Ad Crucem Launches New Sanctus Banners
Ad Crucem has updated its Sanctus liturgical church banners to more closely conform with - in the limited way we can comprehend them - descriptions of angels (Cherubim, Seraphim, and the Four Living Creatures) in Scripture; specifically Isaiah 6:1–3, Isaiah 6:2-3, Revelation 4:6–9, and Revelation 5:8. The banners include the opening stanza of the Sanctus: "Holy, Holy, Holy; Lord God of Sabaoth (host). Heaven and earth are full of Thy glory".
The Sanctus is a canticle within the liturgy of confessional and orthodox churches. It is an amalgamation of the hymn of the seraphim before the throne of God (Is 6:2–3), and of the song of the multitudes as they went to meet Christ at His triumphal entry into Jerusalem (Mt 21:9), the section by the people being taken from (Ps 118:25–26). [Source]
The depiction of these angels is very different than the soft focus 20th century angelic art that flood our consciousness today.
Today's angels are curvy and mystical ladies in flowing white robes with flower wreaths on their heads. Alternatively, angels for children's consumption are chubby babies with stubby wings and a quiver of arrows to pierce your heart with cupid's love... Spare us.
By contrast, the Bible's angels are not milquetoast beings hovering about for our entertainment. God's angels are fearsome warriors; guardians of all that is holy, true, and beautiful.
When they are named in Scripture they bear male names. When humans encounter angels they are terribly afraid and recoil or prostrate themselves. To avoid breaking the First Commandment angels are quick to offer, “fear not.”
The angels on Ad Crucem's angels emerge from the pages of Scripture onto its banners. The great prophet Isaiah describes the Seraphim this way:
In the year that King Uzziah died I saw the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up; and the train of his robe filled the temple. Above him stood the seraphim. Each had six wings: with two he covered his face, and with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. And one called to another and said: “Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory!” And the foundations of the thresholds shook at the voice of him who called, and the house was filled with smoke. [Isaiah 6:1-4]
Rev. Jason M. Kaspar of Mt. Calvary Lutheran Church & Preschool, La Grange, TX, writes, "These angels are terrifying in appearance. Isaiah is frightened by them. Yet, they serve the Lord and minister to His servants. For Isaiah, he repents of the uncleanness of his lips. The angel takes a coal from the altar and touches his lips, purifying him. We sing the Sanctus (holy, holy, holy) on Sundays before receiving Jesus's body and blood for the remission of sins and purifying us too.
The angels are modest before the throne of God. They cover their feet, which can be a Hebrew euphemism for the hidden parts of our bodies. The coverings show both modesty and subordination to the Lord. These mighty, fearsome creatures are not the Lord, and they are not to be worshiped.
And the four living creatures, each of them with six wings, are full of eyes all around and within, and day and night they never cease to say, “Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord God Almighty, who was and is and is to come!” And whenever the living creatures give glory and honor and thanks to him who is seated on the throne, who lives forever and ever, the twenty-four elders fall down before him who is seated on the throne and worship him who lives forever and ever. They cast their crowns before the throne, saying, “Worthy are you, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they existed and were created.” [Revelation 4:8-11]
The Seraphim appear again in the Apocalypse of St. John (Revelation). Here we gain a description of their many eyes. These standing guard by the throne see all things. Nothing escapes their notice, while they direct the liturgy of the Lamb in His kingdom."
They are heavenly lectors and kantors as well as fearsome soldiers of the cross.
We have also added a harp and incense bowl to solidify the imagery and remind us constantly that these angelic beings are in the presence of the Trinity.
Let these banners adorn your sanctuary and help confess the one true faith. They are suitable as permanent sentinels for the Divine Service as Christ comes to serve us with his gifts of mercy and forgiveness. Or hang them for the festivals of the church year and other special occasions.
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