Oremus for Wednesday, December 14, 2022

John of the Cross, attr. Francisco de Zurburán, 1656

John of the Cross
Born to an impoverished noble family near Avila in Spain in 1542, Juan de Yepes was brought up by his widowed mother and went to a charity school. He worked as a nurse and received further education from the Jesuits before entering the Carmelite order when he was twenty-one. Having distinguished himself at Salamanca university, he was ordained in 1567 and met Teresa of Avila soon afterwards. Small of stature, he made a great impression on her and she persuaded him to help with her reform of the Carmelite order. His labours brought him into conflict with the religious authorities, and he was even imprisoned for a period, yet these experiences prompted some of his finest poetry and mystical writing. In particular, he described the ‘dark night’ of the soul as it is purified in its approach towards God. After ten years as superior to several different houses, he again fell out of favour and was banished to Andalusia in southern Spain, where he died after a severe illness on this day in 1591. EH

Antiphon https://tinyurl.com/4625tya3

With you, O Lord, is the fountain of life,
and in your light we see light. Psalm 36

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 the Cross
Tune: https://tinyurl.com/yua3huvu

Qué bien sé yo la fonte que mane y corre,
aunque es de noche.

Aquella eterna fonte está escondida,
que bien sé yo do tiene su manida,
aunque es de noche.

Su origen no lo sé, pues no le tiene,
mas sé que todo origen de ella tiene,
aunque es de noche.

Sé que no puede ser cosa tan bella,
y que cielos y tierra beben de ella,
aunque es de noche.

Bien sé que suelo en ella no se halla,
y que ninguno puede vadealla,
aunque es de noche.

Su claridad nunca es oscurecida,
y sé que toda luz de ella es venida,
aunque es de noche.

Sé ser tan caudalosos sus corrientes.
que infiernos, cielos riegan y las gentes,
aunque es de noche.

El corriente que nace de esta fuente
bien sé que es tan capaz y omnipotente,
aunque es de noche.

El corriente que de estas dos procede
sé que ninguna de ellas le precede,
aunque es de noche.

Aquesta eterna fonte está escondida
en este vivo pan por darnos vida,
aunque es de noche.

Aquí se está llamando a las criaturas,
y de esta agua se hartan, aunque a oscuras
porque es de noche.

Aquesta viva fuente que deseo,
en este pan de vida yo la veo,
aunque es de noche.

How well I know that flowing spring
     in black of night.

The eternal fountain is unseen.
How well I know where she has been
     in black of night.

I do not know her origin.
None. Yet in her all things begin
     in black of night.

I know that nothing is so fair
and earth and firmament drink there
     in black of night.

I know that none can wade inside
to find her bright bottomless tide
     in black of night.

Her shining never has a blur;
I know that all light comes from her
     in black of night.

I know her streams converge and swell
and nourish people, skies and hell
     in black of night.

The stream whose birth is in this source
I know has a gigantic force
     in black of night.

The stream from but these two proceeds
yet neither one, I know, precedes
     in black of night.

The eternal fountain is unseen
in living bread that gives us being
     in black of night.

She calls on all mankind to start
to drink her water, though in dark,
     for black is night.

O living fountain that I crave,
in bread of life I see her flame
     in black of night.

PSALMS

Psalm 73 (Anglican Chant: https://tinyurl.com/vztsodf)
1  Truly God is loving unto Israel *
 even unto such as are of a clean heart.
2  Nevertheless, my feet were almost gone *
 my treadings had well-nigh slipt.
3  And why? I was grieved at the wicked *
 I do also see the ungodly in such prosperity.
4  For they are in no peril of death *
 but are lusty and strong.
5  They come in no misfortune like other folk *
 neither are they plagued like other men.
6  And this is the cause that they are so holden with pride *
 and overwhelmed with cruelty.
7  Their eyes swell with fatness *
 and they do even what they lust.
8  They corrupt other, and speak of wicked blasphemy *
 their talking is against the most High.
9  For they stretch forth their mouth unto the heaven *
 and their tongue goeth through the world.
10  Therefore fall the people unto them *
 and thereout suck they no small advantage.
11  Tush, say they, how should God perceive it *
 is there knowledge in the most High?
12  Lo, these are the ungodly, these prosper in the world,
and these have riches in possession *
 and I said, Then have I cleansed my heart in vain,
and washed mine hands in innocency.
13  All the day long have I been punished *
 and chastened every morning.
14  Yea, and I had almost said even as they *
 but lo, then I should have condemned the generation of thy children.
15  Then thought I to understand this *
 but it was too hard for me,
16  Until I went into the sanctuary of God *
 then understood I the end of these men;
17  Namely, how thou dost set them in slippery places *
 and castest them down, and destroyest them.
18  O how suddenly do they consume *
 perish, and come to a fearful end!
19  Yea, even like as a dream when one awaketh *
 so shalt thou make their image to vanish out of the city.
20  Thus my heart was grieved *
 and it went even through my reins.
21  So foolish was I, and ignorant *
 even as it were a beast before thee.
22  Nevertheless, I am alway by thee *
 for thou hast holden me by my right hand.
23  Thou shalt guide me with thy counsel *
 and after that receive me with glory.
24  Whom have I in heaven but thee *
 and there is none upon earth that I desire in comparison of thee.
25  My flesh and my heart faileth *
 but God is the strength of my heart, and my portion for ever.
26  For lo, they that forsake thee shall perish *
 thou hast destroyed all them that commit fornication against thee.
27  But it is good for me to hold me fast by God, to put my trust in the Lord God *
 and to speak of all thy works in the gates of the daughter of Sion.
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 74 (Anglican Chant: https://tinyurl.com/r9v5c9y)
1  O God, wherefore art thou absent from us so long *
 why is thy wrath so hot against the sheep of thy pasture?
2  O think upon thy congregation *
 whom thou hast purchased, and redeemed of old.
3  Think upon the tribe of thine inheritance *
 and mount Sion, wherein thou hast dwelt.
4  Lift up thy feet, that thou mayest utterly destroy every enemy *
 which hath done evil in thy sanctuary.
5  Thine adversaries roar in the midst of thy congregations *
 and set up their banners for tokens.
6  He that hewed timber afore out of the thick trees *
 was known to bring it to an excellent work.
7  But now they break down all the carved work thereof *
 with axes and hammers.
8  They have set fire upon thy holy places *
 and have defiled the dwelling-place of thy Name, even unto the ground.
9  Yea, they said in their hearts, Let us make havock of them altogether *
 thus have they burnt up all the houses of God in the land.
10  We see not our tokens, there is not one prophet more *
 no, not one is there among us, that understandeth any more.
11  O God, how long shall the adversary do this dishonour *
 how long shall the enemy blaspheme thy Name, for ever?
12  Why withdrawest thou thy hand *
 why pluckest thou not thy right hand out of thy bosom
to consume the enemy?
13  For God is my King of old *
 the help that is done upon earth he doeth it himself.
14  Thou didst divide the sea through thy power *
 thou brakest the heads of the dragons in the waters.
15  Thou smotest the heads of Leviathan in pieces *
 and gavest him to be meat for the people in the wilderness.
16  Thou broughtest out fountains and waters out of the hard rocks *
 thou driedst up mighty waters.
17  The day is thine, and the night is thine *
 thou hast prepared the light and the sun.
18  Thou hast set all the borders of the earth *
 thou hast made summer and winter.
19  Remember this, O Lord, how the enemy hath rebuked *
 and how the foolish people hath blasphemed thy Name.
20  O deliver not the soul of thy turtle-dove unto the multitude of the enemies *
 and forget not the congregation of the poor for ever.
21  Look upon the covenant *
 for all the earth is full of darkness, and cruel habitations.
22  O let not the simple go away ashamed *
 but let the poor and needy give praise unto thy Name.
23  Arise, O God, maintain thine own cause *
 remember how the foolish man blasphemeth thee daily.
24  Forget not the voice of thine enemies *
 the presumption of them that hate thee increaseth ever more and more.
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 73 (Karl Kohlhase: http://oremus.org/chant/Psalm-73-KH.mp3)
Surely God is good to Israel,
to those who are pure in heart!
But my feet came near to stumbling;
my steps had almost slipped.
I was envious of the arrogant,
when I saw the wicked prosper
In their death there are no pains,
and their bellies all are full.

They’re not burdened like the people,
nor struck like common men.
So pride becomes their necklace,
and violence is their garment.
Their eye is set on fatness,
and the fantasies of their heart.
They mock and threaten with cruelty;
and they speak as if on high.

But whom have I in heaven but you?
On earth I long for nothing else but you.
Though my heart and flesh may fail,
God is the rock of my heart and my portion forever.

They set their mouth in heaven,
their tongue parades on the earth.
So the people keep returning to drink their waters in full.
They are saying, “What does God know?
Is knowledge with the Most High?”
Behold, these are the wicked,
at ease and gaining wealth.

In vain I kept my heart pure,
in innocence washed my hands;
I’m stricken all day long
and chastened every morning.
If I said, “I’ll speak in this way,”
I’d betray your generations.
When I pondered to understand this,
it was troublesome in my sight

But whom have I in heaven but you?
On earth I long for nothing else but you.
Though my heart and flesh may fail,
God is the rock of my heart and my portion forever.

When I came into God’s sanctuary;
then I perceived their end.
you set them in smooth places,
then cast them down to slavery.
In a moment they are destroyed,
swept away by sudden terror!
Like a dream when awakened, Lord,
when aroused despise their form.

When my heart was thus embittered
I inwardly was pierced,
I was ignorant and senseless,
before you like a beast.
Yet I am always with you;
take hold of my right hand.
you will guide me with your counsel,
then will take me into glory.

For whom have I in heaven but you?
On earth I long for nothing else but you.
Though my heart and flesh may fail,
God is the rock of my heart and my portion forever.

See, how the distant perish,
the unfaithful are destroyed;
but the nearness of God is my good
The Lord GOD is my refuge,
so I will tell of your works.

Psalm 74 (Karl Kohlhase: http://oremus.org/chant/Psalm-74-KH.mp3)
O God, have you rejected us forever?
Will your anger burn against the sheep you pasture?
Remember your assembly, which of old you pledged,
you redeemed to be the tribe of your inheritance;

In this Mount Zion, where you have dwelt.
In this Mount Zion, where you have dwelt.

And toward these everlasting ruins now turn your feet;
the foe has broken down the sanctuary.
your adversaries roared within your meeting place;
They set up their own signs and banners of disgrace.

In this Mount Zion, where you have dwelt.
In this Mount Zion, where you have dwelt.

See how an axe was lifted in a glade of trees.
Their hatchets and their hammers smash its artistry.
Unto the ground how they have burned your Holy Place;
Defiled the habitation of your glorious name.

In this Mount Zion, where you have dwelt.
In this Mount Zion, where you have dwelt.

They said in their heart, “Let us utterly subdue.”
They burned all God’s meeting places down.
We do not see our signs; there’s no prophet anymore,
not even one among us knows how long.

How long, O God, how long, will the enemy revile,
Will the foe forever ridicule your name?
Why now withdraw your hand, even your right hand?
From within your bosom, strike them down!

Yet God has been my king since when it all began,
performing all His saving works throughout the land.
For by your strength the great sea was divided;
and there within the waters broke the dragon’s heads.

In this Mount Zion, where you have dwelt.
In this Mount Zion, where you have dwelt.

Yes, of Leviathan you trampled on his heads;
gave him as food for people in the wilderness.
you opened up for them the fountains and the springs;
you shriveled up the strong and ever-flowing streams.

For this Mount Zion, where you have dwelt.
For this Mount Zion, where you have dwelt.

Yours is the day, yours also is the night time;
you prepare the moonlight and the sunshine.
You have set the boundaries of all the earth;
both the summer and the winter you bring forth.

For this Mount Zion, where you have dwelt.
For this Mount Zion, where you have dwelt.

Remember this, O LORD, how the enemy reviled,
and how your name the foolish ones despised.
Deliver not the soul of your dove to wild beasts;
and do not long forget your poor ones’ lives.

Look towards the covenant, for the darkness of the land
is full of habitations for the mean.
O let not the oppressed all turn back and be ashamed;
and let the poor and needy praise your name.

Arise, O God, and plead for your own righteous case;
remember how the foolish have reproached all day.
Do not forget the voice of all your enemies,
the noise of their revolt ascends continually.

For this Mount Zion, where you have dwelt.
For this Mount Zion, where you have dwelt.

PRAYER

God our strength,
you give honor to the pure in heart
and uphold all who trust in you.
Deliver us from chasing after this world’s illusions
that we may follow instead
the imperishable truth of your Word
in Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. BCW

THE WORD OF GOD

Reading: 2 Samuel 7:1-17

When David was settled in his palace, and the Lord had given him rest from all his surrounding enemies, the king said to the prophet Nathan, “Look! I’m living in a cedar palace, but God’s chest is housed in a tent!”

Nathan said to the king, “Go ahead and do whatever you are thinking, because the Lord is with you.”

But that very night the Lord’s word came to Nathan: Go to my servant David and tell him: This is what the Lord says: You are not the one to build the temple for me to live in. In fact, I haven’t lived in a temple from the day I brought Israel out of Egypt until now. Instead, I have been traveling around in a tent and in a dwelling. Throughout my traveling around with the Israelites, did I ever ask any of Israel’s tribal leaders I appointed to shepherd my people: Why haven’t you built me a cedar temple?

So then, say this to my servant David: This is what the Lord of heavenly forces says: I took you from the pasture, from following the flock, to be leader over my people Israel. I’ve been with you wherever you’ve gone, and I’ve eliminated all your enemies before you. Now I will make your name great—like the name of the greatest people on earth. I’m going to provide a place for my people Israel, and plant them so that they may live there and no longer be disturbed. Cruel people will no longer trouble them, as they had been earlier, when I appointed leaders over my people Israel. And I will give you rest from all your enemies.

And the Lord declares to you that the Lord will make a dynasty for you. When the time comes for you to die and you lie down with your ancestors, I will raise up your descendant—one of your very own children—to succeed you, and I will establish his kingdom. He will build a temple for my name, and I will establish his royal throne forever. I will be a father to him, and he will be a son to me. Whenever he does wrong, I will discipline him with a human rod, with blows from human beings. But I will never take my faithful love away from him like I took it away from Saul, whom I set aside in favor of you. Your dynasty and your kingdom will be secured forever before me. Your throne will be established forever.

Nathan reported all of these words and this entire vision to David.

HYMN: Joel Abraham Knight
Tune: Ballerma https://tinyurl.com/2p8rv7x9

1 Fain would my soul with wonder trace
Thy mercies, O my God;
And tell the riches of Thy grace–
The merits of Thy blood.

2 With Israel’s King, my heart would cry,
While I review Thy ways,
Tell my, my Saviour, who am I,
That I should see Thy face?

3 Formed by Thy hand, and formed for Thee,
I would be ever Thine:
My Saviour, make my spirit free,
With beams of mercy shine.

4 Fain would my soul with rapture dwell
On Thy redeeming grace;
Oh for a thousand tongues to tell
My dear Redeemer’s praise.

Reading: Revelation 4:9-5:5

Whenever the living creatures give glory, honor, and thanks to the one seated on the throne, who lives forever and always, the twenty-four elders fall before the one seated on the throne. They worship the one who lives forever and always. They throw down their crowns before the throne and say,

“You are worthy, our Lord and God,
        to receive glory and honor and power,
            because you created all things.
                It is by your will that they existed and were created.”

Then I saw a scroll in the right hand of the one seated on the throne. It had writing on the front and the back, and it was sealed with seven seals. I saw a powerful angel, who proclaimed in a loud voice, “Who is worthy to open the scroll and break its seals?” But no one in heaven or on earth or under the earth could open the scroll or look inside it. So I began to weep and weep, because no one was found worthy to open the scroll or to look inside it. Then one of the elders said to me, “Don’t weep. Look! The Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has emerged victorious so that he can open the scroll and its seven seals.”

HYMN: Richard Mant
Tune: Faben https://tinyurl.com/yc8j74ku

1 Praise the Lord! ye heavens adore him;
praise him, angels in the height;
sun and moon, rejoice before him;
praise him, all ye stars of light.
Praise the Lord! for he hath spoken;
worlds his mighty voice obeyed;
laws which never shall be broken
for their guidance he hath made.

2 Praise the Lord! for he is glorious;
never shall his promise fail;
God hath made his saints victorious;
sin and death shall not prevail.
Praise the God of our salvation!
Hosts on high, his power proclaim:
heaven and earth, and all creation,
laud and magnify his Name.

Reading: Matthew 25:14-30

Jesus told this parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like a man who was leaving on a trip. He called his servants and handed his possessions over to them. To one he gave five valuable coins, and to another he gave two, and to another he gave one. He gave to each servant according to that servant’s ability. Then he left on his journey.

“After the man left, the servant who had five valuable coins took them and went to work doing business with them. He gained five more. In the same way, the one who had two valuable coins gained two more. But the servant who had received the one valuable coin dug a hole in the ground and buried his master’s money.

“Now after a long time the master of those servants returned and settled accounts with them. The one who had received five valuable coins came forward with five additional coins. He said, ‘Master, you gave me five valuable coins. Look, I’ve gained five more.’

“His master replied, ‘Excellent! You are a good and faithful servant! You’ve been faithful over a little. I’ll put you in charge of much. Come, celebrate with me.’

“The second servant also came forward and said, ‘Master, you gave me two valuable coins. Look, I’ve gained two more.’

“His master replied, ‘Well done! You are a good and faithful servant. You’ve been faithful over a little. I’ll put you in charge of much. Come, celebrate with me.’

“Now the one who had received one valuable coin came and said, ‘Master, I knew that you are a hard man. You harvest grain where you haven’t sown. You gather crops where you haven’t spread seed. So I was afraid. And I hid my valuable coin in the ground. Here, you have what’s yours.’

“His master replied, ‘You evil and lazy servant! You knew that I harvest grain where I haven’t sown and that I gather crops where I haven’t spread seed? In that case, you should have turned my money over to the bankers so that when I returned, you could give me what belonged to me with interest. Therefore, take from him the valuable coin and give it to the one who has ten coins. Those who have much will receive more, and they will have more than they need. But as for those who don’t have much, even the little bit they have will be taken away from them. Now take the worthless servant and throw him out into the farthest darkness.’ People there will be weeping and grinding their teeth.”

CANTICLE Magnificat (Luke 1:46-55)
(Andrew Rottner: https://tinyurl.com/ybqv7yxk)

He who is mighty, has shown great strength to me
And his mercy is for those who fear his holy name
And he has shown strength with his arm and his law
And he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts.

He who is mighty has brought the wicked shame
And his anger is for those who curse his holy name
And he has shown rage with the mighty in their thrones
And he has lifted the low into his glorious home

O my soul magnifies the Lord,
Yes my soul magnifies the Lord.

He who is mighty has not forgotten me
And his helping is for those to serve his holy name
He has shown remembrance with his servant Israel
And he spoke the promise from which all my doubts dispel

O my soul magnifies the Lord,
Yes my soul magnifies the Lord.
O my soul magnifies the Lord,
Yes my soul magnifies the Lord.

THE PRAYERS CCP

Watchful at all times,
let us pray for strength to stand with confidence
before our Maker and Redeemer.

That God may bring in his kingdom with judgement and mercy,
let us pray to the Lord:
Come in your might, Lord Jesus.

That God may establish among the nations
his sceptre of righteousness, let us pray to the Lord:
Come in your might, Lord Jesus.

That the Church may seek him in the scriptures
and recognise him in the breaking of the bread,
let us pray to the Lord:
Come in your might, Lord Jesus.

That God may bind up the broken‑hearted,
restore the sick and raise up all who have fallen,
let us pray to the Lord:
Come in your might, Lord Jesus.

That the light of God’s coming may dawn
on all who live in darkness and in the shadow of death,
let us pray to the Lord:
Come in your might, Lord Jesus.

That with all the saints in light,
we may shine forth as lights of the world,
let us pray to the Lord:
Come in your might, Lord Jesus.

(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.

O God, the Judge of all,
who gave your servant John of the Cross
a warmth of nature, a strength of purpose
   and a mystical faith
that sustained him even in the dark night of the soul:
shed your light on all who love you
and union with your Son Jesus Christ our Lord,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever. Amen. EH, 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


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

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

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

CCP Celebrating Common Prayer © 1993 Society of St Francis

The three main scripture readings are © 2011 Common English Bible.

The traditional language psalms are from The Book of Common Prayer (1662). The modern language psalms are in the version sung 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 © 2022 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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