Tag Archives: Girton College Chapel

Girton College Chapel: Forgive Us and Deliver Us

Gazing out into Girton’s Beautiful gardens. Photo by Liliana Janik

Welcome back to Girton’s ‘virtual chapel’ Evensong page. After the two big feasts of Ascension and Pentecost we are returning to our termly theme, which is a deep dive into The Lord’s Prayer. As we have missed a couple of Sundays and are coming towards the end of term we are going to look at two petitions from the prayer today, ‘Forgive us our trespasses’ and ‘Lead us not into temptation’, or as another translation puts it, ‘ do not bring us to the time of trial’, but as there are deep links between these two parts of the prayer I hope it will be helpful to handle them together.

As always, our readings, music, and reflections develop our theme in different ways. The choir, once more accompanied by the Conservatoires’ Cornett & Sackbutt Ensemble directed by Jeremy West, will bring us music from Ingegneri and from our own Gareth Wilson, and Once more we will enjoy responses and prayers set for us by up and coming composer Rhiannon Randle, ! (You can find the choir’s CDs Here)

So we will begin with the opening responses:

Introductory Responses


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.

our wonderful choristers

Since our reading and sermons this week touch upon the passion, let us read psalm 22 together. You may like to read this psalm ‘antiphonally with someone else in your household:

  1. MY GOD, my God, look upon me; why hast thou forsaken me: and art so far from my health, and from the words of my complaint?
  2. O my God, I cry in the day-time, but thou hearest not: and in the night-season also I take no rest.
  3. And thou continuest holy: O thou worship of Israel.
  4. Our fathers hoped in thee: they trusted in thee, and thou didst deliver them.
  5. They called upon thee, and were holpen: they put their trust in thee, and were not confounded.
  6. But as for me, I am a worm, and no man: a very scorn of men, and the outcast of the people.
  7. All they that see me laugh me to scorn: they shoot our their lips, and shake their heads, saying,
  8. He trusted in God, that he would deliver him: let him deliver him, if he will have him.
  9. But thou art he that took me out of my mother’s womb: thou wast my hope, when I hanged yet upon my mother’s breasts.
  10. I have been left unto thee ever since I was born: thou art my God, even from my mother’s womb.
  11. O go not from me, for trouble is hard at hand: and there is none to help me.
  12. Many oxen are come about me: fat bulls of Basan close me in on every side.
  13. They gape upon me with their mouths: as it were a ramping and a roaring lion.
  14. I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint: my heart also in the midst of my body is even like melting wax.
  15. My strength is dried up like a potsherd, and my tongue cleaveth to my gums: and thou shalt bring me into the dust of death.
  16. For many dogs are come about me: and the council of the wicked layeth siege against me.
  17. They pierced my hands and my feet; I may tell all my bones: they stand staring and looking upon me.
  18. They part my garments among them: and casts lots upon my vesture.
  19. But be not thou far from me, O Lord: thou art my succour, haste thee to help me.
  20. Deliver my soul from the sword: my darling from the power of the dog.
  21. Save me from the lion’s mouth: thou hast heard me also from among the horns of the unicorns.
  22. I will declare thy Name unto my brethren: in the midst of the congregation will I praise thee.
  23. O praise the Lord, ye that fear him: magnify him, all ye of the seed of Jacob, and fear him, all ye seed of Israel.
  24. For he hath not despised, nor abhorred, the low estate of the poor: he hath not hid his face from him, but when he called unto him he heard him.
  25. My praise is of thee in the great congregation: my vows will I perform in the sight of them that fear him.
  26. The poor shall eat and be satisfied: they that seek after the Lord shall praise him; your heart shall live for ever.
  27. All the ends of the world shall remember themselves, and be turned unto the Lord: and all the kindreds of the nations shall worship before him.
  28. For the kingdom is the Lord’s: and he is the Governor among the people.
  29. All such as be fat upon earth: have eaten and worshipped.
  30. All they that go down into the dust shall kneel before him: and no man hath quickened his own soul.
  31. My seed shall serve him: they shall be counted unto the Lord for a generation.
  32. They shall come, and the heavens shall declare his righteousness: unto a people that shall be born, whom the Lord hath made.

Sermon and sonnets by the chaplain:

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Girton College Chapel 26th April: introducing the Lord’s Prayer

Girton CollegeChapel East Window . Photo Phil mynott.

Sunday 26 April – Introducing the Lord’s Prayer: Our Father

Welcome to the first Sunday ‘evensong’ chapel page of the new term. Although we cannot be together physically in our beautiful chapel, I hope that you will be able to come to this page each Sunday, either at 5:30pm, as you used to for evensong, or at another time that suits you. Here you will find some beautiful pictures to remind you of chapel, some prayers and responses, the psalm and readings, set for each Sunday, and, of course the beautiful settings of the Magnificat and the Nunc Dimmitis, sung by our choir, together with an anthem – the music that has been so much at the heart of our worship together.

You will also find, as you often did in chapel, a poem and a reflection from your chaplain, developing the term’s theme. Our theme this term is the Lord’s Prayer so each week I will offer a poem and a brief meditation taking us deeper into the power and wisdom of the Lord’s Prayer, a prayer we can say together whilst apart, a prayer which we share with Christians the world over, and most importantly a prayer we share with Christ who comes to share our present sufferings. We will start our reflections this week with the opening phrase Our Father.

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.

Introductory Responses

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.

The psalm for today is psalm 48, I commend reading it out loud. You could say it yourself, or if you have others with you, you could say it ‘antiphonally’ alternating verses with one another

Magnus Dominus

  1. GREAT is the Lord, and highly to be praised: in the city of our God, even upon his holy hill.
  2. The hill of Sion is a fair place, and the joy of the whole earth: upon the north-side lieth the city of the great King; God is well known in her palaces as a sure refuge.
  3. For lo, the kings of the earth: are gathered, and gone by together.
  4. They marvelled to see such things: they were astonished, and suddenly cast down.
  5. Fear came there upon them, and sorrow: as upon a woman in her travail.
  6. Thou shalt break the ships of the sea: through the east-wind.
  7. Like as we have heard, so have we seen in the city of the Lord of hosts, in the city of our God: God upholdeth the same for ever.
  8. We wait for thy loving-kindness, O God: in the midst of thy temple.
  9. O God, according to thy Name, so is thy praise unto the world’s end: thy right hand is full of righteousness.
  10. Let the mount Sion rejoice, and the daughters of Judah be glad: because of thy judgements.
  11. Walk about Sion, and go round about her: and tell the towers thereof.
  12. Mark well her bulwarks, set up her houses: that ye may tell them that come after.
  13. For this God is our God for ever and ever: he shall be our guide unto death.

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.

Old Testament Reading: read by Jeremy West

1 Kings 8:22-30

Then Solomon stood before the altar of the Lord in the presence of all the assembly of Israel, and spread out his hands to heaven.

He said, ‘O Lord, God of Israel, there is no God like you in heaven above or on earth beneath, keeping covenant and steadfast love for your servants who walk before you with all their heart,

the covenant that you kept for your servant my father David as you declared to him; you promised with your mouth and have this day fulfilled with your hand.

Therefore, O Lord, God of Israel, keep for your servant my father David that which you promised him, saying, “There shall never fail you a successor before me to sit on the throne of Israel, if only your children look to their way, to walk before me as you have walked before me.”

Therefore, O God of Israel, let your word be confirmed, which you promised to your servant my father David.

‘But will God indeed dwell on the earth? Even heaven and the highest heaven cannot contain you, much less this house that I have built!

Have regard to your servant’s prayer and his plea, O Lord my God, heeding the cry and the prayer that your servant prays to you today;

that your eyes may be open night and day towards this house, the place of which you said, “My name shall be there”, that you may heed the prayer that your servant prays towards this place.

Hear the plea of your servant and of your people Israel when they pray towards this place; O hear in heaven your dwelling-place; heed and forgive.


our wonderful choristers

The Magnificat Octavi Toni (Cardoso),  Sung by Girton choir. From the Choir’s CD Manuel Cardoso


Luke 1

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.

New Testament Reading: Matthew 6:9-13 read by Rosalind Skillen

‘Pray then in this way:
Our Father in heaven,
 hallowed be your name.
 Your kingdom come.
 Your will be done,
 on earth as it is in heaven.
 Give us this day our daily bread.
 And forgive us our debts,
 as we also have forgiven our debtors.
 And do not bring us to the time of trial,
 but rescue us from the evil one.

The NuncDimmitis from The Girton Service(Wilson), sung by Girton choir



Luke 2.29

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.

Final Responses set by Rhiannon Randle 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:Our Father: A reflection and poem from the chaplain:

The text of the poem:

Our Father

I heard him call you his beloved son

And saw his Spirit lighten like a dove,

I thought his words must be for you alone,

Knowing myself unworthy of his love.

You pray in close communion with your Father,

So close you say the two of you are one,

I feel myself to be receding further,

Fallen away and outcast and alone.


And so I come and ask you how to pray,

Seeking a distant supplicant’s petition,

Only to find you give your words away,

As though I stood with you in your position,

As though your Father were my Father too,

As though I found his ‘welcome home’ in you.


The Anthem this evening is a setting of the Lord’s Prayer in Latin composed by our Chapel Music Director Gareth Wilson and  sung by Girton choir:

Pater Noster (Wilson)

Now here, as always is the blessing which concludes our service:

A Blessing from the Chaplain:

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

Blossoms in Girton Orchard last week. (Photo Liliana Janik)


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Parable and Paradox: He who has ears to hear…

Christ the Saviour St. Catherine's monastery Mount Sinai

Christ the Saviour St. Catherine’s monastery Mount Sinai

I am presently working on a new collection of sonnets about the sayings of Jesus to be called ‘Parable and Paradox‘, which will come out with Canterbury Press next year. The sequence will consist on a series of reflections on, wrestlings with and responses to the sayings of Jesus, voicing, I hope, the wide range of our responses to his teaching from thrilling recognition to baffled amazement, from the urge to follow to the fear of challenge, from wary evasion to life-changing engagement. Parable and Paradox is also the title of a series of sermons I am giving in Girton College Chapel this term which introduce both some of the sayings and some of the sonnets. I am going to post both the sonnets and the sermons on this blog over the coming weeks and I begin with the opening sonnet/sermon which addresses the problem of how we open our ears to hear Jesus in the first place. First I will give you the sonnet which is a response to Matthew 13: verse 9: ‘He who has ears to hear, let hm hear’ and then I will give you a link to a recording of the sermon, along with the references for the Bible texts in that service. If you are in Cambridge you are welcome to come up to Girton and join us for the services and sermons which take place every Sunday evening at 5:30pm during term time. The full term card with all details cam be viewed, or downloaded as a PDF here

As usual you can hear the poem by clicking on the title or on the ‘play’ button


‘He who has ears to hear let him hear’


How hard to hear the things I think I know,

To peel aside the thin familiar film

That wraps and seals your secret just below:

An undiscovered good, a hidden realm,

A kingdom of reversal, where the poor

Are rich in blessing and the tragic rich

Still struggle, trapped in trappings at the door

They never opened, Life just out of reach…


Open the door for me and take me there.

Love, take my hand and lead me like the blind,

Unbandage me, unwrap me from my fear,

Open my eyes, my heart, my soul, my mind.

I struggle with these grave clothes, this dark earth,

But you are calling ‘Lazarus come forth!’


You can listen to the sermon that includes this sonnet from this page

The texts for the sermon and sonnet: Psalm: 49:1-12
Old Testament Reading: Ezekiel 12:1-12 New Testament Reading: Matthew 13:9-17

Next week we will look at Jesus’ saying ‘unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies it abides alone, but if it dies it bears much fruit (John 12:24)




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