Order of Service

Westminster Abbey

Sunday, 26th May 2024

15:00

Trinity Sunday

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 Lay Vicars of Westminster Abbey.

During the final hymn, a collection will be takenthe money from today's services will be divided equally between The Prince's Trust and the work of the Abbey. The Prince's Trust helps young people from disadvantaged communities and those facing the greatest adversity by supporting them to build the confidence and skills to live, learn, and earn.


Order of Service


The choir sings the Introit

Tibi laus, tibi gloria, tibi gratiarum actio in saecula saeculorum, O beata Trinitas.

To you be praise, to you be glory, to you thanksgiving for ever and ever, O blessed Trinity.

Music: Orlande de Lassus (c 1532–94)


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

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

Music: Thomas Tallis (c 1505–85)


All sit. The choir sings Psalm 104: 1–9

Praise the Lord, O my soul : O Lord my God, thou art become exceeding glorious; thou art clothed with majesty and honour.
Thou deckest thyself with light as it were with a garment : and spreadest out the heavens like a curtain.
Who layeth the beams of his chambers in the waters : and maketh the clouds his chariot, and walketh upon the wings of the wind.
He maketh his angels spirits : and his ministers a flaming fire.
He laid the foundations of the earth : that it never should move at any time.
Thou coveredst it with the deep like as with a garment : the waters stand in the hills.
At thy rebuke they flee : at the voice of thy thunder they are afraid.
They go up as high as the hills, and down to the valleys beneath : even unto the place which thou hast appointed for them.
Thou hast set them their bounds which they shall not pass : neither turn again to cover the earth.

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: plainsong


All sit for the first Lesson, Ezekiel 1: 4–10, 22–28a

As I looked, a stormy wind came out of the north: a great cloud with brightness around it and fire flashing forth continually, and in the middle of the fire, something like gleaming amber. In the middle of it was something like four living creatures. This was their appearance: they were of human form. Each had four faces, and each of them had four wings. Their legs were straight, and the soles of their feet were like the sole of a calf's foot; and they sparkled like burnished bronze. Under their wings on their four sides they had human hands. And the four had their faces and their wings thus: their wings touched one another; each of them moved straight ahead, without turning as they moved. As for the appearance of their faces: the four had the face of a human being, the face of a lion on the right side, the face of an ox on the left side, and the face of an eagle;

Over the heads of the living creatures there was something like a dome, shining like crystal, spread out above their heads. Under the dome their wings were stretched out straight, one towards another; and each of the creatures had two wings covering its body. When they moved, I heard the sound of their wings like the sound of mighty waters, like the thunder of the Almighty, a sound of tumult like the sound of an army; when they stopped, they let down their wings. And there came a voice from above the dome over their heads; when they stopped, they let down their wings.

And above the dome over their heads there was something like a throne, in appearance like sapphire; and seated above the likeness of a throne was something that seemed like a human form. Upwards from what appeared like the loins I saw something like gleaming amber, something that looked like fire enclosed all round; and downwards from what looked like the loins I saw something that looked like fire, and there was a splendour all round. Like the bow in a cloud on a rainy day, such was the appearance of the splendour all round. This was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the Lord.

Here ends the first lesson.


All stand. The choir sings Magnificat

Magnificat anima mea Dominum,
   et exsultavit spiritus meus in Deo Salutari meo;
quia respexit humilitatem ancillae suae.
   Ecce enim ex hoc beatam me dicent omnes generationes;
quia fecit mihi Magna qui potens est,
   et sanctum nomen eius.
Et misericordia eius, a progenie in progenies
   timentibus eum.
Fecit potentiam in brachio suo,
   dispersit superbos mente cordis sui.
Deposuit potentes de sede
   et exaltavit humiles.
Esurientes implevit bonis
   et divites dimisit inanes.
Suscepit Israel puerum suum,
   recordatus misericordiae suae.
Sicut locutus est ad patres nostros,
   Abraham et semini eius in saecula.

Gloria Patri, et Filio,
et Spiritui Sancto;
sicut erat in principio et nunc et semper
et in saecula saeculorum. Amen.

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

Magnificat quarti toni, Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina (c 1525–94)


All sit for the second Lesson, Revelation 4

I looked, and there in heaven a door stood open! And the first voice, which I had heard speaking to me like a trumpet, said, 'Come up here, and I will show you what must take place after this.' At once I was in the spirit, and there in heaven stood a throne, with one seated on the throne! And the one seated there looks like jasper and cornelian, and around the throne is a rainbow that looks like an emerald. Around the throne are twenty-four thrones, and seated on the thrones are twenty-four elders, dressed in white robes, with golden crowns on their heads. Coming from the throne are flashes of lightning, and rumblings and peals of thunder, and in front of the throne burn seven flaming torches, which are the seven spirits of God; and in front of the throne there is something like a sea of glass, like crystal.

Around the throne, and on each side of the throne, are four living creatures, full of eyes in front and behind: the first living creature like a lion, the second living creature like an ox, the third living creature with a face like a human face, and the fourth living creature like a flying eagle. And the four living creatures, each of them with six wings, are full of eyes all around and inside. Day and night without ceasing they sing,
'Holy, holy, holy,
the Lord God the Almighty,
   who was and is and is to come.'
And whenever the living creatures give glory and honour and thanks to the one who is seated on the throne, who lives for ever and ever, the twenty-four elders fall before the one who is seated on the throne and worship the one who lives for ever and ever; they cast their crowns before the throne, singing,
'You are worthy, our Lord and God,
   to receive glory and honour and power,
for you created all things,
   and by your will they existed and were created.'

Here ends the second lesson.


All stand. The choir sings Nunc dimittis

Nunc dimittis servum tuum Domine
   secundum verbum tuum in pace,
quia viderunt oculi mei salutare tuum
   quod parasti ante faciem omnium populorum,
lumen ad revelationem Gentium
   et gloriam plebis tuae Israel.

Gloria Patri et Filio
et Spiritui Sancto;
sicut erat in principio et nunc et semper
et in saecula saeculorum. Amen.

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.

Nunc dimittis tertii toni, Robert Quinney (b 1976)


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, for peace, and for aid against all perils

Almighty and everlasting God, who hast given unto us thy servants grace by the confession of a true faith to acknowledge the glory of the eternal Trinity, and in the power of the divine Majesty to worship the Unity; we beseech thee, that thou wouldest keep us steadfast in this faith, and evermore defend us from all adversities, who livest and reignest, one God, world without end. 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: Thomas Tallis


All sit. The choir sings the Anthem

O lux beata Trinitas,
et principalis Unitas,
iam sol recedit igneus,
infunde lumen cordibus.

Te mane laudum carmine,
te deprecamur vesperi,
te nostra supplex gloria
per cuncta laudet saecula.

Deo Patri sit gloria,
eiusque soli Filio,
cum Spiritu paracleto,
et nunc et in perpetuum.
   Amen.

O Trinity, O blessed light, and primal Unity: now as the fiery sun recedes, pour light into our hearts.

In the morning we praise you with song, in the evening to you we pray. Let our humble worship praise you throughout the ages.

We beseech Christ and the Father and the Spirit who is of both: O one almighty Trinity, guard those who pray to you. Amen.

Words: ascribed to Ambrose (c 340–97)
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

May the grace of Christ our Saviour,
and the Father's boundless love,
with the Holy Spirit's favour,
rest upon us from above.

Thus may we abide in union
with each other and the Lord,
and possess in sweet communion,
joys which earth cannot afford.

To the God whose wisdom made us,
to the Son who set us free,
to the sanctifying Spirit,
glory, endless glory, be!
   Amen.

Words: John Newton (1725–1807), verse 1 after 2 Corinthians 13: 13
Tune: 'Waltham' 298 NEH, Heinrich Albert (1604–51)


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

Angel-voices ever singing
   round thy throne of light,
angel-harps for ever ringing,
   rest not day nor night;
thousands only live to bless thee
and confess thee
   Lord of might.

Thou who art beyond the farthest
   mortal eye can scan,
can it be that thou regardest
   songs of sinful man?
Can we know that thou art near us,
and wilt hear us?
   Yea, we can.

For we know that thou rejoicest
   o'er each work of thine;
thou didst ears and hands and voices
   for thy praise design;
craftsman's art and music's measure
for thy pleasure
   all combine.

In thy house, great God, we offer
   of thine own to thee;
and for thine acceptance proffer
   all unworthily
hearts and minds and hands and voices
in our choicest
   psalmody.

Honour, glory, might, and merit
   thine shall ever be,
Father, Son, and Holy Spirit,
   blessèd Trinity.
Of the best which thou hast given
earth and heaven
   render thee.

Words: Francis Pott (1832–1909)
Tune: 'Angel-voices' 336 NEH, Edwin Monk (1819–1900)


The Blessing. All respond Amen.


All remain standing as the clergy depart


Music after the service

Laudes, Francis Pott (b 1957)


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


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Today's Services

Friday, 14th June 2024
7.30am Morning Prayer Quire
said
8.00am Holy Communion St Faith's Chapel
said
12.30pm Holy Communion Nave
said
5.00pm Evensong Quire
sung by the Choir of Westminster Abbey

Howells I will lift up mine eyes
Martin Responses
Victoria Magnificat primi toni
Victoria Nunc dimittis tertii toni
Byrd Prevent us, O Lord

View Order of Service