Compline – Night Prayer

Compline is a time of gentle prayer for late evening.
Tasha and Ben led a live online Compline this evening from their room,
overlooking York Minster.
(tonight would have been our regular Choral Evensong Service from the BCP)

Compline

(context: for those who have not met them, Natasha is one of the Chaplain’s four children and her husband, Ben, is on the music staff of York Minster. Ben has played organ for a service here and has also given a short recital, in appreciation, for volunteers at St Andrew’s. They have also joined us for worship in Zug.)

The ancient office of Compline derives its name from a Latin word meaning completion’ (completorium). It has its origins in the monastic office for the end of the day, and so our prayer tonight is joined with the whole Church in giving thanks to God for the day past, entrusting ourselves to His protection during the night ahead. Compline is above all a service of quietness and reflection in which we allow God to speak to us amidst the stresses of life, and we offer our cares and concerns to Him. Most of this particular version of the service is sung to plainsong; simple chant that has been used by Christians since the earliest days of the Church. At the heart of tonight’s service is the ‘Nunc dimittis’ . This can be found in the Gospel of St Luke as the song of Simeon, who was promised by the Holy Spirit that he would not die before seeing the salvation of God’s people. As the infant Jesus was brought before him in the Temple, he sang these words. So we are pointed beyond ourselves to the wider implications of Christ’s coming for the world, and at the same time we entrust all our cares into the unfailing mercy of God.

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