Sunday, December 30, 2007


Disclaimer: A lot of you old Lutherans are going to be saying "Thank you Captain Obvious" to most of my posts I'm afraid. You'll just have to tough it out as I make observations that are news to me. ;)

In the liturgy, we sing the "Sanctus" every week. "Sanctus" is Latin for "Holy" although we sing the sanctus in English.

It is my understanding that we sing "Holy, Holy, Holy" (three times) for two reasons. First for emphasis on God's holiness, and second because we say it once each for the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

This practice of singing of God's holiness predates Christianity. Even the Jewish people sing:
Kadosh Kadosh Kadosh Adonai Tz'vaot
Melo Kol Haaretz Kevodo

Holy, Holy, Holy, The Lord of Hosts,
The entire world is filled with His Glory

The version pictured above is a blending of Isaiah 6:3 and John 12:13.

For years I wondered what this song was about (besides the obvious). What is "Sabaoth"? What does "Hosanna" mean? I thought Sabaoth was a weird spelling for Sabbath. I thought Hosanna was a word of praise like hallelujah. Sabaoth means "Lord of the armies of Israel" and Hosanna means "save" or "save us". So we're asking our Holy God of the army of believers to save us to heaven... I think. Don't take my word for it, ask your pastor.

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