OREMUS: 21 March 2012

Steve Benner steve.benner at oremus.org
Tue Mar 20 17:00:11 GMT 2012

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OREMUS for March 21
Thomas Cranmer, Archbishop of Canterbury, Martyr, 1556

 Thomas Cranmer, archbishop of Canterbury for twenty-three years under three Tudor monarchs, was martyred as a heretic on 21 March 1556, when Queen Mary temporarily brought the English church back into the papal fold. Cranmer steered the church through the troubles of the Reformation and left an unparalleled legacy of liturgical writing in the Book of Common Prayer. His writings expressed his mature, reformed, biblical theology. For him nothing was more important than that Christians should “read, mark, learn and inwardly digest” the Scriptures.

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

Let us run with perseverance
the race that is set before us,
looking to Jesus
the pioneer and perfecter of our faith.
Let us worship God.

Blessed are you, Lord,
who has taught us
that all our doings without love
are nothing worth;
you send us your Holy Spirit,
and pour into our hearts
that most excellent gift of love,
the very bond of peace and all virtues,
without which whosoever lives
is counted dead before you.
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 105
Give thanks to the Lord
and call upon his name;*
 make known his deeds among the peoples. 
Sing to him, sing praises to him,*
 and speak of all his marvellous works. 
Glory in his holy name;*
 let the hearts of those
 who seek the Lord rejoice. 
Search for the Lord and his strength;*
 continually seek his face. 
Remember the marvels he has done,*
 his wonders and the judgements
 of his mouth, 
O offspring of Abraham his servant,*
 O children of Jacob his chosen. 
He is the Lord our God;*
 his judgements prevail in all the world. 
He has always been mindful
of his covenant,*
 the promise he made
 for a thousand generations: 
The covenant he made with Abraham,*
 the oath that he swore to Isaac, 
Which he established as a statute for Jacob,*
 an everlasting covenant for Israel, 
Saying, 'To you will I give
the land of Canaan*
 to be your allotted inheritance.' 
When they were few in number,*
 of little account and sojourners in the land, 
Wandering from nation to nation*
 and from one kingdom to another, 
He let no one oppress them*
 and rebuked kings for their sake, 
Saying, 'Do not touch my anointed*
 and do my prophets no harm.' 
Then he called for a famine in the land*
 and destroyed the supply of bread. 
He sent a man before them,*
 Joseph, who was sold as a slave. 
They bruised his feet in fetters;*
 his neck they put in an iron collar. 
Until his prediction came to pass,*
 the word of the Lord tested him. 
The king sent and released him;*
 the ruler of the peoples set him free. 
He set him as master over his household,*
 as a ruler over all his possessions, 
To instruct his princes according to his will*
 and to teach his elders wisdom. 
Israel came into Egypt,*
 and Jacob became a sojourner 
 in the land of Ham. 
The Lord made his people 
exceedingly fruitful;*
 he made them stronger than their enemies; 
Whose heart he turned, 
so that they hated his people,*
 and dealt unjustly with his servants. 
He sent Moses his servant,*
 and Aaron whom he had chosen. 
They worked his signs among them,*
 and portents in the land of Ham. 
He sent darkness and it grew dark;*
 but the Egyptians rebelled
 against his words. 
He turned their waters into blood*
 and caused their fish to die. 
Their land was overrun by frogs,*
 in the very chambers of their kings. 
He spoke and there came swarms of insects*
 and gnats within all their borders. 
He gave them hailstones instead of rain,*
 and flames of fire throughout their land. 
He blasted their vines and their fig trees*
 and shattered every tree in their country. 
He spoke and the locust came,*
 and young locusts without number, 
Which ate up all the green plants
in their land*
 and devoured the fruit of their soil. 
He struck down the first-born of their land,*
 the first-fruits of all their strength. 
He led out his people with silver and gold;*
 in all their tribes
 there was not one that stumbled. 
Egypt was glad of their going,*
 because they were afraid of them. 
He spread out a cloud for a covering*
 and a fire to give light in the night season. 
They asked and quails appeared,*
 and he satisfied them
 with bread from heaven. 
He opened the rock and water flowed,*
 so the river ran in the dry places. 
For God remembered his holy word*
 and Abraham his servant. 
So he led forth his people with gladness,*
 his chosen with shouts of joy. 
He gave his people the lands of the nations,*
 and they took the fruit of others' toil, 
That they might keep his statutes*
 and observe his laws.

FIRST READING [Ezekiel 33:21-33]:

In the twelfth year of our exile, in the tenth month, on the fifth day of the month, someone who had escaped from Jerusalem came to me and said, 'The city has fallen.' Now the hand of the Lord had been upon me the evening before the fugitive came; but he had opened my mouth by the time the fugitive came to me in the morning; so my mouth was opened, and I was no longer unable to speak. 

The word of the Lord came to me: Mortal, the inhabitants of these waste places in the land of Israel keep saying, 'Abraham was only one man, yet he got possession of the land; but we are many; the land is surely given to us to possess.' Therefore say to them, Thus says the Lord God: You eat flesh with the blood, and lift up your eyes to your idols, and shed blood; shall you then possess the land? You depend on your swords, you commit abominations, and each of you defiles his neighbour's wife; shall you then possess the land? Say this to them, Thus says the Lord God: As I live, surely those who are in the waste places shall fall by the sword; and those who are in the open field I will give to the wild animals to be devoured; and those who are in strongholds and in caves shall die by pestilence. I will make the land a desolation and a waste, and its proud might shall come to an end; and the mountains of Israel shall be so desolate that no one will pass through. Then they shall know that I am the Lord, when I have made the land a desolation and a waste because of all their abominations that they have committed. 

As for you, mortal, your people who talk together about you by the walls, and at the doors of the houses, say to one another, each to a neighbour, 'Come and hear what the word is that comes from the Lord.' They come to you as people come, and they sit before you as my people, and they hear your words, but they will not obey them. For flattery is on their lips, but their heart is set on their gain. To them you are like a singer of love songs, one who has a beautiful voice and plays well on an instrument; they hear what you say, but they will not do it. When this comes—and come it will!—then they shall know that a prophet has been among them. 

Words: Charlotte Elliott (1789-1871)
Tune: Saffron Walden

Just as I am, without one plea
but that thy blood was shed for me,
and that thou bidst me come to thee,
O Lamb of God, I come.

Just as I am, and waiting not
to rid my soul of one dark blot,
to thee, whose blood can cleanse each spot,
O Lamb of God, I come. 

Just as I am, though tossed about
with many a conflict, many a doubt,
fightings and fears within, without,
O Lamb of God, I come. 

Just as I am, poor, wretched, blind;
sight, riches, healing of the mind,
Yea, all I need, in thee to find,
O Lamb of God, I come. 

Just as I am, thou wilt receive,
wilt welcome, pardon, cleanse, relieve:
because thy promise I believe,
O Lamb of God, I come. 

Just as I am (thy love unknown
has broken every barrier down),
now to be thine, yea, thine alone,
O Lamb of God, I come. 

Just as I am, of that free love
the breadth, length, depth, and height to prove,
here for a season, then above,
O Lamb of God, I come.

SECOND READING [Romans 9:1-18]:

I am speaking the truth in Christ—I am not lying; my conscience confirms it by the Holy Spirit— I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart. For I could wish that I myself were accursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my own people, my kindred according to the flesh. They are Israelites, and to them belong the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the worship, and the promises; to them belong the patriarchs, and from them, according to the flesh, comes the Messiah, who is over all, God blessed for ever. Amen. 

It is not as though the word of God had failed. For not all Israelites truly belong to Israel, and not all of Abraham's children are his true descendants; but 'It is through Isaac that descendants shall be named after you.' This means that it is not the children of the flesh who are the children of God, but the children of the promise are counted as descendants. For this is what the promise said, 'About this time I will return and Sarah shall have a son.' Nor is that all; something similar happened to Rebecca when she had conceived children by one husband, our ancestor Isaac. Even before they had been born or had done anything good or bad (so that God's purpose of election might continue, not by works but by his call) she was told, 'The elder shall serve the younger.' As it is written, 'I have loved Jacob, but I have hated Esau.' What then are we to say? Is there injustice on God's part? By no means! For he says to Moses, 'I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.' So it depends not on human will or exertion, but on God who shows mercy. For the scripture says to Pharaoh, 'I have raised you up for the very purpose of showing my power in you, so that my name may be proclaimed in all the earth.' So then he has mercy on whomsoever he chooses, and he hardens the heart of whomsoever he chooses. 

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

Almighty and everliving GOD, 
which by thy holy Apostle hast taught us 
to make prayers, and supplications, 
and to give thanks for all men: 
We humbly beseech thee most mercifully 
to receive these our prayers, 
which we offer unto thy divine Majesty, 
beseeching thee to inspire continually the universal church 
with the spirit of truth, unity, and concord: 
And grant, that all they who do confess thy holy name, 
may agree in the truth of thy holy word, 
and live in unity and godly love. 
Specially we beseech thee to save and defend 
all those in authority, 
that they may truly and impartially minister justice,
to the punishment of wickedness and vice, 
and to the maintenance of God's true religion, and virtue. 
Give grace, O heavenly Father, to all Bishops, Pastors, and Curates, 
that they may both by their life and doctrine 
set forth thy true and lively word, 
and rightly and duly administer thy holy Sacraments: 
and to all thy people give thy heavenly grace, 
that, with meek heart and due reverence, 
they may hear, and receive thy holy word, 
truly serving thee in holiness and righteousness all the days of their life:
And we most humbly beseech thee of thy goodness, O Lord, 
to comfort and succour all them, 
which in this transitory life be in
trouble, sorrow, need, sickness, or any other adversity. 
And especially we commend unto thy merciful goodness, 
this congregation which is here assembled in thy name: 
And here we do give unto thee most high praise, and hearty thanks, 
for the wonderful grace and virtue, declared in all thy saints,
from the beginning of the world: 
And chiefly in the glorious and most blessed virgin Mary, 
mother of thy son Jesus Christ our Lord and God,
and in the holy Patriarchs, Prophets, Apostles and Martyrs, 
whose examples, O Lord, and steadfastness in thy faith, 
and keeping thy holy commandments, grant us to follow. 
We commend unto thy mercy, O Lord, all other thy servants,
which are departed hence from us, with the sign of faith, 
and now do rest in the sleep of peace: 
Grant unto them, we beseech thee, thy mercy, and everlasting peace, 
and that at the day of the general resurrection, 
we and all they which be of the mystical body of thy son, 
may altogether be set on his right hand, 
and hear that his most joyful voice: 
Come unto me, O ye that be blessed of my Father, 
and possess the kingdom, 
which is prepared for you from the beginning of the world. 
Grant this, O Father, for Jesus Christ's sake, 
our only mediator and advocate. Amen.

As your merciful goodness endures for ever, O Lord,
remember the frailty of your children;
deal with us not according to our sins
but, in your compassion, redeem our life
and crown us with your mercy and lovingkindness;
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Father of all wisdom and understanding,
who through the life of your servant Thomas Cranmer
renewed the life and worship of your Church,
and through his death
revealed your strength in human weakness:
by your grace let the light of faith
always shine within us,
that we may bear witness to the truth of your holy name;
through Jesus Christ,
our Mediator and Advocate. Amen. 
Trusting in the compassion of God,
let us pray as our Savior taught us:

- The Lord's Prayer

The peace of God which passeth all understanding
keep our hearts and minds in the knowledge and love of God. 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 For All The Saints, Anglican Church of New Zealand. The opening sentence is Hebrews 12:1-2. The opening prayer of thanksgiving, intercession, and closing sentence are adapted from the 1549 Book of Common Prayer. The second collect is adapted from _Common Worship: Services and Prayers for the Church of England_, material from which is included in this service is copyright (c) The Archbishops' Council, 2000.

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