Oremus for Tuesday, December 28, 2021

“The Massacre of the Innocents,” Léon Cogniet, 1824

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

Antiphon https://tinyurl.com/yckswjky

Arise, Jerusalem, and look to the East
and see your children gathered from the rising to the setting of the sun. Baruch 5

Almighty God,
you have poured upon us
the new light of your incarnate Word:
Grant that this light, enkindled in our hearts,
may shine forth in our lives;
through Jesus Christ our Lord,
who lives and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever. 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: Graham Kendrick ©
Tune: https://tinyurl.com/3n7ptuvb

1 Who can sound the depths of sorrow
in the father-heart of God,
for the children we’ve rejected,
for the lives so deeply scarred?
And each light that we’ve extinguished
has brought darkness to our land:
upon our nation, upon our nation
have mercy, Lord!

2 We have scorned the truth you gave us,
we have bowed to other lords,
we have sacrificed the children
on the altars of our gods.
O let truth again shine on us,
let your holy fear descend:
upon our nation, upon our nation
have mercy, Lord!

3 Who can stand before your anger?
Who can face your piercing eyes?
For you love the weak and helpless,
and you hear the victims’ cries.
Yes, you are a God of justice
and your judgement surely comes:
upon our nation, upon our nation
have mercy, Lord!

4 Who will stand against the violence?
Who will comfort those who mourn?
In an age of cruel rejection,
who will build for love a home?
Come and shake us into action,
come and melt our hearts of stone:
upon your people, upon your people
have mercy, Lord!

5 Who can sound the depths of mercy
in the father-heart of God?
For there is a Man of sorrows
who for sinners shed his blood.
He can heal the wounds of nations,
he can wash the guilty clean:
because of Jesus, because of Jesus,
have mercy, Lord!

PSALMS

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 136 (LSB Tone J: http://oremus.org/chant/Psalm-136-LSB.mp3
1 Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good,*
 for his steadfast love endures forever.
2 Give thanks to the God of gods,*
 for his steadfast love endures forever.
3 Give thanks to the Lord of lords,*
 for his steadfast love endures forever;
4 to him who alone does great wonders,*
for his steadfast love endures forever;
5 to him who by understanding made the heavens,*
 for his steadfast love endures forever;
6 to him who spread out the earth above the waters,*
 for his steadfast love endures forever;
7 to him who made the great lights,*
 for his steadfast love endures forever;
8 the sun to rule over the day,*
 for his steadfast love endures forever;
9 the moon and stars to rule over the night,*
 for his steadfast love endures forever;
10 to him who struck down the firstborn of Egypt,*
 for his steadfast love endures forever;
11 and brought Israel out from among them,*
 for his steadfast love endures forever;
12 with a strong hand and an outstretched arm,*
 for his steadfast love endures forever;
13 to him who divided the Red Sea in two,*
 for his steadfast love endures forever;
14 and made Israel pass through the midst of it,*
 for his steadfast love endures forever;
15 but overthrew Pharaoh and his host in the Red Sea,*
 for his steadfast love endures forever;
16 to him who led his people through the wilderness,*
 for his steadfast love endures forever;
17 to him who struck down great kings,*
 for his steadfast love endures forever;
18 and killed mighty kings,*
 for his steadfast love endures forever;
19 Sihon, king of the Amorites,*
 for his steadfast love endures forever;
20 and Og, king of Bashan,*
 for his steadfast love endures forever;
21 and gave their land as a heritage,*
 for his steadfast love endures forever;
22 a heritage to Israel his servant,*
 for his steadfast love endures forever.
23 It is he who remembered us in our low estate,*
 for his steadfast love endures forever;
24 and rescued us from our foes,*
 for his steadfast love endures forever;
25 he who gives food to all flesh,*
 for his steadfast love endures forever.
26 Give thanks to the God of heaven,*
 for his steadfast love endures forever.
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.

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 137 (Liturgical Folk: https://tinyurl.com/2884yvfs)
1 By the waters of Babylon we sat down and wept, *
when we remembered you, O Zion.
2 As for our harps, we hung them up *
on the trees in the midst of that land.
3 For those who led us away captive asked us for a song,
and our oppressors called for mirth: *
“Sing us one of the songs of Zion.”
4 How shall we sing the LORD’S song *
upon an alien soil?
5 If I forget you, O Jerusalem, *
let my right hand forget its skill.
6 Let my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth
if I do not remember you, *
if I do not set Jerusalem above my highest joy.
7 Remember the day of Jerusalem, O LORD,
against the people of Edom, *
who said, “Down with it! down with it!
even to the ground!”
8 O Daughter of Babylon, doomed to destruction, *
happy the one who pays you back
for what you have done to us!
9 Happy shall he be who takes your little ones, *
and dashes them against the rock!

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.

Psalm 138 (LSB Tone C https://tinyurl.com/8ca427za)
1 I give you thanks, O LORD, with my whole heart;*
 before the gods I sing your praise
2 I bow down toward your holy temple
and give thanks to your name
for your steadfast love and your faithfulness,*
 for you have exalted above all things
 your name and your word.
3 On the day I called, you answered me;*
 my strength of soul you increased.
4 All the kings of the earth shall give you thanks, O LORD,*
 for they have heard the words of your mouth,
5 and they shall sing of the ways of the LORD,*
 for great is the glory of the LORD.
6 For though the LORD is high, he regards the lowly,*
 but the haughty he knows from afar.
7 Though I walk in the midst of trouble,
you preserve my life;*
 you stretch out your hand against the wrath of my enemies,
and your right hand delivers me.
8 The LORD will fulfill his purpose for me;*
 your steadfast love, O LORD, endures forever.
 Do not forsake the work of your hands.
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.

PRAYER

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

THE WORD OF GOD

Reading: Isaiah 54:1-13

Sing, O barren one who did not bear;
   burst into song and shout,
   you who have not been in labour!
For the children of the desolate woman will be more
   than the children of her that is married, says the Lord.
Enlarge the site of your tent,
   and let the curtains of your habitations be stretched out;
do not hold back; lengthen your cords
   and strengthen your stakes.
For you will spread out to the right and to the left,
   and your descendants will possess the nations
   and will settle the desolate towns.

Do not fear, for you will not be ashamed;
   do not be discouraged, for you will not suffer disgrace;
for you will forget the shame of your youth,
   and the disgrace of your widowhood you will remember no more.
For your Maker is your husband,
   the Lord of hosts is his name;
the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer,
   the God of the whole earth he is called.
For the Lord has called you
   like a wife forsaken and grieved in spirit,
like the wife of a man’s youth when she is cast off,
   says your God.
For a brief moment I abandoned you,
   but with great compassion I will gather you.
In overflowing wrath for a moment
   I hid my face from you,
but with everlasting love I will have compassion on you,
   says the Lord, your Redeemer.

This is like the days of Noah to me:
   Just as I swore that the waters of Noah
   would never again go over the earth,
so I have sworn that I will not be angry with you
   and will not rebuke you.
For the mountains may depart
   and the hills be removed,
but my steadfast love shall not depart from you,
   and my covenant of peace shall not be removed,
   says the Lord, who has compassion on you.

O afflicted one, storm-tossed, and not comforted,
   I am about to set your stones in antimony,
   and lay your foundations with sapphires.
I will make your pinnacles of rubies,
   your gates of jewels,
   and all your wall of precious stones.
All your children shall be taught by the Lord,
   and great shall be the prosperity of your children.

HYMN: Dan Schutte
Tune: https://tinyurl.com/2p9y954h

Refrain:
Though the mountains may fall and the hills turn to dust,
yet the love of the Lord will stand
as a shelter for all who will call on his name.
Sing the praise and the glory of God.

1 Could the Lord ever leave you?
Could the Lord forget his love?
Though a mother forsake her child,
he will not abandon you. [Refrain]

2 Should you turn and forsake him,
he will gently call your name.
Should you wander away from him,
he will always take you back. [Refrain]

3 Go to him when you’re weary;
he will give you eagle’s wings.
You will run, never tire,
for your God will be your strength. [Refrain]

4 As he swore to your fathers,
when the flood destroyed the land,
he will never forsake you;
he will swear to you again. [Refrain]

Reading: 1 Corinthians 1.26-29  

Consider your own call, brothers and sisters: not many of you were wise by human standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and despised in the world, things that are not, to reduce to nothing things that are, so that no one might boast in the presence of God.

HYMN: Martin Leckebusch ©
Tune: Sussex https://tinyurl.com/52pexkpp

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 they 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 the wise men, 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.’

CANTICLE Te Deum
(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: https://tinyurl.com/ahnrtv59)ELW

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.

Weeping God,
whose heart is pierced
by the cry of the innocent:
receive into your arms
the waste of our violence;
confront the powers of fear
by the confidence of love;
and help us stand with all creatures
who bear the weight of cruelty and greed;
through Jesus Christ, Rachel’s child. 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


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

ELW The Lord’s Prayer is from Setting Five in Evangelical Lutheran Worship.

PIC Prayers for An Inclusive Church. Steven Shakespeare © 2008 Canterbury Press.

Chalice The intercession is from Chalice Worship.

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 language psalms are from The Book of Common Prayer (1662). The modern language versions of Psalms 136 and 138 are in the version used in Lutheran Service Book: Pew Edition Concordia Publishing House, and are from the Next to the Word of God YouTube channel https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCkVRYL-MRebncw584Ql2xfg. Psalm 137 is in the version from The Book of Common Prayer (1979) and is performed by Liturgical Folk https://www.liturgicalfolk.com/.

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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