Canticles: The Song of Simeon

Now, Lord, You Let Your Servant Go in Peace (pg. 1024)

Performance Notes:

  • For performance notes on this song, see page 1092 of Psalms for All Seasons: A Complete Psalter for Worship.

Other Resources:

  • Visit hymnary.org for more information on this song and additional resources.

Copyright Information:

  • Words: Luke 2:29-32; Nunc dimittis © 1988 English Language Liturgical Consultation (ELLC)
  • Music: James H. Harris and Tillis Butler © 1996 Augsburg Fortress Publishers
  • Reprint Information:

Guide Us Waking, O Lord (pg. 1026)

Performance Notes:

  • For performance notes on this song, see page 1092 of Psalms for All Seasons: A Complete Psalter for Worship.

Other Resources:

  • Visit hymnary.org for more information on this song and additional resources.

Copyright Information:

  • Words: Luke 2:29-32 © 1988 English Language Liturgical Consultation (ELLC); ref. John Weaver © 1985 John Weaver
  • Music: John Weaver © 1985 John Weaver
  • Reprint Information:

Go Now in Peace (pg. 1028)

Performance Notes:

  • For performance notes on this song, see page 1092 of Psalms for All Seasons: A Complete Psalter for Worship.

Other Resources:

  • Visit hymnary.org for more information on this song and additional resources.

Copyright Information:

  • Words: Luke 2:29-32; Hal H. Hopson © 1983 Hope Publishing Company
  • Music: Hal H. Hopson © 1983 Hope Publishing Company
  • Reprint Information:

Now May Your Servant, Lord (pg. 1029)

Performance Notes:

Text Information:

Scripture References:
st. 1 = Luke 2:29-30
st. 2 = Luke 2:31-32

Recorded in Luke 2:29-32, Simeon's song is the final (fourth) "great" canticle in Luke 1-2 (see also 212, 213, and 214). This song of joy and peace is part of the gospel account of the presentation of Jesus in the temple, involving first Simeon and then Anna (w. 21-40), who express thanks that salvation in Christ is for Jew and Gentile alike. Simeon's song is often called the Nunc Dimittis, after its incipit in Latin. Dewey Westra versified the text in Detroit in 1931 for the 1934 Psalter Hymnal; it was revised slightly for the 1987 edition.

The Nunc Dimittis has traditionally been paired with the Magnificat for Vespers or evening services and is still sung daily in churches with a tradition of daily prayer services (see 247 for more information on this tradition). John Calvin used it at the end of the Lord's Supper. In the Scottish Kirk, if communion was served at both services, Psalm 103 would be used at the end of the morning Lord's Supper and the Song of Simeon at the end of the afternoon or evening Lord's Supper.

Liturgical Use:
Suitable as a hymn for dismissal, especially after the Lord's Supper, and during Epiphany, since it brings to focus the worldwide character and task of the church. Also appropriate for funerals.

Tune Information:

Louis Bourgeois composed NUNC DIMITTIS for the Song of Simeon; the tune was first published in the 1547 edition of the Genevan Psalter. Claude Goudimel wrote the harmonization in 1564 with the melody originally in the tenor voice. Some Christian denominations associate this tune with the ancient Greek "Candlelight Hymn," which begins with the words "O gladsome Light, O grace" in the translation by Matthew Bridges.

Other Resources:

  • Visit hymnary.org for more information on this song and additional resources.

Copyright Information:

  • Words: Luke 2:29-32; vers. Dewey Westra, 1931, alt., P.D.
  • Music (NUNC DIMITTIS 6.6.7.6.6.7): Louis Bourgeois (ca. 1510-1561), 1551; harm. Claude Goudimel (ca. 1505-1572), 1564, P.D.
  • Reprint Information:
    • Words and Music: both are in Public Domain; you do not need permission to reprint this song.

Lord, Bid Your Servant Go in Peace (pg. 1051)

Other Resources:

  • Visit hymnary.org for more information on this song and additional resources.
  • The following are alternative accompaniments for this tune, LAND OF REST

Alternative Harmonization for Organ and Descant Resources:

  • Burkhardt, Michael. Easy Hymn Settings General set 1.  Morningstar MSM-10-815 [1996]
  • Busarow, Donald. All Praise to You, Eternal God. Augsburg 11-9076 [1980]
  • Fedak, Alfred V. 25 More Harmonizations. Selah 160-729 [1998]
  • Proulx, Richard. Hymn Intonations Preludes & Free Harmonizations. Vol. VIII Selah 160-728 [1996]

Alternative Harmonization for Piano:

  • Cherwien, David. Let It Rip! At the Piano. Augsburg 11-11045 [2000]
  • Hopson, Hal H. The Creative Use of the Piano in Worship. Hope 8392 [2008]

Copyright Information:

  • Words: Luke 2:29-32; Nunc dimittis; James Quinn, S. J. (b. 1919), 1969, 1989, © 1969 James Quinn, S. J., admin. Selah Publishing Company, Inc., exclusive North American agent
  • Music (LAND OF REST 8.6.8.6): American folk melody; harm. Annabel Morris Buchanan (1889-1983), P.D.
  • Reprint Information:
    • Words: permitted with a license from OneLicense.net or a CCLI License.
    • Music: The Music is in Public Domain; you do not need permission to reprint it.