3 December 2023, 5:00pm

Choir: Matin Responsory Palestrina
(sung by the choir from the west end of the church)

Processional Hymn: O come, O come Emmanuel
(the choir processes to top of the nave)

Bidding Prayers & Lord’s Prayer

Choir: Advent Prose Rorate Coeli
Hymn: Hark a thrilling voice is sounding
(choir processes to chancel stalls)

First Lesson: Isaiah XL 1-11
The Prophet proclaims good news to a people in exile.
First Antiphon: ‘O wisdom…’
Choir: Adam Lay y bounden – Philip Ledger (1937-2012)

Second Lesson: Jeremiah XXIII 5-8
The Lord prepares to send his people a righteous king
Second Antiphon: ‘O Adonai…’
Choir: This is the truth sent from above Ralph Vaughan Williams (1872-1958)
Hymn: Hills of the North Rejoice

Third Lesson: Zechariah IX 9-12
The Lord promises that the king will come in peace
Third Antiphon: ‘O root of Jesse…’
Choir: Jesus Christ the Apple Tree Elizabeth Poston (1905-1987)

Fourth Lesson: Haggai II 6-9
The prophet foretells the coming of the desire of all nations
Fourth Antiphon: ‘O key of David…’
Choir: E’en so Lord Jesus, quickly come Paul Manz (1919-2009)

Fifth Lesson: Isaiah XXXV 1-10
The Prophet foretells the glory of God’s Kingdom
Fifth Antiphon: ‘O Morning Star…’
Choir: Mary Walker through a wood of thorn – Philip Radcliffe (1905-1986)
Hymn: Come thou long expected Jesus

Sixth Lesson: Luke I 26-35, 38
The Angel Gabriel salutes Our Lady
Sixth Antiphon: ‘O king of the nations…’
Choir: The Angel Gabriel Trad Basque, arr. Malcolm Archer

Seventh Lesson: Mark 1 1-15
Jesus proclaims the gospel of the Kingdom
Seventh Antiphon: ‘O Emmanuel…’
Choir: Magnificat in G Charles Villiers Stanford (1859-1924)

Eighth Antiphon: ‘O Virgin of virgins…’
Advent Collect & Blessing (sung amen)
Hymn: Lo! He comes with clouds descending

Organ Voluntary: Prelude in G major, BWV541 – JS Bach (1685-1750)

Director of Music: Adrian Richards
Organist: Peter Godden

The ‘O Antiphons’
The ‘O Antiphons’, so called because all begin with the interjection ‘O’, were first used by the Church in the 8th and 9th centuries. They are properly the seven antiphons to the Magnificat in the ferial Office of the seven days preceding the vigil of Christmas. Addressed to Christ under one or other of His scriptural titles, they conclude with a distinct petition to the coming Lord; e.g. ‘O Wisdom… come and teach us the way of prudence’. Couched in a poetic and Scriptural phraseology they constitute a notable feature of the Advent Offices. They are used as the framework for our carol service. (The eighth antiphon addressed to the Blessed Virgin Mary is included.)

Rorate Coeli
‘Rorate coeli desuper et nubes pluant justum’ (Vulgate, text) (Drop down dew, ye heavens, from above, and let the clouds rain the just) the opening words of Isaiah 45:8. The text is used frequently both at Mass and in the Divine Office during Advent, as it gives exquisite poetical expression to the longings of Patriarchs and Prophets, and symbolically of the Church, for the coming of the Messiah. Throughout Advent it occurs daily, in slightly changed form, as the versicle and response at Vespers