Awesome in Glory

A Dramatic Reading for a Service on Glory

One Sunday morning duringworship I noticed anabundance of referencesto glory: God’s glory, theglory of creation, the gloryof Christ. It struck me then that if youasked me to define glory I would failmiserably. The word seemed to havemany meanings used in many contexts—none of which I could adequatelyarticulate. This word, so familiar in thepractice of worship, permeates everypart of Scripture: it is used 200 times inthe Old Testament and 168 in the NewTestament. Yet the word “glory” seldompasses our lips in our everyday living.So I set about to dispel some of myignorance. The more I researched, themore I discovered that glory resistedany attempt at clear-cut definition. Inthe end I decided to present in liturgicalform what Scripture had to say aboutglory. “Awesome in Glory” is the result. Consider using this dramatic reading inAdvent or Epiphany services, or in anyservice about the glory of God.

Prelude

Call to Worship

A: O God, you are my God
ABC: I seek you
A: my soul thirsts for you
B: my body longs for you
C: as in a dry and weary land where there
is no water
A: I have looked upon you in the
sanctuary
B: beholding your power and your glory
C: your power
A: and your glory (Ps. 63:1-2)

Sung Prayer

“My Soul in Stillness Waits” SNC 95 or

“How Lovely Is Your Dwelling” PsH 243 or

“Amid the Thronging Worshipers” PsH 239

The Gloria and Blessing

C: Glory
B: Glory
C: Glory
A: Glory to God
B: in the highest
ABC: Glory
A: and on earth
B: peace
C: to people of good will

Time of Praise and Adoration

A: The people praise you
BC: We bless you
A: We worship you
BC: We glorify you
C: Glory
B: Glorify
ABC: We glorify you

Songs of Praise

“Gloria/Glory” SNC 116, WR 195

“Sing a New Song” SNC 1, WR 10

“We Will Glorify” SNC 21, WR 337

“Santo, santo, santo, mi corazón/
Holy, Holy, Holy, My Heart” SNC 19, WR 737

Confession

A: You alone are holy
BC: holy
A: You alone are Lord
BC: Lord
A: You alone are the Most High
B: Most High Jesus Christ
C: with the Holy Spirit
A: in the glory
B: the glory of God
A: of God the Father
C: in the glory of God the Father
A: You who take away the
sins of the world
B: have mercy on us
C: have mercy
A: You who take away the sins of
the world
B: receive our prayer
C: our prayer
A: You who sit at the right hand of
the Father
B: have mercy on us
C: have mercy (adapted from the
Gloria from the Tridentine Mass)

Sung Prayer of Confession

“O Christ, the Lamb of God” PsH 257, SFL 44,
SWM 158

“Perdón, Senor/Forgive Us, Lord” SNC 59,
SWM 154

Assurance of Pardon

A: People of God
worship

Awesome in Glory
A Dramatic Reading for a Service on Glory

B: we who believe in Jesus Christ
A: can be assured of our forgiveness
C: For the God who said,
B: Let light shine out of darkness
C: has shone in our hearts
to give the light of the knowledge
of the glory of God
in the face of Jesus Christ
C: For we know that the one
who raised the Lord Jesus
from the dead
A: will also raise us with Jesus
(2 Cor. 4:6, 14)

Song of Praise: “To God Be the
Glory” CH 56, PsH 473, PH 485, TH 55, WR 66

Message: “Awesome in Glory”

A: What is this thing called glory?
B: this glory?
A: The Scriptures make multiple
mention of glory
C: For you are the glory of
their strength (Ps. 89:17)
B: an eternal weight of glory far beyond
all comparison (2 Cor. 4:17)
A: for he has done gloriously (Isa. 12:5)
C: that his glory may dwell in our land
(Ps. 85:9)
B: We gather here each Sunday
C: to worship God
B: to encounter God in his glory
C: to encounter the glory
of the living God
B: When you meet to worship God,
C: what are you looking for?
A: What is this glory that
you approach?
C: that you long for?
A: How is it known?
B: How do you receive it?
C: How do you recognize it?
B: And the glory of the Lord filled
the tabernacle (Ex. 40:34)
C: my soul glorifies the Lord (Luke 1:46)
A: and the glory of the Lord shone
around them (Luke 2:9)
B: did not the Christ have to suffer
these things and then enter
his glory? (Luke 24:26)
A: In our everyday lives we no longer
speak of glory
B: speak of glory
A: except in the praise
B: praise
C: of emperors, dictators, and
champions of sport
A: But Scripture often speaks of glory
B: Glory fills the pages of Scripture
A: It is the primary concern of Scripture
B: According to the dictionary, glory is
C: great honor, praise, or distinction
B: majestic beauty and radiance
C: splendor
B: brightness
C: brilliance
A: power and might
B: a weighty and imposing presence
C: that cannot be ignored or denied

Sung Refrain: “Gloria” SNC 111

Encounter in Creation

B: In Scripture we encounter the glory
of God
in the splendor of creation
A: The heavens declare the glory of God
B: the skies proclaim the work of his
hands (Ps. 19)
A: The glory of the Lord is a radiance
around God
B: like the shining of a rainbow in the
clouds on a rainy day
C: The glory of the God of Israel
A: has a voice like the roar
of rushing waters
B: The voice of the Lord
A: fills the land with radiance
C: The voice of the Lord
B: is full of majesty
C: The voice of the Lord
B: flashes forth flames of fire
A: and shakes the wilderness
B: It causes the oaks to whirl
C: and strips the forest bare (Ps. 29:1-9)
A: Splendor and majesty are before him
Strength and glory are in his sanctuary (Ps. 96:6)
C: and in his temple all say
B: Glory!
C: Glory!
ABC: Glory!
A: For the glory of the Lord fills the
whole earth

Where Is the Glory?

A: When you wake in the morning,
B: where is the glory?
A: Do you see the glory?
C: Do you sense the glory?
A: When you greet your friends in
the street
B: where is the glory?
C: Do you know the glory?
A: When you labor in the workplace
B: where is the glory?
A: Do you feel the glory?
B: Where is the glory?
C: How do you know the glory in
your life?

Sung Refrain: “Gloria” SNC 111

Encountering God’s Glory in History

A: We encounter God’s glory in history
B: in powerful events and saving acts
performed by God
C: Who is like you, O Lord, among
the gods?
A: Who is like you
majestic in holiness
awesome in glory
doing wonders? (Ex. 15:11)
C: The Lord gained glory for himself
through Pharaoh and all his army
A: when they pursued the children of
Israel into the desert
B: when horse and rider were thrown
into the sea
A: when the Lord’s right hand
B: glorious in power
C: shattered the enemy (Ex. 14:4)
A: God’s people encountered glory
while Aaron was speaking to the
people of Israel
C: They looked toward the desert
B: and there was the glory of the Lord
appearing in the cloud (Ex. 16:10)
A: God’s people encountered glory
when the Temple in Jerusalem was
dedicated
B: Solomon finished praying before
the people
C: and fire came down from heaven
and consumed the burnt offering
and the sacrifices
B: and the glory of the Lord filled
the temple
C: The priests could not enter the temple
of the Lord
because the glory of the Lord filled it.
B: When all the Israelites saw the fire
coming down
and the glory of the Lord above
the temple
they knelt with their faces to the
ground
A: and they worshiped and gave
thanks to the Lord, saying
ABC: He is good
his love endures forever
(2 Chron. 7:1-3)

Where Is the Glory?

A: When you labor in the workplace
B: where is the glory?
C: do you know the glory?
A: When you lie down to
rest for the night
B: where is the glory?
C: do you hear the glory?
B: do you know the glory?
A: Where is the glory in your life?

Sung Refrain: “Gloria” SNC 111

Encountering God’s Glory: Moses

A: To behold God
B: To behold God in all his glory
C: is not just a matter
A: of seeing with the eye
B: of everyday recognition
C: of being in the right place
at the right time
A: The angel of the Lord appeared
to Moses in flames of fire from
within a bush
B: And Moses saw that though the bush
was on fire
it did not burn up
A: God called to him from within the bush
B: Moses! Moses!
A: And Moses said
C: Here I am
B: Do not come any closer, God said
take off your sandals
for the place where you are standing
is holy ground
A: Then God said
B: I am the God of your father, the God
of Abraham, the God of Isaac,
and the God of Jacob
A: At this, Moses hid his face because he
was afraid to look at God (Ex. 3:2-6)

A: At Mount Sinai the Lord said to Moses
B: I will do the very thing you have asked
because I am pleased with you and
I know you by name
A: Then Moses said
C: Now show me your glory
A: And the Lord said
B: There is a place near me where you
may stand on a rock
When my glory passes by I will put
you in a cleft in the rock
and cover you with my hand
until I have passed by
C: Then I will remove my hand
and you will see my back
but my face must not be seen
(Ex. 33:17-23)
A: When Moses came down from
Mount Sinai
with the two tablets of the
Testimony in his hands
B: he was not aware that his face was
radiant
because he had spoken with the Lord
A: When Aaron and all the Israelites
saw Moses
his face was radiant
C: and they were afraid to come near him
(Ex. 34.29-30)

Encountering God’s Glory: Isaiah

A: To behold God
B: To behold God in all his glory
C: is not just a matter
A: of seeing with the eye
B: of common everyday recognition
C: of being in the right place at the
right time
A: When Isaiah beheld God sitting on
a throne
B: high and lofty
A: the hem of God’s robe filled the temple
B: and the temple was filled with smoke
C: and six angels called to one another
B: Holy
C: Holy
A: Holy
ABC: is the Lord of hosts
A: The whole earth
ABC: is full of his glory
A: And Isaiah cried out
C: “Woe is me! Woe is me! I am lost
B: lost
C: for I am a man of unclean lips
B: and I live among a people
C: of unclean lips”

Sung Refrain: “Gloria” SNC 111

Glory Denied, Glory Lost
A: A man of unclean lips
B: A people of unclean lips
A: Despite the beauty and splendor of
creation
C: and God’s mighty saving acts in
history
A: God’s people turned God’s glory
into shame
by loving delusions and pursuing
false gods
B: For although they knew God
C: they neither glorified him as God nor
gave thanks to him
B: but their thinking became futile
C: and their foolish hearts were darkened
A: Although they claimed to be wise
B: they became fools
C: and exchanged the glory of the
immortal God
B: for images made to look like mortal
humans
C: and birds and animals and reptiles
(Rom. 1:21-23)
A: And so to encounter God’s glory
C: was to be placed in certain judgment
B: thrown into a place of fear and terror
A: The Lord said to them
C: On that day I will become angry
with them and forsake them
B: I will hide my face from them
and they will be destroyed
A: Many disasters and difficulties will
come upon them
B: and on that day they will ask
C: Have not these disasters come upon us
because our God is not with us?
B: I will certainly hide my face on
that day
C: because of all their wickedness in
turning to other gods
(Deut. 31:17-19)
A: God’s face was hidden from his people
B: just as we hide our faces from God
C: just as we hide our faces from God
B: Give glory to the Lord your God
C: before he brings darkness
A: before you stumble on the twilight
mountains (Jer. 13:16)
C: Woe to you who long for the day
of the Lord!
A: Why do you long for the day of
the Lord?
That day will be darkness, not light,
pitch-dark, without a ray of
brightness (Amos 5:18, 20)
A: The day of the Lord is great
B: it is dreadful
C: Who can endure it? (Joel 2:11)

Impossible Glory

A: Glory
B: Glory
C: Glory
ABC: Glorify
A: Glorify the Lord God
C: the Lord of hosts
B: Glorify God in worship
C: Glorify God in praise
B: Glory is
C: a weighty and imposing presence
A: great honor, praise and distinction
majestic beauty and radiance
power and might
B: a weighty and imposing presence
that cannot be ignored or denied
A: We are to glorify God
B: to give God the glory
C: We are most ourselves
when we give glory to God
A: But we are all creatures
who have chosen our own way
B: and fallen
C: fallen
A: fallen far short of the glory of God
C: We must do without
B: make do without
C: God’s glory
A: How can we ever
B: give glory to God?
A: How is it ever possible
C: to glorify the Lord?
A: How can we reflect God’s glory
B: return to God his glory?

Sung Refrain: “Gloria” SNC 111

Christ: The Unconcealed Face of God’s Glory

A: God has heard our cries
C: and approached us face to face
B: In the past
C: God spoke to our forefathers
through the prophets
B: at many times and in various ways
A: but in these last days
he has spoken to us by his Son
B: through whom he made the universe
C: The Son is the radiance
of God’s glory
B: and the exact representation of
his being
A: sustaining all things by his
powerful Word (Heb. 1:1-3)
B: The Word became flesh
C: and made his dwelling among us
A: We have seen his glory
B: the glory of the One and Only
who came from the Father
C: full of grace and truth
A: From the fullness of his grace
we have all received one blessing
after another
B: For the law was given through Moses
C: grace and truth came through
Jesus Christ
A: No one has ever seen God
B: but God the One and Only who is at
the Father’s side
C: has made him known (John 1:14-18)
A: We have seen his glory
B: Jesus rescued a wedding celebration
by turning water into wine
In this way he revealed his glory
and his disciples put their faith in
him (John 2)
C: The sickness of Lazarus did not end
in death
No, it was for God’s glory
so that God’s Son would be glorified
through it (John 11)
A: Jesus took Peter, John, and James
with him
and went up onto a mountain to pray
As he was praying
the appearance of his face changed
and his clothes became as bright as
a flash of lightning
B: Two men
A: Moses and Elijah
B: appeared in glorious splendor
talking with Jesus
C: Peter and his companions were
very sleepy
but when they became fully awake
they saw his glory
and the two men standing with him
(Luke 9:28-32)
A: We have seen his glory
BC: his glory
A: the glory of the One and Only
B: who came from the Father
C: full of grace and truth
A: We are not like Moses,
C: who would put a veil over his face
to keep the Israelites from gazing at it
B: while the radiance was fading away
A: But we
B: who with unveiled faces
C: all reflect the Lord’s glory
B: are being transformed into his likeness
with ever-increasing glory
AC: from glory unto glory
B: glory unto glory
A: that comes from the Lord
C: who is the Spirit
A: For God, who said
C: Let light shine out of darkness
A: has made his light shine in our hearts
B: to give us the light of the knowledge
A: of the glory of God
C: the glory of God
AC: in the face of Christ
(2 Cor. 3:13, 18; 4:6)

Sung Refrain: “Gloria” SNC 111

All Nations Will Come to the Glory

A: The prophets had long ago declared
B: And the glory of the Lord will be
revealed
C: and all together will see it (Isa. 40:5)
A: Arise, shine, for your light has come
B: and the glory of the Lord rises
upon you
A: Darkness covers the earth
and thick darkness is over the peoples
B: but the Lord rises upon you
C: and his glory appears over you
A: Nations will come to your light
B: and kings to the brightness of
your dawn
A: Lift up your eyes and look about you
B: All will assemble and come to you
A: You will look and be radiant
B: your heart will throb and swell
with joy (Isa. 60:1-5)
A: Then I looked
C: and heard the voice of many angels
B: numbering thousands upon thousands
C: and ten thousand times ten thousand
A: They encircled the throne and the
living creatures and the elders
B: in a loud voice they sang
AC: Worthy is the Lamb who was slain
A: to receive power and wealth and
wisdom and strength
B: and honor and glory and praise!
A: Then I heard every creature in
heaven and on earth
and under the earth and in the sea
B: singing
C: To him who sits on the throne and
to the Lamb
A: be praise and honor and glory and
power,
ABC: for ever and ever!” (Rev. 5:11-13)
A: The sun will no more be your light
by day
B: nor will the brightness of
the moon shine on you
C: for the Lord will be your everlasting
light
A: and your God will be your glory
A: the Lord will be your everlasting
light
C: and your days of sorrow will end
(Isa. 60:19-20)

Sung Response: “Arise, Shine, for
Your Light Is Come” PsH 198

Prayers of the People

Response to the Gospel

A: I have looked upon you in the
sanctuary
beholding your power and your glory
B: Because your love
C: your steadfast love
A: is better
B: better than life
C: than life
ABC: my lips
B: will glorify
C: glorify you
A: I will bless you as long as I live
B: I will lift up my hands
C: and call on your name (Ps. 63:2-4)
Blessing
A: To him who is able to keep you
from falling
B: and to present you before his
glorious presence
C: without fault and with great joy
A: to the only God our Savior be glory
B: majesty, power, and authority
C: through Jesus Christ our Lord
A: before all ages
B: now and forevermore
ABC: Amen (Jude 1:24-25)

Doxology: “Father, We Love You” CH 9, PsH 634,
SFL 77, WR 146

Excerpt
  • • There are three voices (A, B, C) in this reading, one of whom could be the pastor.
  • • If you’d like to break up the message section, consider having the congregation sing a brief refrain.
  • • My objective in any dramatic reading is to have the congregation hear the Scriptures. For that reason I do not recommend the use of images, but the titles for each section could be projected on a screen.
  • • For those who are theologically adventuresome I heartily recommend the seven-volume work The Glory of the Lord by Hans Urs von Balthasar (Ignatius Press, 1991).