Oremus for Monday, December 28, 2020

The Flight into Egypt, Mabel Royds, ca. 1938

The Holy Innocents
Herod ‘the Great’ was appointed King of the Jews by the Roman authorities in Palestine and he proved to be ruthlessly efficient in his thirty-three years of dealing with his subjects. In Matthew’s gospel, he tried to persuade the Magi, to whom he played the host on their journey seeking the one ‘who has been born king of the Jews’, to bring word of where they had found him. His desire was to eliminate Jesus and, when he realised that the Magi had tricked him and left the country, Herod poured out his wrath on all the male infants in the land. These were God’s ‘innocent’ ones, parallelling the story of Pharaoh slaughtering the Hebrew children in Egypt. EH


Ant. O Lord our governor,
how admirable is your name in all the earth!
V. From the mouths of children and of babes †
you fashioned praise to foil your enemy, *
to silence the foe and the rebel. Psalm 8

Almighty God,
you wonderfully created,
and yet more wonderfully restored,
the dignity of human nature.
In your mercy,
let us share the divine life of Jesus Christ
who came to share our humanity,
and who now lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and forever. Amen. BCW

Music: https://tinyurl.com/ycn4djk5

O Lord, open my lips.
And my mouth will declare your praise.
Make haste, O God, to deliver me;
make haste to help me, O Lord.
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit,
as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be forever. Amen.
Praise to you, O Christ, Alleluia!

HYMN: Carolyn Gillette ©
Tune: Llangloffan https://tinyurl.com/y9ojzyrm

1 A voice was heard in Ramah
that could not be consoled,
as Rachel wept for children 
she could no longer hold.
For Herod ruled the nation,
yet feared the infant king.
How great the devastation 
that fear and anger bring!

2 O God, we hear the crying 
for little ones of yours;
for many still are dying 
in conflicts and in wars—
in ev’ry troubled nation, 
on ev’ry violent street,
how great the lamentation 
when fear and anger meet!

3 “O Prince of Peace, you lead us 
in ways of truth and grace.
May we be brave to practice 
your peace in ev’ry place—
to love each fear-filled nation, 
to serve each troubled street.
How great the celebration 
when peace and justice meet!

For psalms in contemporary language, https://tinyurl.com/y9tjh7rk

Psalm 136 (Anglican Chant: https://tinyurl.com/y7f3bagv)

1  O give thanks unto the Lord, for he is gracious *
 and his mercy endureth for ever.
2  O give thanks unto the God of all gods *
 for his mercy endureth for ever.
3  O thank the Lord of all lords *
 for his mercy endureth for ever.
4  Who only doeth great wonders *
 for his mercy endureth for ever.
5  Who by his excellent wisdom made the heavens *
 for his mercy endureth for ever.
6  Who laid out the earth above the waters *
 for his mercy endureth for ever.
7  Who hath made great lights *
 for his mercy endureth for ever;
8  The sun to rule the day *
 for his mercy endureth for ever;
9  The moon and the stars to govern the night *
 for his mercy endureth for ever.
10  Who smote Egypt with their first-born *
 for his mercy endureth for ever;
11  And brought out Israel from among them *
 for his mercy endureth for ever;
12  With a mighty hand, and stretched out arm *
 for his mercy endureth for ever.
13  Who divided the Red sea in two parts *
 for his mercy endureth for ever;
14  And made Israel to go through the midst of it *
 for his mercy endureth for ever.
15  But as for Pharaoh and his host, he overthrew them in the Red sea *
 for his mercy endureth for ever.
16  Who led his people through the wilderness *
 for his mercy endureth for ever.
17  Who smote great kings *
 for his mercy endureth for ever;
18  Yea, and slew mighty kings *
 for his mercy endureth for ever;
19  Sehon king of the Amorites *
 for his mercy endureth for ever;
20  And Og the king of Basan *
 for his mercy endureth for ever;
21  And gave away their land for an heritage *
 for his mercy endureth for ever;
22  Even for an heritage unto Israel his servant *
 for his mercy endureth for ever.
23  Who remembered us when we were in trouble *
 for his mercy endureth for ever;
24  And hath delivered us from our enemies *
 for his mercy endureth for ever.
25  Who giveth food to all flesh *
 for his mercy endureth for ever.
26  O give thanks unto the God of heaven *
 for his mercy endureth for ever.
27  O give thanks unto the Lord of lords *
 for his mercy endureth for ever.
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son :
and to the Holy Ghost;
as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be :
world without end. Amen.

Psalm 137 (Anglican Chant: https://tinyurl.com/yd8m98dk)

1  By the waters of Babylon we sat down and wept *
 when we remembered thee, O Sion.
2  As for our harps, we hanged them up *
 upon the trees that are therein.
3  For they that led us away captive required of us then a song, and melody, in our heaviness *
 Sing us one of the songs of Sion.
4  How shall we sing the Lord’s song *
 in a strange land?
5  If I forget thee, O Jerusalem *
 let my right hand forget her cunning.
6  If I do not remember thee, let my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth *
 yea if I prefer not Jerusalem in my mirth.
7  Remember the children of Edom, O Lord, in the day of Jerusalem *
 how they said, Down with it, down with it, even to the ground.
8  O daughter of Babylon, wasted with misery *
 yea, happy shall he be that rewardeth thee, as thou hast served us.
9  Blessed shall he be that taketh thy children *
 and throweth them against the stones.
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son :
and to the Holy Ghost;
as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be :
world without end. Amen.

Psalm 138 (Anglican Chant: https://tinyurl.com/y85o6fdm)

1  I will give thanks unto thee, O Lord, with my whole heart *
 even before the gods will I sing praise unto thee.
2  I will worship toward thy holy temple, and praise thy Name,
because of thy loving-kindness and truth *
 for thou hast magnified thy Name, and thy Word, above all things.
3  When I called upon thee, thou heardest me *
 and enduedst my soul with much strength.
4  All the kings of the earth shall praise thee, O Lord *
 for they have heard the words of thy mouth.
5  Yea, they shall sing in the ways of the Lord *
 that great is the glory of the Lord.
6  For though the Lord be high, yet hath he respect unto the lowly *
 as for the proud, he beholdeth them afar off.
7  Though I walk in the midst of trouble, yet shalt thou refresh me *
 thou shalt stretch forth thy hand upon the furiousness of mine enemies,
and thy right hand shall save me.
8  The Lord shall make good his loving-kindness toward me *
 yea, thy mercy, O Lord, endureth for ever;
despise not then the works of thine own hands.
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son :
and to the Holy Ghost;
as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be :
world without end. Amen.


God of everlasting love,
through your Word you made all things
in heaven and on earth;
you have opened to us the path from death to life.
Listen to the song of the universe,
the hymn of resurrection sung by your church,
and give us your blessing;
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. BCW


Reading: Jeremiah 31:15-17

Thus says the Lord:
A voice is heard in Ramah,
   lamentation and bitter weeping.
Rachel is weeping for her children;
   she refuses to be comforted for her children,
   because they are no more.
Thus says the Lord:
Keep your voice from weeping,
   and your eyes from tears;
for there is a reward for your work,
says the Lord:
   they shall come back from the land of the enemy;
there is hope for your future,
says the Lord:
   your children shall come back to their own country.

HYMN: Robert Croo
Tune: Coventry Carol https://tinyurl.com/yd6fxbgr

Lully, lulla,
thou little tiny child,
by by, lully lullay.

1 O sisters too,
how may we do
for to preserve this day
this poor youngling,
for whom we do sing
by by, lully lullay?

2 Herod the king,
in his raging,
charged he hath this day
his men of might,
in his own sight,
all young children to slay.

3 That woe is me,
poor child for thee!
and ever morn and day,
for thy parting
neither say nor sing
by by, lully lullay! [Refrain]

Reading: 2 Peter 1:1-11

Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that is taking place among you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice in so far as you are sharing Christ’s sufferings, so that you may also be glad and shout for joy when his glory is revealed. If you are reviled for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the spirit of glory, which is the Spirit of God, is resting on you. But let none of you suffer as a murderer, a thief, a criminal, or even as a mischief-maker. Yet if any of you suffers as a Christian, do not consider it a disgrace, but glorify God because you bear this name. For the time has come for judgement to begin with the household of God; if it begins with us, what will be the end for those who do not obey the gospel of God? And
‘If it is hard for the righteous to be saved,
   what will become of the ungodly and the sinners?’
Therefore, let those suffering in accordance with God’s will entrust themselves to a faithful Creator, while continuing to do good.

HYMN: Martin Leckebusch ©
Tune: Sussex https://tinyurl.com/y94xngv5

1 In the night, the sound of crying —
whimpers from a babe so small:
angels hail the new-born infant
in that dingy cattle-stall.

2 In the night, the sound of crying —
Mary journeys on with tears,
further from the home she treasures,
onward to uncertain years.

3 In the night, the sound of crying —
fury nothing can assuage!
Schemes of pointless, brutal murder
spring from Herod’s jealous rage.

4 In the night, the sound of crying —
agonies beyond belief!
Soldiers searching, children slaughtered —
parents overwhelmed with grief.

5 In the night, the sound of crying —
cries of faith, though hope looks vain;
cries of joy, for Christ has conquered,
and, with justice, comes to reign.

Reading: Matthew 2:13-18

Now after the wise men had left, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, ‘Get up, take the child and his mother, and flee to Egypt, and remain there until I tell you; for Herod is about to search for the child, to destroy him.’ Then Joseph got up, took the child and his mother by night, and went to Egypt, and remained there until the death of Herod. This was to fulfil what had been spoken by the Lord through the prophet, ‘Out of Egypt I have called my son.’

When Herod saw that he had been tricked by them, he was infuriated, and he sent and killed all the children in and around Bethlehem who were two years old or under, according to the time that he had learned from the wise men. Then was fulfilled what had been spoken through the prophet Jeremiah:
‘A voice was heard in Ramah,
   wailing and loud lamentation,
Rachel weeping for her children;
   she refused to be consoled, because they are no more.’

(Chant by Joe Cox: https://tinyurl.com/ybzyundx)

We praise thee, O God; we acknowledge thee to be the Lord.
All the earth doth worship thee, the Father everlasting.
To thee all Angels cry aloud,
the Heavens and all the Powers therein.
To thee Cherubim and Seraphim continually do cry:
    Holy, holy, holy, Lord God of Sabaoth;
    Heaven and earth are full of the majesty of thy glory.
The glorious company of the apostles praise thee.
The goodly fellowship of the prophets praise thee.
The noble army of martyrs praise thee.
The holy Church throughout all the world
                              doth acknowledge thee,
    the Father, of an infinite majesty,
    thine adorable, true, and only Son,
    also the Holy Ghost the Comforter.

Thou art the King of glory, O Christ.
Thou art the everlasting Son of the Father.
When thou tookest upon thee to deliver man,
thou didst humble thyself to be born of a Virgin.
When thou hadst overcome the sharpness of death,
thou didst open the kingdom of heaven to all believers.
Thou sittest at the right hand of God, in the glory of the Father.
We believe that thou shalt come to be our judge.
    We therefore pray thee, help thy servants,
    whom thou hast redeemed with thy precious blood.
    Make them to be numbered with thy saints,
    in glory everlasting.

PRAYER Chalice

God of mercy,
every family in heaven and on earth
takes its name from you.
We pray for parents,
that they may give their children faith in you
and find help and support in your community.

We pray for children,
that with faith in you
they may grow up confident, full of hope,
merciful, gentle and creative
in all their dealings with others.

We pray, too, for those
who have seen their children destroyed by violence or hunger:
Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

We pray for all children orphaned by war.
Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

We pray for families who are homeless or separated,
or who live in unhealthy, brutalizing conditions:
Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

We pray for grace to show mercy and justice
that hope may be restored.
Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

We pray that our society
will strengthen and support family life,
so that children may grow up whole
for the good of the community.
Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

We pray that we may do justice
to holiness and your love,
which are stronger and surer than all our evil.
Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

(Plainsong Mode 2: https://tinyurl.com/yctqq8cf)DL

Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your Name,
your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us today the bread of life;
and forgive us our sins
as we forgive those who sin against us.
Save us from the time of trial
and deliver us from evil.

For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours,
now and for ever. Amen.

Heavenly Father,
whose children suffered at the hands of Herod,
though they had done no wrong:
by the suffering of your Son
and by the innocence of our lives
frustrate all evil designs
and establish your reign of justice and peace;
through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever. Amen. EH

Music: https://tinyurl.com/y9efvwm5
Let us bless the Lord.
Thanks be to God.

The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God,
and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with us all. Amen. 2 Cor. 13:14

Donation to Support This Ministry

Since 1993, Oremus has been done on a volunteer basis. If you are able, please consider supporting this work at the PayPal link below. For software reasons, I’ve set the value at $10.00, but feel free to change it. Thank you.


BCW Book of Common Worship, Presbyterian Church U.S.A., 1993.

RCLP Revised Common Lectionary Prayers. © 2002 Consultation on Common Texts admin. Augsburg Fortress.

EH Exciting Holiness, Ed. Brother Tristram SSF © European Province of the Society of Saint Francis, 1997

1 Adam Bartlett, Simple English Propers; audio from https://musicasacra.com/additional-publications/sep-practice-videos/ ©

The intercession is from Chalice Worship, © Chalice Press, 1997.

The three main scripture readings are from the The New Revised Standard Version, Anglicised Edition, The New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, 1995 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

The psalms are from The Book of Common Prayer (1662).

Musical links are usually either to artists’ albums posted on Spotify or to recordings made available at smallchurchmusic.com. Audio stripped from YouTube videos is footnoted accordingly above.

Compilation © 2020 Stephen T. Benner. All links worked at the time they were created, but I cannot accept responsibility for their content or any damage resulting from their use. The linked content is under the control of the respective content creators and is subject to change at any time. Any copyright texts included in this compilation are provided for non-commercial purposes related to study or worship. Please contact the respective copyright holders for permission to use the texts in other contexts.

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