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Ordinary Time 2017

02 December 2017
2017 Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols: Bidding Prayer

Sinden.org published its traditional preview of the music list for the Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols from King's College, Cambridge on November 24.

Now, for the days leading up to the service, we'll offer a Kalendar of Carols: a more in-depth look at each piece of music to be sung.

We began with the opening hymn. Today we continue with – not a piece of music – but the Bidding Prayer.


Who does not love this prayer?

Given that the hymn "Once in royal David's City" was not sung in the first year of this service (1918), this prayer may, in fact, be the oldest fixed element of the service.

It was written by Eric Milner-White, then the Dean of King's.

Beloved in Christ, be it this Christmas Eve our care and
delight to prepare ourselves to hear again the message of
the angels; in heart and mind to go even unto Bethlehem
and see this thing which is come to pass, and the Babe lying
in a manger.

Let us read and mark in Holy Scripture the tale of the loving
purposes of God from the first days of our disobedience unto
the glorious Redemption brought us by this Holy Child; and
let us make this Chapel, dedicated to Mary, his most blessèd
Mother, glad with our carols of praise:

But first let us pray for the needs of his whole world; for peace
and goodwill over all the earth; for unity and brotherhood
within the Church he came to build, and especially in the
dominions of our sovereign lady Queen Elizabeth, within this
University and City of Cambridge, and in the two royal and
religious Foundations of King Henry VI here and at Eton:

And because this of all things would rejoice his heart, let us at
this time remember in his name the poor and the helpless, the
cold, the hungry and the oppressed; the sick in body and in
mind and them that mourn; the lonely and the unloved; the
aged and the little children; all who know not the Lord Jesus,
or who love him not, or who by sin have grieved his heart of
love.

Lastly let us remember before God all those who rejoice with
us, but upon another shore and in a greater light, that multitude
which no man can number, whose hope was in the
Word made flesh, and with whom, in this Lord Jesus, we for
evermore are one.

These prayers and praises let us humbly offer up to the throne
of heaven, in the words which Christ himself hath taught us:

Our Father …

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