Compline (Contemporary) in Lent

The ancient office of Compline derives its name from a Latin word meaning ‘completion’ (completorium). It is above all  a service of quietness and reflection before rest at the end of the day. It is most effective when the ending is indeed an ending, without additions, conversation or noise. If there is an address, or business to be done, it should come first. If the service is in church, those present depart in silence; if at home, they go quietly to bed.

Preparation

The Lord almighty grant us a quiet night and a perfect end.
Amen.

Our help is in the name of the Lord
who made heaven and earth.

A period of silence for reflection on the past day may follow.

The following or other suitable words of penitence may be used

Most merciful God, we confess to you,
before the whole company of heaven and one another,
that we have sinned in thought, word and deed
and in what we have failed to do.
Forgive us our sins, heal us by your Spirit
and raise us to new life in Christ. Amen.

or

Holy God
holy and strong

holy and immortal
have mercy on us.

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

Glory to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit;
as it was in the beginning is now and shall be for ever. Amen.

 

The following or another suitable hymn may be sung

Before the ending of the day,
Creator of the world, we pray
That you, with steadfast love, would keep
Your watch around us while we sleep

From evil dreams defend our sight,
From fears and terrors of the night;
Tread underfoot our deadly foe
That we no sinful thought may know.

Lent Doxology

Grant, ever blessèd Trinity
And every perfect Unity
That this, our fast of forty days
May work our profit and your praise. Amen.

The Word of God

Psalm 139.1-18
Refrain: Search me out, O God, and know my heart.

1 O Lord, you have searched me out and known me;
you know my sitting down and my rising up; you discern my thoughts from afar.

2 You mark out my journeys and my resting place
and are acquainted with all my ways.

3 For there is not a word on my tongue,
but you, O Lord, know it altogether.

4 You encompass me behind and before
and lay your hand upon me.

5 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,
so high that I cannot attain it. R

6 Where can I go then from your spirit?
Or where can I flee from your presence?

7 If I climb up to heaven, you are there;
if I make the grave my bed, you are there also.

8 If I take the wings of the morning
and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,

9 Even there your hand shall lead me,
your right hand hold me fast.

10 If I say, ‘Surely the darkness will cover me
and the light around me turn to night,’

11 Even darkness is no darkness with you; the night is as clear as the day;
darkness and light to you are both alike. R

12 For you yourself created my inmost parts;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.

13 I thank you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
marvellous are your works, my soul knows well.

14 My frame was not hidden from you,
when I was made in secret
and woven in the depths of the earth.

15 Your eyes beheld my form, as yet unfinished;
already in your book were all my members written,

16 As day by day they were fashioned
when as yet there was none of them.

17 How deep are your counsels to me, O God!
How great is the sum of them!

18 If I count them, they are more in number than the sand,
and at the end, I am still in your presence. R

Refrain: Search me out, O God, and know my heart.

Glory to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit;
as it was in the beginning is now and shall be for ever. Amen.

Scripture Reading

Is not this the fast that I choose: to loose the bonds of injustice, to undo the thongs of the yoke, to let the oppressed go free and to break every yoke ? Is it not to share your bread with the hungry and bring the homeless poor into your house; when you see the naked, to cover them and not to hide yourself from your own kin ?.

  Isaiah 58.6-7

A period of silence for reflection on the reading may follow

Into your hands O Lord I commend my spirit.
Into your hands O Lord I commend my spirit.

For you have redeemed me O Lord of truth.
I commend my spirit.

Glory to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit.
Into your hands O Lord I commend my spirit.

Gospel Canticle

The Nunc dimittis (The Song of Simeon)

Christ died for us
so that, whether we wake or sleep
we might live with him.

1    Now, Lord, you let your servant go in peace:  
your word has been fulfilled.

2    My own eyes have seen the salvation  
which you have prepared in the sight of every people;

3    A light to reveal you to the nations  
and the glory of your people Israel.

Luke 2.29-32

Glory to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit;
as it was in the beginning is now and shall be for ever. Amen.

Christ died for us
so that, whether we wake or sleep
we might live with him.

Prayers

Intercessions and thanksgivings may be offered here.

One or more of the following Collects is said
Silence may be kept

Almighty God
may we, by the prayer and discipline of Lent
enter into the mystery of Christ’s sufferings;
that by following in the Way
we come to share in the glory;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Amen. 

Keep watch dear Lord, with those that wake, or watch, or weep this night,
and give your angels charge over those who sleep.
Tend the sick, give rest to the weary, sustain the dying, calm the suffering,
and pity the distressed;
all for your love’s sake, O Christ our Redeemer.
Amen. 

The Lord’s Prayer

As we come to the ending of the day, let us pray as our Redeemer has taught us
(using during this season of Lent the ‘Lukan’ version)

Father, hallowed be your name.
Your kingdom come.
give us each day our daily bread.
And forgive us our sins
for we ourselves forgive
everyone indebted to us
and lead us not into temptation. Amen.

Luke 11.2-4

A moment of silence may follow

The Conclusion

In peace we will lie down and sleep;
for you alone, Lord, make us dwell in safety.

Abide with us, Lord Jesus,
for the night is at hand and the day is now past.

As the night watch looks for the morning,
so do we look for you, O Christ.

The Lord bless us
that in us may be found love and humility
obedience and thanksgiving
discipline and gentleness and peace.
Amen. 

 

the people blow out their candles and log off in silence……. 

 

 

© The Archbishops’ Council of the Church of England, 2000-2005
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