OREMUS: 3 March 2012

Steve Benner steve.benner at oremus.org
Fri Mar 2 17:00:00 GMT 2012

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OREMUS for March 3
John and Charles Wesley, Evangelists, Hymn Writers, 1791 and 1788

Born at Epworth Rectory in Lincolnshire, John Wesley was the son of an Anglican clergyman and a Puritan mother. He entered Holy Orders and, following a religious experience on this day in 1738, began an itinerant ministry which recognised no parish boundaries. This resulted, after his death, in the development of a world-wide Methodist Church. His spirituality involved an Arminian affirmation of grace, frequent communion and a disciplined corporate search for holiness. His open-air preaching, concern for education and for the poor, liturgical revision, organisation of local societies and training of preachers provided a firm basis for Christian growth and mission in England. 

Charles shared with his brother John the building up of early Methodist societies, as they travelled the country. His special concern was that early Methodists should remain loyal to Anglicanism. He married and settled in Bristol, later in London, concentrating his work on the local Christian communities. His thousands of hymns established a resource of lyrical piety which has enabled generations of Christians to re-discover the refining power of God's love. They celebrate God's work of grace from birth to death, the great events of God's work of salvation and the rich themes of eucharistic worship, anticipating the taking up of humanity into the divine life. 

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

Long my imprisoned spirit lay
Fast bound in sin and nature's night;
Thine eye diffused a quickening ray -
I woke, the dungeon flamed with light,
My chains fell off, my heart was free,
I rose, went forth, and followed thee.
Let us worship God.

Maker of all, in whom we live, and move, and are,
we praise you for your creating love. 
We give you thanks for your redeeming grace, 
the grace to sinners shown. 
Your heart-renewing power we bless. 
Unsearchable is your love that brought the Savior down. 
Made flesh for our sake, 
Jesus is our brother now. 
He laid his glory by, 
that we might your image regain, 
and share the nature divine. 
Blessed be God for ever!

An opening canticle may be sung. 

Psalm 15

Lord, who may dwell in your tabernacle?*
 who may abide upon your holy hill? 
Whoever leads a blameless life
and does what is right,*
 who speaks the truth from his heart. 
There is no guile upon his tongue;
he does no evil to his friend;*
 he does not heap contempt
 upon his neighbour. 
In his sight the wicked is rejected,*
 but he honours those who fear the Lord. 
He has sworn to do no wrong*
 and does not take back his word. 
He does not give his money
in hope of gain,*
 nor does he take a bribe
 against the innocent. 
Whoever does these things*
 shall never be overthrown. 

Psalm 16

Protect me, O God,
for I take refuge in you;*
 I have said to the Lord, 
 'You are my Lord,
 my good above all other.' 
All my delight is upon the godly
that are in the land,*
 upon those who are noble
 among the people. 
But those who run after other gods*
 shall have their troubles multiplied. 
Their libations of blood I will not offer,*
 nor take the names of their gods
 upon my lips. 
O Lord, you are my portion and my cup;*
 it is you who uphold my lot. 
My boundaries enclose a pleasant land;*
 indeed, I have a goodly heritage. 
I will bless the Lord who gives me counsel;*
 my heart teaches me, night after night. 
I have set the Lord always before me;*
 because he is at my right hand
 I shall not fall. 
My heart, therefore, is glad
and my spirit rejoices;*
 my body also shall rest in hope. 
For you will not abandon me to the grave,*
 nor let your holy one see the Pit. 
You will show me the path of life;*
 in your presence there is fullness of joy,
 and in your right hand
 are pleasures for evermore. 

Psalm 17

Hear my plea of innocence, O Lord;
give heed to my cry;*
 listen to my prayer,
 which does not come from lying lips.
Let my vindication come forth from your presence;*
 let your eyes be fixed on justice.
 Weigh my heart, summon me by night,*
 melt me down;
 you will find no impurity in me.
I give no offence with my mouth as others do;*
 I have heeded the words of your lips.
My footsteps hold fast to the ways of your law;*
 in your paths my feet shall not stumble.
I call upon you, O God, for you will answer me;*
 incline your ear to me and hear my words.
Show me your marvellous lovingkindness,*
 O Saviour of those
 who take refuge at your right hand
 from those who rise up against them.
Keep me as the apple of your eye;*
 hide me under the shadow of your wings,
>From the wicked who assault me,*
 from my deadly enemies who surround me.
They have closed their heart to pity,*
 and their mouth speaks proud things.
They press me hard,
now they surround me,*
 watching how they may cast me to the ground,
Like a lion, greedy for its prey,*
 and like a young lion lurking in secret places.
Arise, O Lord; confront them and bring them down;*
 deliver me from the wicked by your sword.
Deliver me, O Lord, by your hand*
 from those whose portion in life is this world;
Whose bellies you fill with your treasure,*
 who are well supplied with children
 and leave their wealth to their little ones.
But at my vindication I shall see your face;*
 when I awake, I shall be satisfied,
 beholding your likeness.

FIRST READING [Genesis 12:1-9]:

Now the Lord said to Abram, 'Go from your country and your kindred and your father's house to the land that I will show you. I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you, and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and the one who curses you I will curse; and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.' 

So Abram went, as the Lord had told him; and Lot went with him. Abram was seventy-five years old when he departed from Haran. Abram took his wife Sarai and his brother's son Lot, and all the possessions that they had gathered, and the persons whom they had acquired in Haran; and they set forth to go to the land of Canaan. When they had come to the land of Canaan, Abram passed through the land to the place at Shechem, to the oak of Moreh. At that time the Canaanites were in the land. Then the Lord appeared to Abram, and said, 'To your offspring I will give this land.' So he built there an altar to the Lord, who had appeared to him. From there he moved on to the hill country on the east of Bethel, and pitched his tent, with Bethel on the west and Ai on the east; and there he built an altar to the Lord and invoked the name of the Lord. And Abram journeyed on by stages towards the Negeb. 

Words: Charles Wesley, 1747   
Tune: Hyfrydol, Love Divine, Blaenwern

Love divine, all loves excelling,
joy of heaven, to earth come down,
fix in us thy humble dwelling,
all thy faithful mercies crown.
Jesus, thou art all compassion,
pure, unbounded love thou art;
visit us with thy salvation,
enter every trembling heart.

Come, almighty to deliver,
let us all thy life receive;
suddenly return, and never,
nevermore thy temples leave.
Thee we would be always blessing,
serve thee as thy hosts above,
pray, and praise thee without ceasing,
glory in thy perfect love.

Finish then thy new creation;
pure and spotless let us be;
let us see thy great salvation
perfectly restored in thee:
changed from glory into glory,
till in heaven we take our place,
till we cast our crowns before thee,
lost in wonder, love, and praise.

SECOND READING [Hebrews 11:1-3,8-167]:

Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. Indeed, by faith our ancestors received approval. By faith we understand that the worlds were prepared by the word of God, so that what is seen was made from things that are not visible. 

By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to set out for a place that he was to receive as an inheritance; and he set out, not knowing where he was going. By faith he stayed for a time in the land he had been promised, as in a foreign land, living in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with him of the same promise. For he looked forward to the city that has foundations, whose architect and builder is God. By faith he received power of procreation, even though he was too old—and Sarah herself was barren—because he considered him faithful who had promised. Therefore from one person, and this one as good as dead, descendants were born, 'as many as the stars of heaven and as the innumerable grains of sand by the seashore.' 

All of these died in faith without having received the promises, but from a distance they saw and greeted them. They confessed that they were strangers and foreigners on the earth, for people who speak in this way make it clear that they are seeking a homeland. If they had been thinking of the land that they had left behind, they would have had opportunity to return. But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God; indeed, he has prepared a city for them. 
The Benedictus (Morning), 
the Magnificat (Evening), or Nunc dimittis (Night) may follow.

We offer up again our souls and bodies to you to be governed, not by our will, but yours. O let it be ever the ease and joy of our hearts, to be under the conduct of your unerring wisdom, 
to follow your counsels, and to be ruled in all things by your holy will. And let us never distrust your abundant kindness and tender care over us; whatsoever it is you would have us to do or to suffer in this world; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
God of love,
you inspired your servants
John and Charles Wesley
with zeal for holiness of life
and gave them eloquence in speech and song;
grant that with heartfelt conviction like theirs 
we may find joy in your service;
through Jesus Christ our Saviour. Amen.

Trusting in the compassion of our God,
let us pray as our Savior has taught us:

- The Lord's Prayer

Send your everlasting Spirit
and preach the Gospel to our hearts. Amen.

The psalms and the invitation to the Lord's Prayer 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 from the hymn "And should it be that I should gain" by Wesley. The opening prayer of thanksgiving and the closing sentence are based on the poetry of Charles Wesley and were written for the World Methodist Council and Conference of 2005. The first collect is by John Wesley. The second collect is from _For All the Saints_, Anglican Church of New Zealand. 

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