The Psalms – Compline

I think we had a good first meeting last night. If you have any suggestions to make it better, please let me know. This week we will look at the Psalms of the Compline service, and not only the four Psalms explicitly mentioned in the service, but also other psalms that find their way into the service within the various prayers and responses. In preparing for this week please continue or start a daily reading of the Psalms. You can start with Psalm 59 which is the first psalm for the evening reading for this evening. Also please read through the Compline service and see what other psalms you can find. As to the four psalms set forth in that service (4, 31, 91, and 134) think about the meaning of those psalms and why the same are included in this service. In Mike Aquilinia’s book, Praying the Psalms with the Early Christians, the commentary to Psalm 4 is from Gregory of Nanzianzus’s oration on the death of his sister in which Gregory writes:

But as her pastor was carefully watching her, he perceived that her lips were gently moving, and placed his ear to them. Under her breath she was repeating a psalm— the last words of a psalm— to say the truth, a testimony to the boldness with which she was departing, and blessed is he who can fall asleep with these words, “I will lay me down in peace, and take my rest.” (Ps 4:8) Thus were you singing, fairest of women, and thus it fell out unto you; and the song became a reality, and attended on your departure as a memorial of you, who hast entered upon sweet peace after suffering, and received (over and above the rest which comes to all), that sleep which is due to the beloved, as befitted one who lived and died amid the words of piety.

St. Gregory of Nazianzus, On His Sister Georgina, para. 22, (c.370).

Teaching Notes:
BCP 127-35
     Psalms 4, 31, 91, 134, (124, 40, 17, 102)

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