The Gloria Patri, sometimes known as the “Glory be” and historically called the “Lesser Doxology”, is a simple refrain or response of praise to God. In some traditions, this refrain is added to the end of any Psalm when it is read or sung. Here at Second Congregational United Church of Christ, we usually sing it as a response to the “assurance of forgiveness”, which is the declaration that God forgives us and our brokenness or sin. The text goes like this:
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost:
as it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be, world without end. Amen. Amen.
The music we sing this text to was written by Henry Greatorex in 1851, and is very common among mainline Protestant churches (UCC, Presbyterian, Methodist, and others)
The Doxology: What we call “the Doxology” is another refrain or response of praise to God. The text was first published as part of a longer hymn by Englishman Thomas Ken in 1674. Here at Second Congregational United Church of Christ, we sing this as a response to our acts of offering, while the monetary portion of that offering is brought forward to be dedicated. The version of the text we sing most often reads:
Praise God from whom all blessings flow;
praise God all creatures here below;
praise God above ye heavenly host;
praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. Amen.
Most often, we sing this text to a tune called OLD HUNDREDTH, which was originally written by Louis Bourgeois in the 1500s as a tune for singing the Psalms, and became most commonly associated with singing Psalm 100 (hence the name!). Occasionally, for more festival-like days or seasons, we will sing the text, with some additional “alleluia’s interspersed, to the very joyful tune LASST UNS ERFREUEN, originally written for a German Catholic Easter hymn in the 1600s and brought to English-speaking Protestants by famous British composer Ralph Vaughan Williams.