I feel like I haven't stopped. going. talking. doing. moving. There have been long days at work, and more of them; more dinners & get-togethers (well-worth it); and overall, just more busyness. So little room for sitting, for stopping, for being bored. I have rushed about, and probably, overlooked Jesus in many ways. My weeks have been so busy, that I am thankful for how I've spent my last two Sunday nights.
The last two weeks, I have gone to the old Episcopal Church in Chapel Hill, Chapel of the Cross, for an old, super-traditional service called "Compline." I used to attend this service some when I was in college -- when it felt like life was getting away from me, and I was about a thread away from unraveling.
At Chapel of the Cross, the service is held on Sunday evenings at 9:30. You walk into a dark sanctuary, lit only dimly. The candles in the Nave are the only bright thing in the room. During December, the Advent wreath shines brightly as well, reminding you that Christ's light has pierced the darkness. Before it begins, someone walks through the sanctuary with incense. It's intense, and at first it's overwhelming. But then it almost unlocks you, and makes you more aware, more sensitized.
A small choir walks in, turns on the lights over their music, and sings for about 20 minutes. They sing psalms, liturgy, prayers. They aren't always on-key, but nonetheless, it's beautiful. They get to the last song, and just when your heart and your mind have finally settled down, stopped wandering, and you forget that you are sitting on a rock-hard pew, they sing Amen -- in a yawning sort of way. It's over. It's time to go.
After doing some research (meaning, I googled "Sung compline"), I quickly discovered something interesting. The English word Compline is derived from the Latin completorium, as Compline is the completion of the working day. So literally, this service is saying "The day is done. Work is over. Rest."
In a way, it reminds me of all the times I heard or sang "Taps" when I was at summer camp. Taps is a musical piece sounded at dusk (and at funerals), particularly by the Military. The lyrics say:
Day is done, gone the sun From the lakes, from the hills, from the sky All is well, safely rest God is nigh.
Again, it's that idea of "The day is over. It's done. God is near. Be quiet."
Compline isn't being offered the rest of the calendar year (they only hold it when school is in session), but now I've realized I don't need to just set aside time in my schedule to go to Compline. I need to implement a kind of Compline in my own life. I need to, at the end of the day, stop, reflect, listen. I need to do nothing. I don't just need to read, and study the Bible -- there is something deeply refreshing and vital about sitting, and doing or saying nothing, and letting God draw near.