Monday, April 09, 2007

Two Glorias

I hope you all are having an excellent Easter Monday.

For those new to Anglican and Catholic liturgical practices, The Gloria in excelsis Deo is omitted from services during Lent, not to be revived until the Easter Vigil.

That revival of the Gloria can be a moment of high drama. And I knew that. But I was surprised at the strength of my reaction to that moment this year . . . twice.

Saturday afternoon, I watched parts of the Easter Vigil from the Vatican on EWTN. I was switching between that and the Masters.

I was tuned in when the Pope in his slightly weak voice sang “Gloria in excelsis Deo.” Then all heaven broke loose. The organ broke out and cranked loud. And the big St. Peter’s bells began ringing.

I got so into it I roared, “Yeeeahhh!” You’d think I was watching a movie where the bad guys get theirs in the end, or a basketball game where a team I hate gets dunked in the face . . . except this was better -- certainly more exciting than the Masters.

Later on, I went to the Easter Vigil at my REC parish. We don’t do the first Gloria of Easter with great ceremony. We just sing it at the end of the Holy Communion portion of the service as we do for all Holy Communion services outside of Lent.

But yet it was different. I had the feeling of wondering, Are we really going to sing it? And I was hesitant to stand up when the time came. I think the rest of the congregation was the same way. For when I heartily belted out the first line “Glory be to God on high,” I’m sure my voice stood out. The rest were hesitant in singing.

(Note: For better or worse, we sing the whole Gloria as a congregation, including the first line.)

But quickly the congregation did get into it, and, though small in number, we were loud.

One youth who enjoys pointing out my quirks noted afterward that I was particularly loud and into it, however. And I imagine I was. I felt like pumping my fist during the Gloria. But I didn’t think that was liturgically correct, so I restrained myself.

In any case, though I anticipated the first Glorias of Easter, the adrenalin they gave me pleasantly surprised me.

Perhaps it’s because this year it came home to me:
Gloria in excelsis Deo sounds like victory!

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