Order of service

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What is Evensong?

Evensong is a combination of two of the seven offices (services) that made up the daily round of monastic prayer. These were the evening offices of Vespers and Compline which consisted of responses, psalms, canticles, readings and prayers. The liturgy of Evensong was first written down in 1549 in Archbishop Thomas Cranmer’s Book of Common Prayer. Several revisions to the book were made over subsequent years with the definitive version published in 1662. Widely known for the beauty and richness of its language, including Myles Coverdale’s translation of the psalms, the 1662 edition of the Book of Common Prayer remains the official prayer book of the Church of England.   

The service of Evensong is renowned for its choral music. Several sections of the liturgy are sung by the choir though there are various ways in which everyone can participate. For example, it is an ancient custom in the Magnificat and the Nunc Dimittis as the choir sings the first two lines of the Gloria (‘Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost’) to make the sign of the cross and to bow one’s head in honour of God the Holy Trinity.

Ever since its foundation this church has been a house of prayer. The first recorded priest of St Mary’s Whitkirk was Paulinus who was the priest here in AD 1185. The worship we share today gives a powerful sense of connecting the present with the past and of being part of a great, and continuing, tradition. Thank you for being part of this act of worship this evening as we join our prayers and praises with those that have been offered here at St Mary’s for over eight hundred years.


The Service of Choral Evensong

Hymn

Please stand.

Eternal Father, strong to save,
Whose arm doth bind the restless wave,
Who bidd’st the mighty ocean deep
Its own appointed limits keep;
O hear us when we cry to thee
For those in peril on the sea.

O Saviour, whose almighty word
The winds and waves submissive heard,
Who walkèdst on the foaming deep,
And calm amid its rage didst sleep:
O hear us when we cry to thee
For those in peril on the sea.

O sacred Spirit, who didst brood
Upon the chaos dark and rude,
And bad’st its angry tumult cease,
And gavest light and life and peace:
O hear us when we cry to thee
For those in peril on the sea.

O Trinity of love and pow’r,
Our brethren shield in danger’s hour;
From rock and tempest, fire and foe,
Protect them whereso’er they go:
And ever let there rise to thee
Glad hymns of praise from land and sea.

Words: William Whiting (1825-1878)
Music: John Bacchus Dykes (1823-1876)
Born in Kingston upon Hull, East Yorkshire
Hymn Tune: MELITA

Sentences of the Scriptures

Please remain standing.

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:

General Confession

Please 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 Absolution

Said by the Priest.

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.

The Opening Responses (or ‘Preces’)

‘Preces’ is Latin for ‘Prayers’. These opening sentences are sung alternately by the cantor and the choir.

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.

Please 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.

Praise ye the Lord.

The Lord’s Name be praised.

The Psalmody

Please remain standing.

The psalms are sacred poems from the Old Testament dating back over three thousand years. The music for the psalm is known as Anglican chant, a short repeating tune.

Psalm 88 (verses 1-10)

O Lord God of my salvation
I have cried day and night before thee:
O let my prayer enter into thy presence
incline thine ear unto my calling.
For my soul is full of trouble:
And my life draweth nigh unto hell.
I am counted as one of them that go down into the pit:
And I have been even as a man that hath no strength.
Free among the dead
like unto them that are wounded and lie in the grave:
Who are out of remembrance
and are cut away from thy hand.

Thou hast laid me in the lowest pit:
In a place of darkness and in the deep.
Thine indignation lieth hard upon me:
And thou hast vexèd me with all thy storms.
Thou hast put away mine acquaintance far from me:
And made me to be abhorrèd of them.
I am so fast in prison:
That I cannot get forth.
My sight faileth for very trouble:
Lord I have called daily upon thee
I have stretched forth my hands unto thee.
Dost thou shew wonders among the dead:
Or shall the dead rise up again and praise thee?

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.

Music: Sir Edward Cuthbert Bairstow (1874-1946)
Born in Huddersfield, West Yorkshire

Old Testament Lesson

(Job 28)

Please sit.

At the end the reader says:

Here endeth the First Lesson.

Magnificat

Please stand.

The Magnificat is the song of praise Mary sang after learning that she would give birth to Jesus, as recounted in Luke (1.46).

My soul doth magnify the Lord:
And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour.
For he hath regarded:
the lowliness of his hand-maiden.
For behold from henceforth:
All generations shall call me blessèd.
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 shewèd 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 fillèd 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, is now and ever shall be:
World without end. Amen.

Music: John Foster (1752-1822)
Born in Sheffield, South Yorkshire

New Testament Lesson

(Hebrews 11.17-31)

Please sit.

At the end the reader says:

Here endeth the Second Lesson.

Nunc Dimittis

Please stand.

The Nunc Dimittis is also known as the Song of Simeon. Luke’s gospel (2.29) tells us that old Simeon, a devout Jew, had been promised that he would not die until he had seen the promised Saviour. When Jesus was presented to him at the temple in Jerusalem, he at once recognised the Messiah and uttered these words of farewell.

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, is now and ever shall be:
World without end. Amen.

Music: Dr. John Camidge (1790-1859)
Born in York, North Yorkshire

The Apostles’ Creed

Please remain standing.

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 Catholick Church;
The Communion of Saints;
The Forgiveness of sins;
The Resurrection of the body,
And the life everlasting.
Amen.

The Lesser Litany

These prayers bind together themes of praise, mercy and the desire for God’s protection as night draws in. The Lesser Litany is sung alternately by the cantor and the choir.

The Lord be with you.

And with thy spirit.

Let us pray.

Please kneel or sit.

Lord, have mercy upon us.

Christ, have mercy upon us.

Lord, have mercy upon us.

The Lord’s Prayer

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.

The Responses

O Lord, shew thy mercy upon us.

And grant us thy salvation.

O Lord, save the Queen.

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 Collect of the Day

Grant to us, Lord, we beseech thee,
the spirit to think and do always such things as be rightful;
that we, who cannot do anything that is good without thee,
may by thee be enabled to live according to thy will;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Amen.

The Collect for Peace

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.

The Collect for Aid against all Perils

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.

The Anthem

Please remain seated.

‘Jesus, Lord, we look to thee’

Jesus, Lord, we look to thee,
Let us in thy name agree:
Show thyself the Prince of Peace,
Bid all strife for ever cease.

Make us of one heart and mind,
Courteous, pitiful and kind,
To thy church the pattern give,
Show how true believers live.

Love, all hatreds hath destroyed,
Rendered all distinctions void,
Colour, race and factions fall,
Thou O Christ art all in all.

Words: Charles Wesley (1707-1788)
Music: Tim Knight (b. 1959)
Born in Northallerton, North Yorkshire

The Sermon

Hymn

Please stand.

God, that madest earth and heaven,
Darkness and light;
Who the day for toil hast given,
For rest the night;
May thine angel-guards defend us,
Slumber sweet thy mercy send us,
Holy dreams and hopes attend us,
This livelong night.

Guard us waking, guard us sleeping;
And, when we die,
May we in thy mighty keeping
All peaceful lie:
When the last dread call shall wake us,
Do not thou our God forsake us,
But to reign in glory take us
With thee on high.

Words: v.1 Reginald Heber (1783-1826); v.2 Richard Whateley (1787-1863)
Music: Dr. Francis Jackson (b. 1917)
Born in Malton, North Yorkshire
Hymn Tune: EAST ACKLAM

In 1957, when Francis Jackson composed his hymn tune EAST ACKLAM, he wrote the tune specifically for the words of the hymn ‘God that madest earth and heaven’ (as an alternative to the Welsh folk melody AR HYD Y NOS). In 1970 Fred Pratt Green wrote some new lyrics to Dr. Jackson’s tune in his harvest hymn – ‘For the fruits of his creation’.

The Prayers

Please sit.

Hymn

Please stand.

Praise to the Holiest in the height,
And in the depth be praise,
In all his words most wonderful,
Most sure in all his ways.

O loving wisdom of our God!
When all was sin and shame,
A second Adam to the fight
And to the rescue came.

O generous love! that he who smote
In Man for man the foe,
The double agony in Man
For man should undergo.

And in the garden secretly,
And on the cross on high,
Should teach his brethren, and inspire
To suffer and to die.

Praise to the Holiest in the height,
And in the depth be praise,
In all his words most wonderful,
Most sure in all his ways.

Words: John Henry Newman (1801-1890)
Music: John Bacchus Dykes (1823-1876)
Born in Kingston upon Hull, East Yorkshire
Hymn Tune: GERONTIUS

The Blessing or The Grace

Thank you for being part of this evening’s act of worship. Choral Evensong takes place at St Mary’s Whitkirk on the first Sunday of every month at 6.00 pm. Please do join us again.

The next service of Choral Evensong will be on 5 September 2021.


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Preces & Responses
© The Royal School of Church Music

Jesus, Lord, we look to thee
Music © Tim Knight Music

God that madest earth and heaven
© Francis Jackson

Carillon
© G H Taylor

CCL licence: 668063