The Gloria in Excelsis
The Gloria or some other song of praise may be sung or said, all standing. It is appropriate to omit the song of praise during penitential seasons and days appointed for fasting.
Glory to God in the highest,
and peace to his people on earth.
Lord God, heavenly King,
almighty God and Father,
we worship you, we give you thanks,
we praise you for your glory.
Lord Jesus Christ, only Son of the Father,
Lord God, Lamb of God,
you take away the sin of the world:
have mercy on us;
you are seated at the right hand of the Father:
receive our prayer.
For you alone are the Holy One,
you alone are the Lord,
you alone are the Most High,
with the Holy Spirit,
in the glory of God the Father. Amen.
This is a joyful song of praise! The opening lines of the Gloria come to us from Luke 2:14. They are the words of the heavenly hosts who proclaim the birth of Jesus to the shepherds of Bethlehem. The incarnation of our Lord is still as joyful and triumphant as it was on that day. We share in the Angels proclamation and the Shepherds reception of the coming of our king. The Gloria reminds us that humanity is not alone in our worship of God. The whole heavenly hosts join us in adoration of our savior.
The Gloria’s acclimation that Jesus is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world and sits at the right hand of the Father is the Easter message. Jesus is the slain one who now lives and invites us to live with Him. This is why the Gloria is connected with our Sunday worship. Sundays are always a celebration of Jesus and his victory over death. Because of the joyful nature of the Gloria and its emphasis on the incarnation and resurrection the rubrics omit it during the penitential seasons such as Advent and Lent.
The Gloria was developed by some of the earliest Christ worshiping communities and is one of the oldest Christian hymns. Some scholars point to as early as the second century. It was first used in the liturgy in Rome in 500 AD. The earliest Christian Rites placed the Gloria at its current location in our order of service. Thomas Cranmer moved the Gloria to the end of the service where it stayed until the the 1979 BCP. The 2019 BCP follows the ancient practice of proclaiming Gloria in Excelsis following the Kyrie.
May God bless you this week as you give glory to God.