What We Do When We Do Church – Hymn of Praise

Luke 2:14

“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!”

John 1:29

“Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!

Part 1 – Hymnody

Part 2 – Invocation

Part 3 – Baptism

Part 4 – Confession of Sins

Part 5 – Absolution

Part 6 – Introit / Psalmody

Part 7 – Kyrie

It was a quiet night, the stars were shining brightly. A group of shepherds were dozing in the fields outside the little town of Bethlehem, along with their flocks.

Suddenly the sky exploded with light! An angel appears and tells them,

“Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” (Luke 2:10-12)

Then a whole host of angels joined that one angel and sang what would become the opening words of the liturgical Hymn of Praise:

“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!”

Of course, this is part of a popular Christmas hymn/carol – Angels We Have Heard On High. However, you may know it in its original Latin: Glória in excélsis Deo.

The use of it in individual worship can be dated back to the fourth century and in formal liturgical worship by the fifth century AD.

This Hymn of Praise reminds us in no uncertain terms that Jesus Christ was born to be our Savior! We celebrate Christmas, a little, each time we sing this hymn of praise in worship.

The words also remind us why Jesus was born – and why we worship Him. He takes away the sins of the world!

These words were first proclaimed by John the Baptist right before Jesus was baptized in the Jordan River.

There is an alternate Hymn of Praise that is frequently sung as well.

It is usually called “This is the Feast” and is based on Revelation 5:12-13 and 19:5-9.

It is still a song that helps us worship Christ but now the emphasis is on Christ as the Lamb who was slain, whose blood set us free, and who now reigns forever!

While the Gloria hearkens back to Christmas, “This is the Feast” points ahead to our eternal life in heaven.

That’s the way worship is – a past/present/future kind of thing.

In worship we look back to what God has done for us, we learn what God wants us to do now and we receive strength to do it, and we look forward to what God has in store for us – the ultimate being eternal life in heaven!

The Hymn of Praise is both a looking back to what God has done and looking ahead to what we will be doing in heaven.

And it is an acknowledgment that we have a God who is powerful, merciful, holy and glorious!


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