I originally posted this on Mothering Sunday, in England, which was the first Sunday of our lockdown, but I repost it now for all my North American Friends for whom today is Mothers’ Day:
I planned to post a sonnet, but I start with a sigh. This will be a hard Sunday for so many: not only the first Sunday for so many churches when they will not meet physically together, though they will unite in prayer and online, to start the long yearning for reunion, but also it is Mothering Sunday, and so many are rightly staying at home when they naturally yearn to visit their mother. We know that, paradoxically, staying away is the most loving thing we can do, but it doesn’t feel like that.
Nevertheless we can love and be thankful and remember that our very existence in the world is testimony to the love and labour of our mothers. So once more I post my poem of thanksgiving for all parents, especialy for those who bore the fruitful pain of labour.And more particularly in this poem I have singled out for praise those heroic single parents who, for whatever reason, have found themselves bearing alone the burdens, and sharing with no-one the joys of their parenthood. They were already isolated before ‘self isolation’ was a thing, and now, with schools closed, their labour is multiplied, and without the help f neighbours. We cannot bring them physically into the church today, but in our prayers we bring them into Christ.
Welcome back to Girton College Chapel for the third of our virtual Sunday Evensongs, we have all been greatly encouraged that so many of you have come to these pages and found them fruitful. This week we continue our reflection on The Lord’s Prayer and I share with you a sermon and a sonnet on its second petition, a double prayer: Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Once more we will have a chance to listen to our choir and let their music lift our hearts and souls in worship.(You can find the choir’s CDs Here) Today we will hear the responses and Lord’s prayer settings composed by Rhiannon Randle, one of the foremost young composers and a former member of our college and choir.
Now, to begin our worship, we hear the opening responses, composed by Rhiannon Randle and sung by Girton Choir. As with all the audio you can listen by clicking on the ‘play’ button or the title.
The Queen Elizabeth Doors outside chapel Photo by Liliana Janik
V:O Lord, open thou our lips. R:And our mouth shall shew forth thy praise. V:O God, make speed to save us. R:O Lord, make haste to help us.
V: Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost; R: .As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen. V: Praise ye the Lord. R:The Lord’s Name be praised.
Since our theme today is the coming of the Kingdom, our psalm sings of the King and the compassion of his Kingdom. do read this psalm aloud, perhaps alternating verse with other members of your household.
Psalm 145.Exaltabo te, Deus
I will magnify thee, O God, my King : and I will praise thy
Name for ever and ever.
Every day will I give thanks unto thee : and praise thy Name
for ever and ever.
Great is the Lord, and marvellous, worthy to be praised :
there is no end of his greatness.
One generation shall praise thy works unto another : and declare
As for me, I will be talking of thy worship : thy glory, thy
praise, and wondrous works;
So that men shall speak of the might of thy marvellous acts :
and I will also tell of thy greatness.
The memorial of thine abundant kindness shall be shewed :
and men shall sing of thy righteousness.
The Lord is gracious and merciful : long-suffering, and of
The Lord is loving unto every man : and his mercy is over all
All thy works praise thee, O Lord : and thy saints give thanks
They shew the glory of thy kingdom : and talk of thy power;
That thy power, thy glory, and mightiness of thy kingdom :
might be known unto men.
Thy kingdom is an everlasting kingdom : and thy dominion
endureth throughout all ages.
The Lord upholdeth all such as fall : and lifteth up all those
that are down.
The eyes of all wait upon thee, O Lord : and thou givest
them their meat in due season.
Thou openest thine hand : and fillest all things living with
The Lord is righteous in all his ways : and holy in all his
The Lord is nigh unto all them that call upon him : yea, all
such as call upon him faithfully.
He will fulfil the desire of them that fear him : he also will
hear their cry, and will help them.
The Lord preserveth all them that love him : but scattereth
abroad all the ungodly.
My mouth shall speak the praise of the Lord : and let all flesh
give thanks unto his holy Name for ever and ever.
Glory Be to the Father, and the theSon and to the Holy Ghost
As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end, Amen
A shy deer comes to Girton, an image of the soul Photo Jeremy West
The Old Testament Reading is taken from the book of Deuteronomy
You shall not withhold the wages of poor and needy labourers, whether other Israelites or aliens who reside in your land in one of your towns.
You shall pay them their wages daily before sunset, because they are poor and their livelihood depends on them; otherwise they might cry to the Lord against you, and you would incur guilt.
Parents shall not be put to death for their children, nor shall children be put to death for their parents; only for their own crimes may persons be put to death.
You shall not deprive a resident alien or an orphan of justice; you shall not take a widow’s garment in pledge.
Remember that you were a slave in Egypt and the Lord your God redeemed you from there; therefore I command you to do this.
When you reap your harvest in your field and forget a sheaf in the field, you shall not go back to get it; it shall be left for the alien, the orphan, and the widow, so that the Lord your God may bless you in all your undertakings.
V:The Lord be with you. R:And with thy spirit. V:Let us pray.
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.
V:O Lord, shew thy mercy upon us. R:And grant us thy salvation. V:O Lord, save the Queen.
R:And mercifully hear us when we call upon thee. V:Endue thy Ministers with righteousness. R:And make thy chosen people joyful. V:O Lord, save thy people. R:And bless thine inheritance. V:Give peace in our time, O Lord. R:Because there is none other that fighteth for us, but only thou, O God. V:O God, make clean our hearts within us. R:And take not thy Holy Spirit from us.
The peace of God, which passeth all understanding keep your hearts and minds in the knowledge and love of God and of his son Jesus Christ our lord, and the blessing of God almighty, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, be with you and remain with you and those whom you hold in your hearts, this day and always, Amen
A glimpse into the fellows garden. Photo Liliana Janik