|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
SHAUGHNESSY HEIGHTS UNITED CHURCH
PRAYERS AT THE CLOSE OF DAY
Friday, May 22, 2020
Love doesn’t just sit there, like a stone, it has to be made, like bread; remade all the time, made new.
-Ursula K. Le Guin
Christ of truth, who stepped into the chaos and shaped it into calm,
be present with us and comfort us in the midst of our wrestling and
– Sojourners Magazine
Musical Reflection. Panis Angelicus: Caesar Franck https://youtu.be/PK3TeWqSAZk
Heavenly bread that becomes the bread for all;
bread from the angelic host that is the end of all imaginings.
O miraculous thing.
The Lord becomes our food: poor, a servant, and humble.
We beseech you, Godhead One in Three, that you will visit us, as we worship you.
Lead us through your ways, we who wish to reach the light in which you dwell.
-Eucharistic prayer by (St.) Thomas Aquinas
Almighty and everlasting God, you have brought me in safety to the end of this week: Preserve me with your strength and in your love, that I may not stray away from you, nor be overcome by adversity; and in all I do direct me to the fulfilling of your purpose. Amen.
The Divine Hours: Phyllis Tickle
Please note: Psalm 104, written out below, is beautifully and meditatively chanted via this Youtube link: https://youtu.be/dnAbh3Bzzy0
The full Psalm text is also provided there.
Praise the Lord, O my soul
O Lord my God, thou art become exceeding glorious;
thou are clothed with majesty and honour.
Thou deckest thyself with light as it were with a garment
and spreadest out the heavens like a curtain.
Who layeth the beams of his chambers in the waters
and maketh the clouds his chariot,
and walketh upon the wings of the wind.
He maketh his angels spirits
and his ministers a flaming fire.
He laid the foundations of the earth
that it never should move at any time.
Thou coveredst it with the deep
like as with a garment
the waters stand in the hills.
At thy rebuke they flee,
at the voice of thy thunder they are afraid.
They go up as high as the hills,
and down to the valleys beneath
even unto the place which thou hast appointed for them.
Thou hast set them their bounds which they shall not pass
neither turn again to cover the earth.
He sendeth the spring into the rivers
which run among the hills.
All beast of the field drink thereof
and the wild asses quench their thirst.
Beside them shall the fowls of the air have their habitation
and sing among the branches.
He watereth the hills from above,
the earth is filled with the fruit of they works.
He bringeth forth grass for the cattle
and green herb for the service of men;
that he may bring food out of the earth,
and wine that maketh glad the heart of man
and oil to make him a cheerful countenance,
and bread to strengthen man’s heart.
The trees of the Lord also are full of sap
even the cedars of Libanus which he hath planted;
wherein the birds make their nests
and the fir-trees are a dwelling for the stork.
The high hills are a refuge for the wild goats
and so are the stony rocks for the conies.
He appointed the moon for certain seasons
and the sun knoweth his going down.
Thou makest darkness that it may be night
wherein all the beasts of the forest do move.
The lions roaring after their prey
do seek their meat from God.
The sun ariseth, and they get them away together
and lay them down in their dens.
Man goeth forth to his work, and to his labour
until the evening.
Glory be to the Father and to the Son
And to the Holy Ghost.
As it was in the beginning is now and ever shall be,
world without end. Amen.
Jesus then said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, it was not Moses who gave you the bread from heaven, but my Father gives you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is he who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.” They said to him, “Sir, give us this bread always.” Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst.“
John 6: 32-35
Communion Table, St. Edward’s Cambridge
The centuries have settled on this table,
Deepened the grain beneath a clean white cloth
Which bears afresh our changing elements.
Year after year of prayer, in hope and trouble,
Were poured out here and blessed and broken, both
In aching absence and in absent presence.
The table too the earth herself has given
And human hands have made. Where candle-flame
At corners burns and turns the air to light
The oak once held its branches up to heaven,
Blessing the elements which it became,
Rooting the dew and rain, branching the light.
Because another tree can bear, unbearable
For us, the weight of Love, so can this table.
The Singing Bowl: Malcolm Guite
Musical Reflection. Ave verum corpus: W. A. Mozart https://youtu.be/2UXLKmhd920
Hail, true body born of the Virgin Mary,
having truly suffered, sacrificed on the cross for humanity,
from whose pierced side flowed water and blood*.
Be for us a foretaste of the heavenly banquet
in the trial of death.
Ave verum corpus is a short Eucharistic prayer that dates back to the 12th century.
During the Middle Ages it was sung at the elevation of the sacramental bread during the consecration.
*Refers to John 19: 31 Since it was the day of Preparation, the Jews did not want the bodies left on the cross during the sabbath, especially because that sabbath was a day of great solemnity. So they asked Pilate to have the legs of the crucified men broken and the bodies removed. Then the soldiers came and broke the legs of the first and of the other who had been crucified with him 33But when they came to Jesus and saw that he was already dead, they did not break his legs. 34Instead, one of the soldiers pierced his side with a spear, and at once blood and water came out. 35He who saw this has testified so that you also may believe. His testimony is true, and he knows that he tells the truth.
Where once there were parties and travel and offices and restaurants, now there is sourdough.
Loves and loaves and loaves of sourdough.
Getting creative in the kitchen makes my life seem normal: Robin Gertin
Contributed to the Globe and Mail, April 22, 2020
I was born with the adage “food is love” in my DNA. There are a long line of balabustas, the Yiddish expression of good homemakers, who made tasty meals and delectable baked goods for every day and every occasion in my family.
Now, in this global pandemic, the symbolism has never been more powerful. My work with vulnerable seniors has been curtailed for the immediate future. For now, I am the CEO of our family kitchen. I have always been senior management in this department but with this new world disorder, I have received an unspoken promotion.
Every day now, my agenda is clear. It seems important to make an inviting dinner every night. This is the centrepiece of our day. The inquiries begin midmorning when my young-adult sons (home from senior year of high school and from senior year of an undergraduate thesis) sidle into the kitchen like wary cats to cautiously explore the fridge terrain. They ask what is for dinner, with three-quarters of their bodies submerged in the cool shelves. When I answer “shrimp risotto” or “shepherd’s pie” or “pork chops,” complete with Hello Dolly squares or chocolate cake or shortbread cookies, they will turn and glide over to me, again like cats, and gently, affectionately nudge me and purr their approval.
My husband will call home from his essential work around 4 p.m. asking what is up for the evening. He has already been home for lunch, heating up leftover rice and chicken from last night’s meal to get a break from the near empty office and the heavy silence of not enough phones ringing. His daily, late-afternoon call (“Hi Honey, what’s up for the evening?”) is an almost-25-years-of-marriage code that means, “What are you making for dinner?” In the new not-normal, the question carries even greater import. I know he is asking, what are you doing to hold down the fort? He knows he can trust me to be at the ready with Dan Dan noodles or fried rice with tofu and kimchi.
Some days, before these days, I have felt that my dinner contributions have, at times, been taken for granted. Definitely not now. He and the kids are very vocal in their appreciation. We sit together at the kitchen table and talk, really talk, over platters of food, with comforting steam rising up.
My daughter was brought home by the pandemic from a semester abroad, quarantined in the basement of her travel friend and fellow student. In the tense, hurried rush before she landed in Toronto, I asked her if she wanted me to bake chocolate chip cookies or banana bread – in our family these are both mainstays of comfort and normalcy. We rushed to gather bags of groceries and bring her banana bread to the back door of her home away from home. She sends us pictures of her meals away from us; her vegan bowls and avocado toasts have been a kind of comfort. They say she is still herself though she is not with us yet. We carefully set aside frozen edamame, and save our most favourite veggie meals to make when she is with us again.
My husband and I have slowly gathered, careful not to hog or stockpile, canned soup, tins of tuna, a few sweet potatoes and apples. These supplies now live in a cool dark storage area in the basement we have begun to call our “COVID pantry.” It is a modest and motley collection of goods that makes us feel just a little bit calmer. I find myself visiting this little corner, breathing in the distantly sweet smell of the apples.
No one who works from home, paid or not, will be surprised by how busy and distracting the management of the kitchen can be during social isolation. There are nourishing and economical vegetable soups to be assembled, new rice recipes to research and long-ago nostalgic casseroles to recreate. Using our starches, proteins, vegetables and fruits wisely is a bit of a puzzle. My goal is to stretch supplies while nourishing and uplifting. The other day I found myself questioning the morality – the morality! – of using legumes and meat together in one dish.
I miss my work. My other outside-the-kitchen work. Reminiscing makes me realize how often food’s ability to connect and nourish us, both physically and emotionally, comes into play. Many of my most engaging memories concern conversations with seniors and colleagues around food. Sharing snacks and lunches together created greater intimacy and expanded our knowledge of each other. What kind of meals and beverages we enjoy, even crave for comfort and celebration, are sign posts in the journey to draw us nearer to each other. It is why now, in isolation, I will FaceTime friends and family, asking them what they are eating. I so enjoy hearing about their chilis, muffins and stews. It is why I find myself thoughtfully mulling and then making meals of connection for my loved ones, confined to home.
I have only scratched the surface of the meaty subject of food offering a loving message. It is a rich multilayered subject that I will continue to consider, because it both distracts and motivates me. I’ll be in the kitchen if anyone is asking.
Robin Gertin lives in Toronto.
Contributed to the Globe and Mail, April 22, 2020
What Can We Do?
Go, eat your bread with joy, and drink your wine with a merry heart,
for God has already approved what you do.
A Closing Prayer
For the love shared
we are grateful
For provision and nurture
we are grateful
For kindness given
we are grateful.
For the sorrow we’ve caused,
we pray for forgiveness
For injustices ignored,
we pray for forgiveness.
For the encounters with God today, in stranger and friend,
we bid you welcome.
For the encounters missed today,
we know that you always see us
even when we don’t see you.
may we see you
in ways expected and unexpected.
We welcome the dark of the night.
we make space for it, and we mark our place in it.
We remember that you, Jesus of Nazareth,
lived through nights of consolation and desolation.
Daily Prayer: Pádaig Ó Tuama
A Final Musical Reflection. The Lord’s Prayer (Our Father): Nikolay Kedrov, Sr. https://youtu.be/p3iYnHx8P0s
Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed by thy name.
Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread,
and forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass again us.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil. Amen.