The most common song of praise used in worship following the Kyrie is the Gloria in Excelsis, or “Glory be to God on high.” The text for this song of praise comes from the Gospel of Luke, where angels sing at the birth of Jesus. Luke 2:14 – “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill toward men!” Additionally we sing praise to the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit each in the same manner—all praise is Trinitarian in nature. By singing this hymn of the angels, the church recognizes that during our worship service, heaven and earth are united, and together we sing of the glory of our Triune God.
In my church, we use one of several musical settings for the Hymn of Praise. The leader intones “Glory to God in the highest, and peace to God’s people on earth”, and the congregation sings the following text:
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, Jesus Christ, with the Holy Spirit,
In the glory of God, the Father. Amen.
Other songs may be used in place of the traditional Gloria. A beloved alternate song of praise written by Richard Hillert, “This is the Feast of Victory” was first included in Setting one of the Holy Communion service in the Lutheran Book of Worship (1978). It is now widely published in more than 20 recent worship books of several denominations. There are other musical settings of this text:
Refrain: This is the feast of victory for our God Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia.
- Worthy is Christ, the Lamb who was slain, whose blood set us free to be people of God. Refrain
- Power, riches, wisdom, and strength, and honor, blessing, and glory are his. Refrain
- Sing with all the people of God, and join in the hymn of all creation: Blessing, honor, glory, and might be to God and the Lamb forever. Amen. Refrain
- For the Lamb who was slain has begun his reign. Alleluia. Refrain
Of course, during this time of Lent, we would not sing this song of praise because we are refraining from singing “Alleluia” until Easter!
The phrase “Worthy is the Lamb who was slain” echoes the words of Revelation 5:13 – Then I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all that is in them, saying: “To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be praise and honor and glory and power,
for ever and ever!”
And what a beautiful way to end this blog, with this scripture reading from Revelation! May grace, mercy, and peace will be with us, from God the Father and from Jesus Christ the Father’s Son, in truth and love! Amen.