Compline in time of coronavirus: 1. Third Sunday of Lent

Choir 03-15-20

The Compline Choir, St. Mark’s Cathedral, Seattle – March 15, 2020

On Sunday, March 15, 2020, the Office of Compline at St. Mark’s Cathedral, Seattle, was sung by nine choir members and their director, Jason Anderson, to an empty cathedral – due to the closing of schools, churches, and other large gatherings because of coronavirus. It also occasioned the first live streaming of Compline in its 64-year-old history. The choir members singing observed strict health precautions including the appropriate social distancing; members over 60 and others vulnerable to contagion were not invited to sing. It is anticipated that this mode of offering the Office of Compline at St. Mark’s will continue for some time.

In its long history, the Compline Service has always been sung from the back corner of the Cathedral (and away from the direct field of vision of the congregants; thus the focus is not on the choir but upon intentional listening for congregants. Since 1962, when the service was first carried by KING-FM 98.1, and then on the world wide web live through and through podcast at, the Compline Service has had a “virtual congregation.” Now, with the Cathedral closed temporarily, the congregation has become by necessity completely “virtual.”

For this reason, the Compline Underground (which originates from Seattle) will issue links to the rebroadcast of the service, enhanced at first with the words to four parts of the service (Orison, Psalm, Hymn, and Anthem), given below. For future rebroadcasts, more of the text of the whole service may be printed. This is offered especially for those who usually attend the service and are now confined to a “virtual” community.

To continue to see the words below, and the podcast or video stream at the same time in another window, just right-click on either the link to the Podcast or the Video Stream, and select “Open link in new window.”


Video Stream

(The music for this service was selected with the current situation in mind. A setting of the Lamentations of Jeremiah is typically offered as the Anthem during the Sundays of Lent.)

ORISON: O Holy Spirit, by whose breath, life rises (Tune: Veni Creator Spiritus)– Plainsong, Mode VIII

O Holy Spirit, by whose breath, life rises vibrant out of death;
come to create, renew, inspire; come, kindle in our hearts your fire.

You are the seeker’s sure resource, of burning love the living source,
protector in the midst of strife, the giver and the Lord of life.

In you God’s energy is shown, to us your varied gifts make known.
Teach us to speak, teach us to hear; yours is the tongue and yours the ear.

Flood our dull senses with your light; in mutual love our hearts unite.
Your power the whole creation fills; confirm our weak, uncertain wills.

From inner strife grant us release; turn nations to the ways of peace.
To fuller life your people bring that as one body we may sing:

Praise to the Father, Christ, his Word, and to the Spirit: God the Lord,
to whom all honor, glory be both now and for eternity.

PSALM 91 – Plainsong, Tone IV.4

He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High, *
abides under the shadow of the Almighty.

He shall say to the LORD,”You are my refuge and my stronghold, *
my God in whom I put my trust.”

He shall deliver you from the snare of the hunter *
and from the deadly pestilence.

He shall cover you with his pinions, and you shall find refuge under his wings; *
his faithfulness shall be a shield and buckler.

You shall not be afraid of any terror by night, *
nor of the arrow that flies by day;

Of the plague that stalks in the darkness, *
nor of the sickness that lays waste at mid-day.

A thousand shall fall at your side, and ten thousand at your right hand, *
but it shall not come near you.

Your eyes have only to behold *
to see the reward of the wicked.

Because you have made the LORD your refuge, *
and the Most High your habitation,

There shall no evil happen to you, *
neither shall any plague come near your dwelling.

For he shall give his angels charge over you, *
to keep you in all your ways.

They shall bear you in their hands, *
lest you dash your foot against a stone.

You shall tread upon the lion and the adder; *
you shall trample the young lion and the serpent under your feet.

Because he is bound to me in love, therefore will I deliver him; *
I will protect him, because he knows my Name.

He shall call upon me, and I will answer him; *
I am with him in trouble; I will rescue him and bring him to honor.

With long life will I satisfy him, *
and show him my salvation.

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit: *
as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be forever. Amen.

HYMN: All who love and serve your city (Tune: Charlestown) – mel. from The Southern Harmony, 1835; harm. Alastair Cassels-Brown (1927-2001), alt., and Jason A. Anderson (b. 1976)

All who love and serve your city, all who bear its daily stress,
all who cry for peace and justice, all who curse and all who bless,

In your day of loss and sorrow, in your day of helpless strife,
honor, peace, and love retreating, seek the Lord, who is your life.

In your day of wealth and plenty, wasted work and wasted play,
call to mind the word of Jesus, “I must work while it is day.”

For all days are days of judgment, and the Lord is waiting still,
drawing near a world that spurns him, offering peace from Calvary’s hill.

Risen Lord! shall yet the city be the city of despair?
Come today, our Judge, our Glory; be its name, “The Lord is there!”

ANTHEM: Lamentations of Jeremiah (Setting I) – Thomas Tallis (c. 1505-1585)

Here beginneth the Lamentations of the prophet Jeremiah:
Aleph. How lonely sits the city that was full of people! How like a widow has she become, she that was great among the nations!
She that was a princess among the cities has become a vassal.
Beth. She weeps bitterly in the night, tears on her cheeks; among all her lovers she has none to comfort her;
all her friends have dealt treacherously with her, they have become her enemies.
(Refrain) Jerusalem, Jerusalem, turn thee to the Lord thy God.

  1. Leave a comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: