In Matthew 13:52 Jesus says these enigmatic words to his disciples: “Therefore every scribe who has been trained for the kingdom of heaven is like the master of a household who brings out of his treasure what is new and what is old.”
I am not qualified to offer a definitive interpretation of this verse, but I’m comfortable applying the principle to worship. We “scribes”—we who etch the faith onto our hearts week after week in the music and words of worship—are training to take part in the kingdom of heaven. Part of that work is collecting and sharing the treasures God has given us. We collect the best songs and prayers of past generations and pass them on to the next generation.
In this morning’s service, the choir will sing two sections of Vivaldi’s Gloria. In fact, we will sing movements of this classic choral work throughout the coming year, matching each musical movement with an appropriate section of the liturgy.
Why would we sing a three-century old composition with a Latin text in modern worship? Because this is one ways we bring out old treasures in Church of the Servant’s worship. In the same way we join with saints from around the world when we recite the Maasai Creed, we join with saints who have gone before us when we sing Vivaldi (or Vulpius or Vaughan Williams).
Don’t worry, we will continue to bring out new treasures in COS’s worship. But as a friend of mine says every time he visits Grand Rapids, “Today we’re gonna party like it’s 1799.”
–Greg Scheer, minister of worship
- Gloria in excelsis Deo. // Glory be to God on high,
- Et in terra pax hominibus bonae voluntatis. // and on earth peace, good will towards all.
- Laudamus te. Benedicimus te. Adoramus te. Glorificamus te. // We praise thee, we bless thee, we worship thee, we glorify thee,
- Gratias agimus tibi propter magnam gloriam tuam. // we give thanks to thee for thy great glory,
- Domine Deus, Rex caelestis, Deus Pater omnipotens. // O Lord God, heavenly King, God the Father Almighty.
- Domine Fili unigenite, Iesu Christe. // O Lord, the only-begotten Son, Jesus Christ;
- Domine Deus, Agnus Dei, Filius Patris. Qui tollis peccata mundi, miserere nobis. // O Lord God, Lamb of God, Son of the Father, that takest away the sins of the world, have mercy upon us.
- Qui tollis peccata mundi, suscipe deprecationem nostram. // Thou that takest away the sins of the world, receive our prayer.
- Qui sedes ad dexteram Patris, miserere nobis. // Thou that sittest at the right hand of God the Father, have mercy upon us.
- Quoniam tu solus Sanctus. Tu solus Dominus. Tu solus Altissimus, Iesu Christe. // For thou only art holy; thou only art the Lord; thou only, O Christ, art most high
- Cum Sancto Spiritu, in gloria Dei Patris. Amen. // with the Holy Ghost, in the glory of God the Father. Amen