Order of Service

Today's services

Westminster Abbey

Sunday, 26th November 2023

10:00

Christ the King

Matins

Welcome to Westminster Abbey. Daily prayer has been offered in this place for over a thousand years, and your participation in today's service is warmly welcomed. At Matins most of the service is sung by the choir on our behalf. We participate through our presence and our listening, that the words and the music might become a prayer within us and lift us to contemplate God's beauty and glory.

The service always includes one or more psalms. These ancient prayers, taken from the Old Testament, reflect the full range of human emotions and experiences; from the depths of anger, resentment, and abandonment to the heights of ecstatic joy and praise. They were used by Jesus, and have always been at the heart of the Church's daily prayer.

Please join in saying the words and singing the hymn 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 St Margaret's Church 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 hymn a collection will be taken; the money from today's services will be divided equally between The Passage and the work of the Abbey. The vision of The Passage is of a society where street homelessness no longer exists, and everyone has a place to call home.


Order of Service


All stand as the choir and clergy enter


The choir sings the Introit

All people clap your hands;
   sing loud unto the Lord with a joyful voice.

God is gone up with triumph,
   even the Lord with the sound of the trumpet.

Praise the Lord with harp;
   sing unto him with viol and instruments of music.

Let us rejoice in the living God, from this time forth for evermore. Amen.

Words: Psalms 47: 1, 5; 33: 2
Music: Thomas Weelkes (c 1576–1623)


The officiant says a Sentence of Scripture


The officiant and choir sing the Responses

O Lord, open thou our lips
and our mouth shall shew forth thy praise.

O God, make speed to save us.
O Lord, make haste to help us.

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.

Praise ye the Lord.
The Lord's name be praised.

Music: Kenneth Leighton (1929–88)


All sit. The choir sings Venite exultemus Domino

O come, let us sing unto the Lord;
   let us heartily rejoice in the strength of our salvation!
Let us come before his presence with thanksgiving;
   and shew ourselves glad in him with psalms!
For the Lord is a great God,
   and a great King above all gods.
In his hands are all the corners of the earth;
   and the strength of the hills is his also.
The sea is his, and he made it,
   and his hands prepared the dry land.

O come, let us worship and fall down,
   and kneel before the Lord, our Maker!
For he is the Lord our God,
   and we are the people of his pasture,
   and the sheep of his hand.

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.


All remain seated. The choir sings Psalm 29

Bring unto the Lord, O ye mighty, bring young rams unto the Lord : ascribe unto the Lord worship and strength.
Give the Lord the honour due unto his name : worship the Lord with holy worship.
It is the Lord that commandeth the waters : it is the glorious God that maketh the thunder.
It is the Lord that ruleth the sea; the voice of the Lord is mighty in operation : the voice of the Lord is a glorious voice.
The voice of the Lord breaketh the cedar-trees : yea, the Lord breaketh the cedars of Libanus.
He maketh them also to skip like a calf : Libanus also, and Sirion, like a young unicorn.
The voice of the Lord divideth the flames of fire; the voice of the Lord shaketh the wilderness : yea, the Lord shaketh the wilderness of Cades.
The voice of the Lord maketh the hinds to bring forth young, and discovereth the thick bushes : in his temple doth every man speak of his honour.
The Lord sitteth above the water-flood : and the Lord remaineth a King for ever.
The Lord shall give strength unto his people : the Lord shall give his people the blessing of peace.

All stand

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.

Chant: Walter Parratt (1841–1924)


All sit for the first Lesson, Isaiah 4: 2—5: 7

The branch of the Lord shall be beautiful and glorious, and the fruit of the land shall be the pride and glory of the survivors of Israel. Whoever is left in Zion and remains in Jerusalem will be called holy, everyone who has been recorded for life in Jerusalem, once the Lord has washed away the filth of the daughters of Zion and cleansed the bloodstains of Jerusalem from its midst by a spirit of judgement and by a spirit of burning. Then the Lord will create over the whole site of Mount Zion and over its places of assembly a cloud by day and smoke and the shining of a flaming fire by night. Indeed, over all the glory there will be a canopy. It will serve as a pavilion, a shade by day from the heat, and a refuge and a shelter from the storm and rain.

Let me sing for my beloved
   my love-song concerning his vineyard:
My beloved had a vineyard
   on a very fertile hill.
He dug it and cleared it of stones,
   and planted it with choice vines;
he built a watch-tower in the midst of it,
   and hewed out a wine vat in it;
he expected it to yield grapes,
   but it yielded wild grapes.

And now, inhabitants of Jerusalem
   and people of Judah,
judge between me
   and my vineyard.
What more was there to do for my vineyard
   that I have not done in it?
When I expected it to yield grapes,
   why did it yield wild grapes?

And now I will tell you
   what I will do to my vineyard.
I will remove its hedge,
   and it shall be devoured;
I will break down its wall,
   and it shall be trampled down.
I will make it a waste;
   it shall not be pruned or hoed,
   and it shall be overgrown with briers and thorns;
I will also command the clouds
   that they rain no rain upon it.

For the vineyard of the Lord of hosts
   is the house of Israel,
and the people of Judah
   are his pleasant planting;
he expected justice,
   but saw bloodshed;
righteousness,
   but heard a cry!

Here ends the first lesson.


All stand. The choir sings Te Deum laudamus

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 Cherubin and Seraphin 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 honourable, 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 not abhor the Virgin's womb.
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.

O Lord, save thy people, and bless thine heritage.
Govern them and lift them up for ever.
Day by day we magnify thee,
and we worship thy name ever world without end.
Vouchsafe, O Lord, to keep us this day without sin.
O Lord, have mercy upon us, have mercy upon us.
O Lord, let thy mercy lighten upon us, as our trust is in thee.
O Lord, in thee have I trusted; let me never be confounded.

Morning Service in C, Charles Villiers Stanford (1852–1924)


All sit for the second Lesson, Luke 19: 29–38

When Jesus had come near Bethphage and Bethany, at the place called the Mount of Olives, he sent two of the disciples, saying, 'Go into the village ahead of you, and as you enter it you will find tied there a colt that has never been ridden. Untie it and bring it here. If anyone asks you, "Why are you untying it?" just say this: "The Lord needs it." ' So those who were sent departed and found it as he had told them. As they were untying the colt, its owners asked them, 'Why are you untying the colt?' They said, 'The Lord needs it.' Then they brought it to Jesus; and after throwing their cloaks on the colt, they set Jesus on it. As he rode along, people kept spreading their cloaks on the road. As he was now approaching the path down from the Mount of Olives, the whole multitude of the disciples began to praise God joyfully with a loud voice for all the deeds of power that they had seen, saying,
'Blessed is the king
   who comes in the name of the Lord!
Peace in heaven,
   and glory in the highest heaven!'

Here ends the second lesson.


All stand to say together the Apostles' Creed

I believe in God the Father almighty,
maker of heaven and earth:
and in Jesus Christ his only Son our Lord,
who was conceived by the Holy Ghost,
born of the Virgin Mary,
suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, dead, and buried.
He descended into hell;
the third day he rose again from the dead;
he ascended into heaven,
and sitteth on the right hand of God the Father almighty;
from thence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Ghost;
the holy catholic Church;
the communion of saints;
the forgiveness of sins;
the resurrection of the body;
and the life everlasting.
Amen.


The Lord be with you.
And with thy spirit.

Let us pray.

All kneel or sit. The officiant and choir sing the Lesser Litany; the Lord's Prayer and the Responses

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

Our Father, which art in heaven, hallowed be thy name; thy kingdom come; thy will be done, in earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive them that trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from evil. Amen.

O Lord, shew thy mercy upon us.
And grant us thy salvation.

O Lord, save The King.
And mercifully hear us when we call upon thee.

Endue thy ministers with righteousness.
And make thy chosen people joyful.

O Lord, save thy people.
And bless thine inheritance.

Give peace in our time, O Lord.
Because there is none other that fighteth for us, but only thou, O God.

O God, make clean our hearts within us.
And take not thy Holy Spirit from us.


The officiant sings the Collects; of the day, for Peace, for Grace:

Stir up, we beseech thee, O Lord, the wills of thy faithful people; that they, plenteously bringing forth the fruit of good works, may of thee be plenteously rewarded; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

O God, who art the author of peace and lover of concord, in knowledge of whom standeth our eternal life, whose service is perfect freedom; defend us thy humble servants in all assaults of our enemies; that we, surely trusting in thy defence, may not fear the power of any adversaries, through the might of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

O Lord, our heavenly Father, Almighty and everlasting God, who hast safely brought us to the beginning of this day; defend us in the same with thy mighty power; and grant that this day we fall into no sin, neither run into any kind of danger; but that all our doings may be ordered by thy governance, to do always that is righteous in thy sight; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Music: Kenneth Leighton


The officiant says the Prayers; for the Royal Family, and for the Members of the Order of the Bath

Almighty God, the fountain of all goodness, we humbly beseech thee to bless our most gracious Sovereign Lord King Charles, Queen Camilla, William Prince of Wales, the Princess of Wales, and all the Royal Family: endue them with thy Holy Spirit; enrich them with thy heavenly grace; prosper them with all happiness; and bring them to thine everlasting kingdom, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

God save our Gracious Sovereign, and all the Members of the Most Honourable Order of the Bath living and departed. Amen.


All say

The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ,
and the love of God,
and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit,
be with us all evermore.
Amen.


All stand to sing the Hymn, during which a collection will be taken. Alternatively, cash donations may be given as you leave

Rejoice, the Lord is King,
   your Lord and King adore;
mortals, give thanks and sing,
   and triumph evermore:
lift up your heart, lift up your voice;
rejoice, again I say, rejoice.

Jesus, the Saviour, reigns,
   the God of truth and love;
when he had purged our stains,
   he took his seat above:
lift up your heart, lift up your voice;
rejoice, again I say, rejoice.

His kingdom cannot fail;
   he rules o'er earth and heaven;
the keys of death and hell
   are to our Jesus given:
lift up your heart, lift up your voice;
rejoice, again I say, rejoice.

He sits at God's right hand
   till all his foes submit,
and bow to his command,
   and fall beneath his feet:
lift up your heart, lift up your voice;
rejoice, again I say, rejoice.

Words: Charles Wesley (1707–88)
Tune: 'Gopsal' George Frideric Handel (1685–1759)


All remain standing for the Blessing


Music after the service

Prelude and Fugue in C BWV 545, Johann Sebastian Bach (1685–1750)


Those who wish to may sit for the remainder of the organ voluntary


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


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