“Agnus Dei” is a Latin phrase which literally means, “lamb of God.” If you are a Lutheran (or Catholic or Anglican) you will know that it is a liturgical prayer addressed to Christ, our Savior, the lamb who was sacrificed for us. It is based upon these words spoken by John the Baptist:
“Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” John 1:29
It has been included in the liturgy since the 12th century, and used in choral pieces by many famous composers. In our church we sing it before Holy Communion. These are the words:
“Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world, have mercy upon us! Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world, have mercy upon us! Lamb of God, who takest away the sins of the world, grant us peace!”
The themes are forgiveness and sacrifice, appropriate as we approach the table of the Lord and remember His last supper with the disciples.
For more on the liturgy go to these posts: