Choral Compline at St. John’s
“The Lord Almighty grant us a quiet night and a perfect end. Amen.” - BCP, p. 127
March 10, 2019; 9-9:40 pm, sanctuary.
Compline is a 1500-year-old tradition that developed in the early monastic communities. It is the final office of the day in the Christian tradition of canonical hours.
The English word “Compline” is derived from the Latin word “completorium” meaning completion, since Compline completes the liturgy of the day. As is characteristic of monastic offices, Compline consists of psalmody, short passages from scripture, a hymn, a Gospel Canticle (Song of Simeon, or Nunc dimittis in Latin), a litany, collects, and additional prayers. Compline is offered when the day’s work is ended and the quietness of evening settles upon the hearts and minds of those who have gathered in thankfulness for the blessings of the day that has passed.
The sanctuary is dark and quiet; there are candles, but no cell phones, no responses to have to follow, no preaching. It’s short: just 30-35 minutes. People are free to sit on the floor, sit up around the altar, or even lie down and allow the music to wash over them. It is a come-as-you-are experience of the presence of God, through music and prayer, using the beauty of our liturgy. It is a sacred space for people at the end of their weekend, before the busy-ness of the week. Comments from people who have experienced compline:
“When I close my eyes and listen to it, the to-do list stops ticking in my head and I am reminded in my soul that I am not a machine made to complete tasks but a human made to love.”
“It feels like floating in a bathtub full of warm water and grace.”
"...one of the most wonderful musical, spiritual experiences I have ever had. It was a 30 minute Clergy free Compline service at St. John's. The acappella small choir was remarkable, beautiful and full of such textures of harmony I have ever heard. Yes, I am now an evangelist of this amazing musical meditation. I floated home to bed and still feel changed by the experience."
Join us and experience the peace and mystery of this ancient liturgy!