Friday, March 27, 2020

The Value of Repetition and Memorization

When I was a child, I hated the repetition in church services--everything was the same, week after week.  It was so boring.  Why couldn't we have a change?

My parents pointed out the value in repetition.  We would memorize songs and Bible verses, and therefore, they'd always be available to us.  We might not always have a book to consult (and this was WAY before the age of mobile devices).

I huffed and puffed my way through adolescence, shaking my head over all the lost opportunities.  But in the past week, I've been so grateful for all the various words and music that have lodged in my head and bubbled up when I most needed it.

I've been having some trouble sleeping.  I have trouble falling asleep, and then I have trouble staying asleep.  I've had the words and music of Compline drifting through my head.

If you want to have access to those words, here's a site that has the whole Compline service from the Book of Common Prayer.  I've been singing Compline off and on since my teenage years, but I most associate Compline service with Mepkin Abbey.  It's my favorite service. I love ending the day with the simple, dimly lit service, with the Abbot splashing us each with water from the baptismal font.

The Mepkin service uses part of Psalm 91, and some of those words have been percolating during the past week.  That psalm has lots of language about all that might be stalking us, but as you can imagine, it's the imagery of plague and pestilence that I return to.  Verses 5 and 6 seem particularly relevant this week:  "5 You will not fear the terror of the night, or the arrow that flies by day, 6 or the pestilence that stalks in darkness, or the destruction that wastes at noonday."

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