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Updated: Apr 4, 2022


Each of the articles in this resource reflects on a piece of music to explore the meaning of the Cross and the Resurrection.

"Lux Aeterna" - Morten Lauridsen


Lux Aeterna, Latin for “eternal light,”

begins with the movement “Introitus.” Its

words, translated from Latin to English,


Rest eternal grant to them, O Lord,

And let perpetual light shine

upon them

A hymn befits thee, O God in Zion.

And to thee a vow shall be fulfilled

in Jerusalem:

Hear my prayer,

For unto thee all flesh shall come.

Rest eternal grant to them, O Lord,

And let perpetual light shine

upon them.

These lines are repeated over and over

in the piece, providing an echo of voices

that seems to embrace our stricken hearts.

Cello undergirds the movement of rising

voices, giving the movement gravity. The

line “Rest eternal grant to them” is like a

whisper, a mother’s voice to calm a troubled


Then, in the fourth movement, “Veni,

Sancte Spiritus,” we hear:

Thou best of consolers,

Sweet guest of the soul

Sweet refreshment.

In labor, thou art rest,

In heat, the tempering,

In grief, the consolation.

The triumphant last movement of Lux

Aeterna, “Agnus Dei,” awakens our hearts

toward the beatific hope, then the choir

settles into the cascade of restrained hush

at the end. The closing “Amen” is sung as if

a last breath in unison.

Composed by Morten Lauridsen

The Latin lyrics of Lux Aeterna are drawn from historical Christian texts used in liturgy, prayer, and chants. The five movements of Lauridsen’s choral piece are “Introitus,” “In Te, Domine, Speravi,” “O Nata Lux,” “Veni, Sancte Spiritus,” and “Agnes Dei—Lux Aeterna.” Lux Aeterna premiered in 1997, performed by the Los Angeles Master Chorale.


• Makoto Fujimura describes how the music of Lux Aeterna

provided comfort in the wake of 9/11 through its expression

of deep lament and enduring hope. When has music, art,

or another experience helped you to journey through deep

lament or darkness?

• On Holy Saturday, Jesus was dead and buried. What do you

imagine Jesus’ disciples and friends might have felt, wondered,

or experienced?

• Read John 11:33–36. Shortly before his own crucifixion,

“Jesus wept” when his friend Lazarus died. What does this

show us about Jesus and his compassion toward human


• Lux Aeterna calls the Holy Spirit “thou best of consolers.”

Read 2 Corinthians 1:3–5. How does Jesus’ own suffering

on the cross shape our experience of suffering? How does

God provide “comfort” (or “consolation” in the NRSV) in

our grief?

• Fujimura references kintsugi pottery, a traditional Japanese

art form in which broken pieces are mended together with

beautiful veins of gold. How can this art form help us picture

what it means that Christ mends us to make new?

• Read John 1:4–5. What helps you cling to the light of Christ

even in experiences of darkness? How can you support others

who are currently journeying through a dark season?

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Blessings dear church family. What a gift Lux Aeterna is to me. As I listen to it, I close my eyes and pray. As the world approaches Holy Week, may all God’s children praise Jesus, the “eternal light” and sing a triumphant He has risen, Amen.

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