Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Gloria in excelsis Deo

The chief purpose of life, for any one of us, is to increase according to our capacity our knowledge of God by all the means we have, and to be moved by it to praise and thanksgiving. To do as we say in the “Gloria in Excelsis”: We praise you, we call you holy, we worship, we proclaim your glory, we thank you for the glory of your splendor. –J.R.R. Tolkien

I can think of no more fitting prayer for this Thanksgiving than the Gloria (in its entirety below), which I remember from my youth, growing up in an Episcopal church. God has received my prayers and blessed me abundantly with his mercy through trials of recent months. In return, I worship Him and proclaim His name. The glory of his splendor fills me and surrounds me.

The last two months have been a time of searching, of contemplation and rest. In the absence of work, play or much activity of any kind, I have simply luxuriated in God’s presence. He has been with me in thought, in body and in spirit, loving me silently and tenderly. His power courses through me. It’s been a time of reconstruction, of physical and spiritual rewiring, you might say—without the electricity being turned off. The lights have slowly begun to blink back on.

My treatment is over, but it would be presumptuous to believe my cancer is gone for good. It’s impossible to draw any conclusions about what happens next. Like most cancer survivors, I’m left to wonder what to make of my personal experience. I do know that cancer is likely with me for the rest of my life; I can neither deny or discard it, nor simply hate it away. For better and for worse, I will live with it and quietly work and rework my personal history in an effort to accommodate it as I must.

In the meanwhile, I stop and offer thanksgiving on Thanksgiving. Nick, Ellen and I will spend a quiet day together, preparing a traditional meal and enjoying the comforts of each others’ company. There is great consolation in knowing that Jesus Christ will be at the table with us. We are blessed by the bounty of his provision of our physical needs and by his presence among us.

Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to people of good will. We praise you, we bless you, we adore you, we glorify you, we give thanks to you for your great glory. Lord God; heavenly King; almighty God and Father; Lord Jesus Christ, only son of the Father; Lord God, Lamb of God.

You who take away the sins of the world, have mercy on us. You who take away the sins of the world, hear our prayer. You who sit at the Father’s right hand, have mercy on us. For you alone are holy, you alone, Lord. You alone the Most High, Jesus Christ, with the Holy Spirit, in the glory of God the Father. Amen.

Click here to hear Vivaldi’s “Gloria in excelsis Deo,” as performed by the choir at Christ Church Cathedral, Oxford, England.


AnnieVan said...

Mr. Ogle, your faith and your testimony have been such a blessing to me. Thank you for sharing all that you do. I am sure your words touch many more than you realize.

Paul and Karen said...

I am glad to hear about your spiritual refreshment in the midst of your physical misery. God is kind.

Carl Pelz said...

Amen. Thanks for expressing what many believe to be ineffable yet we all know, at our core, to be true.