Tag Archives: Lamb of God

Lamb of God, in Prayer

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Sunday, September 20, 2015

LAMB OF GOD lamb John 1-29

Lamb of God, in Prayer

Today’s Name of God has such power for me. Such resonance. It’s another of my go-to expressions for God and God’s person. God’s character. My word—Name of God for today is Lamb of God.

As I used Centering Prayer earlier today, this phrase made it so easy, so immediate for me to go to prayer. “Lamb of God” has so many connections in my brain and memory. So many of the memories come from music. This phrase is a touchstone and foundation for countless songs and hymns, not to mention portions of religious services and pieces of classical music.

One of the immediate hymns that came to my mind is from the German liturgical tradition. A hymn I learned as a child in the Lutheran church where I was baptized and confirmed. The words of this hymn were written in the mid 1500’s by Nikolaus Decius, a follower of Martin Luther. Johann Sebastian Bach used the music for this hymn, O LAMM GOTTES, as a basis (cantus firmus) for the opening section of the St. Matthew Passion.

I think my lifelong attraction to and love for this hymn comes from my early exposure to it. (I was a serious, contemplative child. Some might have said precocious.) Here are the words, as found in the Service Book and Hymnal of the Lutheran Church, copyright 1958.

“O, Lamb of God most holy!/Who on the Cross didst suffer,/And patient, still and lowly,/ Thyself to scorn didst offer;/Our sins by Thee were taken,/Or hope had us forsaken:/Have mercy on us, Jesus!”

This hymn is usually classified as a Lenten hymn. I have also found it under the Sacraments section of various hymnals. I keep coming back to the hymn and to the words of Decius. Simple, profound, moving. This expression of God, this Name of God will most often bring me to tears. With the imagery of the Passover Lamb, unblemished. As John the Baptist said (in the first chapter of the Gospel of John), “John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, ‘Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!’”

So, all of this flashed through my head in the time I centered, using this Name of God. The time of prayer was deeply moving to me. I think it might have been the most intense experience I had all month.

Dear Lamb of God, thank You for this time of prayer, of focus, and of meditation on You and Your Name. Thank You.


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Remember, Ashes to Ashes

matterofprayer blog post for Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Penitence - Larry Poncho Brown

Penitence – Larry Poncho Brown

Remember, Ashes to Ashes

Rush, rush. Hurry, hurry. I’ve been doing so much already, it seems like a day-and-a-half has been packed into just a few short hours. Yes, most of what I’ve been doing today is quite necessary. But what does God want from me today? I really ought to slow down and check in with God. See what I need to do to help my spiritual self stay right with my Higher Power.

Today marks the beginning of Lent, the 40-day period of preparation before Easter. Today is also Ash Wednesday, a day of holy penitence, confession and absolution. I take the Lenten observance of the cross of ashes on the forehead as a serious, penitential act. But I find I’m not acting like it today. Sure, I’m doing necessary stuff, busy stuff. But I need to slow down. Do some inward reflection on my habitual thoughts, words and deeds. And most importantly, I am advised to do some inward reflection on the state of my soul.

First, before I can even confess my sins of thought, word and deed, and then even ask for God’s forgiveness (much less accept it into my heart and mind), I need to slow down enough to focus on spiritual things. I need to attend to things of God, and not to be distracted by the world. Or even by needful, necessary things that take my eyes off where they need to be. God, help me focus on You, on your forgiveness, grace and mercy.

As I turn to inward reflection, meditation and prayer, I also reflect upon Jesus, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world. After all, He is the reason that I am here, in prayer. His words to us—to me—to come to Him with our—my heavy burdens. It is Jesus who gives rest to the weary, the sinful, the world-worn. To those burdened with care, with worry, with anger, with unforgiveness, with resentment. God invites me to release all those negative, worrisome mental states and attitudes. God blesses me with the forgiveness of those sinful thoughts, words and deeds of commission (what I’ve done) as well as omission (those I have neglected to do).

Instead of merely writing about confession, forgiveness and pardon, all intellectual-like, let’s actually do it. Let’s pray.

Dear God, We confess to You that we have sinned. Each of us has stubbornly turned to our own way, like those sheep Isaiah talks about. Forgive me, God. Wash me clean, make me white as snow, dear God. Have mercy on me—on us, in Your loving-kindness. Thank You for the Good News of the Gospel, and for the Lamb of God, Jesus Christ. God, in Your grace and mercy, hear our prayers.