16 December 2011

a word from compline

I do so love words, which may be part of the reason I resonate so deeply with liturgy. When you don't know what else to say to God, it is a comfort to be able to turn to these words that people have been praying for hundreds of years.

And there is something to the communal voice, to saying the same thing as everyone around you.

Some mumble, some enunciate, some whisper.

But there are all the voices around you, and you can feel the words swelling and building. I have more to say about the liturgy, but right now, words are feeling a bit inadequate and all I want to say is: At my small group the other night—after we ate Christmas cookies and shared Christmas stories—we did compline, which is an evening prayer service.

It's a hushed service that makes you think of wearing footie pajamas and having hot milk before bed. You half-expect the children's prayer "Now I lay me down to sleep" to be in there, complete with that line about "if I should die before I wake, I pray the Lord my soul to take."

{I used to prayer that every night, and I always tacked on: "God bless Mommy, Daddy, and the whole wide world. Amen." Didn't see the need to list my sister and brothers by name; they were covered by the whole wide world comment, of course.}

After doing compline, I always want to crawl directly into bed, which I couldn't do the other night because I was not at my own home and that would be awkward.

This prayer especially stuck with me during Tuesday night's compline, and I wanted to share them with you {along with, apparently, a blabbering-on about liturgy and footie pajamas}:
Be present, O merciful God, and protect us through the hours of this night, so that we who are wearied by the changes and chances of this life may rest in your eternal changelessness; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

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