Life is complicated.
There are miss-communications and power struggles; hurts feelings and bruised pride and sometimes we find ourselves wondering in a desert of despair…
What can we do when the dark voices inside our head are raging and we struggle to find the strength to attend our regular worship services? The following blog series will highlight the back story of our liturgy in an effort to revive our hearts to a greater awareness of the purpose and traditions that surround us on Sunday morning. These are the Christian traditions that feed us with their time honored wisdom.
As a music teacher, I have regularly exposed my classes to the 5 parts of the Mass Ordinary: Kyrie, Gloria, Credo, Sanctus and the Agnus Dei. The liturgy has fascinated me and been a regular theme because it was during these Masses that Western European musical notation, harmony, rhythms and dynamics began. I hope you will join me as I post my sketches and thoughts to prepare our hearts for worship each week.
The Gloria is a regular occurrence in the Mass, I believe, because it is healthy for us to praise God. I can see that we come from a long line of praise team worship. Reaching back through time, we can fully embrace Moses in the moments just after he had led his people safely through the Red Sea.
Exodus 15: Song of Moses
“I will sing to the Lord for he is highly exalted. The horse and its rider he has hurled into the sea. The Lord is my strength and my song; he has become my salvation. He is my God, and I will praise him, my father’s God, and I will exalt him, The Lord is a warrior; the Lord is his name. Pharaoh’s chariots and his army he has hurled into the sea…”Exodus 15: 1-4
Viewing the above painting, I am reminded that Moses had a very difficult story. He was estranged from his family and ethnic heritage; he was cast out into the wilderness; he struggled against the mighty Pharaoh and led his people into the desert to wander for forty years and then he never gets to enter into the promised land…
- But Moses tells his story differently and he trains his people to do the same.
- He was saved from a basket that was floating peacefully among the reeds.
- Moses was raised in the royal house by Pharaoh’s daughter.
- He flees Egypt and he finds a new home and family in Midian where God speaks to him in a burning bush.
- He is given a mission to rescue his people from slavery and he becomes the spokesman of God.
- After many plagues, he leads his people out to freedom through the Red Sea on dry land. God is with him..
- God provides manna and quail for them in the desert and a pillar of fire to follow by night.
- Moses is given the 10 commandments…just imagine…how great is that!!
In my life, I have heard a lot about the Israelites grumbling in the desert and they certainly did their fair share but I also see Moses and his song of praise, his Gloria, after they passed through the Red Sea.
From this there are also two other places in scripture where the Israelites made a regular practice of remembering what God had done for them:
Psalm 78 and 105 recount the events of God delivering his people out of slavery. The Israelites made a regular practice of remembering.
Give thanks to the Lord, call on his name: make known among the nations what he has done. Sing to him, sing praise to him; tell of all his wonderful acts. Glory in his holy name; let the hearts of those who seek the Lord rejoice. Look to the Lord and his strength; seek his face always. Psalm 105: 1-4
And can you imagine the honor it was to be standing on that mountain top with Jesus and Elijah?
So what kind of a story can you tell? What kind of song can you sing?
Can you see the hand of God at work in your life? Can you imagine yourself floating safely among the reeds? Think of all the “chance” meetings…the friend who came at just the right time; the job that provided for you and your family; the comforting words; the hands you have held…
God has been there through it all and even though there have been trials he has never left your side.
I want to encourage you to decide what kind of song you will practice and sing each and every day of your life.
And maybe remember that is what a Gloria is all about…
May God’s peace be with you today and throughout the week.
Thank you for reading!