The Nunc Dimittus
The Nunc Dimittus
What is the Nuncs?
The Nunc Dimittus is a celebration of God’s presence and of our joy in His presence. In these words we ask God to allow us to depart in peace, that peace which comes from having seen His salvation in the presence of Jesus. These words are the words spoken by Simeon in the Temple after the birth of Jesus. He was told by God that he would not die until he had seen the Messiah. When he saw Jesus, he said these words.
What does this have to do with our worship?
We have received the grace of God through the Word, and now the grace of God through the reception of Christ’s body and blood. In this grace we have seen the salvation of God. We now ask God to allow us to depart to our homes, or, if He wills, to our heavenly home in the peace that comes to us through receiving His grace.
What does the Bible say about this?
Deuteronomy 34:1-6 - Moses sees the promised land (as God had promised), dies and is buried.
Psalm 116 - The Psalmist remembers God’s deliverance, His continual mercies, and the fact that God considers the death of the saints precious. Luke 2:25-25 - Simeon is given the grace to see the Messiah before he dies. He says the words on which we focus, then affirms the ministry of the Messiah.
Philippians 1:21-23 - Paul expresses his joy in Christ. If he lives, it will be to serve Christ, if he dies, he will receive the joy of heaven. He is content in the knowledge of both.
Find ways to show you are content in life or death. Possibly pray, “Now I lay me down to sleep . . .” Point out the wonderful opportunities we have to serve Christ and pray that God will meet those needs through you until He decides to take you to the joy of heaven, when and as He wills. You may also want to sing some of the following hymns: LSB 468, 708, 878, 879, 880, 917, 919, 923, 924.
Remind them of a time when they were scared and you were with them. Remind them how they felt better because you were there. Read the words of the Nunc Dimittus and tell them that we sing these words, asking God to be with us, to show us Jesus all the time, and to take us someday to heaven.
Lord, now let Your servant depart in peace, according to Your Word. For my eyes have seen Your salvation which You have prepared before the face of all people, a Light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of Your people Israel. Amen.