Agnus Dei: The Heart of the Matter

Basilica of San Vitale in Ravenna Italy built in 526-547 AD

Seeing such places of great beauty give me pause. I stand amazed in the presence of such overwhelming opulence and I try to imagine the people who dedicated their worship of God in such a place. To gather each week around a table that is a vision of heaven on earth, I wonder..would this change my view of the world? Would I find it easier to pray without ceasing throughout the rest of the week? ….perhaps. As you enter this sanctuary….try to think about your own worship. What kind of things are you dedicating your life to serving? What kinds of seeds are you sowing as you work today and as you aspire for the future?

Don’t we all want to spend our time doing something that will be, in the end, worthy of our lives….something that will be lasting and eternal?

The Presbytery and its cross-ribbed vault are covered with beautiful mosaics, richly decorated with leaves, flowers, fruit, birds and stars.

As I gaze at these images, I can visualize and know a people striving to put our Lord, Jesus Christ, at at the center of their worship. This beautiful sanctuary stands as evidence of those who gathered there. It testifies to the importance they placed on worshiping in a heavenly kingdom that touches down to earth when Christians gather around the Lord’s Table.

And so, I am inspired, once again, that as we commune together with our Lord, we are in his presence:

Blessed are those who are invited to the wedding supper of the Lamb”  Rev 19:9 

We are “blessed” or happy because we celebrate our belief:

“Worthy is the Lamb, that was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and praise” Rev 5: 12

God gives us an image of himself that is love, when we realize that he has given himself as the sacrifice. Nothing we can ever do in our lives will be more worthy of our time, our honor….and our praise.

So consider, if you will, how you choose to seek your images or ideals of God. Whether it is in a beautiful sanctuary or surrounded by the natural beauty of God’s creation….spend time in wonder and awe of His gifts.

Listen to the words of Solomon as he dedicated his temple:

O Lord God, of Israel, there is no God like you in heaven above or earth below — you who keep your covenant of love with your servants who continue wholeheartedly in your way. You have kept your promise…” I Kings 8: 23-24

As we dedicate the temple of our hearts to our Lord, we realize that only He is worthy of all of our wealth, our strength, our honor and glory. Only He is worthy of our praise, and I personally choose to give him the power in my life.  I dedicate myself to follow in the wisdom of his ways as I remember:

“God himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering.” Genesis 22:8

So now in the light of his love, I find it much easier to live under the burden of any load and I find it touching to consider our country’s founding fathers as they placed “IN GOD WE TRUST” on every dollar we work to earn.

Agnus Dei
The centerpiece: the Agnus Dei, “the Lamb of God” who takes away the sins of the world. Click on the image above to hear Samuel Barber’s great choral work. Have a blessed week.

This week as we enter into our different places of worship, let us come together in our hearts to worship around the Lord’s table. Let us lift our hearts to the realms above and be filled with awe so that we may live and work in this world to bring him glory and honor.

Prayer: Holy Father, creator of heaven and earth, we fall down before you in humble adoration as we fully see the beauty of your nature….for you alone are worthy of our praise. We dedicate our lives to you because we know  you are a God who keeps his promise of love.

Happy Sunday! Praise Be To God!

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