“The Lord almighty grant us a peaceful night and a perfect end.”

Of the Daily Offices I have always appreciated most Compline. It is the prayers at the end of the day and were written at a time when people were far more conscious of the fact that any day might be the end of this worldly life for them. Most of us, in the developed world at least, don’t think about death until it is thrust upon us. I think this is one reason why so many want to water-down the eschatological messages of Jesus and the rest of the Bible; we simply don’t want to think about the end of this life, this world. At least until it is thrust upon us.

Memorial altar
A niche memorial in the crypt at the Old North Church, Boston. On either side is the modern columbarium. Behind the white brick wall is the crypt from the 17th and 18th centuries.

Tonight as I read the service after a day full of the usual stress of work and anxieties I find it bringing me a greater peace than I have known in ages. I am grateful for this, deeply grateful.

A portion of the service:


Into your hands, O Lord, I commend my spirit;

For you have redeemed me, O Lord, O God of truth.

Keep us, O Lord, as the apple of your eye;

Hide us under the shadow of your wings.

Lord, have mercy.

Christ, have mercy.

Lord, have mercy.



Lord, hear our prayer.

And let our cry come unto you.

Let us pray.

Look down, O Lord, from your heavenly throne, and illumine this night with your celestial brightness; that by night as by day your people may glorify your holy Name; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.



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.

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