OREMUS: 15 February 2012

Steve Benner steve.benner at oremus.org
Tue Feb 14 17:00:01 GMT 2012

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OREMUS for February 15
Thomas Bray, Priest,
Founder of the SPCK and the SPG, 1730

Born at Marton in Shropshire in 1656, Thomas Bray was educated at Oxford and subsequently ordained. He was chosen by the Bishop of London to assist with the work of organising the church in Maryland in the USA but, during an extended delay in his setting out, he managed to organise a system of free libraries, initially for use in America but later instituted in England. This led to his founding the Society for the Promotion of Christian Knowledge (SPCK) in 1698. On his return to Europe in 1699, he also founded The Society for the Propagation of the Gospel (SPG). He died on this day in the year 1730. 

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

How beautiful upon the mountains
are the feet of those
who bring good tidings, who publish peace.
Let us worship God.

Blessed are you, all-seeing God,
you alone judge rightly our inmost thoughts.
Your Spirit teaches us
to observe your law from the heart
even as we keep it outwardly.
Your Spirit purifies our desires,
calms every anger,
and reconciles us to one another,
that we may worship at your altar
and render you perfect praise.
For these and all your mercies, we praise you: 
Blessed be God for ever!

An opening canticle may be sung. 

Psalm 78

Hear my teaching, O my people;*
 incline your ears to the words of my mouth. 
I will open my mouth in a parable;*
 I will declare the mysteries of ancient times. 
That which we have heard and known,
   and what our forebears have told us,*
 we will not hide from their children. 
We will recount to generations to come
the praiseworthy deeds
and the power of the Lord,*
 and the wonderful works he has done. 
He gave his decrees to Jacob
and established a law for Israel,*
 which he commanded them
 to teach their children; 
That the generations to come might know,
and the children yet unborn;*
 that they in their turn
 might tell it to their children; 
So that they might put their trust in God,*
 and not forget the deeds of God,
 but keep his commandments; 
And not be like their forebears,
a stubborn and rebellious generation,*
 a generation whose heart was not steadfast,
 and whose spirit was not faithful to God. 
The people of Ephraim,
armed with the bow,*
 turned back in the day of battle; 
They did not keep the covenant of God,*
 and refused to walk in his law; 
They forgot what he had done,*
 and the wonders he had shown them. 
He worked marvels
in the sight of their forebears,*
 in the land of Egypt, in the field of Zoan. 
He split open the sea
and let them pass through;*
 he made the waters stand up like walls. 
He led them with a cloud by day,*
 and all the night through
 with a glow of fire. 
He split the hard rocks in the wilderness*
 and gave them drink as from the great deep. 
He brought streams out of the cliff,*
 and the waters gushed out like rivers. 
But they went on sinning against him,*
 rebelling in the desert
 against the Most High. 
They tested God in their hearts,*
 demanding food for their craving. 
They railed against God and said,*
 'Can God set a table in the wilderness? 
'True, he struck the rock,
the waters gushed out,
and the gullies overflowed;*
 but is he able to give bread
 or to provide meat for his people?' 
When the Lord heard this,
he was full of wrath;*
 a fire was kindled against Jacob,
 and his anger mounted against Israel; 
For they had no faith in God,*
 nor did they put their trust
 in his saving power. 
So he commanded the clouds above*
 and opened the doors of heaven. 
He rained down manna upon them to eat*
 and gave them grain from heaven. 
So mortals ate the bread of angels;*
 he provided for them food enough. 
He caused the east wind
to blow in the heavens*
 and led out the south wind by his might. 
He rained down flesh upon them like dust*
 and winged birds like the sand of the sea. 
He let it fall in the midst of their camp*
 and round about their dwellings. 
So they ate and were well filled,*
 for he gave them what they craved. 
But they did not stop their craving,*
 though the food was still in their mouths. 
So God's anger mounted against them;*
 he slew their strongest men
 and laid low the youth of Israel. 
In spite of all this, they went on sinning*
 and had no faith in his wonderful works. 
So he brought their days
to an end like a breath*
 and their years in sudden terror. 
Whenever he slew them,
they would seek him,*
 and repent and diligently search for God. 
They would remember
that God was their rock,*
 and the Most High God their redeemer. 
But they flattered him with their mouths*
 and lied to him with their tongues. 
Their heart was not steadfast towards him,*
 and they were not faithful to his covenant. 
But he was so merciful
that he forgave their sins
and did not destroy them;*
 many times he held back his anger
 and did not permit his wrath to be roused. 
For he remembered
that they were but flesh,*
 a breath that goes forth and does not return. 
How often the people
disobeyed God in the wilderness*
 and offended him in the desert! 
Again and again they tempted God*
 and provoked the Holy One of Israel. 
They did not remember his power*
 in the day when he ransomed them
 from the enemy; 
How he wrought his signs in Egypt*
 and his omens in the field of Zoan. 
He turned their rivers into blood,*
 so that they could not drink of their streams. 
He sent swarms of flies among them,
which ate them up,*
 and frogs, which destroyed them. 
He gave their crops to the caterpillar,*
 the fruit of their toil to the locust. 
He killed their vines with hail*
 and their sycamores with frost. 
He delivered their cattle to hailstones*
 and their livestock to hot thunderbolts. 
He poured out
upon them his blazing anger:*
 fury, indignation and distress,
 a troop of destroying angels. 
He gave full rein to his anger;
he did not spare their souls from death;*
 but delivered their lives to the plague. 
He struck down all the first-born of Egypt,*
 the flower of manhood
 in the dwellings of Ham. 
He led out his people like sheep*
 and guided them
 in the wilderness like a flock. 
He led them to safety
and they were not afraid;*
 but the sea overwhelmed their enemies. 
He brought them to his holy land,*
 the mountain his right hand had won. 
He drove out the Canaanites before them
and apportioned an inheritance
to them by lot;*
 he made the tribes of Israel
 to dwell in their tents. 
But they tested the Most High God
and defied him,*
 and did not keep his commandments. 
They turned away
and were disloyal like their forebears;*
 they were undependable like a warped bow. 
They grieved him with their hill-altars*
 and provoked his displeasure
 with their idols. 
When God heard this, he was angry*
 and utterly rejected Israel. 
He forsook the shrine at Shiloh,*
 the tabernacle where he had lived
 among his people. 
He delivered the ark into captivity,*
 his glory into the adversary's hand. 
He gave his people to the sword*
 and was angered against his inheritance. 
The fire consumed their young men;*
 there were no wedding songs
 for their maidens. 
Their priests fell by the sword,*
 and their widows made no lamentation. 
Then the Lord woke as though from sleep,*
 like a warrior refreshed with wine. 
He struck his enemies from behind*
 and put them to perpetual shame. 
He rejected the tent of Joseph*
 and did not choose the tribe of Ephraim; 
He chose instead the tribe of Judah*
 and Mount Zion, which he loved. 
He built his sanctuary
like the heights of heaven,*
 like the earth which he founded for ever. 
He chose David his servant,*
 and took him away from the sheepfolds. 
He brought him from following the ewes,*
 to be a shepherd over Jacob his people
 and over Israel his inheritance. 
So he shepherded them
with a faithful and true heart*
 and guided them
 with the skilfulness of his hands. 
FIRST READING [Genesis 21:1-7]:

The Lord dealt with Sarah as he had said, and the Lord did for Sarah as he had promised. Sarah conceived and bore Abraham a son in his old age, at the time of which God had spoken to him. Abraham gave the name Isaac to his son whom Sarah bore him. And Abraham circumcised his son Isaac when he was eight days old, as God had commanded him. Abraham was a hundred years old when his son Isaac was born to him. Now Sarah said, 'God has brought laughter for me; everyone who hears will laugh with me.' And she said, 'Who would ever have said to Abraham that Sarah would nurse children? Yet I have borne him a son in his old age.' 

Words: William Gaskell (1805-1884)

Forth went the heralds of the Cross,
No dangers made them pause;
They counted all the world but loss
For their great Master's cause.

Through looks of fire and words of scorn,
Serene their path they trod;
And, to the dreary dungeon borne,
Sang praises unto God.

Friends dropped the hand they clasped before,
Love changed to cruel hate,
And home to them was home no more;
Yet mourned they not their fate.

In all his dark and dread array,
Death rose upon their sight;
But calmly still they kept their way,
And shrank not from the fight.

They knew to whom their trust was given,
They could not doubt his word;
Before them beamed the light of heaven-
The presence of their Lord.

SECOND READING [John 14:21-31]:

Jesus said, 'They who have my commandments and keep them are those who love me; and those who love me will be loved by my Father, and I will love them and reveal myself to them.' Judas (not Iscariot) said to him, 'Lord, how is it that you will reveal yourself to us, and not to the world?' Jesus answered him, 'Those who love me will keep my word, and my Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them. Whoever does not love me does not keep my words; and the word that you hear is not mine, but is from the Father who sent me. 

'I have said these things to you while I am still with you. But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything, and remind you of all that I have said to you. Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid. You heard me say to you, “I am going away, and I am coming to you.” If you loved me, you would rejoice that I am going to the Father, because the Father is greater than I. And now I have told you this before it occurs, so that when it does occur, you may believe. I will no longer talk much with you, for the ruler of this world is coming. He has no power over me; but I do as the Father has commanded me, so that the world may know that I love the Father. Rise, let us be on our way. 

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

All-seeing, all-loving God,
you behold the human family as one.
You regard each of us as loved,
redeemed, a temple of your Spirit.
Beholding you, we respond
in thanks and praise as one Church.

Renew the Church
in a dynamic sense of your grace.
Renew us, O Lord.

Work in us a continuing conversion:
Renew us, O Lord.

Give all your disciples
eyes to see you in the ordinary:
Renew us, O Lord.

Lift the heavy hands of oppression
from the poor, the abused and the exploited:
Renew us, O Lord.

Kindle in the suffering and desperate
the warmth of your nearness and consolation:
Renew us, O Lord.

Stir up in us attention
to the Spirit breathing within us:
Renew us, O Lord.

God of pilgrims, strengthen our faith, we pray. Guide us through the uncertainties of  our journey, and hold before us the vision of your eternal kingdom, made known to us in Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Eternal God,
you gave to your servant Thomas Bray
both zeal in lifting the yoke of oppression
from the lives of the poor
and skill in equipping your Church
for mission in many lands. 
Make us at all times diligent
to propagate your gospel
and to promote the spread
of Christian knowledge
among those who hunger for your truth; 
through Jesus Christ our Lord, 
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

Give to your Church, O God,
a bold vision and a daring charity,
a refreshed wisdom
and a courteous understanding,
that the eternal message of your Son
may be acclaimed as the good news of the age. 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 Isaiah 52:7. The opening prayer of thanksgiving in _Opening Prayers: Collects in Contemporary Language_. Canterbury Press, Norwich, 1999. The closing sentence is from The Daily Office. The second collect is from For All the Saints, (Revised Edition), Anglican Church of Canada.

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