Gloria, Gloria (Glory to God) (Luke 2:14)

Full Text

Glory to God, glory to God,
in the highest heaven!
Peace be on earth, peace be on earth,
alleluia, alleluia!

Gloria, gloria,
in excelsis Deo!
Gloria, gloria,
alleluia, alleluia!

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Scripture References

Further Reflections on Scripture References

The concept of bringing glory was very prominent in the mind of Christ – see John 12:28-29; 13:31-32; and 17:1-5.

With regards to “peace”, see such passages as Isaiah 9:6;  52:7;  53:5; Micah 5:5; Luke 1:79; John 14:27; Romans 5:1; and Ephesians 2:14, 17.


Gloria, Gloria (Glory to God) (Luke 2:14)

Call to Worship

God is here! The Messiah has come!
We open our eyes to see him and lift our hearts to worship him.
We have come to exalt the name of Jesus, our Savior and King,
and to bring glory to God the Father.
In our worship we demonstrate the mind of Christ
in declaring to God that he is the supreme authority in our lives.
We bow before him in submission to our Lord and King.
Come, worship the Lord!
[Reformed Worship 13:13]
— Worship Sourcebook Edition Two

Words of Praise

Profession of Our Church’s Faith (see also section 3.6)
1 In the beginning was the Word,
and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
He was in the beginning with God.
All things came into being through him,
and without him not one thing came into being.
What has come into being in him was life,
and the life was the light of all people.
The light shines in the darkness,
and the darkness did not overcome it.
The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world.
He was in the world, and the world came into being through him;
yet the world did not know him.
He came to what was his own,
and his own people did not accept him.
But to all who received him, who believed in his name,
he gave power to become children of God,
who were born, not of blood or of the will of the flesh
or of the will of man, but of God.
And the Word became flesh and lived among us,
and we have seen his glory, the glory as of a father’s only son,
full of grace and truth.
—John 1:1-5, 9-14, NRSV
— Worship Sourcebook Edition Two

Gloria, Gloria (Glory to God) (Luke 2:14)

Tune Information

F Major


Musical Suggestion

If you had a stereotype of Taizé songs being meditative and somber, this song certainly will break that mold. “Gloria” is an effervescent eight bar refrain that can be sung in unison or in canon. Make sure to keep a strong, lively pulse (two per measure) to help the congregation stay in time. This also makes a wonderful choral procession (try it with handbell accompaniment!) and segues beautifully into Christmas songs in the key of F, such as LUYH #89, “On Christmas Night.”

— Greg Scheer

Many have come to know the power of the short refrains (see Reformed Worship 8:26) that are characteristic of music from Taizé, such as "Eat This Bread" (see RW 19:26) and "Jesus, Remember Me."
This Gloria is constructed as a four-part round with many options for singing. The harmony provided by the grace notes could be sung by a choir of women. The descants could be played by flute, recorder, oboe, or violin. Additional descants for trumpet and cello are found in Music from Taizé (G.I.A.; this Gloria is from Vol. 1 of the two-volume collection).
Choose one of these Gloria settings to teach your congregation this year. Learn it by heart first yourself, and then teach it so that everyone is able to sing it from memory. Choose another setting next year. And whatever singing you do, sing "Glory to God in the highest."
(from Reformed Worship, Issue 45)
— Emily Brink

Gloria, Gloria (Glory to God) (Luke 2:14)

Hymn Story/Background

For an increasing number of North Americans, the name Taizé evokes a certain style of singing that has become popular in more and more churches, retreat centers, and campus parishes. Taizé is in fact an ecumenical community of brothers located in the small village of that name in the Burgundy region of eastern France.
Taizé began with one man, Brother Roger. In 1940 he came to what was then a semi-abandoned village in Burgundy, his mother’s native region. He was twenty-five years old, and he had come there to offer a welcome to Jews fleeing the Nazi persecution and to work out a call to follow Christ in community, a community that would attempt to live out the Gospel call to reconciliation day by day. Today, the Taizé Community is composed of around a hundred brothers. They come from different Christian traditions and from over twenty-five different countries, and make a life commitment to live together in joy, simplicity, and mercy as a “parable of community,” a sign of the Gospel’s call to reconciliation at the heart of the world. Tens of thousands of people, mainly between the ages of 17 and 30, come throughout each year from around the world to spend a week going to the roots of the Christian faith. They join in the community’s worship three times a day, listen to Bible introductions on the sources of the faith, spend time reflecting in silence, and meet in small sharing-groups. The community encourages participants, when they return home, to take back what they have discovered and put it into practice in the concrete conditions of their life – in their parishes, their place of work or study, their families.
Life at Taizé, following the monastic tradition, has always turned around three main poles – prayer, work, and hospitality. The three times of worship create the basic rhythm of the day, with a very meditative form of prayer in which singing and silence have always played a large part. When the number of visitors to Taizé began to increase, and more and more young people started arriving, the brothers felt the need to find a way for everyone to join in the prayer and not simply be observers. At the same time, they felt it was essential to maintain the meditative quality of the prayer, to let it be an authentic encounter with the mystery of God revealed in Jesus Christ. Finally, it was found that chants made up of a few words repeated over and over again made possible a prayer that was both meditative and yet accessible to all. They were happy to develop a form of sung music that can be used just as well by a small group of students who meet weekly in a dorm to pray as in a celebration that fills the cathedral of a large city. The “songs of Taizé” thus make it possible for hundreds of thousands of people throughout the world to be linked in common praise of God.
With the help of the musician Jacques Berthier, friend of Taizé, different methods were tried out, and a solution was found in the use of repetitive structures, namely, short musical phrases with melodic units that could be readily memorized by everybody. The use of some very simple words in basic Latin to support the music and the theme of prayer was also dictated by pastoral needs. From practical experience it was the only way of solving the unavoidable problem of languages that arouse at international gatherings. On the other hand, living languages are widely used. Increasingly, song collections around the world, Protestant and Catholic, include songs from Taizé for congregational worship.
GIA Publications is the North American publisher of the many recordings and song collections from the Community of Taizé.
-from http://www.giamusic.com/bios/taize.cfm
— GIA Publications, Inc. (http://www.giamusic.com)

Composer Information

A son of musical parents, Jacques Berthier (b. Auxerre, Burgundy, June 27, 1923; d. June 27, 1994) studied music at the Ecole Cesar Franck in Paris. From 1961 until his death he served as organist at St. Ignace Church, Paris. Although his published works include numerous compositions for organ, voice, and instruments, Berthier is best known as the composer of service music for the Taizé community near Cluny, Burgundy. Influenced by the French liturgist and church musician Joseph Gelineau, Berthier began writing songs for equal voices in 1955 for the services of the then nascent community of twenty brothers at Taizé. As the Taizé community grew, Berthier continued to compose most of the mini-hymns, canons, and various associated instrumental arrangements, which are now universally known as the Taizé repertoire. In the past two decades this repertoire has become widely used in North American church music in both Roman Catholic and Protestant traditions.
— Bert Polman
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