Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Gloria in te Domine, Gloria exultate

Remembering my teenage years back in the '80s, I look back and can say without hesitation that one of the many lasting influences on my life from that time was the band U2. Being young and spiritually immature, it's difficult to describe what it was like knowing that they (or at least three of the band members) were committed Christians. This was particularly important to me since that was a period in my life when I wasn't sure what it meant to be a Christian, or even if I wanted to be a Christian. And when I recoiled from others who called themselves Christians because I didn't like things they said or did, I always remembered how much I loved U2 and that Bono, The Edge, and Larry Mullen were Christians. So why wouldn't I want to continue being Christian, too?

The song "Gloria," from U2's second album "October" (released in 1981), is a fine example. According to Wikepedia:

"The chorus 'Gloria in te Domine /Gloria exultate' translates to 'Glory in you, Lord / Glory, exalt [him]' with 'exalt' in the imperative mood, a reference to Psalm 30:2 (in te Domine, speravi). The song also contains references to Colossians 2:9-10 ('Only in You I'm complete') and James 5:7-9 ('The door is open / You're standing there')."

I can remember as a teenager being blown away to learn that this song is basically a rock-and-roll Christian hymn. It's amazing to see how easily U2 has been able to get audiences to sing this hymn with them, as though the rock concert has suddenly shifted into a religious service. And they never make any apologies for performing an explicitly Christian song in an otherwise "secular" setting.

Here are the lyrics for "Gloria":

I try to sing this song
I try to stand up
But I can't find my feet
I try, I try to speak up
But only in you I'm complete

Gloria in te domine
Gloria exultate
Gloria, Gloria
Oh Lord, loosen my lips

I try to sing this song
I try to get in
But I can't find the door
The door is open
You're standing there
You let me in

Gloria in te domine
Gloria exultate
Oh Lord, if I had anything
Anything at all
I'd give it to you
I'd give it to you

Here's an excellent live version of "Gloria" from 1984. Note how the crowd sings along with gusto (would that all of our congregations would accompany the choir this way!):


Mark Dudley said...

Absolutely, 100% agreed. I also was a teenager in the '80's, when I first listened to, and then bought, "Under A Blood Red Sky." This is the only live album I have ever bought, because I generally don't like live versions of songs. I hardly ever post online, either! U2 is just a very special influence, not just in music but I think on the world, and their music still affects me to this day. The song, "Gloria," suddenly came into my head, and not having immediate access to my old LP, or a record-player for that matter, I just re-bought the song online. I just had to have it! :)

Bryan Owen said...

Thanks for commenting, Mark. U2 is, indeed, a very special influence. I shall always be grateful for the ways their music touched my life and helped sustain my faith when I felt alienated from the institutional Church.

John Karge said...

WOW I've been a long time fan of the U2 boys and always sing along in time with Bono. Having said that, today I have learned from you fans and the song lyrics of the religious beliefs of the band members. I thank you and I have another reason to believe.

Chris said...

"Until the End of the World" from their album Achtung Baby is another example of U2's Christian belief. When casually listened to one might think this is a story of young lovers but in fact Bono's interpretation of a conversation between Jesus and Judas. I introduced this song to my then 12 year old daughter who now counts this as one of her favorite songs ever.