Order of Service

Westminster Abbey

Sunday, 3rd December 2023

11:15

First 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.

During the Abbey Choir's vacation we welcome visiting choirs from the United Kingdom and beyond to lead the music at our services. The service is sung by the Choir of Westminster Abbey.

Setting: Messe solennelle, Louis Vierne (1870–1937)

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.

Ye are my witnesses, saith the Lord, and my servant whom I have chosen; that ye may know me and believe me: I, even I, am the Lord, and beside me there is no Saviour: and there is none that can deliver out of my hand.

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.


All stand for the Collect

Let us pray.

Almighty God, give us grace to cast away the works of darkness and to put on the armour of light, now in the time of this mortal life, in which your Son Jesus Christ came to us in great humility; that on the last day, when he shall come again in his glorious majesty to judge the living and the dead, we may rise to the life immortal; through him who is alive and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.


All sit for the Reading from the Old Testament, Isaiah 64: 1–9

O that you would tear open the heavens and come down,
   so that the mountains would quake at your presence—
as when fire kindles brushwood
   and the fire causes water to boil—
to make your name known to your adversaries,
   so that the nations might tremble at your presence!
When you did awesome deeds that we did not expect,
   you came down, the mountains quaked at your presence.
From ages past no one has heard,
   no ear has perceived,
no eye has seen any God besides you,
   who works for those who wait for him.
You meet those who gladly do right,
   those who remember you in your ways.
But you were angry, and we sinned;
   because you hid yourself we transgressed.
We have all become like one who is unclean,
   and all our righteous deeds are like a filthy cloth.
We all fade like a leaf,
   and our iniquities, like the wind, take us away.
There is no one who calls on your name,
   or attempts to take hold of you;
for you have hidden your face from us,
   and have delivered us into the hand of our iniquity.
Yet, O Lord, you are our Father;
   we are the clay, and you are our potter;
   we are all the work of your hand.
Do not be exceedingly angry, O Lord,
   and do not remember iniquity for ever.
   Now consider, we are all your people.

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


The choir sings Psalm 80: 1–8

Antiphon Stir up your mighty strength and come to our salvation.

Hear, O Shepherd of Israel,
   you that led Joseph like a flock;
Shine forth, you that are enthroned upon the cherubim,
   before Ephraim, Benjamin, and Manasseh.
Stir up your mighty strength
   and come to our salvation.
Turn us again, O God;
   show the light of your countenance, and we shall be saved.

O Lord God of hosts,
   how long will you be angry at your people's prayer?
You feed them with the bread of tears;
   you give them abundance of tears to drink.
You have made us the derision of our neighbours,
   and our enemies laugh us to scorn.
Turn us again, O God of hosts;
   show the light of your countenance, and we shall be saved.


The Epistle, 1 Corinthians 1: 3–9

Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

I give thanks to my God always for you because of the grace of God that has been given you in Christ Jesus, for in every way you have been enriched in him, in speech and knowledge of every kind—just as the testimony of Christ has been strengthened among you—so that you are not lacking in any spiritual gift as you wait for the revealing of our Lord Jesus Christ. He will also strengthen you to the end, so that you may be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is faithful; by him you were called into the fellowship of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.

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 13: 24–end

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.

Jesus said, 'In those days, after that suffering,
the sun will be darkened,
   and the moon will not give its light,
and the stars will be falling from heaven,
   and the powers in the heavens will be shaken.
Then they will see "the Son of Man coming in clouds" with great power and glory. Then he will send out the angels, and gather his elect from the four winds, from the ends of the earth to the ends of heaven.

'From the fig tree learn its lesson: as soon as its branch becomes tender and puts forth its leaves, you know that summer is near. So also, when you see these things taking place, you know that he is near, at the very gates. Truly I tell you, this generation will not pass away until all these things have taken place. Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.

'But about that day or hour no one knows, neither the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. Beware, keep alert; for you do not know when the time will come. It is like a man going on a journey, when he leaves home and puts his slaves in charge, each with his work, and commands the doorkeeper to be on the watch. Therefore, keep awake—for you do not know when the master of the house will come, in the evening, or at midnight, or at cockcrow, or at dawn, or else he may find you asleep when he comes suddenly. And what I say to you I say to all: Keep awake.'

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


The Sermon, by The Reverend Dr James Hawkey, Canon Theologian and Almoner


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

In the tender mercy of our God, the dayspring from on high shall break upon us, to give light to those who dwell in darkness and in the shadow of death, and to guide our feet into the way of peace.

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

Hills of the North, rejoice;
   river and mountain spring,
hark to the advent voice;
   valley and lowland, sing;
though absent long, your Lord is nigh;
he judgment brings and victory.

Isles of the southern seas,
   deep in your coral caves
pent be each warring breeze,
   lulled be your restless waves:
he comes to reign with boundless sway,
and makes your wastes his great highway.

Lands of the East, awake,
   soon shall your sons be free;
the sleep of ages break,
   and rise to liberty.
On your far hills, long cold and grey,
has dawned the everlasting day.

Shores of the utmost West,
   ye that have waited long,
unvisited, unblest,
   break forth to swelling song;
high raise the note, that Jesus died,
yet lives and reigns, the Crucified.

Shout, while ye journey home;
   songs be in every mouth;
lo, from the North we come,
   from East, and West, and South.
City of God, the bond are free,
we come to live and reign in thee!

Words: Charles Oakley (1832–65)
Tune: 'Little Cornard' Martin Shaw (1875–1958)


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. Benedictus qui venit in nomine Domini. Hosanna in excelsis.

Holy, holy, holy Lord, God of power and might, heaven and earth are full of your glory. Hosanna in the highest. Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord. Hosanna in the highest.


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.


This is the truth sent from above,
The truth of God, the God of love:
Therefore don't turn me from your door,
But hearken all, both rich and poor.

The first thing which I do relate
Is that God did man create,
The next thing which to you I'll tell,
Woman was made with man to dwell.

And we were heirs to endless woes,
Till God the Lord did interpose;
And so a promise soon did run
That he would redeem us by his Son.

And at that season of the year
Our blest redeemer did appear;
He here did live, and here did preach,
And many thousands he did teach.

Thus he in love to us behaved,
To show us how we must be saved;
And if you want to know the way,
Be pleased to hear what he did say.

Words: traditional Herefordshire carol
Music: traditional melody, arranged by Christopher Robinson (b 1936)


All stand to sing the Hymn

Lo! he comes with clouds descending,
   once for favoured sinners slain;
thousand thousand saints attending
   swell the triumph of his train:
      Alleluia!
   God appears, on earth to reign.

Every eye shall now behold him
   robed in dreadful majesty;
those who set at nought and sold him,
   pierced and nailed him to the tree,
      deeply wailing,
   shall the true Messiah see.

Those dear tokens of his passion
   still his dazzling body bears,
cause of endless exultation
   to his ransomed worshippers:
      with what rapture
   gaze we on those glorious scars!

Yea, Amen! let all adore thee,
   high on thine eternal throne;
Saviour, take the power and glory:
   claim the kingdom for thine own:
      O come quickly!
   Alleluia! Come, Lord, come!

Words: 'The Kingdom Come' Charles Wesley (1707–88)
Tune: 'Helmsley' noted by Thomas Olivers (1725–99), included in John Wesley's 'Sacred Melody' 1765


Let us pray.

All remain standing. The president says the Prayer after Communion

O Lord our God, make us watchful and keep us faithful as we await the coming of your Son our Lord; that, when he shall appear, he may not find us sleeping in sin but active in his service and joyful in his praise; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.


The Lord be with you
and also with you.

The president pronounces the Blessing

Christ the Sun of Righteousness shine upon you, scatter the darkness from before your path, and make you ready to meet him when he comes in glory; 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

Le monde dans l'attente du Sauveur (Symphonie-Passion Op 23), Marcel Dupré (1886–1971)


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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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.

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