Michaelmas (St. Michael & All Angels) / 27th September 2020 / (Pentecost 17)


You can click to expand or minimise the order of service below.

Around the throne of God a band

Of glorious angels ever stand;

Bright things they see, sweet harps they hold,

And on their heads are crowns of gold.

Some wait around him, ready still

To sing his praise and do his will;

And some when he commands them, go

To guard his servants here below.

Lord, give thine angels every day

Command to guide us on our way,

And bid them every evening keep

Their watch around us while we sleep.

So shall no wicked thing draw near,

To do us harm or cause us fear;

And we shall dwell, when life is past,

With angels round thy throne at last.

Blessed be God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit:


And blessed be his kingdom, now and forever. Amen


From Easter to Pentecost:

Allelulia. Christ is risen!


The Lord is risen indeed. Alleluia


In Lent and other penitential occasions:

Bless the Lord who forgives all our sins;


His mercy endures for ever.

The Lord be with you.


And also with you.


Let us pray:

Almighty God, to whom all hearts be open, all desires known and from whom no secrets are hidden: cleanse the thoughts of our hearts by the inspiration of your Holy Spirit, that we may perfectly love you, and worthily magnify your holy name, through Christ our Lord.  Amen.

Lord, have mercy.

Christ, have mercy.

Lord, have mercy.

This prayer is omitted during Lent and Advent:

Glory to God in the highest, and peace to God’s people on earth.  Lord God, heavenly King, almighty God and Father, we worship you, we give you thanks, we praise you for your glory.  Lord Jesus Christ, only Son of the Father, Lord God, Lamb of God, you take away the sin of the world: have mercy on us; you are seated at the right hand of the Father: receive our prayer. For you alone are the Holy One, you alone are the Lord, you alone are the Most High, Jesus Christ, with the Holy Spirit, in the glory of God the Father.  Amen.


Holy God, holy and mighty, holy and immortal, have mercy on us.

The Collect of the day:

The priest now says the Collect for the day:



Everlasting God, you have ordained and constituted in a wonderful order the ministries of angels and mortals: Mercifully grant that, as your holy angels always serve and worship you in heaven, so by your appointment they may help and defend us here on earth; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.



The first Reading:

Genesis 28:10-17

Jacob left Beer-sheba and went toward Haran. He came to a certain place and stayed there for the night, because the sun had set. Taking one of the stones of the place, he put it under his head and lay down in that place. And he dreamed that there was a ladder set up on the earth, the top of it reaching to heaven; and the angels of God were ascending and descending on it. And the Lord stood beside him and said, “I am the Lord, the God of Abraham your father and the God of Isaac; the land on which you lie I will give to you and to your offspring; and your offspring shall be like the dust of the earth, and you shall spread abroad to the west and to the east and to the north and to the south; and all the families of the earth shall be blessed in you and in your offspring. Know that I am with you and will keep you wherever you go, and will bring you back to this land; for I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you.” Then Jacob woke from his sleep and said, “Surely the Lord is in this place—and I did not know it!” And he was afraid, and said, “How awesome is this place! This is none other than the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven.”

After the Reading the reader says:

This is the Word of the Lord.


Thanks be to God.

Psalm 103:19-22 is now said by the congregation.

19 The Lord has set his throne in heaven,
and his kingship has dominion over all.

20 Bless the Lord, you angels of his,
you mighty ones who do his bidding,
and hearken to the voice of his word.

21 Bless the Lord, all you his hosts,
you ministers of his who do his will.

22 Bless the Lord, all you works of his,
in all places of his dominion;
bless the Lord, O my soul.

The Second Reading:

Revelation 12:7-12

War broke out in heaven; Michael and his angels fought against the dragon. The dragon and his angels fought back, but they were defeated, and there was no longer any place for them in heaven. The great dragon was thrown down, that ancient serpent, who is called the Devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world—he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him.

Then I heard a loud voice in heaven, proclaiming,

“Now have come the salvation and the power
and the kingdom of our God
and the authority of his Messiah,

for the accuser of our comrades has been thrown down,
who accuses them day and night before our God.

But they have conquered him by the blood of the Lamb
and by the word of their testimony,

for they did not cling to life even in the face of death.

Rejoice then, you heavens
and those who dwell in them!

But woe to the earth and the sea,
for the devil has come down to you

with great wrath,
because he knows that his time is short!”

After the Reading the reader says:

This is the Word of the Lord.


Thanks be to God.

All stand for the Gospel reading.

The Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ according to:

John 1:47-51

When Jesus saw Nathanael coming toward him, he said of him, “Here is truly an Israelite in whom there is no deceit!” Nathanael asked him, “Where did you get to know me?” Jesus answered, “I saw you under the fig tree before Philip called you.” Nathanael replied, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!” Jesus answered, “Do you believe because I told you that I saw you under the fig tree? You will see greater things than these.” And he said to him, “Very truly, I tell you, you will see heaven opened and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of Man.”


Glory to you, Lord Jesus Christ.

After the Gospel reading

This is the Gospel of the Lord.


Praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ.

Do you believe in fairies?   Cast your minds back, if you will, to your childhood pantomime days – unless I’m mistaken, it was Peter Pan, who asked this question of the audience, needing a firm ‘Yes’ from the children to enable the fairy, ‘Tinkerbell’, who lay dying, to get better!  As with Our Lord’s miracles, faith was an essential ingredient in the healing of the sick, and this must not be dismissed lightly either in the practice of medicine in our own day – hospital chaplains are rightly considered just as important as the medics they support!

Unfortunately, many people nowadays tend to regard angels in rather the same, sceptical way, which has always struck me as unfortunate, to say the least.  Today though we are keeping the feast of St. Michael and All Angels, and so might usefully spend a few minutes together now exploring the whole concept of ‘angels’ in rather more depth.

Angels are by no means unique to Christianity, but figure in Judaism, Islam and Buddhism, to name but a few of the great religions of the world.  They are mentioned on a number of occasions in the Old Testament, as in our first reading from the Book of Genesis.  Then, in the Book of Daniel, we find certain angels mentioned by name – Gabriel & Michael to be precise.  More were to come into the picture later!  There are countless references to them in the Psalms, as instanced in the brief extract we read aloud together, just a few moments ago.

How though should we define these ‘messengers of God’ in human form – do these ‘intermediaries’ between God and man have flesh as we do, or are they merely ‘spirits’?  In one respect though this is of little importance – what does matter is that they are undoubtedly ‘real’, and by no means a figment of the imagination.  Indeed, they might well be regarded as an essential element in the ‘supporting cast’ of the gospel story!

The New Testament contains very many interactions and conversations between angels and humans.  For instance, three separate cases of angelic interaction deal with the births of John the Baptist and Jesus Christ.  In the 1st Chapter of St. Luke’s gospel, an angel appears to Zechariah, to inform him that he will have a child, despite his advanced age, thereby proclaiming the birth of John the Baptist.  Later, in the same chapter, the Archangel Gabriel visits the Virgin Mary in the Annunciation, to foretell the birth of Jesus Christ.  Angels then proclaim the birth of Jesus in the Adoration of the shepherds, as told in the 2nd Chapter of Luke.

According to Matthew in Chapter 4, after Jesus spent 40 days in the desert, “…the devil left him and, behold, angels came and ministered to him.” In Luke 22, an angel comforts Jesus during the Agony in the Garden.  In Matthew 28, an angel speaks at the empty tomb, following the Resurrection of Our Lord, and the rolling back of the stone by angels.  Then, they were there to witness Our Lord’s Ascension into Heaven and asked the apostles why they were standing staring up into the sky!

Then the distinctly apocalyptic Book of Revelation, with its rather terrifying portrayal of heaven, a little of which we heard in our 2nd Reading, has angels very much to the fore.

It was an angel who freed Paul from prison, so they certainly did not vanish from the scene once Our Lord’s earthly ministry was over, any more than they had been absent during the centuries before it all began!

No earthly army could outdo the angels in terms of hierarchy and organisation.  A hymn, which we might well have sung today, gives some idea of this in its opening verse:

‘Ye watchers and ye holy ones, Bright Seraphs, Cherubim and Thrones, Raise the glad strain, Alleluia!   Cry out, Dominions, Princedoms, Powers, Virtues, Archangels, Angels’ choirs’ – all of the different ranks in the Heavenly Host.  As we approach the most solemn moment in our Eucharist, we shall hear, ‘Therefore with Angels and Archangels, and all the company of heaven’, which reminds us that we never worship God in isolation but are surrounded at all times by ‘a great cloud of witnesses’ and ‘the whole company of heaven’ – to my mind a really awesome and wonderful thought, and one which, in the hum-drum existence of daily life, we can all too easily lose sight of, and which can inevitably also become a casualty of the more informal styles of worship which have become increasingly prevalent in some circles in recent years!

Let us rejoice then, with the whole company of heaven – may Christ’s holy angels watch over us, now and forever.  


Please stand for the Nicene Creed.

Let us together affirm the faith of the Church.

We believe in one God,

the Father, the Almighty,

maker of heaven and earth,

of all that is, seen and unseen.

We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ,

the only Son of God,

eternally begotten of the Father,

God from God, Light from Light,

true God from true God,

begotten, not made,

of one Being with the Father.

Through him all things were made.

For us and for our salvation

he came down from heaven:

was incarnate of the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary,

and became truly human.

For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate;

he suffered death and was buried.

On the third day he rose again

in accordance with the Scriptures;

he ascended into heaven

and is seated at the right hand of the Father.

He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead, and his kingdom will have no end.

We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life,

who proceeds from the Father and the Son, who with the Father and the Son is worshipped and glorified,

who has spoken through the prophets.

We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church.

We acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins.

We look for the resurrection of the dead,

and the life of the world to come.  Amen.

Let us pray for the world and for the Church:

Prayers of intercession are now said and at the end of each prayer the priest says:

Lord in your mercy,


Hear our prayer.


Lord hear us,


Lord graciously hear us

At the conclusion of the prayers the priest says:

Almighty God, who has promised to hear our prayers.


Grant that what we have asked in faith we may by your grace receive, through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.


Jesus said: Come to me all who labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.


God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.


God is steadfast in love and infinite in mercy, welcoming sinners and inviting them to the Lord’s table.

Let us confess our sins in penitence and faith, confident in God’s forgiveness.

Merciful God, our maker and our judge, we have sinned against you in thought, word and deed, and in what we have failed to do: we have not loved you with our whole heart; we have not loved our neighbours as ourselves; we repent and are sorry for all our sins, Father forgive us, strengthen us to love and obey you in newness of life; through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen

Almighty God, who has promised forgiveness to all who turn to him in faith, pardon you and set you free from all your sins, strengthen you in all goodness and keep you in eternal life, through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.


The congregation stands.

We are the Body of Christ.


His Spirit is with us.


The peace of the Lord be always with you.


And also with you.

Please greet each other with a sign of peace.

Bright the vision that delighted

Once the sight of Judah’s seer;

Sweet the countless tongues united

To entrance the prophet’s ear.

Round the Lord in glory seated

Cherubim and seraphim

Filled his temple, and repeated

Each to each the alternate hymn.

‘Lord, thy glory fills the heaven;

Earth is with its fullness stored;

Unto thee be glory given,

Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord.’

Heaven is still with glory ringing,

Earth takes up the angels’ cry,

‘Holy, Holy, Holy,’ singing;

‘Lord of hosts, the Lord most high.’

With his seraph train before him,

With his holy Church below,

Thus unite we to adore him,

Bid we thus our anthem flow.

‘Lord, thy glory fills the heaven;

Earth is with its fullness stored;

Unto thee be glory given,

Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord.’


Blessed are you, God of all creation. Through your goodness we have these gifts to share. Accept and use our offerings for your glory and the service of your kingdom.


Blessed be God forever.

 Let us pray

We do not presume to come to your table, merciful Lord, trusting in our own righteousness, but in your manifold and great mercies.  We are not worthy so much as to gather up the crumbs under your table, but you are the same Lord whose nature is always to have mercy. Grant us, therefore, gracious Lord, so to eat the flesh of your dear son Jesus Christ, and to drink his blood, that we may evermore dwell in him and he in us.  Amen.


The Lord be with you.


and also with you.

Lift up your hearts.


We lift them to the Lord.

Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.


It is right to give thanks and praise.

Father, we give you thanks and praise through your beloved Son Jesus Christ, your living Word, through whom you have created all things; who was sent by you in your great goodness to be our Saviour.

By the power of the Holy Spirit he took flesh; as your Son, born of the blessed Virgin, he lived on earth and went about among us; he opened wide his arms for us on the cross; he put an end to death by dying for us; and revealed the resurrection by rising to new life; so he fulfilled your will and won for you a holy people.

Proper Preface

Therefore with angels and archangels, and with all the company of heaven, we proclaim your great and glorious name, for ever praising you and saying:


Holy, holy, holy Lord God of power and might, heaven and earth are full of your glory.

Hosanna in the highest.  Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.  Hosanna in the highest.

Lord, you are holy indeed, the source of all holiness; grant that by the power of your Holy Spirit, and according to your holy will, these gifts of bread and wine may be to us the body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ; who, in the same night that he was betrayed, took bread and gave you thanks; he broke it and gave it to his disciples, saying: Take, eat; this is my body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of me.

In the same way, after supper he took the cup and gave you thanks; he gave it to them, saying: Drink this, all of you; this is my blood of the new covenant,

which is shed for you and for many for the forgiveness of sins. Do this, as often as you drink it,

in remembrance of me.

Great is the mystery of faith:


Christ has died:

Christ is risen:

Christ will come again.


And so, Father, calling to mind his death on the cross, his perfect sacrifice, made once for the sins of the whole world; rejoicing in his mighty resurrection and glorious ascension, and looking for his coming in glory, we celebrate this memorial of our redemption.

As we offer you this our sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving, we bring before you this bread and this cup and we thank you for counting us worthy to stand in your presence and serve you. Send the Holy Spirit on your people and gather into one in your kingdom all who share this one bread and one cup, so that we, in the company of [N and] all the saints, may praise and glorify you for ever, through Jesus Christ our Lord; by whom, and with whom, and in whom, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, all honour and glory be yours, almighty Father, for ever and ever.



Let us pray with confidence to the Father, as our Saviour has taught 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. For thine is the kingdom, the power and the glory, for ever and ever. Amen.

O Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world, have mercy on us.

O Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world, have mercy on us.

O Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world, grant us peace.

We break this bread to share in the body of Christ.


Though we are many, we are one body, because we all share in one bread.

This is the Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world;

Happy are those who are called to his supper.


Lord, I am not worthy to receive you, but only say the word and I shall be healed.


After Communion the celebrant and the congregation say


Let us pray.

Father of all we give you thanks and praise that when we were still far off you met us in your Son and brought us home. Dying and living, he declared your love, gave us grace, and opened the gate of glory. May we who share Christ’s body live his risen life; we who drink his cup bring life to others; we whom the Spirit lights give light to the world. 

Keep us in this hope that we have grasped; so we and all your children shall be free, and the whole earth live to praise your name.

Father, we offer ourselves to you as a living sacrifice through Jesus Christ our Lord. Send us out in the power of your Spirit to live and work to your praise and glory.

The peace of God, which passes all understanding, keep your hearts and minds in the knowledge and love of God, and of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord: and the blessing of God almighty, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, be amongst you and remain with you always.



Go in peace to love and serve the Lord:


In the name of Christ.  Amen.

Ye holy angels bright,
Who wait at God’s right hand,
Or through the realms of light
Fly at your Lord’s command,
Assist our song,
For else the theme too high doth seem
For mortal tongue.

Ye saints, who toil below,
Adore your heavenly King,
And onward as ye go
Some joyful anthem sing;
Take what he gives
And praise him still, through good or ill,
Who ever lives!

My soul, bear thou thy part,
Triumph in God above:
And with a well-tuned heart
Sing thou the songs of love!
Let all thy days
Till life shall end, whate’er he send,
Be filled with praise.

NOTE: The introductory music is ‘Dance for the Flutes’ by Tim Attride.