OREMUS: 11 March 2012

Steve Benner steve.benner at oremus.org
Sat Mar 10 17:00:00 GMT 2012

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OREMUS for March 11
The Third Sunday in Lent

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

The Lord is in his holy temple;
let all the earth be silent in his presence.<BR
Let us worship God.

Blessed are you, Holy One,
creator of the stars and seas,
your steadfast love is shown
to every living thing:
your word calls forth
countless worlds and souls;
your law revives and refreshes.
You transform us by your wisdom
to manifest for others
the mercy of our crucified and risen Lord.
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 56

Have mercy on me, O God,
for my enemies are hounding me;*
 all day long they assault and oppress me. 
They hound me all the day long;*
 truly there are many
 who fight against me, O Most High. 
Whenever I am afraid,*
 I will put my trust in you. 
In God, whose word I praise,
in God I trust and will not be afraid,*
 for what can flesh do to me? 
All day long they damage my cause;*
 their only thought is to do me evil. 
They band together; they lie in wait;*
 they spy upon my footsteps;
because they seek my life. 
Shall they escape despite their wickedness?*
 O God, in your anger,
 cast down the peoples. 
You have noted my lamentation;
put my tears into your bottle;*
 are they not recorded in your book? 
Whenever I call upon you,
my enemies will be put to flight;*
 this I know, for God is on my side. 
In God the Lord, whose word I praise,
in God I trust and will not be afraid,*
 for what can mortals do to me? 
I am bound by the vow
I made to you, O God;*
 I will present to you thank-offerings; 
For you have rescued my soul from death
and my feet from stumbling,*
 that I may walk before God
 in the light of the living. 

Psalm 57

Be merciful to me, O God, be merciful,
for I have taken refuge in you;*
 in the shadow of your wings
 will I take refuge
until this time of trouble has gone by. 
I will call upon the Most High God,*
 the God who maintains my cause. 
He will send from heaven and save me; 
he will confound those
who trample upon me;*
 God will send forth his love
 and his faithfulness. 
I lie in the midst of lions
that devour the people;*
 their teeth are spears and arrows,
 their tongue a sharp sword. 
They have laid a net for my feet
and I am bowed low;*
 they have dug a pit before me
 but have fallen into it themselves. 
Exalt yourself above the heavens, O God,*
 and your glory over all the earth. 
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 praise 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. 

Psalm 58

Do you indeed
decree righteousness, you rulers?*
 do you judge the peoples with equity? 
No; you devise evil in your hearts,*
 and your hands deal out
 violence in the land. 
The wicked are perverse from the womb;*
 liars go astray from their birth. 
They are as venomous as a serpent,*
 they are like the deaf adder
 which stops its ears, 
Which does not heed
the voice of the charmer,*
 no matter how skilful his charming. 
O God, break their teeth in their mouths;*
 pull the fangs of the young lions, O Lord. 
Let them vanish like water that runs off;*
 let them wither like trodden grass. 
Let them be like the snail that melts away,*
 like a stillborn child that never sees the sun. 
Before they bear fruit,
let them be cut down like a brier;*
 like thorns and thistles
 let them be swept away. 
The righteous will be glad
when they see the vengeance;*
 they will bathe their feet
 in the blood of the wicked. 
And they will say, 
'Surely, there is a reward for the righteous;*
 surely, there is a God
 who rules in the earth.'
FIRST READING [Jeremiah 38]:

Now Shephatiah son of Mattan, Gedaliah son of Pashhur, Jucal son of Shelemiah, and Pashhur son of Malchiah heard the words that Jeremiah was saying to all the people, Thus says the Lord, Those who stay in this city shall die by the sword, by famine, and by pestilence; but those who go out to the Chaldeans shall live; they shall have their lives as a prize of war, and live. Thus says the Lord, This city shall surely be handed over to the army of the king of Babylon and be taken. Then the officials said to the king, 'This man ought to be put to death, because he is discouraging the soldiers who are left in this city, and all the people, by speaking such words to them. For this man is not seeking the welfare of this people, but their harm.' King Zedekiah said, 'Here he is; he is in your hands; for the king is powerless against you.' So they took Jeremiah and threw him into the cistern of Malchiah, the king's son, which was in the court of the guard, letting Jeremiah down by ropes. Now there was no water in the cistern, but only mud, and Jeremiah sank in the mud. 

Ebed-melech the Ethiopian, a eunuch in the king's house, heard that they had put Jeremiah into the cistern. The king happened to be sitting at the Benjamin Gate, So Ebed-melech left the king's house and spoke to the king, 'My lord king, these men have acted wickedly in all they did to the prophet Jeremiah by throwing him into the cistern to die there of hunger, for there is no bread left in the city.' Then the king commanded Ebed-melech the Ethiopian, 'Take three men with you from here, and pull the prophet Jeremiah up from the cistern before he dies.' So Ebed-melech took the men with him and went to the house of the king, to a wardrobe of the storehouse, and took from there old rags and worn-out clothes, which he let down to Jeremiah in the cistern by ropes. Then Ebed-melech the Ethiopian said to Jeremiah, 'Just put the rags and clothes between your armpits and the ropes.' Jeremiah did so. Then they drew Jeremiah up by the ropes and pulled him out of the cistern. And Jeremiah remained in the court of the guard. 
 King Zedekiah sent for the prophet Jeremiah and received him at the third entrance of the temple of the Lord. The king said to Jeremiah, 'I have something to ask you; do not hide anything from me.' Jeremiah said to Zedekiah, 'If I tell you, you will put me to death, will you not? And if I give you advice, you will not listen to me.' So King Zedekiah swore an oath in secret to Jeremiah, 'As the Lord lives, who gave us our lives, I will not put you to death or hand you over to these men who seek your life.' 

Then Jeremiah said to Zedekiah, 'Thus says the Lord, the God of hosts, the God of Israel, If you will only surrender to the officials of the king of Babylon, then your life shall be spared, and this city shall not be burned with fire, and you and your house shall live. But if you do not surrender to the officials of the king of Babylon, then this city shall be handed over to the Chaldeans, and they shall burn it with fire, and you yourself shall not escape from their hand.' King Zedekiah said to Jeremiah, 'I am afraid of the Judeans who have deserted to the Chaldeans, for I might be handed over to them and they would abuse me.' Jeremiah said, 'That will not happen. Just obey the voice of the Lord in what I say to you, and it shall go well with you, and your life shall be spared. But if you are determined not to surrender, this is what the Lord has shown me— a vision of all the women remaining in the house of the king of Judah being led out to the officials of the king of Babylon and saying, "Your trusted friends have seduced you and have overcome you. Now that your feet are stuck in the mud, they desert you." All your wives and your children shall be led out to the Chaldeans, and you yourself shall not escape from their hand, but shall be seized by the king of Babylon; and this city shall be burned with fire.' 

Then Zedekiah said to Jeremiah, 'Do not let anyone else know of this conversation, or you will die. If the officials should hear that I have spoken with you, and they should come and say to you, "Just tell us what you said to the king; do not conceal it from us, or we will put you to death. What did the king say to you?" then you shall say to them, "I was presenting my plea to the king not to send me back to the house of Jonathan to die there." ' All the officials did come to Jeremiah and questioned him; and he answered them in the very words the king had commanded. So they stopped questioning him, for the conversation had not been overheard. And Jeremiah remained in the court of the guard until the day that Jerusalem was taken. 

Words: Martin Luther (1483-1546) translated by Catherine Winkworth 
Tune: Coburg (Aus tiefer Not)

Out of the depths I cry to Thee,
Lord, hear me, I implore Thee;
Bend down Thy gracious ear to me,
Regard my prayer before Thee;
If Thou rememberest each misdeed,
If each should have its rightful meed,
Who may abide Thy presence?

Our pardon is Thy gift; Thy love
And grace alone avail us;
Our works could ne'er our guilt remove,
The strictest life would fail us;
That none may boast himself of aught,
But own in fear Thy grace hath wrought
What in him seemeth righteous.

And thus my hope is in the Lord
And not in mine own merit;
I rest upon His faithful word
To them of contrite spirit;
That He is merciful and just-
Here is my comfort and my trust;
His help I wait with patience.

Though great our sins and sore our woes
His grace much more aboundeth;
His helping love no limit knows,
Our utmost need it soundeth;
Our kind and faithful Shepherd He,
Who shall at last set Israel free
>From all their sin and sorrow.

SECOND READING [Philippians 1:1-26]:

Paul and Timothy, servants of Christ Jesus, To all the saints in Christ Jesus who are in Philippi, with the bishops and deacons: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. 

I thank my God every time I remember you, constantly praying with joy in every one of my prayers for all of you, because of your sharing in the gospel from the first day until now. I am confident of this, that the one who began a good work among you will bring it to completion by the day of Jesus Christ. It is right for me to think this way about all of you, because you hold me in your heart, for all of you share in God's grace with me, both in my imprisonment and in the defence and confirmation of the gospel. For God is my witness, how I long for all of you with the compassion of Christ Jesus. And this is my prayer, that your love may overflow more and more with knowledge and full insight to help you to determine what is best, so that on the day of Christ you may be pure and blameless, having produced the harvest of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ for the glory and praise of God. 
I want you to know, beloved, that what has happened to me has actually helped to spread the gospel, so that it has become known throughout the whole imperial guard and to everyone else that my imprisonment is for Christ; and most of the brothers and sisters, having been made confident in the Lord by my imprisonment, dare to speak the word with greater boldness and without fear. 
Some proclaim Christ from envy and rivalry, but others from goodwill. These proclaim Christ out of love, knowing that I have been put here for the defence of the gospel; the others proclaim Christ out of selfish ambition, not sincerely but intending to increase my suffering in my imprisonment. What does it matter? Just this, that Christ is proclaimed in every way, whether out of false motives or true; and in that I rejoice.

Yes, and I will continue to rejoice, for I know that through your prayers and the help of the Spirit of Jesus Christ this will result in my deliverance. It is my eager expectation and hope that I will not be put to shame in any way, but that by my speaking with all boldness, Christ will be exalted now as always in my body, whether by life or by death. For to me, living is Christ and dying is gain. If I am to live in the flesh, that means fruitful labour for me; and I do not know which I prefer. I am hard pressed between the two: my desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better; but to remain in the flesh is more necessary for you. Since I am convinced of this, I know that I will remain and continue with all of you for your progress and joy in faith, so that I may share abundantly in your boasting in Christ Jesus when I come to you again. 

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

In this season of Lent, we are called to examine our hearts and our lives, and bring our concerns for the world to the Lord.

For the people of Syria: that the international community will act to prevent the death and torment of innocent people.

For all who struggle with alcohol, or other forms of addiction; that they will find inspiration from the Lord. Let us pray that their families and friends will find the strength to support them.

For all who are preparing for the Olympics, and for the games themselves; that they be a springboard for international and local peace in the world.

For all who are persecuted because of their Christian faith; that they will be protected by other Christians and find in Christ a sense of peace.

For all people who are gay, and others who feel that the Church has no room for them; may they know that the Lord loves them unconditionally.

We bring these prayers to you, Lord, knowing that you listen to them in love. Amen.

God of compassion,
source of all goodness,
you have shown us that prayer,
self-denial and works of love
are the healing for our wounded humanity.
Look upon us now
as we acknowledge our weakness,
and when our conscience weighs us down,
raiseus again in your abiding mercy.
We ask this though Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Trusting in the compassion of God,
let us pray as our Savior taught us:

- The Lord's Prayer

Reconcile us to one another,
that our communion in Christ
may truly give you praise. 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 Habakkuk 2:20. The opening prayer of thanksgiving is reprinted from _Revised Common Lectionary Prayers_, copyright (c) 2002 Consultation on Common Texts. The petitions are gathered by Redemptorist Publications and are published each Friday on their website: http://www.rpbooks.co.uk/page.php?page=prayers. The collect and closing sentence are from from _Celebrating the Christian Year_ by Alan Griffiths. 

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