Notes on the Liturgy #17 — Sanctus

February 2nd, 2009 Post by

(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 #17 — Sanctus

The Sanctus is a rich burst of praise sung before the Lord’s Supper. It continues the Preface. The Proper Preface concluded with the words, “Therefore with angels and archangels and all the company of heaven we laud and magnify your glorious name, evermore praising you and saying:” With that introduction, the Sanctus begins with the [cherubim's] praise found in Isaiah 6:3, “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord, God of pow’r and might: Heaven and earth are full of your glory…”

The church may be visibly separated by geography, language, false doctrine, time, death, etc but we are in reality one body in Christ. In regard to the Lord’s Supper Paul says, “Because there is one loaf, we, who are many, are one body, for we all partake of the one loaf (I Cor 10:17).” Thus, we sing the angel’s praise. We join with the angels and the whole church, for together we are one church. Outwardly we are divided but in Christ we are one body.

The Sanctus continues with the Benedictus that says, “Hosanna, Hosanna in the highest. Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord. Hosanna in the highest.” These words are drawn from Psalm 118:25-26 and Matthew 21:9. Hosanna means, “save now” and became an expression of praise. Historically, it was customary for the Jewish passover to end with the singing of Psalms 115-118. The Gospel of Mark tells us that Jesus and his disciples concluded the Passover/first Communion by singing a hymn (Mk 14:26). Most likely Jesus sang Psalm 118 that included the words of our Sanctus (Tyndale Old Testament Commentary Psalms 73-150, pg 401). These are also the same words that the crowds greeted Jesus with as He triumphantly entered Jerusalem on Palm Sunday. They are the words used to greet the promised Messiah. It is no accident that this triumphant greeting is combined with the words of praise heard in the heavenly throne room. The combination of the holy, holy, holy and the same words that the crowds greeted Jesus with on Palm Sunday serves as a confession that this Jesus who now comes to us in, with and under the bread and wine is the Triune God who Isaiah saw in the heavenly throne room.

Theologically, the last phrase of the Sanctus points us to the elements in Communion. Our ‘Hosanna…Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord” finds its fulfillment in the reception of the Sacrament. Under the masks of bread and wine, Jesus comes to us and gives us His very own body and blood for our forgiveness. Interestingly, Reformed churches expunged this portion of the Sanctus for the very reason that they deny the truth of Jesus’ words when He said, “This is my body, This is my blood.” (Lutheran Worship History and Practice, pg. 422)

Previous Notes on the Liturgy —
Introduction
Invocation
Confession
Absolution
Introit, Psalm or Hymn
Kyrie and Gloria
Salutation
Collect
Readings
Alleluia Verse and other responses
The Hymn and Hymns
The Sermon
The Creeds
The Prayers
The Offering
Preface and Proper Preface
Sanctus
Pre-Communion Prayer & Lord’s Prayer
Communion & the Peace
Agnus Dei
Post Communion Canticle & Collect
Benediction

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 Mathey for improvements to this segment.






Rules for comments on this site:


Engage the contents and substance of the post. Rabbit trails and side issues do not help the discussion of the topics.  Our authors work hard to write these articles and it is a disservice to them to distract from the topic at hand.  If you have a topic you think is important to have an article or discussion on, we invite you to submit a request through the "Ask a Pastor" link or submit a guest article.


Provide a valid email address. If you’re unwilling to do this, we are unwilling to let you comment.


Provide at least your first name. Please try to come up with a unique name; if you have a common name add something to it so you aren't confused with another user. We have several "john"'s already for example.  If you have a good reason to use a fake name, please do so but realize that the administrators of the site expect a valid email address and also reserve the right to ask you for your name privately at any time.


If you post as more than one person from the same IP address, we’ll block that address.


Do not engage in ad hominem arguments. We will delete such comments, and will not be obligated to respond to any complaints (public or private ones) about deleting your comments.


Interaction between people leaving comments ought to reflect Christian virtue, interaction that is gracious and respectful, not judging motives.  If error is to be rebuked, evidence of the error ought to be provided.


We reserve the right to identify and deal with trollish behavior as we see fit and without apology.  This may include warnings (public or private ones) or banning.

  1. PPPadre
    April 18th, 2009 at 23:30 | #1

    Is this series going to be continued? I have already reprinted all of the articles thus far in my newsletter, and my people are looking forward to the conclusion. (Most of them don’t have internet access to check the website, so the newsletter reprints are all they have to go on.)

  2. Nikki Brannen
    May 3rd, 2009 at 07:30 | #2

    I too hope this series will be continued. I have learned so much from these summaries and hope to incorporate them into our services so we can be reminded of why our Divine worship si structured as it is.

If you have problems commenting on this site, or need to change a comment after it has been posted on the site, please contact us. For help with getting your comment formatted, click here.
Subscribe to comments feed  ..  Subscribe to comments feed for this post
Anonymous comments are welcome on this board, but we do require a valid email address so the admins can verify who you are. Please try to come up with a unique name; if you have a common name add something to it so you aren't confused with another user. We have several "john"'s already for example. Email addresses are kept private on this site, and only available to the site admins. Comments posted without a valid email address may not be published. Want an icon to identify your comment? See this page to see how.
*

Notify me of followup comments via e-mail. You can also subscribe without commenting.