Welcome back to our weekly Girton chapel evensong page, and a special welcome to those of you from around the world who are joining us from beyond our college community, we’re delighted to have you as our guests.Today we have another treat in store for you: more exquisite Palestrina and Ingegneri from the choir, accompanied by the Conservatoires’ Cornett & Sackbutt Ensemble directed by Jeremy West. We also have Milly Atkinson’s wonderful anthem setting of my little quatrain ‘The Lost Son’, plus The Girton Responses composed especially for the college by our own Gareth Wilson, plus beautiful photos of the college and grounds, and a new episode of my series of reflections and sonnets on The Lord’s Prayer. (You can find the choir’s CDs Here)
Now, to begin our worship, we hear the opening responses, composed by Gareth Wilson and sung by the choir for whom they were written:
The Girton Responses (Wilson) – Preces
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 gift of daily bread, and the deeper and wider meanings of that gift, our psalm speaks of the sowing and reaping that lie behind the provision of bread. Do read this psalm aloud, perhaps alternating verse with other members of your household.
Psalm 126.In convertendo
When the Lord turned again the captivity of Sion, then were
we like unto them that dream.
Then was our mouth filled with laughter : and our tongue
Then said they among the heathen : The Lord hath done
great things for them.
Yea, the Lord hath done great things for us already : whereof
Turn our captivity, O Lord : as the rivers in the south.
They that sow in tears : shall reap in joy.
He that now goeth on his way weeping, and beareth forth
good seed : shall doubtless come again with joy, and bring his
sheaves with him.
Our Old Testament reading is taken from the Book of Exodus and speaks of how God fed his people in the wilderness. It is read for us by our chapel warden Wilhelm Emmrich
The whole congregation of the Israelites set out from Elim; and Israel came to the wilderness of Sin, which is between Elim and Sinai, on the fifteenth day of the second month after they had departed from the land of Egypt.
The whole congregation of the Israelites complained against Moses and Aaron in the wilderness.
The Israelites said to them, ‘If only we had died by the hand of the Lord in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the fleshpots and ate our fill of bread; for you have brought us out into this wilderness to kill this whole assembly with hunger.’
Then the Lord said to Moses, ‘I am going to rain bread from heaven for you, and each day the people shall go out and gather enough for that day. In that way I will test them, whether they will follow my instruction or not.
On the sixth day, when they prepare what they bring in, it will be twice as much as they gather on other days.’
So Moses and Aaron said to all the Israelites, ‘In the evening you shall know that it was the Lord who brought you out of the land of Egypt,
and in the morning you shall see the glory of the Lord, because he has heard your complaining against the Lord. For what are we, that you complain against us?’
And Moses said, ‘When the Lord gives you meat to eat in the evening and your fill of bread in the morning, because the Lord has heard the complaining that you utter against him—what are we? Your complaining is not against us but against the Lord.’
Then Moses said to Aaron, ‘Say to the whole congregation of the Israelites, “Draw near to the Lord, for he has heard your complaining.” ’
And as Aaron spoke to the whole congregation of the Israelites, they looked towards the wilderness, and the glory of the Lord appeared in the cloud.
The Lord spoke to Moses and said,
‘I have heard the complaining of the Israelites; say to them, “At twilight you shall eat meat, and in the morning you shall have your fill of bread; then you shall know that I am the Lord your God.” ’
In the evening quails came up and covered the camp; and in the morning there was a layer of dew around the camp.
When the layer of dew lifted, there on the surface of the wilderness was a fine flaky substance, as fine as frost on the ground.
When the Israelites saw it, they said to one another, ‘What is it?’ For they did not know what it was. Moses said to them, ‘It is the bread that the Lord has given you to eat.
This is what the Lord has commanded: “Gather as much of it as each of you needs, an omer to a person according to the number of persons, all providing for those in their own tents.” ’
In place of the Magnificat the choir will sing for us Palestrina’s Deus Qui Dedisti
Our New Testament reading comes from the Gospel of St. John and is read for us by Tony Hall, the Head Porter:
After this Jesus went to the other side of the Sea of Galilee, also called the Sea of Tiberias.
A large crowd kept following him, because they saw the signs that he was doing for the sick.
Jesus went up the mountain and sat down there with his disciples.
Now the Passover, the festival of the Jews, was near.
When he looked up and saw a large crowd coming towards him, Jesus said to Philip, ‘Where are we to buy bread for these people to eat?’
He said this to test him, for he himself knew what he was going to do.
Philip answered him, ‘Six months’ wages would not buy enough bread for each of them to get a little.’
One of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, said to him,
‘There is a boy here who has five barley loaves and two fish. But what are they among so many people?’
Jesus said, ‘Make the people sit down.’ Now there was a great deal of grass in the place; so they sat down, about five thousand in all.
Then Jesus took the loaves, and when he had given thanks, he distributed them to those who were seated; so also the fish, as much as they wanted.
When they were satisfied, he told his disciples, ‘Gather up the fragments left over, so that nothing may be lost.’
So they gathered them up, and from the fragments of the five barley loaves, left by those who had eaten, they filled twelve baskets.
When the people saw the sign that he had done, they began to say, ‘This is indeed the prophet who is to come into the world.’
In place of the Nunc Dimitis we will hear Emendemus In Melius by Ingegneri
Preces, from The Girton Responses, sung by Girton Choir
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.
Sermon: Give us this day our daily bread: a reflection and sonnet from the chaplain
The text of the poem:
Give us this day our daily bread we pray,
As though it came straight from the hand of God,
As though we held an empty plate each day,
And found it filled, by miracle, with food,
Although we know the ones who plough and sow,
Who pick and plant and package whilst we sleep
With slow backbreaking labour, row by row,
And send away to others all they reap,
We know that these unseen who meet our needs
Are all themselves the fingers of your hand,
As are the grain, the rain, the air, the land,
And, slighting these, we slight the hand that feeds.
What if we glimpsed you daily in their toil
And found and thanked and served you through them all?
Our Anthem this evening is The Lost Son by Milly Atkinson:
and below is the text of my poem which she set
The Lost Son
We miss the light, we lose ourselves in lies
We never reach the heart of anything
Unless we turn to meet his searching eyes
Who meets us in the midst of everything
Now here, as always is the blessing which concludes our service:
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