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40 minutes
First broadcast:
Sunday 26 May 2013

Service of Worship from St Columb's Cathedral, Londonderry - the UK City of Culture - led by Canon John Merrick, and the preacher is the Very Reverend Dr William Morton, the Dean of Derry.

  • Worship from St Columb's Cathedral, Londonderry

    Sunday Worship
    for Trinity Sunday

    St Columb’s Cathedral, Londonderry.

    Sunday 26 May 2013

    Led by the Rector. The Rev Canon John Merrick
    Preacher: The Very Rev Dr William Morton, Dean of Derry

    Director Of Music : Ian Mills
    Organist: Mark McGrath

    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.


    I bind unto myself today
    Trad. Irish Melodies arr. Stanford

    Welcome THE DEAN

    On this Trinity Sunday morning, I bid you welcome to this Cathedral. St Columb’s Cathedral has witnessed to God’s presence and love on this site for almost four centuries —often in very troubled times.

    Each year, more than 100,000 visitors and pilgrims visit us here and that’s a figure which shows signs of increasing dramatically in 2013 in response to the events of UK City of Culture. The Cathedral has hosted a number of these and all that has been happening has encouraged a spirit of community and hope in a city that has known tension and violence. With this in mind, the ancient words of we have just heard sung by the Cathedral Choirs from The Breastplate of St Patrick are particularly pertinent. They remind us that Christ—the ‘strong Name of the Trinity’—is within in, beside us and before in all our endeavours.

    Let us humbly confess our sins unto almighty God.

    Almighty and most merciful Father; We have erred and strayed from thy ways like lost sheep. We have followed too much the devices and desires of our own hearts. We have offended against thy holy laws. We have left undone those things which we ought to have done; And we have done those things which we ought not to have done; And there is no health in us. But thou, O Lord, have mercy upon us, miserable offenders. Spare thou them, O God, which confess their faults. Restore thou them that are penitent; According to thy promises declared unto mankind in Christ Jesus our Lord. And grant, O most merciful Father, for his sake; That we may hereafter live a godly, righteous, and sober life, To the glory of thy holy Name. Amen.

    Almighty God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who desireth not the death of a sinner, but rather that he may turn from his wickedness, and live; and hath given power, and commandment, to his Ministers, to declare and pronounce to his people, being penitent, the Absolution and Remission of their sins: He pardoneth and absolveth all them that truly repent, and unfeignedly believe his holy Gospel. Wherefore let us beseech him to grant us true repentance, and his Holy Spirit, that those things may please him which we do at this present; and that the rest of our life hereafter may be pure and holy; so that at the last we may come to his eternal joy; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

    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. For thine is the kingdom, The power, And the glory, For ever and ever. Amen.

    O Lord, open thou our lips
    and our mouth shall show forth thy praise.

    God, make speed to save us.
    O Lord, make haste to help us.

    Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit;
    as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.

    Praise ye the Lord.
    The Lord's name be praised.

    1 O Lord our Governor : how excellent is thy Name in all the world!
    2 Thou that hast set thy glory above the heavens : out of the mouth of very babes and sucklings hast thou ordained strength,
    3 Because of thine enemies : that thou mightest still the enemy and the avenger.
    4 When I consider thy heavens, even the works of thy fingers : the moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained;
    5 What is man, that thou art mindful of him : and the son of man, that thou visitest him?
    6 Thou madest him lower than the angels : to crown him with glory and worship.
    7 Thou makest him to have dominion of the works of thy hands : and thou hast put all things in subjection under his feet;
    8 All sheep and oxen : yea, and the beasts of the field;
    9 The fowls of the air, and the fishes of the sea : and whatsoever walketh through the paths of the seas.
    10 O Lord our Governor : how excellent is thy Name in all the world!

    Glory be to the Father, and to the Son,: and to the Holy Spirit;
    As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.

    Does not wisdom call, and does not understanding raise her voice?
    On the heights, beside the way, at the crossroads she takes her stand;
    beside the gates in front of the town, at the entrance of the portals she cries out:
    ‘To you, O people, I call, and my cry is to all that live.
    The LORD created me at the beginning of his work, the first of his acts of long ago.
    Ages ago I was set up, at the first, before the beginning of the earth.
    When there were no depths I was brought forth, when there were no springs abounding with water.
    Before the mountains had been shaped, before the hills, I was brought forth—

    JUBILATE Psalm 100 Sir William Walton (1902-1983)

    THE SECOND LESSON St John 16:12-15
    ‘I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth; for he will not speak on his own, but will speak whatever he hears, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. He will glorify me, because he will take what is mine and declare it to you. All that the Father has is mine. For this reason I said that he will take what is mine and declare it to you.

    I believe in God, the Father almighty,
    maker of heaven and earth;
    And in Jesus Christ his only Son our Lord;
    who was conceived by the Holy Spirit,
    born of the Virgin Mary,
    suffered under Pontius Pilate,
    was crucified, dead, and buried.
    He descended into hell.
    The third day he rose again from the dead.
    He ascended into heaven,
    and sitteth on the right hand of God the Father almighty.
    From thence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead.
    I believe in the Holy Spirit,
    the holy catholic Church,
    the communion of saints,
    the forgiveness of sins,
    the resurrection of the body,
    and the life everlasting. Amen.

    The Lord be with you
    and with thy Spirit.

    Let us pray.
    Lord, have mercy upon us
    Christ, have mercy upon us.

    Lord, have mercy upon us.

    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. Amen.

    O Lord, show thy mercy upon us
    and grant us thy salvation.

    O Lord, save the Queen
    and mercifully hear us when we call upon thee.

    Endue thy ministers with righteousness
    and make thy chosen people joyful.

    O Lord, save thy people
    and bless thine inheritance.

    Give peace in our time, O Lord,
    because there is none other that fighteth for us, but only thou, O God.

    O God, make clean our hearts within us
    and take not thy Holy Spirit from us.

    Almighty and everlasting God, who hast given unto us thy servants grace by the confession of a true faith
    to acknowledge the glory of the eternal Trinity, and in the power of the Divine Majesty to worship the Unity; We beseech thee, that thou wouldest keep us steadfast in this faith, and evermore defend us from all adversities, who livest and reignest, one God, world without end. Amen.

    O God, who art the author of peace and lover of concord, in knowledge of whom standeth our eternal life, whose service is perfect freedom; Defend us thy humble servants in all assaults of our enemies; that we, surely trusting in thy defence, may not fear the power of any adversaries; through the might of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

    O Lord, our heavenly Father, almighty and everlasting God, who hast safely brought us to the beginning of this day: Defend us in the same with thy mighty power; and grant that this day we fall into no sin, neither
    run into any kind of danger; but that all our doings may be ordered by thy governance, to do always that is righteous in thy sight; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

    Father, Lord of all creation,
    Stewart Cross (1928-89)

    SERMON The Very Rev Dr William Morton
    In the name of the Father and of the Son and the Holy Spirit.
    Among the many tablets on the walls of this cathedral is a small stone- about 10 cm square set into the foundation stone of this 1633 building. It comes from this buidling's 1144 predecessor and it contains seven Latin words ‘In Templo Verus Deus Est Vereque Colendus’ -‘The True God is in His Temple and is to be truly worshipped.’
    Those words immediately convey to worshipper and casual visitor alike, the continuity, and the priority, of the worship of Almighty God –Father, Son and Holy Spirit- in the life of this ancient Church.
    We worship Almighty God in all His majesty, power, dominion and glory.
    Today is Trinity Sunday. It is a day from which preachers sometimes shy away and perhaps take refuge what the great 16th Century Anglican scholar, Richard Hooker, once said about the mystery of God: Our safest eloquence concerning him is our silence. For there is a great mystery to God and to try to explain everything about him is impossible. For the Trinity –Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Almighty God, by His very nature, is beyond our complete understanding. And it is not necessary to understand everything there is to know about Him. It is enough to know and to obey him.
    God the Father – creator of Heaven and earth Father is one of the favourite words in the bible to describe the character and activity of God. So when we speak of God as Father we are not only referring to the Creator of all things but realising that he made us, that he loves us and that he wants us to be his children.
    And the Son was a fully human being-hungry, thirsty, sad, tired and lonely. But those who follow his know that he is more than a man. They realise he is God- God who drew near to us to save and help us.
    And God the Holy Spirit Someone has said that the Holy Spirit is really God here and now. For God is living and active, always at work, ready to help us and support us if we put our trust in him. It is the Spirit, as the Gospel reading points out who will guide us into all truth. It is the Spirit who enables us to look at things in a new way, to move on from positions we may have held for years. It is the Spirit who can help and guide us into a new future, in this city and everywhere.
    And the idea of the Trinity stresses that these three are not separated from each other but are closely interlocked in unity.
    And it is perfect unity which all who follow Jesus Christ are called upon to imitate in everything that we do. For our belief in God can never start and finish with our worship. It should permeate all our activities- cultural and communal.
    Worship is, and must always be, the primary raison d’etre of the existence of this building. Yet over the past four hundred years this cathedral has in many ways been the centre of community life for many in this city. The first Cathedral of its kind built after the Reformation, and it has a long established musical and choral tradition.
    The troubled past of this city is reflected in a large number of artefacts from the Siege of Derry, 1688-89, when the failure of the forces of the deposed King James II to capture the city had a considerable effect on British and indeed European history,
    And we have the oldest peal of bells in Ireland.
    This background has helped to give the Cathedral an additional focus this year as the City celebrates its designation as UK City of Culture 2013. We have had special services, musical and choral recitals, lectures, and exhibitions. We’re looking forward to St Columba’s Day, June 9th, when the Choirs of the Universities of Ulster, and of Aberdeen, with the Southbank Sinfonia from London, will perform an oratorio, Columba Canticles: Four Centuries of Song. And that will be in honour of St Columba who before he went to Iona founded a monastery here and who is remembered in the Irish name of the city Doire Colmcille- the Oak Grove of Columba
    One event that’s already happened was an exhibition of handcrafts made by residents of the Camphill Community, Clanabogan, outside Omagh. It's one over a hundred such communities throughout the world, based on the Christian ideals and the teaching of the philosopher, Rudolf Steiner, to provide opportunities for children, young people and adults with learning disabilities to live, learn and work together in an atmosphere of mutual respect and equality.
    Some of the residents of Camphill Clanabogan came to the Cathedral and provided demonstrations of wood turning, baking and weaving. The quality of their work is simply staggering. Some very ornately carved figures, made from, what to begin with was the rough trunk of a tree, are masterpieces in terms of their finish and with expressions on the faces of the figures.

    On this Trinity Sunday, when, as the First Lesson, from Proverbs, reminded us, we focus on the Wisdom of God and on His Creative Power, there is the analogy of Almighty God moulding and shaping us, and creating order from what is often the chaos of our lives, in ways beyond our wildest imagination. The Creative Power of God is at work in us, in leading us to grasp the opportunities given us in all that is happening in this city and in the world around us, arousing talents, marshalling gifts, developing something lasting for the good of all in terms of culture in the widest possible sense.
    Looking at the beauty which emerged from the roughness of the knarled wood, surely there is hope for us, and for our lives, by the power of the Holy Spirit.
    For God can take our lives- our culture, our exhibitions, our hopes, our fears and use them.
    The mystery, and the miracle is, that He stoops down to us in our need and responds to us in mercy and in love, whatever our situation in life, in accordance with our need. But He does not have to operate by any standards that humans have set for Him, or in accordance with their expectations. He is God!
    St Paul exhorted the Romans to present their bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.
    So it’s back to the inscription on that ancient stone The True God is in His temple and is to be truly worshipped,’
    So, let us worship Him today as he deserves.
    “O Thou in all Thy might so far, in all Thy love so near;
    Beyond the range of sun and star, and yet beside us here.”

    Come to us, creative Spirit
    Tune: Angel Voices
    David Mowbray (b. 1938


    Glory be to the Father, who made us, and all the world.
    Glory be to God the Son, who redeemed us, and all mankind.
    Glory be to the Holy Spirit, who sanctifies us, and all the people of God.
    To the holy, blessed and glorious Trinity, three persons and one God, be all glory and praise, dominion and power, now and for evermore.

    We pray for the continuing efforts of all who are involved in promoting greater understanding, and fostering peace and reconciliation in this city and community:

    Eternal God, we seek your blessing for the future in all aspects of Church life. Strengthen and guide us as the Body of Christ as we continue, through this Cathedral Church, to contribute to the civic response to the award of UK City of Culture, through history, music, singing, drama, exhibitions, lectures and all other artistic means. By providing a sacred and shared space for the good of the entire community, we pray that every event may point its audience to the Source of all inspiration, meaning, beauty and harmony, the Eternal Lord God, who is with us now, and whom we serve, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

    A prayer for those who are ill, or in need:
    Eternal Lord God, as we worship you, Father, son and Holy Spirit, draw close in your mercy to all who are ill wherever they may be – at home, in hospital, in nursing or care homes, or in the Hospice. Help them to experience your Presence, your peace, and your healing touch. Be especially near to all whose illnesses seem to be beyond the reach of human skill Uphold their faith that they may trust and not be afraid and assure them that nothing, not even death, can separate them from your love; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.


    God the Holy Trinity make you strong in faith and love, defend you on every side, and guide you in truth and peace; and the blessing of God almighty, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, be among you, and remain with you always. Amen.


    Thou, whose almighty word
    chaos and darkness heard,

    John Marriott (1780-1825)


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