Notes on the Liturgy #20 — Agnus Dei

(One of the goals of Brothers of John the Steadfast is to train the Brothers in good practice and theology. This article is one in a series that teaches about the liturgy.

These articles were initially intended to be put into bulletins or read during the service to educate the laity on the different parts of the service. They were therefore purposefully made short.

Notes on the Liturgy #20 — Agnus Dei

The Agnus Dei was introduced to the liturgy of the church by Pope Sergius I about 700A.D.. “Agnus Dei” means “Lamb of God.” It is based on the words of John the Baptizer as he testified that Jesus is the Son of God (John 1:29f.). What a wonderful passage to sing! It fills me with joy simply contemplating these marvelous words.

Christ, the Lamb of God, who was present in the flesh with John the Baptizer almost 2,000 years ago is also present in the flesh with me and all believers. But, how has He come? As a harsh Law giver? No, He comes as a Lamb in self-sacrifice for us! He comes to us in His body and blood. The church by faith recognizes this and so cries out, “Lamb of God have mercy upon us.” Jesus does indeed have mercy on us! That mercy is given into our mouths as we receive the holy elements of the Lord’s Supper.

At this point, these liturgy notes may seem somewhat repetitious. You see, ever since the Preface we have had a singular focus of receiving God’s gifts in the Lord’s Supper. This is the value of the liturgy. It has faithfully pointed us to God’s gifts time and again.


You may find all these by looking at our Regular Column on the Explanation of the Divine Service category or by using the shortcut http://steadfastlutherans.org/liturgy.

These notes were originally written in 2001 by Pastor David Oberdieck and have been edited. Thanks to Pastor Michael Mohr for improvements to this segment.

About Norm Fisher

Norm was raised in the UCC in Connecticut, and like many fell away from the church after high school. With this background he saw it primarily as a service organization. On the miracle of his first child he came back to the church. On moving to Texas a few years later he found a home in Lutheranism when he was invited to a confessional church a half-hour away by our new neighbors.

He is one of those people who found a like mind in computers while in Middle School and has been programming ever since. He's responsible for many websites, including the Book of Concord, LCMSsermons.com, and several other sites.

He has served the church in various positions, including financial secretary, sunday school teacher, elder, PTF board member, and choir member.

More of his work can be found at KNFA.net.

Comments

Notes on the Liturgy #20 — Agnus Dei — 2 Comments

  1. At this point, these liturgy notes may seem somewhat repetitious. You see, ever since the Preface we have had a singular focus of receiving God’s gifts in the Lord’s Supper. This is the value of the liturgy. It has faithfully pointed us to God’s gifts time and again.

    Repetitious my butt! I want, crave, desire, to have this focused repetition 24/7/52 and it’s the liturgy with it’s solid Biblical foundation that makes me desire this. “Thank the Lord and sing His praise. Tell everyone what He as done!”

    In Christ crucified,
    Luther

  2. The comment above states, “repetitious my butt.” The liturgy notes are indeed repetitious for the liturgy itself points us to Christ repeatedly. The writer of these notes is not criticizing the christological focus on the liturgy. This focus is why the writer treasures the liturgy.

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