Order of Service

Westminster Abbey

Sunday, 25th February 2024

15:00

Second Sunday of Lent

Evensong

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 choral Evensong 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.

The canticles Magnificat (Luke 1: 46–55) and Nunc dimittis (Luke 2: 29–32) reflect two responses to the Incarnation (God becoming fully human in Jesus Christ). Both speak of the fulfilment of God's promises, not just to 'Abraham and his seed', but also 'to be a light to lighten the Gentiles' (all nations). With their themes of fulfilment and completion, these texts have been given central place for many centuries in the Church's prayers for the evening and at the end of the day.

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 Tariro—Hope for Youth in Zimbabwe International and the work of the Abbey. Tariro helps young people in Zimbabwe to learn, develop, and grow until they can support themselves.


Order of Service


The choir sings the Introit

Call to remembrance, O Lord, thy tender mercy and thy loving kindness,
   which hath been ever of old.
O remember not the sins and offences of my youth;
   but according to thy mercy think thou on me,
   O Lord, for thy goodness.

Words: Psalm 25: 6–7
Music: Richard Farrant (c 1525–80)


All stand as the choir and clergy enter


The officiant welcomes the congregation


All remain standing as the officiant introduces a general Confession

Dearly beloved brethren, the Scripture moveth us in sundry places to acknowledge and confess our manifold sins and wickedness; and that we should not dissemble nor cloke them before the face of almighty God our heavenly Father; but confess them with an humble, lowly, penitent, and obedient heart; to the end that we may obtain forgiveness of the same, by his infinite goodness and mercy. And although we ought at all times humbly to acknowledge our sins before God; yet ought we most chiefly so to do, when we assemble and meet together to render thanks for the great benefits that we have received at his hands, to set forth his most worthy praise, to hear his most holy Word, and to ask those things which are requisite and necessary, as well for the body as the soul. Wherefore I pray and beseech you, as many as are here present, to accompany me with a pure heart, and humble voice, unto the throne of the heavenly grace, saying after me;


All kneel or sit

Almighty and most merciful Father,
we have erred, and strayed from thy ways like lost sheep.
We have followed too much the devices and desires of our own hearts.
We have offended against thy holy laws.
We have left undone those things which we ought to have done;
and we have done those things which we ought not to have done;
and there is no health in us.
But thou, O Lord, have mercy upon us, miserable offenders.
Spare thou them, O God, which confess their faults.
Restore thou them that are penitent;
according to thy promises declared unto mankind in Christ Jesu our Lord.
And grant, O most merciful Father, for his sake,
that we may hereafter live a godly, righteous, and sober life,
to the glory of thy holy name.
Amen.


The officiant gives the Absolution

Almighty God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who desireth not the death of a sinner, but rather that he may turn from his wickedness, and live; and hath given power and commandment to his ministers, to declare and pronounce to his people, being penitent, the absolution and remission of their sins: he pardoneth and absolveth all them that truly repent, and unfeignedly believe his holy gospel. Wherefore let us beseech him to grant us true repentance, and his Holy Spirit, that those things may please him, which we do at this present; and that the rest of our life hereafter may be pure, and holy; so that at the last we may come to his eternal joy; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.


All say together the Lord's Prayer

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 stand. 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, and is now, and ever shall be,
world without end. Amen.

Praise ye the Lord.

Music: William Byrd (c 1540–1623)


All sit. The choir sings Psalm 119: 81–96

My soul hath longed for thy salvation : and I have a good hope because of thy word.
Mine eyes long sore for thy word : saying, O when wilt thou comfort me?
For I am become like a bottle in the smoke : yet do I not forget thy statutes.
How many are the days of thy servant : when wilt thou be avenged of them that persecute me?
The proud have digged pits for me : which are not after thy law.
All thy commandments are true : they persecute me falsely; O be thou my help.
They had almost made an end of me upon earth : but I forsook not thy commandments.
O quicken me after thy loving-kindness : and so shall I keep the testimonies of thy mouth.

O Lord, thy word : endureth for ever in heaven.
Thy truth also remaineth from one generation to another : thou hast laid the foundation of the earth, and it abideth.
They continue this day according to thine ordinance : for all things serve thee.
If my delight had not been in thy law : I should have perished in my trouble.
I will never forget thy commandments : for with them thou hast quickened me.
I am thine, O save me : for I have sought thy commandments.
The ungodly laid wait for me to destroy me : but I will consider thy testimonies.
I see that all things come to an end : but thy commandment is exceeding broad.

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.

Chants: Edward Hopkins (1818–1901) and George Garrett (1834–97)


All sit for the first Lesson, Genesis 12: 1–9

The Lord said to Abram, 'Go from your country and your kindred and your father's house to the land that I will show you. I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you, and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and the one who curses you I will curse; and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.'

So Abram went, as the Lord had told him; and Lot went with him. Abram was seventy-five years old when he departed from Haran. Abram took his wife Sarai and his brother's son Lot, and all the possessions that they had gathered, and the persons whom they had acquired in Haran; and they set forth to go to the land of Canaan. When they had come to the land of Canaan, Abram passed through the land to the place at Shechem, to the oak of Moreh. At that time the Canaanites were in the land. Then the Lord appeared to Abram, and said, 'To your offspring I will give this land.' So he built there an altar to the Lord, who had appeared to him. From there he moved on to the hill country on the east of Bethel, and pitched his tent, with Bethel on the west and Ai on the east; and there he built an altar to the Lord and invoked the name of the Lord. And Abram journeyed on by stages towards the Negeb.

Here ends the first lesson.


All stand. The choir sings Magnificat

My soul doth magnify the Lord,
   and my spirit rejoiceth in God my Saviour,
for he hath regarded the lowliness of his hand-maiden.
   For behold, from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed;
for he that is mighty hath magnified me,
   and holy is his name.
And his mercy is on them that fear him
   throughout all generations.
He hath shewed strength with his arm;
   he hath scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts.
He hath put down the mighty from their seat,
   and hath exalted the humble and meek;
he hath filled the hungry with good things,
   and the rich he hath sent empty away.
   He remembering his mercy
hath holpen his servant Israel,
as he promised to our forefathers,
   Abraham and his seed, for ever.

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son,
and to the Holy Ghost;
as it was in the beginning, and is now, and ever shall be,
world without end. Amen.

Third Service, William Byrd


All sit for the second Lesson, Hebrews 11: 1–3, 8–16

Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. Indeed, by faith our ancestors received approval. By faith we understand that the worlds were prepared by the word of God, so that what is seen was made from things that are not visible.

By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to set out for a place that he was to receive as an inheritance; and he set out, not knowing where he was going. By faith he stayed for a time in the land he had been promised, as in a foreign land, living in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with him of the same promise. For he looked forward to the city that has foundations, whose architect and builder is God. By faith he received power of procreation, even though he was too old—and Sarah herself was barren—because he considered him faithful who had promised. Therefore from one person, and this one as good as dead, descendants were born, 'as many as the stars of heaven and as the innumerable grains of sand by the seashore.'

All of these died in faith without having received the promises, but from a distance they saw and greeted them. They confessed that they were strangers and foreigners on the earth, for people who speak in this way make it clear that they are seeking a homeland. If they had been thinking of the land that they had left behind, they would have had opportunity to return. But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God; indeed, he has prepared a city for them.

Here ends the second lesson.


All stand. The choir sings Nunc dimittis

Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace,
   according to thy word;
for mine eyes have seen thy salvation,
   which thou hast prepared before the face of all people,
to be a light to lighten the Gentiles
   and to be the glory of thy people Israel.

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son,
and to the Holy Ghost;
as it was in the beginning, and is now, and ever shall be,
world without end. Amen.

Third Service, William Byrd


All face east 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, of Lent for peace, and for aid against all perils

Almighty God, who seest that we have no power of ourselves to help ourselves; keep us both outwardly in our bodies, and inwardly in our souls; that we may be defended from all adversities which may happen to the body, and from all evil thoughts which may assault and hurt the soul; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Almighty and everlasting God, who hatest nothing that thou hast made, and dost forgive the sins of all them that are penitent; create and make in us new and contrite hearts, that we worthily lamenting our sins, and acknowledging our wretchedness, may obtain of thee, the God of all mercy, perfect remission and forgiveness; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

O God, from whom all holy desires, all good counsels and all just works do proceed: Give unto thy servants that peace which the world cannot give; that both our hearts may be set to obey thy commandments, and also that by thee we being defended from the fear of our enemies may pass our time in rest and quietness; through the merits of Jesus Christ our Saviour. Amen.

Lighten our darkness we beseech thee, O Lord; and by thy great mercy defend us from all perils and dangers of this night; for the love of thy only Son, our Saviour, Jesus Christ. Amen.

Music: William Byrd


All sit. The choir sings the Anthem

Memento, homo, quod cinis es, et in cinerem reverteris.

Remember, man, that you are dust, and to dust you shall return.

Words: Sentence for the Imposition of Ashes
Music: William Byrd (c 1540–1623) in 'Cantiones Sacrae' 1575


All kneel or remain seated for the Intercessions


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

O for a closer walk with God,
   a calm and heavenly frame;
a light to shine upon the road
   that leads me to the Lamb!

Return, O holy Dove, return,
   sweet messenger of rest;
I hate the sins that made thee mourn,
   and drove thee from my breast.

The dearest idol I have known,
   whate'er that idol be,
help me to tear it from thy throne,
   and worship only thee.

So shall my walk be close with God,
   calm and serene my frame;
so purer light shall mark the road
   that leads me to the Lamb.

Words: William Cowper (1731–1800)
Tune: 'Caithness' 414 NEH, in the 'Scottish Psalter' 1635


The Sermon by The Right Reverend Anthony Ball, Canon in Residence


All stand to sing the Hymn during which a collection will be taken. Alternatively, cash and contactless donations may be given as you leave via the Great West Door


Through the night of doubt and sorrow
   onward goes the pilgrim band,
singing songs of expectation,
   marching to the Promised Land.

Clear before us through the darkness
   gleams and burns the guiding light;
brother clasps the hand of brother,
   stepping fearless through the night.

One the light of God's own presence
   o'er his ransomed people shed,
chasing far the gloom and terror,
   brightening all the path we tread.

One the object of our journey,
   one the faith which never tires,
one the earnest looking forward,
   one the hope our God inspires.

One the strain that lips of thousands
   lift as from the heart of one;
one the conflict, one the peril,
   one the march in God begun;

one the gladness of rejoicing
   one the far eternal shore,
where the One almighty Father
   reigns in love for evermore.

Words: 'Igjennem Nat og Traengael' Bernhard Severin Ingemann (1789–1862) translated by Sabine Baring-Gould (1834–1924)
Tune 'Marching' 468 NEH, Martin Shaw (1875–1958)


The Blessing. All respond Amen.


All remain standing as the clergy depart


Music after the service

Variations sur un thème de Clément Jannequin, Jehan Alain (1911–40)


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.

Dr Emma Margrett, Head, 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


You can help us to improve our prototype order of service by completing a short online survey. Thank you for your support.

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

Saturday, 13th April 2024
8.00am Holy Communion St Faith's Chapel
said
8.40am Morning Prayer St Faith's Chapel
said
5.00pm Evensong Quire
sung by Winchester College Chapel Choir

Clucas Responses
Sumsion in G
Gardiner Evening Hymn
Bach Prelude and Fugue in C

View Order of Service