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Services: Special Introductory from 1917

The three following Services may be substituted for
the beginning of any of the Seven Services as far as the
Lord's Prayer. The Readings may be used instead of one
of the ordinary Lessons, or as a Canticle.
Christmas Day
The Minister may read these Sentences.

GLORY to God in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill towards men.

The spirit of the Lord shall be upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord.

He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son.

Behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.
Then shall the Minister say:

IN the glad joy of our Christmas-tide we come together to celebrate the birth of a new spirit in the world, and that old but ever new miracle which is in the beginnings of life, in the power of innocency, and in the divinity of childhood. As the lessons of this day are brought to our minds, let the heavens again open to our souls, and may our prayers and God's blessings be like angels ascending and descend-ing. Here let us learn the true humility of a child; here may the voice speak to us of the coming kingdom of peace, so that, heeding its divine prompting, we may look back no more, but press forward to the mark of our high calling, even unto the heritage reserved for all God's Sons who strive to do his righteous will.
Prayer by the Minister.

O THOU, the inspirer and helper of all who put their trust in thee, we thank thee for this day which tells us of one who lived that he might save men by love, heal them by sympathy, and die for them in pity. We thank thee for the revelation of that purity which is stronger than armies, and for the love which is greater than knowledge. May our souls be moved and our wills be melted in the presence of such tender passion. And grant, 0 most holy One, that the lessons of this day and life be not lost upon us; but, enkindling within our own hearts true charity for all men, may send us forth on missions of healing and blessing. Amen.
The Lord's Prayer to be said by Minister and People.

May be read alternately by Minister and People.

BLESSED be the Lord God, for he hath not left himself without a witness:

He hath spoken by the mouth of his holy prophets, which have been since the world began;

That we should serve him without fear, in holiness and righteousness all the days of our life.

Through the tender mercy of our God the day-spring from on high hath visited us.

In him was life, and the life was the light of men;

Giving light to those who sit in darkness and guiding our feet into the way of peace.

How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings; -

That publisheth peace, that proclaimeth glad tidings of salvation.

He shall not strive nor cry, nor cause his voice to be heard in the street:

A bruised reed shall he not break, and the smoking flax shall he not quench.

He shall not fail nor be discouraged till he have established equity in the earth:

The spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding;

The spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of know-ledge and of the fear of the Lord;

Anointing him to preach good tidings to the poor, to bind up the broken-hearted;

To comfort those who mourn; to proclaim liberty to the captives

The opening of the prisons to those who are bound to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord.

He was tempted like as we are, and no fault was found in him:

He came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.

Mercy and truth are met together; righteousness and peace have kissed each other:

Truth shall spring out of the earth, and righteousness shall look down from heaven.

Yea, the Lord shall give that which is good, and our land shall yield her increase:

Righteousness shall go before him, and shall set us in the way of his steps.
The Service may then proceed in the usual Order.

Easter Sunday
The Minister may read these Sentences.

EXCEPT a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone; but, if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit.

As the earth bringeth forth her bud, and the garden causeth the things sown in it to spring forth, so the Lord will cause righteousness and praise to spring forth among all nations.

The souls of the righteous are in the hands of the Lord, and there shall no evil touch them. So when this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory.
Then shall the Minister say:

DEARLY beloved, with hearts and minds open to the lessons of this season, when all nature pro-phesies to man, let us rejoice in that Christian gospel which interprets the prophecy of nature, and celebrate with gladness the triumph of life over death, of spiritual continuance through all outward change. Let us answer the manifold lessons around us with newness of life in ourselves, that so, casting off the works of darkness to put on the armour of light, and led by the hope that is full of immortality, we may press forward in glad and faithful service unto that world in which is fulness of joy and life everlasting.
Prayer by the Minister.

INFINITE and gracious Father, who alone hast life and immortality in thyself, we would draw near to thee in grateful love as to the fountain of our being. Apart from thee there is no life in thee there is no death. Thou sendest forth thy breath, the earth wakens, and all nature's voices lift up their obedient praise to thee. Send thy spirit into our hearts, that we also may praise thee with joyful lips, and all that is within us bless thy holy name. On this day which testifies of the power of the sou~ to outlast the changes of earth, and to rise victorious over the bondage of death, may our immortal being hear the call and feel its meaning. Help us, we pray, to rise from the death of sin, in the likeness and might of him who assures us, 'I am the way, the truth, and the life: because I live, ye shall live also.' Amen.
THE Lord's Prayer to be said by Minister and People.

May be read alternately by Minister and People.

We praise thee, O God, we magnify thee. Heaven and earth are full of the majesty of thy glory.

Blessed be the name of the Lord for ever, for he bath visited and redeemed his people.

Hadst thou not remembered our low estate, and bent to us with thy testimonies from of old,

We had been in darkness and the shadow of death, and the light of thy countenance had been hid.

When thou gavest the earth for the abode of man [humanity], thou didst portion his days in thy wisdom and mercy.

Thou holdest in thy right hand his years, and their record beareth witness.

Light is sown for the righteous, and gladness for the upright in heart.

We shall not die, but live, and declare the works of the Lord.

Sing, O heavens, and rejoice, O earth; for the former things have passed away, and all things have become new.

The Son of Man hath gone up on high, made perfect through suffering for the holy of holies.

In him did the fulness of thy spirit dwell; and of his fulness we may all partake.

In him was the light, and whoso followeth him shall not walk in darkness.

He came unto the world bearing witness of the truth.

And every one that is of the truth heareth his voice.

He became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.

Being found worthy to receive the crown of everlasting life.

We are no more strangers and exiles, but fellow citizens with the saints, and of the household of God.

Thou hast made one family, there and here; one living communion of seen and unseen.

Not long, O Lord, shall we feel after thee in these courts below; not long wilt thou hearken to these faltering lips.

Our fathers thou hast called to thy higher praise, and gathered to their fathers must all the children be.

We therefore pray thee, O Lord, help thy servants whom thou hast created in thy image.

Make them to be numbered with thy saints in glory everlasting.

Let the dead and living praise thee, O God, above, below let all the generations praise thee.

Let the glorified company of the first-born praise thee who dwellest in the heavens.

Blessed be the Eternal One who giveth us the victory.

And calleth us by his spirit to become the sons of God.

Blessed be the Lord our God, who maketh us heirs of immortality and joint-heirs with Christ in heaven.

If so be we suffer with him that we may be also glorified together.

Blessed be the Lord God, that giveth beauty for ashes and the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness.

Blessed be the dawn of his everlasting light.

Thou wilt not leave my soul in the grave: thou wilt show me the path of life.

In thy presence is fullness of joy; at thy right hand are pleasures for evermore.
Prayers by the Minister.
[See First or Other Service]





Memorial Service
The Minister may read one or more of these Sentences.

COMFORT ye, comfort ye, my people, saith your God.

He giveth light to them that sit in darkness and the shadow of death. He shall swallow up death in victory, and wipe away all tears from all faces.

They that sow in tears shall reap in joy. Yea, he that goeth forth weeping, bearing his seed, shall surely come again rejoicing, bringing his sheaves.

This man died, leaving his death for an example of a noble courage and a memorial of virtue, not only unto young men, but unto all his nation.
Then shall the Minister say:

LET us call to remembrance, and be glad in their goodness, those dear immortals, our dead and ever living, who have passed the doors beyond which we cannot see. As they kept the faith in time of trial, and righteousness in the hour of temptation, so, in-spired by their example, may we be able, when danger is near and the flesh is weak, to triumph over every weight and the sin that doth so easily beset us, and to run with patience the race that is set before us.
Prayer by the Minister.

We thank thee, O God of righteousness and for all thy faithful servants who have lived on earth as doers of thy will, as teachers of thy truth, as messengers of thy loving-kindness and tender mercy. We thank thee for the martyr's courage and constancy, for the prophet's word of fire, for the noble virtues of thy heroes and saints, and for all the great gifts of inspiration and wisdom, skill and power, which have been bestowed on chosen ministers of thine, to enrich and bless the world. And we thank thee also for every good life which shows us how, even in a lowly work or in patient waiting, we may find a way of serving thee, and may enter into the kingdom of heaven. Amen.
The Lord's Prayer to be said by Minister and People.

May be read alternatively by Minister and People.

LET us call to remembrance the great and good, through whom the Lord hath wrought great glory:

Those who were leaders of the people by their judgment, giving counsel by their understanding and foresight Wise and eloquent in their teachings, and through knowledge and might fit helpers of the people. All these were honoured in their generation, and were the glory of their times.

There be some who have left a name behind them, whose remembrance is sweet.

And there be some who have no memorial, who are perished as though they had never been.

But their righteousness has not been forgotten, and the glory of their work cannot be blotted out.

Their bodies are buried m peace, but their name liveth for evermore.

The people will tell of their wisdom, and the congregation will show forth their praise.

For the memorial of virtue is immortal, because it is known with God and with men.

When it is present men take example of it, and when it is gone they earnestly desire it.

It weareth a crown, and triumpheth for ever having gotten the victory striving for undefiled rewards.

The righteous shall be in everlasting remembrance, and the memory of the just shall be blessed.

Though a good life hath but few days, yet a good name endureth for ever.

Though the righteous be overtaken by death, they shall be at rest; their souls are in the hand of God.

Though they perish from the sight of men, yet is their hope full of immortality.

Seeing we are compassed about with such a cloud of witnesses, let us run with patience the race that is set before us.

And let us not be weary in well-doing, for in due season we shall reap if we faint not.

Mark the perfect man, and behold the upright; for the end of that man is peace.

The path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day.
The Service may then proceed in the usual Order.


From (and with a minimum of editing, sometimes crossing out but keeping the original): Essex Hall, London, preface by Bowie, W. C. (1917, first edition 1900), Seven Services for Public Worship: With Special Prayers and Thanksgivings, London: The Lindsey Press, 43-52.


Adrian Worsfold

Pluralist - Liberal and Thoughtful