Oremus for Saturday, December 4, 2021

John of Damascus, Michael Anagnostou Chomatzas, 1734

John of Damascus
John of Damascus was the son of a Christian tax collector for the Mohammedan Caliph of Damascus. At an early age, he succeeded his father in this office. In about 715, he entered the monastery of St. Sabas near Jerusalem. There he devoted himself to an ascetic life and
to the study of the Fathers. In the same year that John was ordained priest, 726, the Byzantine Emperor Leo the Isaurian published his first edict against the Holy Images, which signaled the formal outbreak of the iconoclastic controversy. The edict forbade the veneration of sacred images, or icons, and ordered their destruction. In 729-730, John wrote three “Apologies (or Treatises) against the Iconoclasts and in Defense of the Holy Images.” He argued that such pictures were not idols, for they represented neither false gods nor even the true God in his divine nature; but only saints, or our Lord as man. He further distinguished between the respect, or veneration (proskynesis), that is properly paid to created beings, and the worship (latreia), that is properly given only to God. The iconoclast case rested, in part, upon the Monophysite heresy, which held that Christ had only one nature, and since that nature was divine, it would be improper to represent him by material substances such as wood and paint. The Monophysite heresy was condemned by the Council of Chalcedon in 451.
At issue also was the heresy of Manichaeism, which held that matter itself was essentially evil. In both of these heresies, John maintained, the Lord’s incarnation was rejected. The Seventh Ecumenical Council, in 787, decreed that crosses, icons, the book of the Gospels, and other sacred objects were to receive reverence or veneration, expressed by salutations, incense, and lights, because the honor paid to them passed on to that which they represented. True worship (latreia), however, was due to God alone. John also wrote a great synthesis of theology, The Fount of Knowledge, of which the last part, “On the Orthodox Faith,” is best known.
HWHM

Antiphon https://tinyurl.com/48bst233

Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they shall be called children of God.
Blessed are they who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness,
for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven. Matthew 5

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: John of Damascus; trans. John Brownlie
Tune: St Albans https://tinyurl.com/mtsf9nax

Bethlehem rejoices!
Hark the voices clear,
Singing in the starlight
Nearer and more near.
Unto God be glory,
Peace to men be given;
This His will who dwelleth
In the heights of heaven.

Heaven cannot contain Him,
Nor the bounds of earth,
Yet, oh glorious mystery!
Virgin gives Him birth.
Unto God be glory,
Peace to men be given;
This His will who dwelleth
In the heights of heaven.

Now the light ariseth
In the darkened skies,
Now the proud are humbled
And the lowly rise.
Unto God be glory,
Peace to men be given;
This His will who dwelleth
In the heights of heaven.

Psalms

Psalm 22 (Anglican Chant: https://tinyurl.com/tcvjnwc)
1 My God, my God, look upon me; why hast thou forsaken me *
and art so far from my health, and from the words of my complaint?
2 O my God, I cry in the day-time, but thou hearest not *
and in the night-season also I take no rest.
3 And thou continuest holy *
O thou worship of Israel.
4 Our fathers hoped in thee *
they trusted in thee, and thou didst deliver them.
5 They called upon thee, and were holpen *
they put their trust in thee, and were not confounded.
6 But as for me, I am a worm, and no man *
a very scorn of men, and the out-cast of the people.
7 All they that see me laugh me to scorn *
they shoot out their lips, and shake their heads, saying,
8 He trusted in God, that he would deliver him *
let him deliver him, if he will have him.
9 But thou art he that took me out of my mother’s womb *
thou wast my hope, when I hanged yet upon my mother’s breasts.
10 I have been left unto thee ever since I was born *
thou art my God even from my mother’s womb.
11 O go not from me, for trouble is hard at hand *
and there is none to help me.
12 Many oxen are come about me *
fat bulls of Basan close me in on every side.
13 They gape upon me with their mouths *
as it were a ramping and a roaring lion.
14 I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint *
my heart also in the midst of my body is even like melting wax.
15 My strength is dried up like a potsherd,
and my tongue cleaveth to my gums *
and thou shalt bring me into the dust of death.
16 For many dogs are come about me *
and the council of the wicked layeth siege against me.
17 They pierced my hands and my feet; I may tell all my bones *
they stand staring and looking upon me.
18 They part my garments among them *
and cast lots upon my vesture.
19 But be not thou far from me, O Lord *
thou art my succour, haste thee to help me.
20 Deliver my soul from the sword *
my darling from the power of the dog.
21 Save me from the lion’s mouth *
thou hast heard me also from among the horns of the unicorns.
22 I will declare thy Name unto my brethren *
in the midst of the congregation will I praise thee.
23 O praise the Lord, ye that fear him *
magnify him, all ye of the seed of Jacob,
and fear him, all ye seed of Israel;
24 For he hath not despised, nor abhorred,
the low estate of the poor *
he hath not hid his face from him,
but when he called unto him he heard him.
25 My praise is of thee in the great congregation *
my vows will I perform in the sight of them that fear him.
26 The poor shall eat, and be satisfied *
they that seek after the Lord shall praise him;
your heart shall live for ever.
27 All the ends of the world shall remember themselves,
and be turned unto the Lord *
and all the kindreds of the nations shall worship before him.
28 For the kingdom is the Lord’s *
and he is the Governor among the people.
29 All such as be fat upon earth *
have eaten, and worshipped.
30 All they that go down into the dust shall kneel before him *
and no man hath quickened his own soul.
31 My seed shall serve him *
they shall be counted unto the Lord for a generation.
32 They shall come, and the heavens shall declare his righteousness *
unto a people that shall be born, whom the Lord hath made.
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 22 (Plainsong: https://tinyurl.com/4ketce9t)
2 My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?
You are far from my plea and the cry of my distress.
3 O my God, I call by day and you give no reply;
I call by night and I find no peace.
4 Yet you, O God, are holy,
enthroned on the praises of Israel.
5 In you our fathers put their trust;
they trusted and you set them free.
6 When they cried to you, they escaped.
In you they trusted and never in vain.
7 But I am a worm and no man,
scorned by men, despised by the people.
8 All who see me deride me.
They curl their lips, they toss their heads.
9 “He trusted in the Lord, let him save him;
let him release him if this is his friend.”
10 Yes, it was you who took me from the womb,
entrusted me to my mother’s breast.
11 To you I was committed from my birth,
from my mother’s womb you have been my God.
12 Do not leave me alone in my distress;
Come close, there is none else to help.
13 Many bulls have surrounded me,
fierce bulls of Bashan close me in.
14 Against me they open wide their jaws,
like lions, rending and roaring.
15 Like water I am poured out,
disjointed are all my bones.
My heart has become like wax,
it is melted within my breast.
16 Parched as burnt clay is my throat,
my tongue cleaves to my jaws.
17 Many dogs have surrounded me,
a band of the wicked beset me.
They tear holes in my hands and my feet
16c and lay me in the dust of death.
18 I can count every one of my bones.
These people stare at me and gloat;
19 they divide my clothing among them.
They cast lots for my robe.
20 O Lord, do not leave me alone,
my strength, make haste to help me!
21 Rescue my soul from the sword,
my life from the grip of these dogs.
22 Save my life from the jaws of these lions,
my poor soul from the horns of these oxen.
23 I will tell of your name to my brethren
and praise you where they are assembled.
24 “You who fear the Lord give him praise;
all sons of Jacob, give him glory.
Revere him, Israel’s sons.
25 For he has never despised
nor scorned the poverty of the poor.
From him he has not hidden his face,
but he heard the poor man when he cried.”
26 You are my praise in the great assembly.
My vows I will pay before those who fear him.
27 The poor shall eat and shall have their fill.
They shall praise the Lord, those who seek him.
May their hearts live for ever and ever!
28 All the earth shall remember and return to the Lord,
all families of the nations worship before him;
29 for the kingdom is the Lord’s, he is ruler of the nations.
30 They shall worship him, all the mighty of the earth;
before him shall bow all who go down to the dust.
31 And my soul shall live for him, my children serve him.
They shall tell of the Lord to generations yet to come,
32 declare his faithfulness to peoples yet unborn:
“These things the Lord has done.”
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son :
and to the Holy Spirit;
as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be :
world without end. Amen.

Psalm 23 (Anglican Chant: https://tinyurl.com/swfdhyk)
1  The Lord is my shepherd *
 therefore can I lack nothing.
2  He shall feed me in a green pasture *
 and lead me forth beside the waters of comfort.
3  He shall convert my soul *
 and bring me forth in the paths of righteousness, for his Name’s sake.
4  Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil *
 for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff comfort me.
5  Thou shalt prepare a table before me against them that trouble me *
 thou hast anointed my head with oil, and my cup shall be full.
6  But thy loving-kindness and mercy shall follow me
all the days of my life *
 and I will dwell in the house of the Lord 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 23 (Plainsong: https://tinyurl.com/hvjzp9x5)
1 The Lord is my shepherd;
there is nothing I shall want.
2 Fresh and green are the pastures
where he gives me repose.
Near restful waters he leads me,
3 to revive my drooping spirit.
He guides me along the right path;
he is true to his name.
4 If I should walk in the valley of darkness
no evil would I fear.
You are there with your crook and your staff;
with these you give me comfort.
5 You have prepared a banquet for me
in the sight of my foes.
My head you have anointed with oil;
my cup is overflowing.
6 Surely goodness and kindness shall follow me
all the days of my life.
In the Lord’s own house shall I dwell
for ever and ever.
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son :
and to the Holy Spirit;
as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be :
world without end. Amen.

PRAYER

Lord Jesus Christ, our good shepherd,
in the waters of Baptism you give us birth,
and at your table you nourish us with heavenly food.
In your goodness and mercy,
lead us along safe paths,
beyond the terrors of evil and death,
to the house of the Lord
where we may rest securely in you forever. Amen. BCW

THE WORD OF GOD

Reading: Malachi 2:10-18

Have we not all one father? Has not one God created us? Why then are we faithless to one another, profaning the covenant of our ancestors? Judah has been faithless, and abomination has been committed in Israel and in Jerusalem; for Judah has profaned the sanctuary of the Lord, which he loves, and has married the daughter of a foreign god. May the Lord cut off from the tents of Jacob anyone who does this—any to witness or answer, or to bring an offering to the Lord of hosts.

And this you do as well: You cover the Lord’s altar with tears, with weeping and groaning because he no longer regards the offering or accepts it with favour at your hand. You ask, ‘Why does he not?’ Because the Lord was a witness between you and the wife of your youth, to whom you have been faithless, though she is your companion and your wife by covenant. Did not one God make her? Both flesh and spirit are his. And what does the one God desire? Godly offspring. So look to yourselves, and do not let anyone be faithless to the wife of his youth. For I hate divorce, says the Lord, the God of Israel, and covering one’s garment with violence, says the Lord of hosts. So take heed to yourselves and do not be faithless.

You have wearied the Lord with your words. Yet you say, ‘How have we wearied him?’ By saying, ‘All who do evil are good in the sight of the Lord, and he delights in them.’ Or by asking, ‘Where is the God of justice?’

HYMN: Adam M.L. Tice ©
Tune: Finlandia https://tinyurl.com/2p99zsh2

1 In words of truth that shatter rigid silence;
in pain that signals life through what was numb;
in light dissolving false, obscuring shadows;
O God, through chaos, make your presence known.

2 In words that challenge, bold in confrontation;
in pain and hurt, suppressed but never gone;
in light that burns with unrestrained conviction;
O God of justice, show your pow’r again.

3 In words unsure, confused and hesitating;
in pain described, but scarcely understood;
in light that shines upon a path of healing;
O God our hope, will you bring something good?

Reading: 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18

But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers and sisters, about those who have died, so that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope. For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have died. For this we declare to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will by no means precede those who have died. For the Lord himself, with a cry of command, with the archangel’s call and with the sound of God’s trumpet, will descend from heaven, and the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up in the clouds together with them to meet the Lord in the air; and so we will be with the Lord for ever. Therefore encourage one another with these words.

HYMN: Thomas H Troeger ©
Tune: Franklin Park

1 View the present through the promise,
Christ will come again.
Trust despite the deepening darkness,
Christ will come again.
Lift the world above its grieving
through your watching and believing
in the hope past hope’s conceiving:
Christ will come again.

2 Probe the present with the promise,
Christ will come again.
Let your daily actions witness,
Christ will come again.
Let your loving and your giving
and your justice and forgiving
be a sign to all the living:
Christ will come again.

3 Match the present to the promise,
Christ will come again.
Make this hope your guiding premise,
Christ will come again.
Pattern all your calculating
and the world you are creating
to the advent you are waiting:
Christ will come again.

Reading: Luke 20:9-19

Jesus began to tell the people this parable: ‘A man planted a vineyard, and leased it to tenants, and went to another country for a long time. When the season came, he sent a slave to the tenants in order that they might give him his share of the produce of the vineyard; but the tenants beat him and sent him away empty-handed. Next he sent another slave; that one also they beat and insulted and sent away empty-handed. And he sent yet a third; this one also they wounded and threw out. Then the owner of the vineyard said, “What shall I do? I will send my beloved son; perhaps they will respect him.” But when the tenants saw him, they discussed it among themselves and said, “This is the heir; let us kill him so that the inheritance may be ours.” So they threw him out of the vineyard and killed him. What then will the owner of the vineyard do to them? He will come and destroy those tenants and give the vineyard to others.’ When they heard this, they said, ‘Heaven forbid!’ But he looked at them and said, ‘What then does this text mean:
“The stone that the builders rejected
   has become the cornerstone”?
Everyone who falls on that stone will be broken to pieces; and it will crush anyone on whom it falls.’ When the scribes and chief priests realized that he had told this parable against them, they wanted to lay hands on him at that very hour, but they feared the people.

CANTICLE 1 Samuel 2
(Jason Silver: https://tinyurl.com/y3zdb8z9)

My heart exults in the Lord;
and my strength is exalted in God.
I loudly denounce my enemies,
for I am so glad you rescued me.

There is no Holy One like the Lord,
There is no Rock like our God.
Boast no more so very proud,
no arrogance come out of your mouth;
the Lord is our God who knows,
and by him our actions they are weighed.

The bows of the mighty are broken,
the feeble ones strengthened anew.
The well-fed hire themselves for bread,
but those who are hungry are fat with spoil.
The barren has borne seven babes,
but she who has many is forlorn.
The Lord kills and the Lord brings to life;
brings down to the grave, raises up.

The Lord makes poor and he makes rich;
he brings us low, also exalts.
He raises the poor from the dust;
he lifts the needy from the ash heap,
to make them sit down with princes
and to inherit an honorable seat.
The pillars of the earth are the Lord’s,
and on them he set the world.
He watches over his holy ones,
but the wicked shall be cut off in the dark.
For not by might does one prevail;
the Lord’s adversaries shall be shattered.
The Most High will thunder in heaven.
the Lord will judge the ends of the earth.
He will give strength to his king,
and exalt the power of his anointed ones.

THE PRAYERS CGP

God of Love,
in this time of waiting for your Spirit,
we pray for those who have trouble catching the vision;
for those who find this family season difficult
because they are without loved ones;
for those who are left out of the celebrations
because they are without food or shelter;
for those who need to be reminded of the wideness
of your love and mercy. . ..

Spirit of Hope,
in a time of busyness
that threatens to overpower the sound of your voice,
and blind us to the needs of those around us,
we pray for ourselves:
that we might not become so preoccupied
with our own schedules,
that we forget we live within your time,
that we might not be anxious about tomorrow
that we may trust you to bring about your love and peace,
that we might work together
to share Good News with those around and beyond us.

Creator of Joy,
we wait with excitement and impatience.
Surround us with your stillness,
quiet us with your Spirit,
that we might be ready to receive the light of the world. Amen.

Setting: Sanford Dole https://tinyurl.com/y7ldq7h5

Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your Name,
your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as 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.

Confirm our minds, O Lord, in the mysteries of the true faith, set forth with power by your servant John of Damascus; that we, with him, confessing Jesus to be truly God and truly Human, may, by the power of the resurrection, attain to eternal joy; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen. HWHM, alt.

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


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

HWHM Holy Women, Holy Men © 2010 The Church Pension Fund.

CGP Celebrating God’s Presence, United Church of Canada

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 traditional version of the psalms is from The Book of Common Prayer (1662). The modern version of the psalms is from The Grail Psalter and the recordings are linked to the Manual Hopper YouTube channel https://www.youtube.com/user/manualhopper/featured.

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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