Order of Service

Today's services

Westminster Abbey

Sunday, 10th December 2023

11:15

Second Sunday of Advent

Sung Eucharist

Please join in saying the words and singing the hymns printed in bold type.

The church is served by a hearing loop. Users should turn their hearing aid to the setting marked T.

Photography, filming, and sound recording are not allowed in the Abbey during services. Please ensure that mobile telephones and other electronic devices are silent.

The service is sung by the Choir of Westminster Abbey.

During the offertory hymn a collection will be takenthe money from today's services will be divided equally between the Westminster Foodbank via the Trussell Trust and the work of the Abbey. The Westminster Foodbank provides nutritionally balanced, non-perishable food to residents in the Borough of Westminster experiencing financial crisis.


Order of Service


All stand as the choir and clergy enter. The choir sings the Advent Prose

Refrain Drop down, ye heavens, from above, and let the skies pour down righteousness.

Be not wroth very sore, O Lord, neither remember iniquity for ever: thy holy cities are a wilderness, Sion is a wilderness, Jerusalem a desolation: our holy and our beautiful house, where our fathers praised thee.

We have sinned, and are as an unclean thing, and we all do fade as a leaf: and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away; thou hast hid thy face from us: and hast consumed us, because of our iniquities.

Comfort ye, comfort ye, my people, my salvation shall not tarry: I have blotted out as a thick cloud thy transgressions: fear not, for I will save thee: for I am the Lord thy God, the Holy One of Israel, thy Redeemer.

Music: plainsong


In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.
Amen.

The Lord be with you
and also with you.


All remain standing. The president introduces the Prayers of Penitence, after which all say

Almighty God, our heavenly Father,
we have sinned against you
and against our neighbour
in thought and word and deed,
through negligence, through weakness,
through our own deliberate fault.
We are truly sorry
and repent of all our sins.
For the sake of your Son Jesus Christ,
who died for us,
forgive us all that is past
and grant that we may serve you in newness of life
to the glory of your name.
Amen.


The president gives the Absolution

Almighty God, who forgives all who truly repent, have mercy upon you, pardon and deliver you from all your sins, confirm and strengthen you in all goodness, and keep you in life eternal; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.


All remain standing. The choir sings Kyrie eleison

Kyrie eleison.
Christe eleison.
Kyrie eleison.

Lord, have mercy upon us.
Christ, have mercy upon us.
Lord, have mercy upon us.

Music: Paul Mealor (b 1975)


All stand for the Collect

Let us pray.

O Lord, raise up, we pray, your power and come among us, and with great might succour us; that whereas, through our sins and wickedness we are grievously hindered in running the race that is set before us, your bountiful grace and mercy may speedily help and deliver us; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, to whom with you and the Holy Spirit, be honour and glory, now and for ever. Amen.


All sit for the Reading from the Old Testament, Isaiah 40: 1–11

Comfort, O comfort my people,
   says your God.
Speak tenderly to Jerusalem,
   and cry to her
that she has served her term,
   that her penalty is paid,
that she has received from the Lord's hand
   double for all her sins.

A voice cries out:
'In the wilderness prepare the way of the Lord,
   make straight in the desert a highway for our God.
Every valley shall be lifted up,
   and every mountain and hill be made low;
the uneven ground shall become level,
   and the rough places a plain.
Then the glory of the Lord shall be revealed,
   and all people shall see it together,
   for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.'

A voice says, 'Cry out!'
   And I said, 'What shall I cry?'
All people are grass,
   their constancy is like the flower of the field.
The grass withers, the flower fades,
   when the breath of the Lord blows upon it;
   surely the people are grass.
The grass withers, the flower fades;
   but the word of our God will stand for ever.
Get you up to a high mountain,
   O Zion, herald of good tidings;
lift up your voice with strength,
   O Jerusalem, herald of good tidings,
   lift it up, do not fear;
say to the cities of Judah,
   'Here is your God!'
See, the Lord God comes with might,
   and his arm rules for him;
his reward is with him,
   and his recompense before him.
He will feed his flock like a shepherd;
   he will gather the lambs in his arms,
and carry them in his bosom,
   and gently lead the mother sheep.

This is the word of the Lord.
Thanks be to God.


The choir sings Psalm 85: 8–end

Antiphon Show us your mercy, O Lord, and grant us your salvation.

I will listen to what the Lord God will say,
   for he shall speak peace to his people and to the faithful, that they turn not again to folly.
Truly, his salvation is near to those who fear him,
   that his glory may dwell in our land.
Mercy and truth are met together,
   righteousness and peace have kissed each other;
truth shall spring up from the earth
   and righteousness look down from heaven.
The Lord will indeed give all that is good,
   and our land will yield its increase.
Righteousness shall go before him
   and direct his steps in the way.


The Epistle, 2 Peter 3: 8–15a

Do not ignore this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like one day. The Lord is not slow about his promise, as some think of slowness, but is patient with you, not wanting any to perish, but all to come to repentance. But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a loud noise, and the elements will be dissolved with fire, and the earth and everything that is done on it will be disclosed.

Since all these things are to be dissolved in this way, what sort of people ought you to be in leading lives of holiness and godliness, waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be set ablaze and dissolved, and the elements will melt with fire? But, in accordance with his promise, we wait for new heavens and a new earth, where righteousness is at home.

Therefore, beloved, while you are waiting for these things, strive to be found by him at peace, without spot or blemish; and regard the patience of our Lord as salvation.

This is the word of the Lord.
Thanks be to God.


All stand for the Procession of the Gospel. The choir sings

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia!

and all repeat


Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight, and all flesh shall see the salvation of God.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia!


The reader announces the Gospel, Mark 1: 1–8

The Lord be with you
and also with you.

Hear the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ according to Mark.
Glory to you, O Lord.

The beginning of the good news of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.

As it is written in the prophet Isaiah,
'See, I am sending my messenger ahead of you,
   who will prepare your way;
the voice of one crying out in the wilderness:
"Prepare the way of the Lord,
   make his paths straight"',
John the baptizer appeared in the wilderness, proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. And people from the whole Judean countryside and all the people of Jerusalem were going out to him, and were baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins. Now John was clothed with camel's hair, with a leather belt around his waist, and he ate locusts and wild honey. He proclaimed, 'The one who is more powerful than I is coming after me; I am not worthy to stoop down and untie the thong of his sandals. I have baptized you with water; but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.'

This is the Gospel of the Lord.
Praise to you, O Christ.


The Sermon by The Reverend Ralph Godsall, Minor Canon


All stand to say the Creed

We believe in one God,
the Father, the Almighty,
maker of heaven and earth,
of all that is,
seen and unseen.

We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ,
the only Son of God,
eternally begotten of the Father,
God from God, Light from Light,
true God from true God,
begotten, not made,
of one Being with the Father;
through him all things were made.
For us and for our salvation he came down from heaven,
was incarnate from the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary,
and was made man.
For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate;
he suffered death and was buried.
On the third day he rose again
in accordance with the Scriptures;
he ascended into heaven
and is seated at the right hand of the Father.
He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead,
and his kingdom will have no end.

We believe in the Holy Spirit,
the Lord, the giver of life,
who proceeds from the Father and the Son,
who with the Father and the Son is worshipped and glorified,
who has spoken through the prophets.
We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church.
We acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins.
We look for the resurrection of the dead,
and the life of the world to come.
Amen.


All remain standing for the Prayers of Intercession. At the end of each petition there is said

Lord, in your mercy
hear our prayer.

The intercession ends

Merciful Father,
accept these prayers
for the sake of your Son,
our Saviour Jesus Christ.
Amen.


The president introduces the Peace

God will speak peace to his people, to those who turn to him in their hearts.

The peace of the Lord be always with you
and also with you.

All may greet one another with the words Peace be with you.


All remain standing to sing the Hymn during the Preparation of the Altar. A collection will be taken. Alternatively, cash and contactless donations may be given as you leave via the Great West Door

On Jordan's bank the Baptist's cry
announces that the Lord is nigh;
come then and hearken, for he brings
glad tidings from the King of kings.

Then cleansed be every Christian breast,
and furnished for so great a guest!
Yea, let us each our hearts prepare
for Christ to come and enter there.

For thou art our salvation, Lord,
our refuge and our great reward;
without thy grace our souls must fade,
and wither like a flower decayed.

Stretch forth thine hand to heal our sore,
and make us rise, to fall no more;
once more upon thy people shine,
and fill the world with love divine.

All praise, eternal Son, to thee
whose advent sets thy people free,
whom, with the Father, we adore,
and Spirit blest, for evermore.
   
Amen.

Words: 'Jordanis oras praevia' Charles Coffin (1676–1749), translated by John Chandler (1808–76)
Tune: 'Winchester New' in 'Musicalisches Hand-Buch' Hamburg, 1690


All remain standing for the Eucharistic Prayer. The president says

It is indeed right and good to give you thanks and praise, almighty God and everlasting Father, through Jesus Christ your Son. For when he humbled himself to come among us in human flesh, he fulfilled the plan you formed before the foundation of the world to open for us the way of salvation. Confident that your promise will be fulfilled, we now watch for the day when Christ our Lord will come again in glory. And so we join our voices with angels and archangels and with all the company of heaven to proclaim your glory for ever praising you and saying:

The choir sings Sanctus

Sanctus, sanctus, sanctus Dominus Deus Sabaoth, pleni sunt caeli et terra gloria tua. Hosanna in excelsis.

Holy, holy, holy Lord, God of power and might, heaven and earth are full of your glory. Hosanna in the highest.

Music: Roxanna Panufnik (b 1968)


The president continues the Eucharistic Prayer

Lord, you are holy indeed, the source of all holiness; grant that by the power of your Holy Spirit, and according to your holy will, these gifts of bread and wine may be to us the body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ;

who, in the same night that he was betrayed, took bread and gave you thanks; he broke it and gave it to his disciples, saying: Take, eat; this is my body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of me.

In the same way, after supper he took the cup and gave you thanks; he gave it to them, saying: Drink this, all of you; this is my blood of the new covenant, which is shed for you and for many for the forgiveness of sins. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.

Praise to you, Lord Jesus:
Dying you destroyed our death:
rising you restored our life:
Lord Jesus, come in glory.

And so, Father, calling to mind his death on the cross, his perfect sacrifice made once for the sins of the whole world; rejoicing in his mighty resurrection and glorious ascension, and looking for his coming in glory, we celebrate this memorial of our redemption. As we offer you this our sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving, we bring before you this bread and this cup and we thank you for counting us worthy to stand in your presence and serve you.

Send the Holy Spirit on your people and gather into one in your kingdom all who share this one bread and one cup, so that we, in the company of [N and] all the saints, may praise and glorify you for ever, through Jesus Christ our Lord; by whom, and with whom, and in whom, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, all honour and glory be yours, almighty Father, for ever and ever. Amen.


All remain standing. The president introduces the Lord's Prayer

Awaiting his coming in glory, so we say, each in our own language, the prayer that Jesus Christ has taught us,

Our Father, who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name;
thy kingdom come;
thy will be done;
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom,
the power, and the glory,
for ever and ever.
Amen.


All remain standing for the Breaking of the Bread

We break this bread to share in the body of Christ.
Though we are many, we are one body,
because we all share in one bread.


Jesus is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. Blessed are those who are called to his supper.
Lord, I am not worthy to receive you,
but only say the word, and I shall be healed.


The congregation is invited to sit as the president and other ministers begin the distribution of Holy Communion. Those wishing to receive come forward as directed by the Stewards. If you receive communion in your own church you are welcome to do so here. Gluten-free wafers are available. Please refrain from dipping the wafer in the chalice. Those who do not wish to receive communion are invited to come for a blessing; please bow your head as you approach. The minister says to each communicant

The body of Christ. Amen.

The blood of Christ. Amen.


During the giving of communion, the choir sings Agnus Dei and the Motet

Agnus Dei, qui tollis peccata mundi, miserere nobis.

Agnus Dei, qui tollis peccata mundi, dona nobis pacem.

Lamb of God, you take away the sin of the world, have mercy on us.

Lamb of God, you take away the sin of the world, grant us peace.

Music: Tarik O'Regan (b 1978)


Adam lay ybounden,
Bounden in a bond;
Four thousand winter
Thought he not too long.

And all was for an apple,
An apple that he took,
As clerkes finden
Written in their book.

Ne had the apple taken been,
The apple taken been,
Ne had never our lady
A been heavene queen.

Blessed be the time
That apple taken was,
Therefore we moun singen
Deo gracias.
To God be thanks.

Words: anonymous East Anglian song, c 1400, after Genesis 3
Music: Boris Ord (1897–1961)


All stand to sing the Hymn

Hark! a herald voice is calling:
   'Christ is nigh,' it seems to say;
'cast away the dreams of darkness,
   O ye children of the day!'

Startled at the solemn warning,
   let the earth-bound soul arise;
Christ, her Sun, all sloth dispelling,
   shines upon the morning skies.

Lo! the Lamb, so long expected,
   comes with pardon down from heaven;
let us haste, with tears of sorrow,
   one and all to be forgiven;

so when next he comes in glory,
   and earth's final hour draws near,
may he then as our defender
   on the clouds of heaven appear.

Honour, glory, virtue, merit,
   to the Father and the Son,
with the co-eternal Spirit,
   while unending ages run.
      Amen.

Words: 'Vox clara ecce intonat' c 5th century, translated by Edward Caswall (1814–78)
Tune: 'Merton' William Monk (1823–89)


Let us pray.

All remain standing. The president says the Prayer after Communion

Father in heaven, who sent your Son to redeem the world and will send him again to be our judge: give us grace so to imitate him in the humility and purity of his first coming that, when he comes again, we may be ready to greet him with joyful love and firm faith; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.


The Lord be with you
and also with you.

The president pronounces the Blessing

May God himself, the God of peace, make you perfect and holy, and keep you safe and blameless, in spirit, soul and body, for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ; and the blessing of God almighty, the Father, the Son, and Holy Spirit, be among you and remain with you always. Amen.


Go in the peace of Christ.
Thanks be to God.


Music after the service

Moto ostinato (Musica Dominicalis), Petr Eben (1929–2007)


CHORISTERSHIPS AT WESTMINSTER ABBEY

Enquiries are welcomed at any time. 

If you have a daughter aged 10 or 11 who would like to sing with the St Margaret's Choristers, please contact the Director of Music at St Margaret's, Greg Morris (email). Further details can be found here.

If you have a son who enjoys singing and you would like further details of the world-renowned Abbey Choir and its unique choir school, please click here.

Mr Mark Mitchell, Acting Headmaster, Westminster Abbey Choir School, Dean's Yard, London, SW1P 3NY, 020 7222 6151 email

Mr Andrew Nethsingha, Organist and Master of the Choristers, The Chapter Office, 20 Dean's Yard, London, SW1P 3PA, 020 7654 4854 email


If you attend worship at the Abbey regularly, you may like to add this page to your home screen for easy access to our orders of service. You can help us to improve our prototype by completing a short online survey. Thank you for your support.


Hymns covered by Christian Copyright Licensing (International) Ltd are reproduced under CCL no 1040271 and MRL no 1040288. Common Worship (Church House Publishing, 2000), material from which is included in this service, is copyright © The Archbishops' Council. Scripture Readings are from the New Revised Standard Version.

The Abbey is grateful for your support. Cash and contactless donations may be given as you leave via the Great West Door and will be divided equally between the work of the Abbey and the charities it supports.

Donations

Subscribe to our newsletter

Keep up to date with all of the Abbey's activities, get bonus content and enter exclusive competitions

Sign up now

Today's Services

Wednesday, 21st February 2024
7.30am Morning Prayer Quire
said
8.00am Holy Communion Chapel of the Holy Name
said
12.30pm Holy Communion Nave
said
5.00pm Evening Prayer Quire
said
View Order of Service