Oremus for Tuesday, February 23, 2021

The Martyrdom of St Polycarp, Menologion of Basil II, held in the Vatican Library

Polycarp
Honoured as one of the first Christian martyrs, Polycarp had been Bishop of Smyrna on the Adriatic coast of Asia Minor for over forty years when the persecution of Christians began. He was arrested and given the option to renounce his faith and so save his life. His response was: “I have been Christ’s servant for eighty-six years and he has done me no harm. Can I now blaspheme my King and my Saviour?” He was immediately burnt at the stake. His remains were gathered together and buried outside the city; thus began the practice of celebrating the eucharist over his burial place on the anniversary of his death, a practice which also grew over the martyrs’ tombs in the Roman catacombs. Polycarp died in the year 155. EH

Antiphon1

Ant. Jerusalem, built as a city
whose parts are bound firmly together!
It is there that the tribes go up, the tribes of the Lord,
to give thanks unto your name, O Lord.
V. I rejoiced when they said to me, *
“Let us go to the house of the Lord.”
And now our feet are standing *
within your gates, O Jerusalem.
There were set the thrones for judgment, *
the thrones of the house of David. Psalm 122

Almighty God,
to whom all hearts are open,
all desires, known,
and from whom no secrets are hid:
Cleanse the thoughts of our hearts
by the inspiration of your Holy Spirit,
that we may perfectly love you
and worthily magnify your holy name;
through Christ our Lord. Amen. 

Music: https://tinyurl.com/ufxekitx

God, come to my assistance.
Lord, make haste to help me.
Glory 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.

HYMN: Joseph Hart
Tune: Restoration https://tinyurl.com/frlwj74d

1 Come, ye sinners, poor and needy,
weak and wounded, sick and sore;
Jesus ready stands to save you,
full of pity, love, and power.

2 Come, ye thirsty, come and welcome,
God’s free bounty glorify;
true belief and true repentance,
ev’ry grace that brings you nigh.

3 Let not conscience make you linger,
nor of fitness fondly dream;
all the fitness he requireth
is to feel your need of him.

4 Come, ye weary, heavy laden,
lost and ruined by the fall;
if you tarry till you’re better,
you will never come at all.

5 I will rise and go to Jesus!
He will save me from my sin.
By the riches of his merit,
there is joy and life in him.

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

Psalm 114 (Anglican Chant: https://tinyurl.com/tbxne5c)

1  When Israel came out of Egypt *
 and the house of Jacob from among the strange people,
2  Judah was his sanctuary *
 and Israel his dominion.
3  The sea saw that, and fled *
 Jordan was driven back.
4  The mountains skipped like rams *
 and the little hills like young sheep.
5  What aileth thee, O thou sea, that thou fleddest *
 and thou Jordan, that thou wast driven back?
6  Ye mountains, that ye skipped like rams *
 and ye little hills, like young sheep?
7  Tremble, thou earth, at the presence of the Lord *
 at the presence of the God of Jacob;
8  Who turned the hard rock into a standing water *
 and the flint-stone into a springing well.
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 115 (Anglican Chant: https://tinyurl.com/yaw43w93)

1  Not unto us, O Lord, not unto us, but unto thy Name give the praise *
 for thy loving mercy, and for thy truth’s sake.
2  Wherefore shall the heathen say *
 Where is now their God?
3  As for our God, he is in heaven *
 he hath done whatsoever pleased him.
4  Their idols are silver and gold *
 even the work of men’s hands.
5  They have mouths, and speak not *
 eyes have they, and see not.
6  They have ears, and hear not *
 noses have they, and smell not.
7  They have hands, and handle not; feet have they, and walk not *
 neither speak they through their throat.
8  They that make them are like unto them *
 and so are all such as put their trust in them.
9  But thou, house of Israel, trust thou in the Lord *
 he is their succour and defence.
10  Ye house of Aaron, put your trust in the Lord *
 he is their helper and defender.
11  Ye that fear the Lord, put your trust in the Lord *
 he is their helper and defender.
12  The Lord hath been mindful of us, and he shall bless us *
 even he shall bless the house of Israel, he shall bless the house of Aaron.
13  He shall bless them that fear the Lord *
 both small and great.
14  The Lord shall increase you more and more *
 you and your children.
15  Ye are the blessed of the Lord *
 who made heaven and earth.
16  All the whole heavens are the Lord’s *
 the earth hath he given to the children of men.
17  The dead praise not thee, O Lord *
 neither all they that go down into silence.
18  But we will praise the Lord *
 from this time forth for evermore. Praise the Lord.
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.

PRAYER

Sovereign God,
you subdue the arrogant
and raise the humble;
you feed the hungry
and reveal the poverty of wealth.
Help us to praise your name in all times and places,
that we may be faithful servants
of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. BCW

THE WORD OF GOD

Reading: Leviticus 16:18-34

Then Aaron shall go out to the altar that is before the Lord and make atonement on its behalf, and shall take some of the blood of the bull and of the blood of the goat, and put it on each of the horns of the altar. He shall sprinkle some of the blood on it with his finger seven times, and cleanse it and hallow it from the uncleannesses of the people of Israel.

When he has finished atoning for the holy place and the tent of meeting and the altar, he shall present the live goat. Then Aaron shall lay both his hands on the head of the live goat, and confess over it all the iniquities of the people of Israel, and all their transgressions, all their sins, putting them on the head of the goat, and sending it away into the wilderness by means of someone designated for the task. The goat shall bear on itself all their iniquities to a barren region; and the goat shall be set free in the wilderness.

Then Aaron shall enter the tent of meeting, and shall take off the linen vestments that he put on when he went into the holy place, and shall leave them there. He shall bathe his body in water in a holy place, and put on his vestments; then he shall come out and offer his burnt-offering and the burnt-offering of the people, making atonement for himself and for the people. The fat of the sin-offering he shall turn into smoke on the altar. The one who sets the goat free for Azazel shall wash his clothes and bathe his body in water, and afterwards may come into the camp. The bull of the sin-offering and the goat of the sin-offering, whose blood was brought in to make atonement in the holy place, shall be taken outside the camp; their skin and their flesh and their dung shall be consumed in fire. The one who burns them shall wash his clothes and bathe his body in water, and afterwards may come into the camp.

This shall be a statute to you for ever: In the seventh month, on the tenth day of the month, you shall deny yourselves, and shall do no work, neither the citizen nor the alien who resides among you. For on this day atonement shall be made for you, to cleanse you; from all your sins you shall be clean before the Lord. It is a sabbath of complete rest to you, and you shall deny yourselves; it is a statute for ever. The priest who is anointed and consecrated as priest in his father’s place shall make atonement, wearing the linen vestments, the holy vestments. He shall make atonement for the sanctuary, and he shall make atonement for the tent of meeting and for the altar, and he shall make atonement for the priests and for all the people of the assembly. This shall be an everlasting statute for you, to make atonement for the people of Israel once in the year for all their sins. And Moses did as the Lord had commanded him.

HYMN: Psalm 95; para. Dale Grotenhuis ©
Tune: Genevan 95th

1 Come, sing for joy to the LORD God;
make joyful noises to our King;
shout to the Rock of our salvation!
Come and rejoice with thanksgiving;
let festive music fill the air,
for God has set us free from bondage.

2 The LORD is King over all gods;
the earth and sea belong to him;
he made the mountains and the oceans.
He is our God, we his people;
come, let us worship and bow down
and kneel before the LORD our Maker.

3 Come near today: God is speaking;
open your hearts to hear his word;
do not rebel against his favor.
God’s judgment fell in the desert
on those whose hearts had gone astray;
come, find your rest in God, your Savior.

Reading: Hebrews 3:7-19

Therefore, as the Holy Spirit says,
‘Today, if you hear his voice,
do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion,
   as on the day of testing in the wilderness,
where your ancestors put me to the test,
   though they had seen my works for forty years.
Therefore I was angry with that generation,
and I said, “They always go astray in their hearts,
   and they have not known my ways.”
As in my anger I swore,
   “They will not enter my rest.” ’
Take care, brothers and sisters, that none of you may have an evil, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God. But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called ‘today’, so that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. For we have become partners of Christ, if only we hold our first confidence firm to the end. As it is said,
‘Today, if you hear his voice,
do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion.’
Now who were they who heard and yet were rebellious? Was it not all those who left Egypt under the leadership of Moses? But with whom was he angry for forty years? Was it not those who sinned, whose bodies fell in the wilderness? And to whom did he swear that they would not enter his rest, if not to those who were disobedient? So we see that they were unable to enter because of unbelief.

HYMN: Timothy Dudley-Smith ©
Music: Slane https://tinyurl.com/1o4i6h1m

1 Christ be my leader by night as by day;
safe through the darkness for He is the Way.
Gladly I follow, my future His care,
darkness is daylight when Jesus is there.

2 Christ be my teacher in age as in youth,
drifting or doubting, for He is the Truth.
Grant me to trust Him; though shifting as sand,
doubt cannot daunt me; in Jesus I stand.

3 Christ be my Savior in calm as in strife;
death cannot hold me, for He is the Life.
Darkness nor doubting nor sin and its stain
can touch my salvation: with Jesus I reign.

Reading: Matthew 18:8-14

Jesus said, ‘If your hand or your foot causes you to stumble, cut it off and throw it away; it is better for you to enter life maimed or lame than to have two hands or two feet and to be thrown into the eternal fire. And if your eye causes you to stumble, tear it out and throw it away; it is better for you to enter life with one eye than to have two eyes and to be thrown into the hell of fire.

‘Take care that you do not despise one of these little ones; for, I tell you, in heaven their angels continually see the face of my Father in heaven. What do you think? If a shepherd has a hundred sheep, and one of them has gone astray, does he not leave the ninety-nine on the mountains and go in search of the one that went astray? And if he finds it, truly I tell you, he rejoices over it more than over the ninety-nine that never went astray. So it is not the will of your Father in heaven that one of these little ones should be lost.’

CANTICLE Isaiah 55:6-11
(Setting by Gregory Wilbur: https://tinyurl.com/yawmg8fp)

Seek ye the Lord while he may be found,
Call ye upon him while He is near.
Let the wicked forsake his way,
and the unrighteous man his thoughts:

And let him return unto the Lord,
and he will have mercy upon him;
and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.
For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
Nor are your ways my ways, saith the Lord.
As the heavens are higher than the earth,
My ways and thoughts are higher than yours.

And let him return unto the Lord,
and he will have mercy upon him;
and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon.

For as the rain cometh down, and snow from heaven,
And maketh it bring forth and bud that it may give seed to sow,
that it may give bread to eat.

So shall my world be that goeth forth out of my mouth:
It shall not return unto me void,
but it shall accomplish that which I please it shall prosper
in the thing whereunto I sent it.

THE PRAYERS WS2

God of our salvation,
we praise you for sending your Son, Jesus Christ,
to suffer for our sins so we may be redeemed.
We are thankful for the reminders of that redemption visible in creation . . .
the nations of the world when they . . .
our nation and those who govern as they . . .
our own community as it . . .
the church universal as it seeks to . . .
our local church as it . . .
the lives of those near to us . . .
our own life as we experience your saving grace . . .

We also ask that
as the source of the world’s hope and redemption
you hear our prayers on behalf of
all creation . . .
the nations of the world . . .
our nation and those in authority . . .
the community and those who govern . . .
the church universal, its mission, and those who minister . . .
our church and its ministry . . .
those with particular needs . . .

(Karin Simmons: https://tinyurl.com/y7vwp7dd)

Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your Name,
your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread;
and forgive us our sins
as we forgive those who sin against us.
Lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.

For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory,
for ever and ever. Amen.

O God, the maker of heaven and earth,
you gave your venerable servant, the holy and gentle Polycarp,
boldness to confess Jesus Christ as King and Savior,
and steadfastness to die for his faith:
Give us grace, following his example,
to share the cup of Christ and rise to eternal life;
through Jesus Christ our Lord,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever. Amen. HWHM

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.

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

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

WS2 The Worship Sourcebook, 2nd edition, © 2013, Faith Alive Christian Resources

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

HWHM Holy Women, Holy Men © Church Publishing, Inc.

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

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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