Oremus for Thursday, June 24, 2021

Nativity of St John the Baptist, Tintoretto, 1550s

Birth of St John the Baptist
The biblical story of John, the son of Elizabeth and Zechariah, begins even before his birth. His leaping in his mother’s womb is seen as a great alleluia in anticipation of the birth of his Redeemer and the good news of Jesus Christ is related in all four gospels as beginning with John as Christ’s forerunner. He seemed to have a predestined rôle akin to that of the Old Testament prophets, particularly in encouraging the people of God to live lives worthy of their calling and in imminent anticipation of the coming of the Anointed One. EH

Antiphon1

Ant. From my mother’s womb the Lord called me by my name;*
and he made my mouth like unto a sharp sword;
he protected me in the shadow of his hand,
and he made me as his chosen arrow.
V. It is good to give thanks to the Lord, *
to make music to your name, O Most High,
to proclaim your loving mercy in the morning, *
and your truth in the watches of the night,
on the ten-stringed lyre and the lute, *
with the sound of song on the harp. Isaiah 49; Psalm 92

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/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: The Venerable Bede; trans. John Mason Neale
Tune: Vom Himmel Hoch https://tinyurl.com/xspdkbwn

1 The great forerunner of the morn,
the herald of the Word, is born;
and faithful hearts shall never fail
with thanks and praise his light to hail.

2 With heavenly message Gabriel came,
that John should be that herald’s name,
and with prophetic utterance told
his actions great and manifold.

3 His mighty deeds exalt his fame
to greater than a prophet’s name.
Of woman-born shall never be
a greater prophet than was he.

4 To God the Father, God the Son,
and God the Spirit, Three in One,
praise, honour, might, and glory be
from age to age eternally.

PSALMS

Psalm 119:1-32
(Anglican Chant: https://tinyurl.com/y9wwyccr)
1  Blessed are those that are undefiled in the way *
 and walk in the law of the Lord.
2  Blessed are they that keep his testimonies *
 and seek him with their whole heart.
3  For they who do no wickedness *
 walk in his ways.
4  Thou hast charged *
 that we shall diligently keep thy commandments.
5  O that my ways were made so direct *
 that I might keep thy statutes!
6  So shall I not be confounded *
 while I have respect unto all thy commandments.
7  I will thank thee with an unfeigned heart *
 when I shall have learned the judgements of thy righteousness.
8  I will keep thy ceremonies *
 O forsake me not utterly.

9  Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way *
 even by ruling himself after thy word.
10  With my whole heart have I sought thee *
 O let me not go wrong out of thy commandments.
11  Thy words have I hid within my heart *
 that I should not sin against thee.
12  Blessed art thou, O Lord *
 O teach me thy statutes.
13  With my lips have I been telling *
 of all the judgements of thy mouth.
14  I have had as great delight in the way of thy testimonies *
 as in all manner of riches.
15  I will talk of thy commandments *
 and have respect unto thy ways.
16  My delight shall be in thy statutes *
 and I will not forget thy word.

17  O do well unto thy servant *
 that I may live, and keep thy word.
18  Open thou mine eyes *
 that I may see the wondrous things of thy law.
19  I am a stranger upon earth *
 O hide not thy commandments from me.
20  My soul breaketh out for the very fervent desire *
 that it hath alway unto thy judgements.
21  Thou hast rebuked the proud *
 and cursed are they that do err from thy commandments.
22  O turn from me shame and rebuke *
 for I have kept thy testimonies.
23  Princes also did sit and speak against me *
 but thy servant is occupied in thy statutes.
24  For thy testimonies are my delight *
 and my counsellors.

25  My soul cleaveth to the dust *
 O quicken thou me, according to thy word.
26  I have acknowledged my ways, and thou heardest me *
 O teach me thy statutes.
27  Make me to understand the way of thy commandments *
 and so shall I talk of thy wondrous works.
28  My soul melteth away for very heaviness *
 comfort thou me according unto thy word.
29  Take from me the way of lying *
 and cause thou me to make much of thy law.
30  I have chosen the way of truth *
 and thy judgements have I laid before me.
31  I have stuck unto thy testimonies *
 O Lord, confound me not.
32  I will run the way of thy commandments *
 when thou hast set my heart at liberty.
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 119:1-32
(Karl Kohlhase: http://oremus.org/chant/Psalm-119-1-32-KH.mp3)
How blessed whose way is blameless,
who walk in the law of the LORD.
How blessed who keep his teachings,
who seek him with all of their heart.
They also do no unrighteousness;
they walk within his ways.
You have ordained your precepts,
we’ll keep them diligently.
O let my ways be firmly set,
to always keep your statutes!
Then I shall not be ashamed,
when I look upon Your commands.
I’ll give thanks with an upright heart,
when I learn your righteous judgments.
Yes, I will keep your laws;
O do not completely leave me!

How can a young man keep his way pure?
By keeping it by your word.
With all my heart I have sought you;
don’t let me stray from your laws.
Your word I’ve treasured within my heart,
so I will not sin against you.
Blessed are you, O LORD;
instruct me in your laws.
With my lips I have proclaimed,
all the rulings of your mouth.
I’ve rejoiced in the way of your teachings,
as much as in all wealth.
I will meditate on your precepts,
and also regard your ways.
I will take delight in your precepts;
and never forget your statutes.

Deal bountifully with your servant,
Let me live in keeping your word.
Open my eyes so that I may see,
wonderful things from your law.
I am a stranger upon the earth;
don’t hide from me Your commands.
My soul is crushed with a longing,
for Your judgments at all times.
You rebuke the proud who are cursed,
who wander from your commandments.
Take away my reproach and contempt,
for I hold to what you teach.
Even though princes may sit and deride me,
your laws your servant meditates.
Your teachings are also my delight;
for they are my counselors.

My soul cleaves to the dust;
revive me by your word.
Confessing my ways, you give answer;
instruct me in your laws.
To understand the way of your precepts,
I will meditate on your wonders.
My soul is weeping from grief;
O strengthen me by your word.
Please remove the false way from me,
and graciously grant me your law.
I have chosen the faithful way;
and have placed your words before me.
I will cling to your testimonies; O LORD,
don’t put me to shame!
I’ll run the way of your commands,
for you will enlarge my heart.

PRAYER

Holy God,
you are just in all your ways
and your commandments are the greatest of treasures.
Give us understanding of your law
and direct us according to your will
that we may be faithful in serving you
for the sake of Jesus our Lord. Amen. BCW

THE WORD OF GOD

Reading: 1 Samuel 19:1-24

Saul spoke to his son Jonathan and to all his servants about killing David. But Saul’s son Jonathan took great delight in David. Jonathan told David, ‘My father Saul is trying to kill you; therefore be on guard tomorrow morning; stay in a secret place and hide yourself. I will go out and stand beside my father in the field where you are, and I will speak to my father about you; if I learn anything I will tell you.’ Jonathan spoke well of David to his father Saul, saying to him, ‘The king should not sin against his servant David, because he has not sinned against you, and because his deeds have been of good service to you; for he took his life in his hand when he attacked the Philistine, and the Lord brought about a great victory for all Israel. You saw it, and rejoiced; why then will you sin against an innocent person by killing David without cause?’ Saul heeded the voice of Jonathan; Saul swore, ‘As the Lord lives, he shall not be put to death.’ So Jonathan called David and related all these things to him. Jonathan then brought David to Saul, and he was in his presence as before.

Again there was war, and David went out to fight the Philistines. He launched a heavy attack on them, so that they fled before him. Then an evil spirit from the Lord came upon Saul, as he sat in his house with his spear in his hand, while David was playing music. Saul sought to pin David to the wall with the spear; but he eluded Saul, so that he struck the spear into the wall. David fled and escaped that night.

Saul sent messengers to David’s house to keep watch over him, planning to kill him in the morning. David’s wife Michal told him, ‘If you do not save your life tonight, tomorrow you will be killed.’ So Michal let David down through the window; he fled away and escaped. Michal took an idol and laid it on the bed; she put a net of goats’ hair on its head, and covered it with the clothes. When Saul sent messengers to take David, she said, ‘He is sick.’ Then Saul sent the messengers to see David for themselves. He said, ‘Bring him up to me in the bed, that I may kill him.’ When the messengers came in, the idol was in the bed, with the covering of goats’ hair on its head. Saul said to Michal, ‘Why have you deceived me like this, and let my enemy go, so that he has escaped?’ Michal answered Saul, ‘He said to me, “Let me go; why should I kill you?” ’

Now David fled and escaped; he came to Samuel at Ramah, and told him all that Saul had done to him. He and Samuel went and settled at Naioth. Saul was told, ‘David is at Naioth in Ramah.’ Then Saul sent messengers to take David. When they saw the company of the prophets in a frenzy, with Samuel standing in charge of them, the spirit of God came upon the messengers of Saul, and they also fell into a prophetic frenzy. When Saul was told, he sent other messengers, and they also fell into a frenzy. Saul sent messengers again the third time, and they also fell into a frenzy. Then he himself went to Ramah. He came to the great well that is in Secu; he asked, ‘Where are Samuel and David?’ And someone said, ‘They are at Naioth in Ramah.’ He went there, towards Naioth in Ramah; and the spirit of God came upon him. As he was going, he fell into a prophetic frenzy, until he came to Naioth in Ramah. He too stripped off his clothes, and he too fell into a frenzy before Samuel. He lay naked all that day and all that night. Therefore it is said, ‘Is Saul also among the prophets?’

HYMN: Psalm 59; para. Psalter 1912, alt.
Tune: Manchester https://tinyurl.com/3nntmtmj

1 Protect and save me, O my God,
from those who seek my life;
and set me high, secure, above
the rising tide of strife.

2 The workers of iniquity
against me lie in wait;
though I am innocent, O LORD,
they gather in their hate.

3 Now see their wickedness, O LORD;
come to my help, I plead.
LORD God of hosts, O Israel’s God,
rise, help me in my need.

4 My enemies with deadly rage
renew their fierce attack.
They think the LORD will not regard,
but you will turn them back.

5 O God, my strength, on you I wait;
to you for help I flee.
My God with mercy will defend
his own triumphantly.

6 O Lord our shield, let wickedness
and pride be put to shame.
Then all will know that you do rule,
and all will fear your name.

7 Like dogs that prowl the city streets
my foes slink back at night.
They would devour my life like food,
but God will win the fight.

8 When all the night of woe is past
and morning dawns at length,
then I will praise you, loving God,
my refuge and my strength.

Reading: 2 Corinthians 7:2-16

Make room in your hearts for us; we have wronged no one, we have corrupted no one, we have taken advantage of no one. I do not say this to condemn you, for I said before that you are in our hearts, to die together and to live together. I often boast about you; I have great pride in you; I am filled with consolation; I am overjoyed in all our affliction.

For even when we came into Macedonia, our bodies had no rest, but we were afflicted in every way—disputes without and fears within. But God, who consoles the downcast, consoled us by the arrival of Titus, and not only by his coming, but also by the consolation with which he was consoled about you, as he told us of your longing, your mourning, your zeal for me, so that I rejoiced still more. For even if I made you sorry with my letter, I do not regret it (though I did regret it, for I see that I grieved you with that letter, though only briefly). Now I rejoice, not because you were grieved, but because your grief led to repentance; for you felt a godly grief, so that you were not harmed in any way by us. For godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation and brings no regret, but worldly grief produces death. For see what earnestness this godly grief has produced in you, what eagerness to clear yourselves, what indignation, what alarm, what longing, what zeal, what punishment! At every point you have proved yourselves guiltless in the matter. So although I wrote to you, it was not on account of the one who did the wrong, nor on account of the one who was wronged, but in order that your zeal for us might be made known to you before God. In this we find comfort.

In addition to our own consolation, we rejoiced still more at the joy of Titus, because his mind has been set at rest by all of you. For if I have been somewhat boastful about you to him, I was not disgraced; but just as everything we said to you was true, so our boasting to Titus has proved true as well. And his heart goes out all the more to you, as he remembers the obedience of all of you, and how you welcomed him with fear and trembling. I rejoice, because I have complete confidence in you.

HYMN: Johann Olearius; trans. Catherine Winkworth
Tune: Genevan 42nd https://tinyurl.com/nrrp040l

1 Comfort, comfort ye my people,
speak ye peace, thus saith our God;
comfort those who sit in darkness
mourning ‘neath their sorrow’s load.
Speak ye to Jerusalem
of the peace that waits for them;
tell her that her sins I cover,
and her warfare now is over.

2 Hark, the voice of one that crieth
in the desert far and near,
calling us to new repentance
since the kingdom now is here.
Oh, that warning cry obey!
Now prepare for God a way;
let the valleys rise to meet him,
and the hills bow down to greet him.

3 Make ye straight what long was crooked,
make the rougher places plain:
let your hearts be true and humble,
as befits his holy reign.
For the glory of the Lord
Now o’er earth is shed abroad;
and all flesh shall see the token
that the word is never broken.

Reading: Luke 1:57-80

Now the time came for Elizabeth to give birth, and she bore a son. Her neighbours and relatives heard that the Lord had shown his great mercy to her, and they rejoiced with her.

On the eighth day they came to circumcise the child, and they were going to name him Zechariah after his father. But his mother said, ‘No; he is to be called John.’ They said to her, ‘None of your relatives has this name.’ Then they began motioning to his father to find out what name he wanted to give him. He asked for a writing-tablet and wrote, ‘His name is John.’ And all of them were amazed. Immediately his mouth was opened and his tongue freed, and he began to speak, praising God. Fear came over all their neighbours, and all these things were talked about throughout the entire hill country of Judea. All who heard them pondered them and said, ‘What then will this child become?’ For, indeed, the hand of the Lord was with him.

Then his father Zechariah was filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke this prophecy:
‘Blessed be the Lord God of Israel,
   for he has looked favourably on his people and redeemed them.
He has raised up a mighty saviour for us
   in the house of his servant David,
as he spoke through the mouth of his holy prophets from of old,
   that we would be saved from our enemies and from the hand of all who hate us.
Thus he has shown the mercy promised to our ancestors,
   and has remembered his holy covenant,
the oath that he swore to our ancestor Abraham,
   to grant us that we, being rescued from the hands of our enemies,
might serve him without fear, in holiness and righteousness
   before him all our days.
And you, child, will be called the prophet of the Most High;
   for you will go before the Lord to prepare his ways,
to give knowledge of salvation to his people
   by the forgiveness of their sins.
By the tender mercy of our God,
   the dawn from on high will break upon us,
to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death,
   to guide our feet into the way of peace.’

The child grew and became strong in spirit, and he was in the wilderness until the day he appeared publicly to Israel.

CANTICLE Te Deum
(Setting: https://tinyurl.com/y86fwpph)

You are God we praise you,
You are Lord we thank you,
All creation worships you,
Father, ancient of days.
To You all the angels,
All the powers of heaven;
Cherubim and Seraphim,
Sing in endless praise:

You are holy, holy, powerful and mighty!
Your glory fills the heavens,
Your splendor fills the earth.

You are holy, holy, powerful and mighty!
Your glory fills the heavens,
Your splendor fills the earth.

Your servants the apostles
Honor you and praise you.
The fellowship of prophets
Your greatness glorifies.
The army of the martyrs
Robed in white adores you.
Throughout the world
Your holy church
Proclaims you to the skies!

Father, glorious, infinite in majesty.
Son, victorious
Spirit, comfort and guide.
You are holy, holy, powerful and mighty!
Your glory fills the heavens,
Your splendor fills the earth.

Christ, Son of the Father,
King of endless glory
You came among us lowly,
Birth of Mary ‘s womb.
You robbed death of its power,
You opened heaven’s treasure
Now you sit at God’s right hand,
Soon to be our judge

Come Lord Jesus,
Come to help Your people.
Those for whom You shed Your blood
To whom you gave new birth,
You are holy, holy, powerful and mighty!
Your glory fills the heavens,
Your splendor fills the earth.
You are holy, holy, powerful and mighty!
Your glory fills the heavens,
Your splendor fills the earth.
Your glory fills the heavens,
Your splendor fills the earth.

THE PRAYERS CW:F

In the power of the Spirit and in union with Christ,
let us pray to the Father.

Lord God,
who promised Zechariah a son filled with the spirit and power of Elijah,
to prepare a people fit for the Lord:
we pray for reconciliation between all people.
Lord, hear us.
Lord, graciously hear us.
Lord God,
when Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting
the baby leapt in her womb:
may she who believed your promise be blessed among women,
and may we proclaim with joy the good news of your Christ.
Lord, hear us. Lord, graciously hear us.

Lord God,
at John’s birth Zechariah proclaimed he would be the prophet of the Most High:
we pray for all who preach the Good News,
[especially …].
Lord, hear us. Lord, graciously hear us.

Lord God,
when your Son came to the Jordan and was baptized by John
he saw the heavens open and the Spirit descending as a dove:
may we who are baptized into your Church
faithfully proclaim in the world the words of your beloved Son.
Lord, hear us. Lord, graciously hear us.

Lord God,
John proclaimed your Son as the Lamb of God
and John’s disciples followed Jesus:
help us to follow him also,
and by our words and deeds
to bring our families and friends closer to you.
Lord, hear us. Lord, graciously hear us.

Lord God,
who sent John to witness to the light,
to be the voice of one crying in the wilderness
and to prepare the way of the Lord:
comfort your people
and bring your healing to the sick and needy,
to the broken-hearted and the oppressed,
to prisoners and captives.
[Especially we pray for …]
Lord, hear us. Lord, graciously hear us.

Lord God,
John preached the baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins
and suffered imprisonment and death for proclaiming your Law:
we remember all who have died in your service,
joining our prayers with John the Baptist and all the saints;
grant us with them a share in your eternal kingdom.
Lord, hear us. Lord, graciously hear us.

God our Father,
in your tender compassion
the dawn from on high has broken upon us.
Shine on those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death
and guide our feet into the way of peace;
through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord.
Amen.

(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 in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread;
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.

God of unexpected birth
and desert waters:
silence our cynicism
and give us a new voice
that with John the Baptist
we may proclaim your overwhelming grace;
through Jesus Christ, the One who is to come. Amen. PIC

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.

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

PIC Prayers for an Inclusive Church© 2008 Steven Shakespeare, Canterbury Press, Norwich.

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

DL © Daniel Lawson; used with permission.

CW:F Common Worship: Festivals, material from which is included here,
is copyright © The Archbishops’ Council 2008 and published by Church House Publishing.

The 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 Gospel of John is from the Common English Bible, Copyright © 2012 by Common English Bible and/or its suppliers. All rights reserved.

The traditional language psalms are from The Book of Common Prayer (1662). The modern language version of Psalm 119 is by Karl Kohlhase http://www.k4communications.com/karl/index.html

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 © 2021 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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