OREMUS: 22 February 2012

Steve Benner steve.benner at oremus.org
Tue Feb 21 17:00:03 GMT 2012

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OREMUS for Wednesday, February 22
Ash Wednesday

O God, make speed to save us;
O Lord, make haste to help us.

God is our refuge and strength,
a present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear
though the earth should change,
though the mountains shake
in the heart of the sea;
though the waters roar and foam,
though the mountains tremble
with its tumult.
Let us worship God.

Blessed are you, eternal God, 
creator and ruler of the universe. 
You are our God, 
and we are the creatures of your hand. 
You made us from the dust of the earth, 
breathed into us the breath of life, 
and set us in your world to love and serve you. 
When we rejected your love 
and ignored your wisdom. 
you did not reject us. 
You loved us still
and call us again and again to turn to you
in obedience and in love. 
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 108

My heart is firmly fixed,
O God, my heart is fixed;*
 I will sing and make melody. 
Wake up, my spirit; awake, lute and harp;*
 I myself will waken the dawn. 
I will confess you
among the peoples, O Lord;*
 I will sing praises to you among the nations. 
For your loving-kindness
is greater than the heavens,*
 and your faithfulness reaches to the clouds. 
Exalt yourself above the heavens, O God,*
 and your glory over all the earth. 
So that those
who are dear to you may be delivered,*
 save with your right hand and answer me. 
God spoke from his holy place and said,*
 'I will exult and parcel out Shechem;
 I will divide the valley of Succoth. 
'Gilead is mine and Manasseh is mine;*
 Ephraim is my helmet
 and Judah my sceptre. 
'Moab is my wash-basin,
on Edom I throw down my sandal
to claim it,*
 and over Philistia will I shout in triumph.' 
Who will lead me into the strong city?*
 who will bring me into Edom? 
Have you not cast us off, O God?*
 you no longer go out, O God,
 with our armies. 
Grant us your help against the enemy,*
 for vain is any human help.   
With God we will do valiant deeds,*
 and he shall tread our enemies under foot. 

Psalm 109

Hold not your tongue, O God of my praise;*
 for the mouth of the wicked,
 the mouth of the deceitful,
 is opened against me. 
They speak to me with a lying tongue;*
 they encompass me with hateful words
 and fight against me without a cause. 
Despite my love, they accuse me;*
 but as for me, I pray for them. 
They repay evil for good,*
 and hatred for my love. 
Set the wicked against him,*
  and let an accuser stand at his right hand. 
When he is judged, let him be found guilty,*
 and let his appeal be in vain. 
Let his days be few,*
 and let another take his office. 
Let his children be fatherless,*
 and his wife become a widow. 
Let his children be waifs and beggars;*
 let them be driven
 from the ruins of their homes. 
Let the creditor seize everything he has;*
 let strangers plunder his gains. 
Let there be no one to show him kindness,*
 and none to pity his fatherless children. 
Let his descendants be destroyed,*
 and his name be blotted out
 in the next generation. 
Let the wickedness of his forebears
be remembered before the Lord,*
 and his mother's sin not be blotted out; 
Let their sin be always before the Lord;*
 but let him root out
 their names from the earth; 
Because he did not remember
to show mercy,*
 but persecuted the poor and needy
 and sought to kill the brokenhearted. 
He loved cursing: let it come upon him;*
 he took no delight in blessing:
 let it depart from him. 
He put on cursing like a garment:*
 let it soak into his body like water
 and into his bones like oil; 
Let it be to him like the cloak
which he wraps around himself,*
 and like the belt that he wears continually. 
Let this be the recompense from the Lord
to my accusers,*
 and to those who speak evil against me.
But you, O Lord my God,
O deal with me according to your name;*
 for your tender mercy's sake, deliver me. 
For I am poor and needy,*
 and my heart is wounded within me. 
I have faded away
like a shadow when it lengthens;*
 I am shaken off like a locust. 
My knees are weak through fasting,*
 and my flesh is wasted and gaunt. 
I have become a reproach to them;*
 they see and shake their heads. 
Help me, O Lord my God;*
 save me for your mercy's sake. 
Let them know that this is your hand,*
 that you, O Lord, have done it. 
They may curse, but you will bless;*
 let those who rise up against me
 be put to shame,
 and your servant will rejoice. 
Let my accusers be clothed with disgrace*
 and wrap themselves in their shame
 as in a cloak. 
I will give great thanks to the Lord
with my mouth;*
 in the midst of the multitude
 will I praise him; 
Because he stands
at the right hand of the needy,*
 to save his life from those
 who would condemn him. 

FIRST READING [Isaiah 1:10-18]:

Hear the word of the Lord,
you rulers of Sodom!
Listen to the teaching of our God,
you people of Gomorrah! 
What to me is the multitude of your sacrifices?
says the Lord;
I have had enough of burnt-offerings of rams
and the fat of fed beasts;
I do not delight in the blood of bulls,
or of lambs, or of goats. 

When you come to appear before me,
who asked this from your hand?
Trample my courts no more; 
bringing offerings is futile;
incense is an abomination to me.
New moon and sabbath
and calling of convocation—
I cannot endure
solemn assemblies with iniquity. 
Your new moons
and your appointed festivals
my soul hates;
they have become a burden to me,
I am weary of bearing them. 
When you stretch out your hands,
I will hide my eyes from you;
even though you make many prayers,
I will not listen;
your hands are full of blood. 
Wash yourselves; make yourselves clean;
remove the evil of your doings
from before my eyes;
cease to do evil, 
learn to do good;
seek justice,
rescue the oppressed,
defend the orphan,
plead for the widow. 

Come now, let us argue it out,
says the Lord:
though your sins are like scarlet,
they shall be like snow;
though they are red like crimson,
they shall become like wool. 

Words: Janet Wootton (born 1952) © 2007 Stainer & Bell Ltd.
Metre: 11 10 11 10

God of all good, from you all joys of loving
flood out across the landscape of our years-
rivers of pleasure in another's laughter
leave quiet pools of safety for our tears.

Open to us the fountainhead of scripture
that teaches, where true love is you are there;
extend our hearts' reach, till in truth and friendship,
we offer and accept each other's care.

Forgive us for the poverty of culture
that places limits on humanity,
while those who cruelly squander love's resources,
through exploitation and abuse, go free.

So may your streams of love spring up within us;
may life and worship here provide the place
where we delight in learning from each other
the richly varied pattern of your grace.

SECOND READING [Luke 15:10-32]:

Jesus said, 'Just so, I tell you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.' 

Then Jesus said, 'There was a man who had two sons. The younger of them said to his father, "Father, give me the share of the property that will belong to me." So he divided his property between them. A few days later the younger son gathered all he had and travelled to a distant country, and there he squandered his property in dissolute living. When he had spent everything, a severe famine took place throughout that country, and he began to be in need. So he went and hired himself out to one of the citizens of that country, who sent him to his fields to feed the pigs. He would gladly have filled himself with the pods that the pigs were eating; and no one gave him anything. But when he came to himself he said, "How many of my father's hired hands have bread enough and to spare, but here I am dying of hunger! I will get up and go to my father, and I will say to him, 'Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you; I am no longer worthy to be called your son; treat me like one of your hired hands.' " So he set off and went to his father. But while he was still far off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion; he ran and put his arms around him and kissed him. Then the son said to him, "Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you; I am no longer worthy to be called your son." But the father said to his slaves, "Quickly, bring out a robe—the best one—and put it on him; put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. And get the fatted calf and kill it, and let us eat and celebrate; for this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found!" And they began to celebrate. 

'Now his elder son was in the field; and when he came and approached the house, he heard music and dancing. He called one of the slaves and asked what was going on. He replied, "Your brother has come, and your father has killed the fatted calf, because he has got him back safe and sound." Then he became angry and refused to go in. His father came out and began to plead with him. But he answered his father, "Listen! For all these years I have been working like a slave for you, and I have never disobeyed your command; yet you have never given me even a young goat so that I might celebrate with my friends. But when this son of yours came back, who has devoured your property with prostitutes, you killed the fatted calf for him!" Then the father said to him, "Son, you are always with me, and all that is mine is yours. But we had to celebrate and rejoice, because this brother of yours was dead and has come to life; he was lost and has been found." ' 

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

Let us bow before God, our Creator and Redeemer,
and confess our sin.

Silence may be kept for reflection and self-examination.

Almighty God, you alone are good and holy.
Purify our lives and make us brave disciples.
We do not ask you to keep us safe,
but to keep us loyal,
so we may serve Jesus Christ,
who, tempted in every way as we are,
was faithful to you. Amen.

>From lack of reverence for truth and beauty;
from a calculating or sentimental mind;
from going along with mean and ugly things:
O God, deliver us.

>From cowardice that dares not face truth;
laziness content with half-truth;
or arrogance that thinks we know it all:
O God, deliver us.

>From artificial life and worship;
from all that is hollow or insincere: 
O God, deliver us.

>From trite ideals and cheap pleasures;
from mistaking hard vulgarity for humor:
O God, deliver us.

>From being dull, pompous, or rude;
from putting down our neighbors:
O God, deliver us.

>From cynicism about others;
from intolerance or cruel indifference:
O God, deliver us.

>From being satisfied with things as they are,
in the church or in the world;
from failing to share you indignation about injustice:
O God, deliver us.

>From selfishness, self-indulgence, or self-pity: 
O God, deliver us.

>From token concern for the poor,
for lonely or loveless people;
from confusing faith with good feeling,
or love with wanting to be loved:
O God, deliver us.

For everything in us that may hide your light: 
O God, deliver us.

Gracious God,<BR
out of your love and mercy
you breathed into dust the breath of life,
creating us to serve you and our neighbors:
Call forth our prayers and acts of tenderness,
and strengthen us to face our mortality,
that we may reach with confidence
for your mercy;
through Jesus Christ our Lord,
who lives and reigns
with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and forever. Amen.
Trusting in the compassion of God,
let us pray as our Savior taught us:

- The Lord's Prayer

May the God of peace
make us holy in every way
and keep our whole being--
spirit, soul, and body--
free from every fault
at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. 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 Psalm 46:1-3. The opening prayer of thanksgiving is from _Book of Common Worship_, (c) 1993 Westminster / John Knox Press. The closing sentence is 1 Thessalonians 5:23, adapted. The litany of confession is from _Book of Common Worship_, (c) 1993 Westminster / John Knox Press. 

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