Each Wednesday at 7pm we gather in the Sanctuary for a Simple Service that includes readings, hymns, and candle lighting.
This service is loosely patterned on Compline, the last service in the Christian tradition of Canonical Hours. The English word Compline is derived from the Latin completorium, as Compline is the completion of the working day. The service often will focus on Christ as the light who shines in the darkness of sin and death and includes prayers of thanksgiving for the day and for the approaching time of rest, prayers for protection through the night and expectation for the coming day, scripture readings, and candle lighting (lucenarium). It is a reflective, prayer-filled service, clearly focused on Christ as our hope.
Compline traditionally ends with the Canticle of Simeon or “Nunc Dimittis” (Luke 2:29-32). God had promised Simeon that he would not die until he had seen the Messiah. Mary and Joseph encountered this elderly man in the temple; the child Jesus was with them. Simeon, knowing the little child in their arms was the Messiah, called him Lord and referred to Jesus as his salvation. Recalling God’s promise, he was now able to depart in peace. He was free to die, for how could he fear even death, after having been comforted with the knowledge that his savior had come?
Early daily prayer services saw this as an appropriate closing to the day, just before bed. For having seen one’s salvation in the Word, a person was then free to depart to sleep without having to fear. Our savior is our comfort, even in the depth of the darkness of night.