Compline & Benediction

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Transcript of Compline & Benediction

  • Behold now, bless the Lord, all you servants of the Lord,you that stand by night at the house of the Lord.

    Psalm 134

  • WELCOME

    Saint Johns Cathedral is a progressive Christian community in the Anglican Catholic tradition. Our mission is to know Christ and to make Christ known in worship, formation, community, and service. We welcome all into a deeper spirituality and relationship with God in our rich Anglican tradition. Following the ancient custom of cathedrals, Saint Johns strives to provide leadership and resources to our city and to the wider Church. Our foundation is the Christian faith as the Episcopal Church has received it, and we live in the creative life that is built on the relationship between the Scriptures, tradition, and reason.

    We are a diverse, energetic congregation, with members of all ages who come from a wide variety of backgrounds, and strive to be an inclusive parish centered on a common faith. In addition to a strong Sunday program of worship and formation, our community gathers on Wednesday evenings for Cathedral Nite for a sung Eucharist, dinner, formation groups, and ending with Compline and Benediction by candlelight.

    We invite you to rest and pray in the beauty of holiness and allow yourself to be drawn into the peace of Gods Presence. We use elements (prayers, chant, candles, bells, and incense) from the deepest parts of our tradition to create a space in which we can encounter Gods Presence in the midst of the busy-ness of the city.

  • Compline is an office (monastic prayer service) that emphasizes spiritual peace. The form we use at Saint Johns follows the rite in Book of Common Prayer (page 127) and can be prayed at home as well. In many monasteries it is the custom to begin the Great Silence after Compline, during which the whole community, including guests, observes silence throughout the night until the morning service the next day. At Saint Johns, we end Compline with a devotion called Benediction, giving thanks for the blessing of Gods Presence.

    The ancient choral service of Compline (from the Latin for completion or end) is marked by contemplation, candlelight, chant, and incense. The Rule of Saint Benedict, written in the early seventh century, contains the earliest formal description of Compline. This form of prayer has been part of the devotions of Christians for more than a millennium.

    WHAT IS COMPLINE?

  • Come to me, all who labor and are heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.

    Matthew 11:28-30

  • Compline begins as the Officiant sings, The Lord Almighty grant us a peaceful night and a perfect end and the choir responds, Thanks be to God. This invocation of Gods protection continues as the Officiant prays, O God, make speed to save us and the choir responds, O Lord, make haste to help us. These two sections are called the Preparation and the Preces (meaning prayers) and begin the series of prayers, praises, readings, and devotional music that form Compline.

    Compline, like the other daily offices, includes psalms and readings which change each week.

    There are a number of well-known hymns associated with Compline. Most of them are focused on themes of the closing of day, safety, rest, and quietness. An example would be Hymn 44, which begins, To you before the close of day, Creator of all things we pray, that in your constant clemency, our guard and keeper you would be.

    Preparation and Preces Psalm and Reading

    Hymn or Anthem

    WHAT ARE THEY SINGING?

  • The Responsary begins, Into thy hands O Lord, I commend my spirit, or the choir will sing a setting of the anthem In Manus Tuas (Into Thy Hands). This is a piece particularly associated with Compline and includes lines especially remembered by the faithful such as, Keep me as the apple of thine eye, hide me under the shadow of thy wings.

    The Kyrie is an ancient prayer asking God for mercy that has been part of Christian worship from the very earliest days of the Church. Next is the Lords Prayer (a prayer given to us by Christ himself for our use) and a collect (prayer) for that week.

    The choir sings one of the hymns of devotion to Mary called the Marian antiphons. Marian antiphons have been sung, since the thirteenth century, at the close of Compline. Martin Luther said that the veneration of Mary is inscribed in the very depths of the human heart and Protestant reformer Ulrich Zwingli wrote, The more the honor and love of Christ increases among men, so much the esteem and honor given to Mary should grow.

    The Salve Regina is the best known of four prescribed Marian Anthems recited after Compline. Its use after Compline is traceable to the monastic practice of intoning it in chapel and chanting it on the way to sleeping quarters. As a piece of music, it dates back to the 11th century and these hymns have been part of the Christian worship since.

    As the Marian antiphon is being sung, the Officiant and servers begin preparing for Benediction.

    The Nunc Dimittis (Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace), is also called The Song of Simeon and was offered by Simeon, who had been promised that he would not die until he had seen the Savior, in the Gospel of Luke. It has been a formal part of evening prayers since the Book of Common Prayer 1662 and is especially appropriate as we prepare ourselves for Benediction and to see Christ present on the Altar.

    Once the Nunc Dimittis is sung, the Officiant and choir sing a closing blessing and dismissal, Let us bless the Lord. Thanks be to God. The Almighty and merciful Lord, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit bless us and keep us. Amen.

    Responsary

    Kyrie and Prayers

    Marian AntiphonNunc Dimittis and Dismissal

  • Benediction (meaning blessing) is ordinarily an afternoon or evening devotion and includes the singing of hymns, litanies, or canticles before the Blessed Sacrament, which is on the Altar in a monstrance (a vessel for holding the Sacrament), surrounded with lights. At the end, the priest, his or her shoulders and hands covered in a veil, takes the monstrance and with it makes the sign of the cross as a blessing in silence over the congregation.

    Benediction has been part of Christian worship since the 13th century and has been a regular part of the devotional life of many Episcopal parishes since the late 19th century. As the Book of Common Prayer, adopted in 1979, established the Eucharist as the normative worship in Episcopal churches on Sundays, our devotional life around the Eucharist has steadily deepened and expanded. It is especially fitting for a cathedral to offer this devotion as part of our commitment to be a home for a range of spiritual practices and to explore how we can ever deepen our adoration of God.

    Benediction offers a time for adoring the Presence of Christ in such a way as to seek nothing but the assurance that he is ever with us and to offer only that which we are ever commanded to offer, to love the Lord Our God with all of our hearts, all of our souls, and all of our minds.

    The glory of our God is precisely that for our sakes he comes down to the very depths, into human flesh, into the bread, into our mouth, our heart, our body.

    Martin Luther

    WHAT IS BENEDICTION?

  • Therefore we, before him bending,this great Sacrament revere;types and shadows have their ending,for the newer rite is here;faith, our outward sense befriending,makes our inward vision clear.

    Hymn 330, Tantum Ergo

  • The Agnus Dei is a traditional adoration of Christ which references Jesus as the Lamb of God whose sacrifice takes away the sin of the world.

    Tantum Ergo (Therefore we before him bending) is the last two stanzas from a Eucharistic hymn (Pange Lingua) composed by Saint Thomas Aquinas in 1264. It is hymn 330 in the Hymnal 1982. This whole hymn is sung in procession on Maundy Thursday, the Holy Week liturgy when we remember and give thanks for the institution of the Lords Supper. Customarily, the Officiant censes the host during both this hymn and the O Salutaris. The verses we sing are:

    Therefore we, before him bending,this great Sacrament revere;types and shadows have their ending,for the newer rite is here;faith, our outward sense befriending,makes our inward vision clear.

    Glory let us give and blessingto the Father and the Son,honour, thanks, and praise addressing,while eternal ages run;ever too his love confessingwho from Both with Both is One.

    Agnus Dei

    Tantum ErgoO Salutaris: The first hymn at Benediction is the O Salutaris Hostia (O Saving Victim) written by famous theologian, Saint Thomas Aquinas, in 1264. It is hymn 310 in the Hymnal 1982. Sometimes you will hear a reference to the priests host or Communion wafers generally called the host. This comes from the Latin word, hostia, meaning victim and refers to the sacrifice of Christ. The hymns words are:

    O Saving Victim, opening wide,the gates of heaven to us below,Our foes press on from every side,Thine aid supply, thy strength bestow.

    All praise and thanks to thee ascend,Forevermore, blest one in three,O grant us life that shall not end,In our true native land with thee.

    O Salutaris

    As the servers each take places at the Altar, the Officiant is opening the Tabernacle (where the Blessed Sacrament generally rests) and is placing it in the monstrance (the ornate piece that allows for the Sacrament to be lifted and seen by the congregation). As the Salve Regina concludes, the Officiant places the monstrance on the Altar and bells are rung. This usually signals those gathered to kneel as the Officiant pre