Entrance Rite (Part 3)
If we consider the Entrance Rite of the Divine Liturgy to be representative of our entrance into the throne room of God, then following the Summary of the Law and our humble response of, “Lord have mercy upon us,” we have concluded our request to be granted an audience with the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.
Gloria in Excelcis
Having expressed our dependence upon Christ to enter into the Divine Presence, we can then express in fullness our awe, wonder, and appreciation for having been granted an audience with the King of Creation. This is the purpose of the Gloria in Excelcis. It harkens back to the angelic choir, who proclaimed to the shepherds the birth of the Incarnate King, "Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace, good will towards men." The words of the Gloria express the worthiness of God to receive our honor, glory, and praise; they express that He alone is worthy of such honor and worship.
Glory be to God on high and on earth, peace, goodwill towards men. We praise thee, we bless thee, we worship thee, we glorify thee, we give thanks to thee for thy great glory: O Lord god, heavenly King, God, the Father Almighty. O Lord, the only begotten Son, Jesus Christ; O Lord God, Lamb of God, Son of the Father, that takest away the sins of the world, have mercy upon us. Thou that takest away the sins of the world, receive our prayer. Thou that sittest at the right hand of God the Father, have mercy upon us. For thou only art holy; thou only art the Lord; thou only, O Christ, with the Holy Ghost, art most high in the glory of God the Father. Amen.
Notice also that this proclamation is also an extension of the Kyrie as we are beseeching Christ, as the only begotten of the Father and as the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world, to have mercy upon us. We are also declaring our adoration of not only Christ, but of the Father and the Holy Spirit. We are entering into the throne room of the Triune God, and in so doing we express our wonder, reverence, and dependence upon the Triune God.
Collect(s) of the Day
We close the Entrance Rite by making making a petition to the King. We have prepared ourselves to ascend into His throne room and have expressed our dependence upon His mercy to be granted entrance into this most sacred space, it is only fitting that we then express our petition to Him. This is done in the form of a Collect (corporate prayer request) wherein we express our desire that the community of faith, the church, grow and be enlightened by God himself.
Notice that we are not expressing individual petitions at this time, but a corporate desire that God would assist us (the church) in following the good example of our Lord and King. There will be a time for more intimate, individual petitions later in the liturgy, but at this juncture, as we have been granted an audience with the King in His throne room, we declare our overarching corporate desire to enter into a deeper and more fervent relationship with the King.
(As published in St. Luke's bulletin, 5/20/18)