In recent years the evening service of Compline has grown in popularity, particularly when sung in a darkened church amidst candlelight and incense. When done this way, the service becomes a mystical, contemplative experience that is particularly appropriate to the season of Lent and its overarching themes of penitence and forgiveness.
This Lenten Service of Compline, drawn from the Episcopal Book of Common Prayer, 1979, is set here to the plainsong chant Audi, benigne Conditor, the Gregorian Vespers hymn for Lent. It can be sung by any group of individuals assembled together. It can be sung by a choir as a Lenten devotion at the end of weekly rehearsal, by a church group at the end of an evening meeting, or as a scheduled service in a parish’s regular weekly (or daily) rotation of liturgies in the Lenten season. The service is short, and can be sung simply as presented here to great effect. Alternatively, there is the possibility of incorporating anthems or motets at various points in the liturgy.