XX: The Holy Gospel

Q: What special respect do we show at the reading of the Holy Gospel?

A: We stand, because through the Gospel we hear Christ, the Word, speaking to us – the Word of Eternal Life. We are in His Living Presence at this reading. At the announcement of the reading we acclaim, “Glory to You, O Lord,” a statement of thanks for the proclamation. Some persons may make the sign of the cross with their thumb on the forehead, lips and breast, saying, “May your Holy Word be in my mind, on my lips and in my heart.” 

At the conclusion of the reading we acclaim, “Praise to You, O Christ,” to surround the Presence with our recognition of it. At times, particularly on festivals, there is a gospel procession, when the Book is brought into the midst of the congregation. This is a vibrant sign of the Word becoming flesh, dwelling in our midst. Another sign of this Presence used in some congregations on major festivals is the honoring of Christ in the Gospel by use of incense three times during the acclamation of glory. And, also on festivals, some add the dignity of chanting the proclamation in its entirety.

Whatever is used, our special reverence recognizes Christ speaking to us in the words of “The Holy Gospel.”

Adapted from About Being Lutheran © Lutheran Liturgical Renewal 1991. Used by permission.