Sunday, November 22, 2015

The Introit for the Solemnity of Christ the King: Dignus Est Agnus ("Worthy is the Lamb")

Sung here by the Schola of the Vienna Hofburgkapelle:

The text is taken from Revelation 5, vv 12, 1, and 6; the Psalm verse comes from Psalm (71/)72.  Here's the Latin and an English translation:
Dignus est Agnus,
qui occísus est accípere virtútem,
et divinitátem, et sapiéntiam, et fortitúdinem, et honórem. 
Ipsi glória et impérium in saécula saeculórum.   
Ps:  Déus, judícium túum Régida: et justítiam túam Fílio Régis.

The Lamb that was slain
is worthy to receive power
and divinity and wisdom and strength and honour;
to Him be glory and empire for ever and ever. 
Ps:  Give to the King, O God, Thy justice, and to the King's Son Thy judgment.

Here's the chant score:

I'm interested to know where this chant has come from, since Christ the King is a new feast day, instituted in 1925 by Pope Pius XI  in his encyclical Quas primas.   Will investigate a bit and return to post what I find.

Although Anglicans do not officially celebrate the Feast of Christ the King this Sunday (on our Calendar, it's simply "The Last Sunday After Pentecost"), many of us do observe it anyway - and the Collect for the day is a breathtakingly beautiful and 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.
And the readings for today, Year B in the 3-year Calendar, are absolutely wonderful - kingly, too, and spooky and apocalyptic (as befits this time of year): 
Daniel 7:9-10, 13-14
As I watched,
thrones were set in place,
and an Ancient One took his throne,
his clothing was white as snow,
and the hair of his head like pure wool;
his throne was fiery flames,
and its wheels were burning fire.
A stream of fire issued
and flowed out from his presence.
A thousand thousands served him,
and ten thousand times ten thousand stood attending him.
The court sat in judgment,
and the books were opened.
As I watched in the night visions,
I saw one like a human being
coming with the clouds of heaven.
And he came to the Ancient One
and was presented before him.
To him was given dominion
and glory and kingship,
that all peoples, nations, and languages
should serve him.
His dominion is an everlasting dominion
that shall not pass away,
and his kingship is one
that shall never be destroyed. 

Psalm 93     Page 722, BCP
Dominus regnavit

1 The LORD is King;
he has put on splendid apparel; *
the LORD has put on his apparel
and girded himself with strength.

2 He has made the whole world so sure *
that it cannot be moved;

3 Ever since the world began, your throne has been established; *
you are from everlasting. \

4 The waters have lifted up, O LORD,
the waters have lifted up their voice; *
the waters have lifted up their pounding waves.

5 Mightier than the sound of many waters,
mightier than the breakers of the sea, *
mightier is the LORD who dwells on high.

6 Your testimonies are very sure, *
and holiness adorns your house, O LORD,
for ever and for evermore.

Revelation 1:4b-8

Grace to you and peace from him who is and who was and who is to come, and from the seven spirits who are before his throne, and from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth.
To him who loves us and freed us from our sins by his blood, and made us to be a kingdom, priests serving his God and Father, to him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.
Look! He is coming with the clouds;
every eye will see him,
even those who pierced him;
and on his account all the tribes of the earth will wail.
So it is to be. Amen.
"I am the Alpha and the Omega," says the Lord God, who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty."

John 18:33-37

Pilate entered the headquarters again, summoned Jesus, and asked him, "Are you the King of the Jews?" Jesus answered, "Do you ask this on your own, or did others tell you about me?" Pilate replied, "I am not a Jew, am I? Your own nation and the chief priests have handed you over to me. What have you done?" Jesus answered, "My kingdom is not from this world. If my kingdom were from this world, my followers would be fighting to keep me from being handed over to the Jews. But as it is, my kingdom is not from here." Pilate asked him, "So you are a king?" Jesus answered, "You say that I am a king. For this I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice."

(It's not really so strange, then, that this Sunday - the last before Advent - has been referred to in the Evangelical Church of Sweden as "the Sunday of Doom"!)

There is no set of historic lectionary readings for today, because this is a new feast.  However, according to this page, the historic Lutheran lectionary for today ("the last Sunday") consists of these readings, which are mostly about the Last Things as well:  Isaiah's "New Creation," Thessalonians 5 ("For you yourselves know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night."), and the Parable of the Ten Bridesmaids.   (It appears that the old Catholic and Anglican lectionaries did not provide for "the Last Sunday," but merely used the readings for the appropriate Sunday After Trinity.  I must say I like the Lutheran and current "Christ the King Sunday" arrangement better.)

Because truly, this is one of my favorite Sundays of the year.  Here's the opening hymn we had today:

That video is from an Eastertide Service in Wales; we naturally didn't have a cast of thousands or cymbals or a trumpet section this morning. But take a look at these words for an idea of how really great this hymn is:
1 Crown him with many crowns,
the Lamb upon his throne;
Hark! how the heavenly anthem drowns
all music but its own;
awake, my soul, and sing of him
who died for thee,
and hail him as thy matchless King
through all eternity.

2 Crown him the Son of God
before the worlds began,
and ye, who tread where he hath trod,
crown him the Son of man;
who every grief hath known
that wrings the human breast,
and takes and bears them for his own,
that all in him may rest.

3 Crown him the Lord of life,
who triumphed over the grave,
and rose victorious in the strife
for those he came to save;
his glories now we sing,
who died, and rose on high,
who died, eternal life to bring,
and lives that death may die.

4 Crown him of lords the Lord,
who over all doth reign,
who once on earth, the incarnate Word,
for ransomed sinners slain,
now lives in realms of light,
where saints with angels sing
their songs before him day and night,
their God, Redeemer, King.

5 Crown him the Lord of heaven,
enthroned in worlds above;
crown him the King,to whom is given,
the wondrous name of Love.
Crown him with many crowns,
as thrones before him fall,
crown him, ye kings, with many crowns,
for he is King of all.

We had two other great Kingly hymns, today, too - one I'd never heard before.  Will come back later to post on them.

Here's a list of all the chant propers for this day, from

Domini Nostri Iesu Christi
Universorum Regis
Introitus: Apoc. 5, 12 et 1, 6; Ps. 71 Dignus est Agnus (3m34.5s - 3355 kb) score
Graduale: Ps. 71, 8. V. 11 Dominabitur (2m33.3s - 2399 kb) score
Alleluia: Dan. 7, 14 Potestas eius (3m10.7s - 2983 kb) score
Offertorium: Ps. 2, 8 Postula a me (1m20.3s - 1259 kb) score
                   (anno A) Mt. 25, 40.34 Amen dico vobis: quod uni (not yet available)
                    Ps. 28, 10b.11b Sedebit Dominus (43.5s - 683 kb) score

 Other Chantblog posts for this day include:

Here's "Worthy is the Lamb" and "Amen" - the last two movements - from Handel's Messiah:

This is the central figure from Van Eyck's Ghent Altarpiece:

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