1. Called the Benedictus – from the first line “Blessed”. Called the Song of Zachariah – thanking God for the promised arrival of his son John – we know him as John the Baptist. This is used daily at Morning prayers and in a sense declares the end of the OT prophecies about Jesus pointing to John the forerunner.
Zechariah’s Song Luke 1:69-79
Blessed be the Lord the God of Israel, •
who has come to his people and set them free.
He has raised up for us a mighty Saviour, •
born of the house of his servant David.
Through his holy prophets God promised of old •
to save us from our enemies, from the hands of all that hate us,
To show mercy to our ancestors, •
and to remember his holy covenant.
This was the oath God swore to our father Abraham: •
to set us free from the hands of our enemies,
Free to worship him without fear, •
holy and righteous in his sight all the days of our life.
And you, child, shall be called the prophet of the Most High, •
for you will go before the Lord to prepare his way,
To give his people knowledge of salvation •
by the forgiveness of all their sins.
In the tender compassion of our God •
the dawn from on high shall break upon us,
To shine on those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death, •
and to guide our feet into the way of peace.
2. The Second is the Song of Mary or the Magnificat, this is used at Evening prayers and proclaims the arrival of Jesus – following the angel’s declaration to Mary.
The Magnificat Luke 1:45-56
My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord, my spirit rejoices in God my Saviour; •
he has looked with favour on his lowly servant.
From this day all generations will call me blessed; •
the Almighty has done great things for me and holy is his name.
He has mercy on those who fear him, •
from generation to generation.
He has shown strength with his arm •
and has scattered the proud in their conceit,
Casting down the mighty from their thrones •
and lifting up the lowly.
He has filled the hungry with good things •
and sent the rich away empty.
He has come to the aid of his servant Israel, •
to remember his promise of mercy,
The promise made to our ancestors, •
to Abraham and his children for ever.
3. The last is called the Nunc Dimittus, these are the words spoken by the old man Simeon once he had seen the baby Jesus in the temple, what a way to end each day, Lord I have seen my salvation – there if I die tonight I die in that knowledge. This is used at Night prayers at the end of the day.
Nunc Dimittus Luke 2:29-32
Now, Lord, you let your servant go in peace: •
your word has been fulfilled.
My own eyes have seen the salvation •
which you have prepared in the sight of every people;
A light to reveal you to the nations •
and the glory of your people Israel.