In the Lectionary

December 3, Advent 1B (Mark 13:2437)

Keep awake, Jesus says, for God’s new world is coming.

In the Book of Common Prayer, the service for compline (night prayer) includes the following closing prayer, attributed to Augustine:

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, give rest to the weary, bless the dying, soothe the suffering, comfort the afflicted, shield the joyous; and all for your love’s sake.

When I was in seminary, a joint group of Lutheran and Catholic students shared compline together each Tuesday night. We sat in the choir stalls at the front of the Princeton University Chapel, in near darkness, our songs and prayers echoing throughout the vast stone church.