father's house there are many dwelling-places. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, so that where I am, there you may be also. And you know the way to the place where I am going.' Thomas said to him, 'Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?' Jesus said to him, 'I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you know me, you will know my Father also. From now on you do know him and have seen him.' 

Philip said to him, 'Lord, show us the Father, and we will be satisfied.' Jesus said to him, 'Have I been with you all this time, Philip, and you still do not know me? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, “Show us the Father”? Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on my own; but the Father who dwells in me does his works. Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; but if you do not, then believe me because of the works themselves. Very truly, I tell you, the one who believes in me will also do the works that I do and, in fact, will do greater works than these, because I am going to the Father. I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If in my name you ask me for anything, I will do it.' 

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

God of all time,
we bless you for the gift of this day
and for our hope in Christ Jesus.
In the midst of all that demands our attention,
free us to love you with all our hearts
and to love the world
with your mercy and justice.

Let our love be genuine:
Kyrie eleison

Let our affections be tempered with holiness:
Kyrie eleison

Let our desires be shaped by the vision
of a new heaven and a new earth:
Kyrie eleison

Let our actions reflect the balance of love
for your reign in all things:
Kyrie eleison

Let our perceptions and feelings be ordered
by the hope we have in Christ:
Kyrie eleison

O God, 
you have called us
into the fellowship of your dear Son: 
Draw into closer unity
the people of all races in this and every land, 
that in fellowship with you
they may understand and help one another, 
and that, serving you,
they may find their perfect freedom; 
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Set us free, heavenly Father, 
from every bond of prejudice and fear; 
that, honoring the steadfast courage 
of your servant Absalom Jones, 
we may show forth in our lives 
the reconciling love and true freedom
of the children of God, 
which you have given us
in your Son our Savior Jesus Christ;
who lives and reigns with you
and 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

May we live in the freedom
and hope of your Son
and with courage and wisdom
pursue love and justice in all the world. 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 adapted and the collect is from _Holy Women, Holy Men_, (c) 2009 Church Publishing. The opening sentence is Galatians 5:1,6. The opening prayer of thanksgiving and closing sentence are adapted from _Evangelical Lutheran Worship_, (c) 2006 Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. 

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