Agnus Dei – Michael W Smith

Michael W Smith

Agnus Dei is a Christian theological concept of the Lamb of God and the associated liturgical text from the Roman Catholic Latin Mass. You’ll recall in a recent post about Samuel Barber’s Adagio for Strings where Barber used Agnus Dei as the lyrics for his choral arrangement. In fact Agnus Dei has been set to music by many composers. Michael W Smith’s adaptation here comprises today’s music library post.

I mentioned previously that I was very fond of Christian music. That came into being around the time I was baptised in 2003 by the Mornington Baptist church in Victoria, Australia. I was introduced to a plethora of Christian artists and groups whose music I still hold very dear. Michael W Smith was one such figure who stood out. I am no longer a firm believer in any one theistic doctrine but I do hold high regard for the Judaeo-Christian concept of The Logos, moral-truths and archetypes / meta-heroes.

Michael Smith is an American musician who has had chart success in both contemporary christian music and mainstream. In his youth he gravitated towards drugs and alcohol, but suffered a breakdown in 79 that led to his recommitment to Christianity.  That obviously worked because he’s now a three-time grammy winner and has sold more than 18 million albums.
Interestingly, I just read he was good friends with both President Bush’s even singing at senior’s state funeral. He’s also friends with U2’s Bono and they collaborated on a Christmas album. Michael and Amy Grant (The Christian singer who had some big mainstream hits as well) have gone on several concert tours together. In 2018, he sang and played piano at Billy Graham’s memorial and funeral.

Agnus Dei was released by Michael on his sixth studio album Go West Young Man in 1990. According to wikipedia: This record was his first attempt at mainstream success. It was successful, as it scored a Billboard Hot 100 top ten hit with “Place in This World”, which peaked at number 6 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in 1991.

I don’t know how many times I’ve heard the following live version of Agnus Dei, but I must be closing in on a hundred. The choral singing is something to behold.

Alleluia Alleluia
For our Lord God Almighty reigns
Alleluia Alleluia
For our Load God Almighty reigns…

“The more I live, the more I learn. The more I learn, the more I realize, the less I know.”- Michel Legrand

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20 comments on “Agnus Dei – Michael W Smith
  1. Array says:

    I enjoy the music Michael W. Smith

  2. Michael W. Smith is well known to Nashvillians. He resides here. Our community has cheered his triumphs and recognition just as we have watched his struggles with alcohol and drugs. We are especially proud of his sobriety and his ministry to help others that have similar problems. He is good and talented man with a beautiful voice.

  3. selizabryangmailcom says:

    What a nice show. It must be so fulfilling to share that kind of energy and intrinsic understanding and belief all together in a huge crowd. Very uplifting.

  4. selizabryangmailcom says:

    No, I haven’t been down that path yet! But I can appreciate the intense emotion and affirmation of faith and immense comfort it brings so many.

    My husband (who is a Buddhist) has labeled me a secular humanist, so I guess that’s *more or less* what I am.

    One definition says: “Secular humanism posits that human beings are capable of being ethical and moral without religion or belief in a deity,” so that’s not 100% accurate for me, because I without a doubt believe in the gigantic omniscience of a *prime mover*.

    I think this definition is more accurate: “Secular humanism, or simply humanism, is a philosophy or life stance that embraces human reason, secular ethics, and philosophical naturalism while specifically rejecting religious dogma, supernaturalism, and superstition as the basis of morality and decision making.”

    • As a secular humanist please don’t take offense of my Dogville review. You’ll understand what I mean when you read it. That whole movie in my estimation demonstrates that humanism is fatally flawed. I don’t know what I am – perhaps an antitheist romantic pessimist Christian agnostic hehe. Your gigantic omniscience is what I call ‘The Logos’. I like the Buddhism philosophy. I also embrace those secular and rational aspects you mentioned. I think we need the opposing forces of dogmatism (conservatism) and liberalism continually at loggerheads. Too much of one over the other is dangerous to society. A balance between chaos and order if you like. Oops we are going down a rabbit hole, I didn’t want to do that. Thanks for explaining your belief system to me.

    • I meant to ask if your husband is originally from a Buddhist nation or did he come to it from a western country?

  5. selizabryangmailcom says:

    No worries, Matthew. I never take offense over religious views until someone tells me to my face that I’m going to hell or something like that. THEN I get peeved! TOTALLY agree about too much of one of the other: balance is everything, balance is key. Whether in groups or individually.
    My husband is Dominican, born here, raised super-duper Catholic by his mother (father was an atheist) and came to Buddhism on his own after years of meditation and study.
    I embrace the Buddhist mindset entirely but I’m too lazy to meditate every day, so I can’t really include myself in the club. But I do believe the source of all suffering comes from thinking and not being in the present moment.

    • It’s just what I took away from the movie. I didn’t mean to imply that’s how I interpret ‘humanism’ or those who consider themselves ‘secular humanists’. Yes, that fire and brimstone damnation gets tiring lol
      That’s fascinating how your husband came to Buddhism completely from his own doing. Does he wear the red robe and everything and shave his head? Or is that only for special occasions? I watched an interview with Leonard Cohen recently who reminisced about his time at a Buddhist retreat. He was an ordained monk as well as being a Jew. (In fact it’s coming up on a scheduled post soon).
      I totally see why you embrace the Buddhist mindset. I like you am too lazy to be so dedicated to meditation. More generally I slant on the side of caution like Woody Allen regarding memberships and organisations: ‘I’d never join a club that would allow a person like me to become a member’.

  6. selizabryangmailcom says:

    Yeah, I mean I wasn’t going to take offense from whatever you got from the movie. I love to see varied interpretations. In fact, I REALLY need to do a review of “Silence” on my blog, ’cause there’s a lot of interesting psychological stuff going on there beyond the movie– with the writer, with how some Christians view apostatizing, etc.–that I think folks might not know.

    Haha, Woody has it totally right, as far as I’m personally concerned. But my husband doesn’t go as far as the robes and hair. He has a robe from when he did several stints at a Buddhist monastery (which he helped build) but it’s put away for now.

    Leonard Cohen! Wow. Can’t wait to read that post. Fascinating.

    • I saw ‘Silence’ soon after it came out. I was impressed by it. I need to revisit it again. I’d love to read your take on it especially the part about how Christians view apostatizing and what folks might not know.
      Wow your husband helped build a monastery. That’s a good one to get off your bucket list. hehe. Also handy for getting conversations away from small-talk: ‘Hey I helped build a monastry’ – ‘You did what! – Far out man!’ lol
      The music post about Leonard (coming out in 2 days) looks at his song ‘Alexandra Leaving’. (My lordy that song just gets better and better the more I hear it). I mention briefly about his stint Mount Baldy Zen Center in California and then link to his interview.
      Hey I just wanted to add how much I enjoy our conversations. I always look forward to getting a message from you. It’s invigorating.

  7. selizabryangmailcom says:

    Thanks, Matthew, me too!
    It’s been fun.
    Also, I keep forgetting to ask you: what made you get baptized in 2001? Any special catalyst? If, of course, you care to share. I fully understand if you don’t.


    • I was baptised in 2003. After the demise of my marriage, career and death of my father I had a nervous breakdown to put it bluntly. I was living in a little cottage place in Mornington. One night when I was feeling very lonely, malnourished and heartbroken I thought I should probably end it all because I had no one (I even said it to myself out loud). At that very moment I felt the presence of Jesus Christ say to me ‘You are not alone. I am always with you.’ Then I went to church.

    • No not all, I feel honoured to share that with you.

  8. selizabryangmailcom says:

    Blogging is so weird, isn’t it? We’re virtual strangers and it seems like we’d be more private. I know for one thing my hubby probably would be really annoyed that I’m talking about him, lol. It’s not anything super-secret, but he’s a VERY private person. So I should stop doing that. Except for his opinions about movies, etc., lol

    But as far as you’re concerned, even though we’ve just *met* in the electronic ether, I’m touched that you’ve shared with me. I truly understand the dark night of the soul and the lack of will to continue and am obviously so glad that something much bigger and more full of love than all of us intervened to keep you here.
    So thanks for sharing, Matthew.
    After all, what would we do without your informative and eclectic posts?!

    • I understand what you mean and how your husband prefers his privacy. I too am quite a private person although you wouldn’t know it. It depends on who I am talking to and if I feel comfortable sharing.
      I don’t think I would have harmed myself that night, but I felt I was at the bottom of the pit and had no way out. I hope I didn’t make you feel uncomfortable just coming out with it like I did.
      Hehe, thanks for your kind thoughts regarding my blog. I have to run now to do a few errands for my daughter’s birthday. Have a wonderful day Stacey.

  9. selizabryangmailcom says:

    Not uncomfortable at all! And I figured the *thoughts* were just swirling and you probably wouldn’t have acted on them.
    Thanks, Matthew.
    Have a wonderful birthday for your daughter full of moments of magic! 🙂

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