10 December 2008
Gloria in Excelsis and Advent
This is not a rant against liturgical tradition nor is it a potshot against the rubrics of the Lutheran Service Book, nor is it a troll to stir up strife among the liturgical cathari. I am sincerely seeking honest discussion. The rubric of LSB for the Gloria in Excelsis states "During Advent and Lent, the Gloria in Excelsis is omitted." (I'm quoting from the rubrics for DS 3 and note in passing that TLH had no such rubric at this point.)
My question is "Why?" Is it simply a kind of "liturgical fast" from the Gloria so that it can be heard with renewed vigor at Christmas/Easter?
In the past years under the discipline of LW, I dutifully substituted a stanza from O Come, O Come, Emmanuel, as stated by that hymnal's rubrics. This year, after the first Sunday of Advent (using DS 3 as is our custom during Advent/Christmas/Epiphany), I made the radical pastoral decision to (gasp!) disregard the rubric (mea culpa!) and forge ahead with the Gloria in Excelsis.
Practically, it sounded terrible going straight from the bare three-fold Kyrie to the chanted Salutation and Collect. Clearly something had been sawed off. The Gloria is the ordinary hymn of praise for the service of the incarnate Word. I know it's a relative late-comer into the liturgy, but it has been around for at least 1400 years, so it's hardly an innovation.
Liturgically, I don't approve of the idea of making any Ordinary into an option. This encourages liturgical mischief.
Pastorally, it makes no theological sense to remove the angelic song of the Incarnation on any Sunday, much less a Sunday in a season of preparation to celebrate the feast of the Incarnation.
If every Sunday is a little Easter, isn't every Sunday also a little Christmas? (I'm going to ask the same thing about the suppression of Alleluia in Lent, but we'll wait for the -gesima Sundays to take up that one.)
I'm going to refrain from commenting, but will eagerly await any insights and discussion.