He is the Light; therefore is he the Sun of our souls.
He is the Life; therefore we live in him.
He is Holiness; therefore is he the slayer of sin.
He is Salvation ; therefore it is he who has purchased
the whole world with his blood.
He is the Resurrection; therefore it is he who has set free
those who are in the tomb,
and has made them new a second time by his blood.
He is the Way; therefore he is the guide to his Father.
He is the Door; therefore he is the guide into paradise.
He is the Shepherd; therefore he is the seeker after the sheep which is lost.
He is the Lamb; therefore he is the cleanser of the world from its impurity.
This is my God; I will ascribe glory to him,
for to him belong glory and power for all ages and ages. Amen.
Source: Sermon on a papyrus, possibly fourth century
O blessed Spirit of Truth,
you search the heart and test the inmost thoughts,
help me remember my sins,
and let me see them in your light.
Strengthen me also with courage to confess them truly,
hiding nothing, excusing nothing,
keeping back nothing in my heart.
In your mercy, pardon and absolve,
and thus heal me,
that I may arise and sin no more,
through the merits and for the sake
of Jesus Christ, my Lord and only Savior. Amen.
Source: Mozarabic Sacramentary, 7th Century
Source of this version: Freely modified from Prayers of the Middle Ages, edited by J. Manning Potts, 1954.
The Lorrha Missal (also called the Stowe Missal) was a book containing the texts of the mass, written in Ireland in the late 8th century. It begins in the same way as the Roman rite, but becomes a beautiful poem on the attributes of God.
The Lord be with you. And also with you.
Lift up your hearts. We lift them up to the Lord.
Let us give thanks to the Lord our God. It good and right.
It is truly good, right and salutary
for us to give thanks to you always and everywhere,
holy Lord, almighty and eternal God,
through Christ our Lord;
with your only Son and the Holy Spirit you are
one immortal God,
incorruptible and unchangeable God,
invisible and faithful God,
wonderful and praiseworthy God,
honorable and mighty God,
most high and magnificent God,
living and true God,
wise and powerful God,
holy and glorious God,
great and good God,
awesome and peaceful God,
beautiful and righteous God,
pure and benevolent God,
blessed and just God,
pious and holy God,
not one singular person,
but one Trinity of substance.
We believe you.
We bless you.
We adore you.
We praise your name forever and ever
through him who is the salvation of the world,
through him who is the life of humanity,
through him who is the resurrection of the dead.
Through him the angels praise your majesty,
the dominions adore,
the powers of the highest heaven tremble,
the virtues of the blessed seraphim rejoice together.
We pray, grant that we may join our voices with theirs, confessing you and saying:
Holy, holy, holy Lord, God of Sabaoth. Heaven and earth are full of your glory. Hosanna in the highest. Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord. Hosanna in the highest.
Blessed is he who came down from heaven that he might live on the earth, be made fully human, and gave his flesh as a sacrificial victim, and by his passion gave eternal life to those who believe.
the true Word,
born of a virgin,
tender shoot from the stump of Jesse,
by him souls were set free,
through his blood all were redeemed,
the earth rejoiced because the enemy departed,
death of death,
you gave freedom to your new creation
that rejoices to call you Master.
Jesus, Lamb of God,
you forgive the sins of the world.
We call on your holy name.
Source: Greek Papyrus Fragment, Cairo Museum, Fourth Century
“death of death, hell’s destruction” on p. 293 of The New Archaeological Discoveries… a similar prayer has the phrase, “the one that has abolished death and the grave (Hades).” The phrase “death of death…” is from the hymn “Guide Me, O Thou Great Jehovah” by William Williams.
the true Word,
the God of eternity
the blessed Lamb,
by him souls were set free
through his blood …
the earth rejoiced because the enemy departed
You gave freedom to the creation
that asked for a Master.
Jesus, you …
forgive sins …
we call on your holy name.
Praise and adoration
be to our God,
for he is good.
His grace and mercy
fill the heavens and earth.
Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving,
and joyfully praise
As a father,
he loves us,
Sing his praises
with joyful thanks
in love and devotion!
Let us love him
who has loved us
since the world began.
Who would not
love God from the heart?
We can not give him
Still, in heaven
he receives with goodwill
our joyful songs of praise
and pours much joy into our souls,
whenever we thank him,
whenever we live in him.
Sing to Jesus Christ
praise, thanks and glory,
for he came from heaven
to destroy sin and death for us
and by his precious, willing sacrifice,
restored innocence and peace.
Already here on earth
he renews joy and life to us
by his grace.
Still greater bliss is prepared there
for those who love him
when one day they will be renewed in his image,
made new and holy,
and awakened from death.
Let us rejoice in our holy God!
Let us rejoice in our eternal God!
How blessed it is to praise him
here, and then in heaven.
He is our holiness!
He is our life!
He always loves us, his children.
Almighty Lord our God,
guide our feet into the way of peace,
and strengthen our hearts to obey your commands.
May the sunrise dawn upon us
and give light to those who sit in darkness
and in the shadow of death,
that they may adore you for your mercy,
follow you for your truth,
desire you for your sweetness,
for you are the blessed Lord God of Israel.
Holy, holy, holy Lord,
Heaven and earth
are full of your glory.
We worship you.
We give you thanks for your marvelous deeds,
Lord God, heavenly King,
God and Father, Almighty Lord.
Jesus Christ, only Son of the most high,
Holy Spirit, Spirit of peace, truth and grace,
to you, eternal God, be praise for all your works.
Your might is eternal,
and your love unwavering.
Look with mercy on your people
who gather in your sanctuary to worship you,
to thank you for all your benefits for body and soul,
to implore your grace
to enlighten us in knowledge of you
and to instruct our hearts,
that we may bring the holy offerings
of devout obedience to you.
This canticle seems to blend the Trisagion,an opening hymn in Eastern Orthodox worship, with the Gloria in Excelsis, along with some other elements.
Original in German:
Heiliger! Heiliger! Heiliger! HErr! Gott! Allmächtiger! Himmel und Erde sind Deiner Herrlichkeit voll; wir beten Dich an, wir danken Dir für Deine Wunder, HErr Gott! himmlischer König! Gott Vater! Allmächtiger HErr! eingeborner Sohn des Allerhöchsten! Jesus Christus! Heiliger Geist! Geist des Friedens, der Wahrheit und der Gnade! Dich, ewiger Gott, loben alle Deine Werke; ewig , wie Du selbst, ist Deine Macht, unwandelbar Deine Liebe; blicke mit Milde herab auf Dein Volk, welches versammelt ist in Deinem Heiligthutne, Dich anzubeten, Dir zu danken für Deine Wohlhaten, und für sich, im Geistigen und Leiblichen, Deine Gnade zu erflehen ; erleuchte unsern Verstand zu Deiner Erkenntniss und lehre unsere Herzen, die heiligen Opfer eines ächten Gehorsams darzubringen!
In most liturgies, the Agnus Dei immediately follows the Words of Institution. The Agnus Dei is based on John the Baptist’s short sermon, “Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.” This short song brings the liturgy of the Divine Service to a sort of fulfillment. In the Kyrie we sang “Lord, have mercy. Christ, have mercy. Lord, have mercy.” In the Agnus Dei, this is repeated: “Lamb of God,… have mercy on us,… have mercy on us,… grant us peace.” In the Gloria in Excelsis we sang most of the words while singing the praise of Christ, “Lord God, Lamb of God, you take away the sin of the world: have mercy on us.” The words of the Agnus Dei also reflect on the words of Jesus in the Lord’s Supper, “Given and poured out for you for the forgiveness of sins.”
In one form or another, the Agnus Dei has been part of the Western Rite since the seventh century. It is has been called the “fraction anthem,” meaning that the bread for Holy Communion would be broken while it is sung. In some traditions, the distribution of Holy Communion begins with the Agnus Dei. Here is the standard English text from ELLC:
Lamb of God, you take away the sin of the world, have mercy on us. Lamb of God, you take away the sin of the world, have mercy on us. Lamb of God, you take away the sin of the world, grant us peace.
The German translation from the time of the Reformation added “Christe,” or “O Christ,” either to clarify who the Lamb of God is, or to fill out the meter of the notes so that the German text could be sung to the same notes as the Latin. Here is the German tune from Luther’s Deutsches Messe,“Christe, du Lamm Gottes.”
And in the video it is sung with the English text, “O Christ, Lamb of God” at the 2017 WELS National Worship Conference. It is preceded by an intonation and a new harmonization by Kermit Moldenhauer.
Since the Reformation, this hymn version of the Agnus Dei by Nicholas Deciuswas also sung as a German Agnus Dei:
Here it is in English with the new standard text in a contemporary setting by Ricky Manalo:
Here is the Latin text, sung to a setting by Samuel Barber. When performed by an orchestra with no choir, it is called the Adagio for Strings. It is very beautiful and haunting with the Latin text:
The Sanctus is in the Communion part of the Divine Service. The text comes from Isaiah’s vision of heaven (Isaiah 6) and John’s vision of heaven in Revelation (Revelation 4) and includes a phrase from the Palm Sunday Gospel, “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord. Hosanna in the highest” (Matthew 21:9). It is thought to have this place in the liturgy, at the end of a prayer of thanksgiving before the words of institution, since the fifth century. It’s origins in Christian worship may go back to the second century.
The use of “Holy, holy, holy,” together with “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord” has some doctrinal implications. When they heard the song or shout of the angels, “Holy, holy, holy,” Isaiah and John were in the presence of God. The Palm Sunday acclamation also states, “Your Savior is here.” There is a connection between the Sanctus and the doctrine of the real presence in the Lord’s Supper. (More on that below.)
Holy, holy, holy Lord, God of power and might, heaven and earth are full of your glory. Hosanna in the highest. Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord. Hosanna in the highest.
Some arrangements use the phrase: “Lord, God of hosts.”
And the older English text from The Common Service Book of the Lutheran Church. “Sabaoth” is a Hebrew word meaning ‘armies’ or ‘hosts,’ as in the heavenly hosts of angels and all the power of nature. I’ll mention something more about this with the Greek text below:
Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God of Sabaoth; Heaven and earth are full of Thy glory; Hosanna in the highest. Blessed is He that cometh in the Name of the Lord; Hosanna in the highest.
The Book of Common Prayer inserts “Glory to thee,…” and makes “Blessed is he…” optional. This is because some Anglicans taught real presence and some taught representation in the doctrine of the Lord’s Supper. (I told you it was doctrinal!):
Holy, holy, holy, Lord God of Hosts: Heaven and earth are full of thy Glory. Glory be to thee, O Lord Most High.
Here may be added
Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord. Hosanna in the highest.
The Greek text in Revelation 4 has παντοκρατωρ (pantokrator)instead of Σαβαώθ (Sabaoth).Pantokrator is a word that means “powerful over all.”
Text in Latin:
Sanctus, Sanctus, Sanctus
Dominus Deus Sabaoth.
Pleni sunt cæli et terra gloria tua.
Hosanna in excelsis.
Benedictus qui venit in nomine Domini.
Hosanna in excelsis.
Some musical arrangements try to portray these words with the sublime bliss of heaven. Here’s one based on Pachelbel’s Kanon that is similar to the style of Enya:
Some arrangements seem to focus on the Pantokrator or Sabaoth, that the God who is present, our Saving God who comes to us, is powerful over all. Here it is as it appeared in The Lutheran Hymnal and also in Lutheran Service Book and in Christian Worship: A Lutheran Hymnal‘s Common Service.
This recording includes the Sursum Corda (a dialogue before the preface) the chant of the preface, and then the Sanctus. In different liturgy and accompaniment books, I could only find the tune credited as “traditional.” In an older German source (Choralbuch, Concordia, 1902), this tune is listed with the note “Seit c. 1848 allhier verbreitet.” (“Widely used since around 1848”).
Here is another Sanctus that has been used in many Lutheran hymnals, and a version of it is in Lutheran Book of Worship (Setting Two) and Evangelical Lutheran Worship (Setting Four).
And here is how it appeared in Service Book and Hymnal, 1959. This recording also includes the Sursum Corda/Preface.
Here is the German text with a tune arranged by Johann Sebastian Bach:
Here is Mozart’s Sanctus. (The video says its from his Requiem, but that is not correct. ):
Luther’s hymn Jesaia, dem Propheten, Isaiah, Mighty Seer in Days of Old retells the vision from Isaiah 6, and among German Lutherans, this hymn took the place of the Sanctus, or was even called the German Sanctus. Here it is as arranged by Michael Praetorius with much tone-painting that supports the meaning of the words:
And here is Isaiah, Mighty Seer sung in English at the 2017 WELS National Worship Conference. It is performed by a children’s choir, adult choir, assembly, organ, brass and percussion. I was there for the performance, and it also conveyed the awe and the power of our thrice-holy God. The recording begins with the Exhortation from Luther’s Deutsches Messe, and is followed by Isaiah, Mighty Seer:
The Nicene Creed was written at the Council of Nicea in A. D. 325, and completed in close to its present form at the Council of Constantinople in A. D. 381. (Sometimes it is called the Niceno-Constantinopolitan Creed.) It was written as a response to confusion about the doctrines of the Trinity and the dual nature of Christ as God and man. It draws heavily from Scripture. You can see a reflection of John chapter 1 in the second article about the dual nature of Christ. It has always been used as a creed of the church, and so it begins “We believe.” The Apostles’ Creed was originally a personal confession of faith at a person’s baptism, and so it begins “I believe.” The Nicene Creed is a part of the Divine Service as the congregation’s response to the Word. “We have heard… and so, we believe.” Later translations changed the first words of each article to the singular “I,” but modern practice has been to return to the original beginning and intent of the creed as the confession of the assembled church.
We believe in one God,
the Father, the Almighty,
maker of heaven and earth,
of all that is, seen and unseen.
We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ,
the only Son of God,
eternally begotten of the Father,
God from God, Light from Light,
true God from true God,
begotten, not made,
of one Being with the Father;
through him all things were made.
For us and for our salvation
he came down from heaven,
was incarnate of the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary
and became truly human.
For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate;
he suffered death and was buried.
On the third day he rose again
in accordance with the Scriptures;
he ascended into heaven
and is seated at the right hand of the Father.
He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead,
and his kingdom will have no end.
We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life,
who proceeds from the Father and the Son,
who with the Father and the Son is worshiped and glorified,
who has spoken through the prophets.
We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church.
We acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins.
We look for the resurrection of the dead,
and the life of the world to come. Amen.
Below is the text from the 1928 Book of Common Prayer:
I BELIEVE in one God the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth, And of all things visible and invisible:
And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son of God; Begotten of his Father before all worlds, God of God, Light of Light, Very God of very God; Begotten, not made; Being of one substance with the Father; By whom all things were made: Who for us men and for our salvation came down from heaven, And was incarnate by the Holy Ghost of the Virgin Mary, And was made man: And was crucified also for us under Pontius Pilate; He suffered and was buried: And the third day he rose again according to the Scriptures: And ascended into heaven, And sitteth on the right hand of the Father: And he shall come again, with glory, to judge both the quick and the dead; Whose kingdom shall have no end.
And I believe in the Holy Ghost, The Lord, and Giver of Life, Who proceedeth from the Father and the Son; Who with the Father and the Son together is worshipped and glorified; Who spake by the Prophets: And I believe one Catholic and Apostolic Church: I acknowledge one Baptism for the remission of sins: And I look for the Resurrection of the dead: And the Life of the world to come. Amen.
*This text was taken from the website of an Eastern Rite church. A point of doctrinal difference in Eastern Rite churches is their teaching that the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father only. The phrase “and the Son” was added to the Latin version in 1014, and was one of the main reasons for the east-west schism of 1054. John 15:26 does show a proceeding from Father and Son. “When the Counselor comes, whom I will send to you from the Father—the Spirit of truth, who proceeds from the Father—he will testify about me.”
Credo in unum Deum,
factórem cæli et terræ,
visibílium ómnium et invisibílium.
Et in unum Dóminum, Iesum Christum,
Fílium Dei unigénitum,
et ex Patre natum ante ómnia sǽcula.
Deum de Deo, lumen de lúmine, Deum verum de Deo vero,
génitum, non factum, consubstantiálem Patri:
per quem ómnia facta sunt.
Qui propter nos hómines et propter nostram salútem
descéndit de cælis.
Et incarnátus est de Spíritu Sancto
ex María Vírgine, et homo factus est.
Crucifíxus étiam pro nobis sub Póntio Piláto;
passus et sepúltus est,
et resurréxit tértia die, secúndum Scriptúras,
et ascéndit in cælum, sedet ad déxteram Patris.
Et íterum ventúrus est cum glória,
iudicáre vivos et mórtuos,
cuius regni non erit finis.
Et in Spíritum Sanctum, Dóminum et vivificántem:
qui ex Patre Filióque procédit.
Qui cum Patre et Fílio simul adorátur et conglorificátur:
qui locútus est per prophétas.
Et unam, sanctam, cathólicam et apostólicam Ecclésiam.
Confíteor unum baptísma in remissiónem peccatórum.
Et exspécto resurrectiónem mortuórum,
et vitam ventúri sǽculi. Amen.
Although this is a confession of faith and a doctrinal statement, the Nicene Creed has been set to music. Here it is in Latin as a Gregorian Chant:
Here it is, also in Latin, from Mass in C by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart:
Since the Reformation, it was the practice in Germany to sing the Creed in the form of a hymn. Here is Luther’s ‘Wir glauben all an einen Gott, Vater…”