INVOCATION and READING
Holy, Holy, Holy! Lord God Almighty!
Early in the morning our song shall rise to Thee.
Holy, Holy, Holy! Merciful and mighty!
God in three persons, blessed Trinity!
(“Holy, Holy, Holy” st.1)
Revelation 4: 8-11
8 Each of the four living creatures had six wings and was covered with eyes all around, even under its wings. Day and night they never stop saying:
“‘Holy, holy, holy
is the Lord God Almighty,’
who was, and is, and is to come.”
9 Whenever the living creatures give glory, honor and thanks to him who sits on the throne and who lives for ever and ever, 10 the twenty-four elders fall down before him who sits on the throne and worship him who lives for ever and ever. They lay their crowns before the throne and say: 11 “You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they were created and have their being.”
Glory be to the Father
and to the Son and to the Holy Ghost,
as it was in the beginning,
is now and ever shall be,
world without end. Amen, amen.
The hymn that comes to mind for many of us, when celebrating the Holy Trinity, is “Holy, Holy, Holy” (UMH #64). Along with affirming the Doctrine of the Trinity, this hymn calls for the worship of the Triune God by all beings – on earth and in heaven. It was written by Reginald Heber (1783-1826). He was a clergyman in the Church of England, and became the Bishop of Calcutta, India for the last three years of his life. Heber wrote hymns for each Sunday of the church year. Since hymn singing was not recognized in the Anglican liturgy during that time (only the singing of metrical psalms was permitted), his hymn collection was not published until after his death. It is worth remembering, in contrast, that “the Methodist societies in the eighteenth century were known for their hymn singing, along with the dissenting churches that had been using the hymns of Isaac Watts for nearly one hundred years.” (https://www.umcdiscipleship.org/resources/history-of-hymns-holy-holy-holy-lord-god-almighty)
Often highlighted in our devotionals is the perfect pairing of text and tune, and this hymn is a great example! Though not the first tune associated with “Holy, Holy, Holy,” NICAEA was composed specifically for Heber’s words for inclusion in the 1861 Hymns Ancient and Modern by John Bacchus Dykes (1823 – 1876) – also an English clergyman. A highly educated and accomplished musician, Dykes was not asked to contribute to the 1861 hymnal. Rather, he wrote a letter to the musical editor offering his service and enclosing a few of what he humbly called “slight submissions.” “Holy, Holy, Holy” was one of them – thanks be to God!
Almighty and everlasting God,
you have given to us you servants grace, by the confession of a true faith, to acknowledge the glory of the eternal Trinity, and in the power of your divine Majesty to worship the Unity:
Keep us steadfast in this faith and worship, and bring us at last to see you in your one and eternal glory, O Father; who with the Son and the Holy Spirit live and reign, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Book of Divine Worship (and the Book of Common Prayer)
Offered by Joche Wilmot, Director of Music Ministries The original copies of Bishop Heber’s hymns in his own hand-writing, sent to his friend H.H. Milman.