In the Midst of Life We Are in Death

In the midst of life we are in death.
To whom may we look for help,
but from you, O Lord,
who for our sins
are justly displeased?

Yet, O Lord God most holy,
O Lord most mighty,
O holy and most merciful Savior,
deliver us not into the bitter pains of eternal death.

Source: Notker the Stammerer, battle song from the year A. D. 912, based on the English translation in the Book of Common Prayer.

Original in Latin:

Media vita in morte sumus
quem quaerimus adjutorem
nisi te, Domine,
qui pro peccatis nostris
juste irasceris?

Sancte Deus,
sancte fortis,
sancte et misericors Salvator:
amarae morti ne tradas nos.

Book of Common Prayer 1559 text in traditional English:

In the midst of life we be in death: of whom may we seek for succor but of thee, O Lord, which for our sins justly art displeased. Yet, O Lord God most holy, O Lord most mighty, O holy and most merciful savior, deliver us not into the bitter pains of eternal death.

Martin Luther expanded this prayer into a hymn, Mitten wir in leben sind.

1. In the midst of earthly life
Snares of death surround us;
Who shall help us in the strife
Lest the Foe confound us?
Thou only, Lord, Thou only.
We mourn that we have greatly erred,
That our sins Thy wrath have stirred.
Holy and righteous God!
Holy and mighty God!
Holy and all-merciful Savior!
Eternal Lord God!
Save us lest we perish
In the bitter pangs of death.
Have mercy, O Lord!

2. In the midst of death’s dark vale
Powers of hell o’ertake us.
Who will help when they assail,
Who secure will make us?
Thou only, Lord, Thou only.
Thy heart is moved with tenderness,
Pities us in our distress.
Holy and righteous God!
Holy and mighty God!
Holy and all-merciful Savior!
Eternal Lord God!
Save us lest we perish
In the bitter pangs of death.
Have mercy, O Lord!

3. In the midst of utter woe
All our sins oppress us,
Where shall we for refuge go,
Where for grace to bless us?
To Thee, Lord Jesus, only.
Thy precious blood was shed to win
Full atonement for our sin.
Holy and righteous God!
Holy and mighty God!
Holy and all-merciful Savior!
Eternal Lord God!
Save us lest we perish
In the bitter pangs of death.
Have mercy, O Lord!

This prayer has its own page on Wikipedia.

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