Monday, January 25, 2010

Conversion of Paul: Z. Randall Stroope

Caedite, vexate, ligate vinculis!
Saul! Murder, harass, bind into chains! Saul!

Vinculis, condemnate vexate!
Chain, prosecute and harass!

Why do you persecute me, Saul?
Why, why, why?
Fall down on your knees, turn hatred into love.
Turn darkness into light.
Bow down, Saul! Bow down, Saul!
Saul, Saul, Saul.

Conversion of Paul: Egil Hovland

And at that time there was a great persecution against the church which was at Jerusalem; and they were all scattered abroad throughout the regions of Judaea and Samaria, except the apostles.

And devout men carried Stephen to his burial, and made great lamentation over him.

As for Saul, he made havock of the church, entering into every house, and haling men and women committed them to prison.

Therefore they that were scattered abroad went every where preaching the word.

And Saul, yet breathing out threatenings and slaughter against the disciples of the Lord, went unto the high priest,

And desired of him letters to Damascus to the synagogues, that if he found any of this way, whether they were men or women, he might bring them bound unto Jerusalem.

And as he journeyed, he came near Damascus: and suddenly there shined round about him a light from heaven:

And he fell to the earth, and heard a voice saying unto him, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me?
Acts 8:1b-4; 9:1-4

Liturgical Variations: Understanding Liturgical Worship, Part IV (d)

Lutheran Book of Worship and Lutheran Worship changed the scope of the Gloria and referred to this part of the Divine Service as "The Hymn of Praise." This carried over to Lutheran Service Book, which has the rubric

During Advent and Lent, the Hymn of Praise is omitted.

It should be noted first that the Lutheran tradition has two historic hymn paraphrases of the Gloria (LSB #947 and 948) plus the relatively new alternative "This Is the Feast" found in Lutheran Service Book's Divine Service I and II.

Here is a setting of LSB #947, All Glory Be to God on High, done in the classic tradition of an organ improvisation for the introduction followed by congregational singing.

Here is a wonderful setting featuring "a full medieval percussion section, penny whistles, and a saxophone ensemble."

The newest tradition is to substitute the Gloria for "This Is the Feast," first published as "Festive Canticle: Worthy Is Christ." As Lutherans follow the Latin Rite, they tend to assign Latin words to new liturgical works, and this is no exception, going by Dignus Est Agnus, or "Worthy Is the Lamb," taken from the first line of the first verse.

There is some discussion among Lutherans as to whether we should substitute ANYTHING for the Gloria. The text of "This Is the Feast" is drawn from the book of Revelation, and hence is appropriate for Easter and it's Season as well as any time there is an End Times theme, such as All Saints Day and the last Sundays of the church year. It is also excellent if the Divine Service is celebrated at a funeral.

As Micah at Liturgical Variations states

The image of Christ as the Lamb of God is repeated with added imagery from Revelation. The concept of praising God for Who He is and what has done is also continued. The imagery of Christmas has been replaced with the imagery of the End Time, when the angels will sing in response to Immanuel. "...has begun His reign:" We pray that Christ begins His reign in our hearts, through the hearing of His Word.

That being said, the chief text is the Gloria, and the secondary text is "This Is the Feast." Think of "This Is the Feast" as seasoning salt. It adds flavor to our church year. Think of it as coming alongside the Gloria and not replacing it. Use it wisely and use it when it is appropriate.

Here it is, sung at Easter Vigil. By the way, this would most likely be in place of the Gloria at a Roman Catholic church. They are using the Richard Hillert setting originally published as "Festival Canticle: Worthy is Christ." That last descant is always challenging, no matter who the choir is.

This is the forth and final post in a series about the Kyrie and Gloria in the Divine Service based on a post by Micah at Liturgical Variations.

Check out all of Micah's posts over at Liturgical Variations.  Micah is a student at Concordia University Texas.