Sunday Worship

Sunday Worship

Radio 4's Sunday morning service

Sunday Worship: St Joseph’s Catholic Church, Bradford.

Please note:

This script cannot exactly reflect the transmission, as it was prepared before the service was broadcast. It may include editorial notes prepared by the producer, and minor spelling and other errors that were corrected before the radio broadcast.

It may contain gaps to be filled in at the time so that prayers may reflect the needs of the world, and changes may also be made at the last minute for timing reasons, or to reflect current events.

Radio 4 Opening Announcement: 
This is BBC Radio 4.  Now Sunday Worship, live from St Joseph’s Catholic Church, Bradford.  Father John Newman introduces the second of our services for Advent. It begins as Bradford Catholic Youth Choir with children from schools across Bradford and Keighley, sing the Advent hymn ‘The voice of God goes out to all the world',

Hymn (All)

Collect (Fr Newman) 
Good morning and welcome to St Joseph’s in the heart of Bradford which celebrates its 125th anniversary this year.  This morning, with members of the Diocese of Leeds Schools Singing Programme, we sing the praises of Christ who comes as the Reconciler of Humanity to God and who is the Prince of Peace.

And so let us pray,
Almighty and merciful God, may no earthly undertaking hinder those who set out in haste to meet your Son, but may our learning of heavenly wisdom gain us admittance to his company.
Who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

Explanation (Fr Newman)

Throughout this season of Advent, Sunday Worship is exploring the manner in which Christ comes into our world… the manner in which Christ makes His presence felt in our lives – often when we least expect it.  The ancient chant of the Advent Prose runs as a thread through our meditation this morning, as we implore the heavens to pour down righteousness on our ravaged world.  And, through readings, reflection and prayer, Chris Copley, Lay Chaplain at St Bede’s and St Joseph’s Catholic College in Bradford, will reflect on the way in which Christ comes among us as Reconciler, a purpose which is foreshown in the beautiful language of the Old Testament. We start with an Old Testament promise about the origins of Jesus.

Reading Isaiah 11: 1-10 (Amy) 

A reading from the book of the prophet Isaiah, chapter 11.

There shall come forth a shoot from the stump of Jesse, and a branch shall grow out of his roots. And the Spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and the fear of the LORD. And his delight shall be in the fear of the LORD. He shall not judge by what his eyes see, or decide by what his ears hear; but with righteousness he shall judge the poor, and decide with equity for the meek of the earth; and he shall smite the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips he shall slay the wicked. Righteousness shall be the girdle of his waist, and faithfulness the girdle of his loins. The wolf shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid, and the calf and the lion and the fatling together, and a little child shall lead them. The cow and the bear shall feed; their young shall lie down together; and the lion shall eat straw like the ox. The sucking child shall play over the hole of the asp, and the weaned child shall put his hand on the adder's den. They shall not hurt or destroy in all my holy mountain; for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD as the waters cover the sea. In that day the root of Jesse shall stand as an ensign to the peoples; him shall the nations seek, and his dwellings shall be glorious.

Rorate coeli – antiphon and verse 1 (senior choirs SA, all choirs in refrain)
Rorate coeli desuper et nubes pluant justum.
Be angry, Lord, no more with us; remember no longer our transgression.  See the city of God laid waste and desolate: Zion is turned to wilderness, Jerusalem ravaged and ruined, your dwelling place and the Holy of Holies, the house of your glory; silent are those voices now that once proclaimed your praise.

Meditation (Chris Copley):
The prophet Isaiah speaks of the coming of a new age. An age when nature and humanity dwell with each other in integrity and peace; led by an innocent child of the Root of Jesse.  This Christ Child, spoken of in Isaiah’s prophecy, comes as one who reveals us as we truly are but also as one who reconciles us not only to God, but also to the world, to others and to ourselves.

Sometimes, I describe myself very differently – as one who is unreconciled... as one in competition with others.  Alienated from my environment and from a natural world already weighed down through exploitation and neglect; I weave a complex web of lies, half-truths and self-justification in an attempt to be-self promoting and important. I see the results of this all around me in the broken lives and relationship. I see it in hurt and mistrust. I see it in a world that is groaning under the pressures put upon it, all too often - as the Advent Prose sung by the choir described – in a world desolate and ruined.

Hope in Christ reveals a different pathway through life: one of honesty, forgiveness and tender-heartedness.   Our voices must no longer be silent. Our voices must proclaim your praise, for Jesus, the “Tender Shoot” of which Isaiah speaks, is sprung from the Root of Grace – from the Virgin Mary.

A tender shoot, Goldschmidt (senior choirs)

Collect (Fr Newman)
Father, remove from our hearts the desire to manipulate people and nature for our own selfish ends.  Through childlike simplicity and trust renew our hearts in the knowledge and love of your Son who comes to reconcile all things to himself.  We make our prayer through the same Jesus Christ, our Lord
All:  AMEN

[Second section]

Introduction (Chris Copley) 
Why do I find it so hard to let go of my hurts?
Could it be that the more people hurt me, the more I seem to store up resentment in my heart, un-forgiveness and yes, even hatred. The seething mess within me leaps into battle mode through my tetchiness, through the exaggeration of other people’s faults, through my harsh and judgemental attitudes.  Why am I so ready to blame others for what’s wrong?  The experience within of an inability to let go of hurt causes me to realise that the power to give, the power to forgive, the power to say I’m sorry, so to be reconciled with others, is beyond me.  I need the saving help of the One who was sent by the Father of Mercy.

Reading Romans 5: 1-11 (Sam)

A reading from Paul’s letter to the Romans, chapter 5.

Therefore, since we are justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.  Through him we have obtained access to this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in our hope of sharing the glory of God.  More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope,  and hope does not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit which has been given to us.
While we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. Why, one will hardly die for a righteous man—though perhaps for a good man one will dare even to die. But God shows his love for us in that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us.  Since, therefore, we are now justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. Not only so, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received our reconciliation.

Rorate coeli – antiphon and verse 2 (senior choir TB)
Rorate coeli desuper et nubes pluant justum.
We have gone astray; in the multitude of our sins we have been made unclean, fallen, fallen, stricken as the leaves of autumn.  The storm wind carries us away, the tempest of our evil deeds; you have turned away from us the face of your mercy, and our iniquity has crushed us like a potter’s vessel.

Meditation (Chris Copley)
How much I need to be saved from myself; from, as the Advent prose has just described it, saved from the storm winds of my own self-destructive inclinations that cause my isolation from God and from a needful humanity. Time and time again as I go my way,  I ignore the overtures of a tender and loving Saviour, selfishly thinking that I need to be at the centre of everything, plunging headlong along paths which take me away from God.  When I own up honestly to my responsibility for sin I realise that God’s initiative through Jesus reaches out to me, he has not turned his mercy from me.  In my helpless need, and through the gift of faith, I find a surge within of insuppressible joy which takes me by complete surprise.  I am no longer a shattered vessel, I become God’s child…I am loved by him…I am saved by him and reconciled by the Blood of Jesus!  ‘Kyrie eleison’ – ‘Lord, have mercy’.

Kyrie (Missa Piccola), Milliken (senior girls)
Kyrie Eleison - Christe Eleison - Kyrie Eleison

Collect (Fr Newman) 
Father, you always love us first and desire that all might be saved and come to the knowledge of that love which overcomes even death itself.
Lead us from self- loathing and despair to rejoice in Jesus, who comes as the Reconciler.
He lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, One God forever and ever.
[Third section]

St Paul urges us to be tolerant of each other and be united after the example of the loving kindness of Jesus Christ who came to reconcile humanity to himself.

Reading:  Romans 15:4-9 (Amy)

A reading from Paul’s Letter to the Romans, chapter 15.
For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that by steadfastness and by the encouragement of the scriptures we might have hope. May the God of steadfastness and encouragement grant you to live in such harmony with one another, in accord with Christ Jesus, that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Welcome one another, therefore, as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God. For I tell you that Christ became a servant to the circumcised to show God’s truthfulness, in order to confirm the promises given to the patriarchs, and in order that the Gentiles might glorify God for his mercy. As it is written,
“Therefore I will praise thee among the Gentiles, and sing to thy name”.

Rorate coeli – antiphon and verse 3 (Senior choir SA)
Rorate coeli desuper et nubes pluant justum.
O Lord our God, look upon your people in their affliction: be mindful of your promises.  Send us the Lamb who will set up his dominion from the Rock of the Wilderness to Zion throned on her mountain.  There is no other whose power can break the chains and set us free.

Meditation (Chris Copley)
 “Always treat others as you like them to treat you” is more than a maxim. Even when I find it well-nigh impossible to fulfil, when I am ignored as irrelevant, I must do my utmost because in - and only in - Jesus will I find the strength to forgive:  JESUS who is the loving kindness of the Heart of God made flesh, JESUS whose power has broken the chains of death and has truly set us free. When I reflect on the living hope that Jesus brings through his self-offering on the altar of the Cross and through his triumphant resurrection, I realise that the reconciliation of humanity with God cost him everything. What a reason to be grateful!  What a relief!  Together with the Angel Gabriel and with Mary, the Mother of Jesus, we rejoice, as in the words of this fourteenth century song from the great monastery of Montserrat We rejoice in the good news that Mary bore a son and she named him Jesus – Jesus who is our saviour.

Cuncti simus concanentes (all choirs)

Collect (Fr Newman)
Father, you so loved the world that you sent your beloved Son as our reconciliation and peace.
Expand our hearts by your grace that formed by his self-giving love we may be a people transformed by healing and forgiveness.
We ask this through the same Christ our Lord.

[Fourth section]

All things were created through Jesus in whom the fullness of God dwells. Therefore they find their restitution and healing in the same Christ now and forever.

Reading  Colossians 1: 15-23 (Sam) 

A reading from the letter to the Colossians, chapter 1.

He is the image of the invisible God, the first-born of all creation; for in him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. He is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning, the first-born from the dead, that in everything he might be pre-eminent. For in him all the fulness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross.
And you, who once were estranged and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds, he has now reconciled in his body of flesh by his death, in order to present you holy and blameless and irreproachable before him, provided that you continue in the faith, stable and steadfast, not shifting from the hope of the gospel which you heard, which has been preached to every creature under heaven, and of which I, Paul, became a minister.

Rorate coeli – antiphon and verse 4 (senior choir TB)
Rorate coeli desuper et nubes pluant justum.
Be comforted, be comforted, take heart my people: you shall quickly see your salvation.  Why do you waste yourself with grief, though you have walked so long with sorrow?  I am your Saviour, be afraid no more.  For am I not God, the Lord your God whom you worship, the Holy One of Israel, come to redeem you?

Meditation (Chris Copley) 
The Gospel of Jesus is for all people and I am urged to share this good news with those around me.  It is good news accompanied by my childlike faith, forgiving love and joyful hope.  We are comforted by this good news and we are afraid no more.  The Virgin Mary, whose Immaculate Conception is celebrated on this day, exemplifies the redeemed Christian “full of grace”, who sings the praises of God’s merciful love.  May I, like her, have a heart completely open to the will of God, and so be able to bring Christ to a broken world.

Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee.  Blessed art thou among women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.
All: Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners,
now and at the hour of our death. Amen!

O Mary of promise, trad arr. Warner (senior choirs)

Collect (Fr Newman)
O God, who by the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin prepared a worthy dwelling for your Son, grant, we pray, that as you preserved her from every stain by virtue of the Death of your Son, which you foresaw, so through her intercession, we, too, may be cleansed and admitted to your presence.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God forever and ever.

Introduction: (Fr Newman)
Let us turn with renewed confidence to the Father,
praying earnestly for the peace and reconciliation only he can give.

(Amy )
We pray for helpless, suffering men, women and children who are locked into spirals of violence, hatred and revenge - especially in Syria, in the Middle East, in parts of Africa, and in so many communities in our world.
[sung] Let us pray to the Lord - Lord, we ask you hear our prayer (all)

We pray for all politicians and world leaders; grant them your wisdom, and a passion for justice and reconciliation. 
Let us pray to the Lord - Lord, we ask you hear our prayer

We pray for those who are neglected and forgotten, the vulnerable and the weak; that they might find strength in Jesus’ Heart. 
Let us pray to the Lord - Lord, we ask you hear our prayer

And we pray for ourselves; that, through this season of Advent, we may draw ever closer to the merciful heart of God in preparation to hear again the good news of Jesus the incarnate and Risen Lord.    

Let us pray to the Lord - Lord, we ask you hear our prayer

Fr Newman
Let us pray for the coming of God’s Kingdom in the words of Jesus,
Our Father, who art in heaven
hallowed be thy Name,
thy kingdom come,
thy will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread
And forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those
who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.

Collect and blessing (Fr Newman)
God, the Father of mercies, through the Death and Resurrection of your Son you reconciled the world to yourself and sent the Holy Spirit among us for the forgiveness of sins.
Through the ministry of your Church may we receive pardon and peace in the same Jesus Christ the Lord.

On behalf of those gathered at St Joseph’s this morning, thank you for sharing in our worship.  And we ask you, after the Blessing, to be one with us in our concluding hymn of praise “Hail to the Lord’s Anointed” : for Jesus is our Reconciliation and Peace.
The Lord be with you

May the Almighty and merciful God
by whose grace you have placed your faith
in the First Coming of his Only Begotten Son
and yearn for his coming again,
sanctify you by the radiance of Christ’s Advent
and enrich you with his blessing.

As you run the race of this present life,
may he make you firm in faith,
joyful in hope and active in charity.

So that, rejoicing now with devotion,
at the Redeemer’s coming in the flesh,
you may be endowed with the rich reward of eternal life
when he comes again in majesty.

And may the blessing of almighty God,
the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
come down on you and remain with you for ever.
All:  AMEN

Final Hymn (all)

Organ Voluntary  
Fantasia on ‘Helmsley’ – Leighton

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