Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Novermber 20th, Christ the King: Dignus Est Agnus ("Worthy is the Lamb")

Although Anglicans do not officially celebrate the Feast of Christ the King this Sunday (on our Calendar, it's "The Last Sunday After Pentecost" or "Proper 29"), some of us do observe it anyway - and the Collect for the day is a Kingly one:
Almighty and everlasting God, whose will it is to restore all things in your well-beloved Son, the King of kings and Lord of lords: Mercifully grant that the peoples of the earth, divided and enslaved by sin, may be freed and brought together under his most gracious rule; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
The Introit for the Day, Dignus Est Agnus, comes from Revelation 5:

Below is the score from JoguesChant and also their English translation:

The Lamb who has been slain is worthy to receive power, and divinity, and wisdom, and strength, and honour; let glory and dominion be his for ever and ever. Endow the King with your judgment, O God, and the King's son with your righteousness.

Handel set this text, too, of course, as the last movement (along with "Amen") of Messiah:

And just as in the oratorio, the Church Year ends on that note; you can just start Messiah over again next week, with Comfort ye my people.

This, though, is by far the most-known version of "Worthy is the Lamb" on YouTube:

I must say I quite like the refrain; it's powerful and the words are great. As much as I like chant - and I do - I'm very interested in songs like this that everybody can sing. The Chant Proper texts set to simple but powerful tunes for the whole congregation; that's a worthy goal, I think.

The Old Testament reading this week is from Ezekiel 34:11-16, 20-24:
34:11 For thus says the Lord GOD: I myself will search for my sheep, and will seek them out.

34:12 As shepherds seek out their flocks when they are among their scattered sheep, so I will seek out my sheep. I will rescue them from all the places to which they have been scattered on a day of clouds and thick darkness.

34:13 I will bring them out from the peoples and gather them from the countries, and will bring them into their own land; and I will feed them on the mountains of Israel, by the watercourses, and in all the inhabited parts of the land.

34:14 I will feed them with good pasture, and the mountain heights of Israel shall be their pasture; there they shall lie down in good grazing land, and they shall feed on rich pasture on the mountains of Israel.

34:15 I myself will be the shepherd of my sheep, and I will make them lie down, says the Lord GOD.

34:16 I will seek the lost, and I will bring back the strayed, and I will bind up the injured, and I will strengthen the weak, but the fat and the strong I will destroy. I will feed them with justice.

34:20 Therefore, thus says the Lord GOD to them: I myself will judge between the fat sheep and the lean sheep.

34:21 Because you pushed with flank and shoulder, and butted at all the weak animals with your horns until you scattered them far and wide,

34:22 I will save my flock, and they shall no longer be ravaged; and I will judge between sheep and sheep.

34:23 I will set up over them one shepherd, my servant David, and he shall feed them: he shall feed them and be their shepherd.

34:24 And I, the LORD, will be their God, and my servant David shall be prince among them; I, the LORD, have spoken.

Here's a page called "Homage to the Lamb" (c. 1000) from the (German) "Bamberg Apocalypse":

And here's something by an unknown German painter or painters: "Vision of St. John Evangelist" from c. 1450:

There are actually quite a few intricately (or colorfully!) illustrated Apocalypses out there; check 'em out.

No comments:


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...