There are many ways to worship and encounter God. A variety of worship styles are represented by the liturgies we offer here at CHS. Among the most ancient in feel is the service of Sung Compline offered Sunday evenings during Epiphany.
The service of Compline appears in our Prayerbook (p. 127), but is among the least known of our regular liturgies. With its prayers for a peaceful night and protection in the darkness, it is intended to be offered at the close of day. Since it derives from the Compline services that have been chanted daily in monastic communities for centuries, we offer it in that form here at CHS.
For Compline, the Nave is darkened, lit mainly by candles. Incense, the ancient vehicle for prayers rising to heaven, is lit near the altar, heightening the sense of reverence. As the tower bells strike at six o’clock, a choir which has prepared specially for this offering (the “Compline Schola”) enters in silence. Then the service is chanted, simply and elegantly, the choir offering the prayers and praises of us all. The service is not long – perhaps 20 minutes. At its conclusion, the choir recesses in silence, and worshipers are invited to linger in the stillness of the Nave or depart as they wish.
For many, Compline offers a perfect opportunity to reflect on the week past, to prepare for the week to come and to offer God praise and prayer in a reverential way. If you’ve never experienced Sung Compline, you especially are invited to join us at 6 p.m. on any or all of the Sundays in Epiphany (January 11 through February 15).
Don Horisberger is the Choirmaster and Organist at The Church of the Holy Spirit. Have a question for Don? Contact him at email@example.com.