Notes on the Liturgy #6 – Kyrie & Gloria

This is part 6 of 22 in the series Notes on the Liturgy

(One of the goals of Brothers of John the Steadfast is to train the Brothers in good practice and theology. This article is one in a series that teaches about the liturgy.

These articles were initially intended to be put into bulletins or read during the service to educate the laity on the different parts of the service. They were therefore purposefully made short.

Notes on the Liturgy #6 — Kyrie & Gloria

Kyrie means “Lord.” In the Kyrie, we call out “Lord have mercy.” It is not specifically a prayer of forgiveness. We already asked for forgiveness at the beginning of the service with Confession. We use the Kyrie not unlike the way it is used in the Bible–a general call for God’s help (Psalm 41:4; Ps 123:3; Matt 17:15, Matthew 15:21). The Kyrie should be sung in confidence knowing we have a strong and loving God who does indeed come to the aid of His people! This pleases God, for He is the one who invites us to call on Him in our need (Ps 50:15).

Having prayed for God’s mercy it is very fitting to go onto the Gloria. “Coming immediately after the Kyrie, without a single word between, the Gloria is a response to the Kyrie itself…” (The Lutheran Liturgy, L. Reed). The Gloria recalls the angels hymn of praise at the birth of Christ (Luke 2:14). It is God’s ultimate answer to our call “Lord have mercy.” In Christ, we have not only forgiveness but also fullness of life. Even if the whole world would come to help us in our troubles, if we didn’t have Christ we would be truly helpless. On the other hand, even if the whole world is against us and life is most miserable, and yet in Christ we know nothing can hinder His deliverance!

Previous Notes on the Liturgy —
Introit, Psalm or Hymn
Kyrie and Gloria

You may find all these by looking at our Regular Column on the Explanation of the Divine Service category or by using the shortcut

These notes were originally written in 2001 by Pastor David Oberdieck and have been edited.

About Norm Fisher

Norm was raised in the UCC in Connecticut, and like many fell away from the church after high school. With this background he saw it primarily as a service organization. On the miracle of his first child he came back to the church. On moving to Texas a few years later he found a home in Lutheranism when he was invited to a confessional church a half-hour away by our new neighbors.

He is one of those people who found a like mind in computers while in Middle School and has been programming ever since. He's responsible for many websites, including the Book of Concord,, and several other sites.

He has served the church in various positions, including financial secretary, sunday school teacher, elder, PTF board member, and choir member.

Norm has been involved behind the scenes in many of the "go-to" websites for Lutherans going back many years.

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