“Lamb of God, you take away the sins of the world. Have mercy on us.”
We sing this song every week during communion. I would like to say “We are moved as we sing these incredibly powerful, hope-producing, and grace-filled words every week.” However, I fear that might not be the case because sometimes frequency leads to rote regurgitation of words and songs. However, before I go any further, let me be clear, I don’t believe our inability to always appreciate the power in these words is a good reason to simply stop using them. Quite the opposite! (Of course I feel this way since I’m writing about it!)
So first off, who is this Agnus lady? And which day are we talking about? Agnus dei is simply Latin for “Lamb” and “of God.” This is a direct link to Jesus acting as the fulfillment of the Old Testament hope for a Passover Lamb, also known as the Paschal Lamb. A lamb that is sacrificed on BEHALF of others.
Referring to Jesus as the Passover lamb is in reference to the Passover and the Jewish Exodus of Egypt. This is when the Spirit of God passed over the houses which were marked by the blood of this lamb allowing them to escape their bondage as slaves to Pharaoh. It was the defining moment of their freedom.
So when we sing “Lamb of God,” realize you are acknowledging Jesus Christ as the sacrificial lamb for YOUR sins AND the sins of the whole world. Through His sacrifice, we too are freed from the bondage to sin so that we may escape death!
This week in the Jewish tradition, they celebrated Yom Kippur, the day of Atonement. It is a celebration of God’s forgiveness and purification. In our tradition, this comes to us not annually, but rather every time we celebrate the Eucharist meal together. So when we sing Agnus Dei, we give thanks for Jesus, the lamb, the forgiveness we receive, and our relationship with God. We give thanks for the grace of God, and pray that we may be moved so share God’s love and peace in the world.
Peace, Pastor Andrew