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Friday, June 5 – Evening Prayers

Compline, also known as Night Prayer or the Prayers at the End of the Day, is a service of the Divine Office of the Western Christian Church.  Derived from the Latin word completorium, Compline prayerfully acknowledges the completion of the working day and is often said just before retiring for the night.


As a way for our Shaughnessy Faith Community to gather again and acknowledge the end of another challenging week, either because of social distancing and isolation or because of worrisome work conditions, we invite you to set aside some time this evening. Take a moment to catch your breath. Settle yourself into a comfortable chair, pour a cup of tea, light a candle, and allow yourself to refresh and nourish your soul. Follow the short service below, listen to the music suggestions via the Youtube links (again, ads are unfortunately unavoidable), and give yourself up to quiet meditation and reflection. And even though we are doing this as individuals, we are also doing this as a faith community, connecting ourselves to each other in prayer and intention.

You are invited to share this service with others.

We ask that anyone using this document, outside of our own SHUC community,

to please acknowledge that this is the work of

Shaughnessy Heights United Church, Vancouver, Canada




Friday, June 5, 2020


You anoint my head with oil, my cup overflows.

Psalm 23:5

 God’s Presence

O powerful love of God…Your love seeks nothing but company.

-Theresa of Ávila

 Our Prayer

Keep watch, dear Lord, with those who work, or watch,

or weep this night,

and give your angels charge over those who sleep.

Tend the sick, Lord Christ; give rest to the weary, bless the dying,

soothe the suffering, pity the afflicted, shield the joyous,

and all for your love’s sake. Amen.

Augustine of Hippo | Book of Common Prayer

Musical Reflection

O Redeemer: Luke Mayernick

A Hymn for the Blessing of Oils and Consecrating Chrism

[Chrism, also known as myrrh or holy anointing oil, is a consecrated oil used in the

Christian church in the administration of certain sacraments and ecclesiastical functions.

It is commonly blessed on Maundy Thursday for use in the upcoming year.]

O Redeemer, hear our singing as we praise you with one voice.

Sunlight makes the olives fruitful,

From the fruit the oil is pressed; Savior of the generations,

Now we bring it to be blessed.

O Redeemer, hear our singing as we praise you with one voice.

In your kindness, King immortal,

Consecrate this olive oil;

May it be a sign and safeguard

And the schemes of Satan foil.

O Redeemer, hear our singing as we praise you with one voice.

May all people, men and women,

Through this Chrism be made new,

That the wound to their first glory

May be healed, O Lord, by you.

O Redeemer, hear our singing as we praise you with one voice.


Anointing Oil

Then the Lord said to Moses,  “Take the following fine spices: 500 shekels[a] of liquid myrrh, half as much (that is, 250 shekels) of fragrant cinnamon, 250 shekels[b] of fragrant calamus,  500 shekels of cassia—all according to the sanctuary shekel—and a hin[c] of olive oil.  Make these into a sacred anointing oil, a fragrant blend, the work of a perfumer. It will be the sacred anointing oil.  Then use it to anoint the tent of meeting, the ark of the covenant law,  the table and all its articles, the lampstand and its accessories, the altar of incense,  the altar of burnt offering and all its utensils, and the basin with its stand.  You shall consecrate them so they will be most holy, and whatever touches them will be holy.

“Anoint Aaron and his sons and consecrate them so they may serve me as priests. Say to the Israelites, ‘This is to be my sacred anointing oil for the generations to come.  Do not pour it on anyone else’s body and do not make any other oil using the same formula. It is sacred, and you are to consider it sacred.  Whoever makes perfume like it and puts it on anyone other than a priest must be cut off from their people.’”


Then the Lord said to Moses, “Take fragrant spices—gum resin, onycha and galbanum—and pure frankincense, all in equal amounts, and make a fragrant blend of incense, the work of a perfumer. It is to be salted and pure and sacred. Grind some of it to powder and place it in front of the ark of the covenant law in the tent of meeting, where I will meet with you. It shall be most holy to you. Do not make any incense with this formula for yourselves; consider it holy to the Lord. Whoever makes incense like it to enjoy its fragrance must be cut off from their people.”

Exodus 30: 22-38 NIV

  1. Exodus 30:23That is, about 12 1/2 pounds or about 5.8 kilograms
  2. Exodus 30:23That is, about 6 1/4 pounds or about 2.9 kilograms
  3. Exodus 30:24That is, probably about 1 gallon or about 3.8 liters

Musical Reflection

Stetit Angelus: Rihards Dubra

An angel stood near the altar of the temple holding a golden censer in his hand.

And the incense smoke ascended before the presence of the Lord from the angel’s hand.

Revelation 8: 3-4


My heart overflows with gratitude and peace;

I address my verses to the Heart of all hearts;

My tongue is like the pen of a ready scribe.


You are the fairest of all humankind;

Grace is poured upon your lips;

You, who are closer than our own breath,

We shall bless You forever.

With mercy and strength go forth

for the cause of Truth to teach Love’s way;

With resolute authority lead your people toward wholeness.

Your love is unconditional, without reserve.

Therefore, O Creator, O Heart of Love,

anoint us with the oil of gladness to share with all;

your raiment is as fragrant blossoms,

healing herbs of kindness.


From every direction stringed instruments will gladden our hearts;

our friends will be filled with integrity,

standing beside us in times of need.

Hear, O peoples, consider, and incline your ear;

Forget what has gone before you;

Turn your feet to the path of Love.

Open your hearts to the Beloved,

Learn of humility, be blessed in brokenness,

For these are the treasures stored in eternity.

Excerpt of Psalm 45  Psalms for Prayer: Nan C. Merrill


Musical Reflection

Psalm 23: Craig Courtney  Craig Courtney

Please note: the text will appear if you click on “Show More”

The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.

He leads me beside still waters.

He restores my soul.

He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,

I will fear no evil, for you are with me.

Your road and staff, they comfort me.

You prepare a table for me in the presence of my enemies.

You anoint my head with oil;

My cup overflows.

Surely love and goodness will follow me all the days of my life,

And I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. Amen.

Psalm 23


To the freed slaves, God smelled like cinnamon, cassia, olive oil, and myrrh – sweet and earthy, nutty and warm. When Moses met God on Mount Sinai, God sent him back with a recipe for oil. This oil would anoint the temple, the altar, the religious furnishings, even the priests. No one else was to use that same perfume, God said. “Think of it as holy to me” (Exodus 30: 22-38).

We know now what the Creator knew then: that the olfactory nerve is connected to the amygdala, the part of the brain associated with memory and emotion, which is why the fragrance of a particular flower or the scent of a certain soap can suddenly flood a body with a memory, stunning in its visceral clarity. God wanted his people to know his scent. He wanted them to remember.

And so the pages of Scripture positively drip with oil. Nearly two hundred references speak of oil to light lamps, oil to soothe dry skin, oil to honor guests, oil to mark a sacred place, oil to solemnize a commitment, oil to entice, oil to comfort, oil to consecrate, oil to heal, oil to anoint priests, prophets, and kings, oil to prepare a body for burial.

To the ancient Israelites, prayer smelled like frankincense – balsamic, resinous, piney – said to be especially sweet to God’s senses and thus continuously burned in the temple. Cleansing smelled like fresh hyssop, sex like cinnamon, saffron, and nard. Royalty smelled like myrrh – warm, pungent, and woody – and oil also used in burial and to celebrate weddings. Wealth smelled like thick, aromatic spikenard, temple sacrifice like hyssop and cedar wood. For anointing, the prophets employed olive oil, perhaps with a touch of sweet cassia. To be anointed with oil was to be chosen, consecrated, and commissioned for a holy task. Messiah, or Christ, means “Anointed One.”

“The Spirit of the Lord is on me,” the Messiah said, “because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovers of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free” (Luke 4:18).

…The ancients knew, too, the healing properties of oils, which were applied to wounds and ingested as medicine. When James instructs the early church to anoint the sick with oil and to lay their hands on the sick and pray, the prescription is both practical and spiritually significant. The journey through suffering is a fraught and holy commission, one the Messiah himself knew well. Healing may come through medicine, through prayer, through presence and scent and calming touch, or through the consecrating of the journey as holy, dignified, and not without purpose or grace…Even in death, the sick are anointed, reminded that the seal of the Holy Spirit is more permanent than the grave.

There is nothing magic about oil. It is merely a carrier – of memory, of healing, of grace. We anoint not to cure, but to heal. We anoint to soothe, to dignify, and even in our suffering, to remember the scent of God.

Searching for Sunday: Rachel Held Evans

Musical Reflection

Jesus, bliebet meine Freude: J. S. Bach

Jesus remains my joy, my heart’s comfort and sap.

Jesus obviates all misfortune.

He is my life’s strength, my eye’s delight and sun,

My soul’s treasure and bliss.

Therefore, I will not let Jesus go from my heart and sight.


While he was in Bethany, reclining at the table in the home of Simon the Leper, a woman came with an alabaster jar of very expensive perfume, made of pure nard. She broke the jar and poured the perfume on his head. Some of those present were saying indignantly to one another, “Why this waste of perfume? It could have been sold for more than a year’s wages and the money given to the poor.” And they rebuked her harshly. “Leave her alone,” said Jesus. “Why are you bothering her? She has done a beautiful thing to me. The poor you will always have with you, and you can help them any time you want. But you will not always have me. She did what she could. She poured perfume on my body beforehand to prepare for my burial.”

Mark 14: 3-8

What Can We Do?

When we meet you,

may we deepen trust,

deepen life,

deepen justice

and deepen joy.

-Pádraig Ó Tuama


Closing Prayer

May the touch of your skin

Register the beauty

Of the otherness

That surrounds you.


May your listening be attuned

To the deeper silence

Where sound is honed

To bring distance home.


May the fragrance

Of a breathing meadow

Refresh your heart

And remind you you are

A child of the earth.


And when you partake

Of food and drink,

May your taste quicken

To the gift and sweetness

That flows from the earth.


May your inner eye

See through the surfaces

And glean the real presence

Of everything that meets you.


May your soul beautify

The desire of your eyes

That you might glimpse

The infinity that hides

In the simple sights

That seem worn

To your usual eyes.

To Bless the Space Between Us: John O’Donohue

Final Musical Reflection

Epiphany Carol: Alexander L’Estrange

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