HOLY, HOLY, HOLY
Reginald Heber, 1783–1826
Come, let us bow down in worship, let us kneel before the Lord our Maker; for He is our God and we are the people of His pasture, the flock under His care. (Psalm 95:6, 7)
“O Lord, grant that I may desire Thee, and desiring Thee, seek Thee, and seeking Thee, find Thee, and finding Thee, be satisfied with Thee forever.”
“Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty who was, and is, and is to come” (Revelation 4:8). These are the words of worship that believers will proclaim in heaven one day. This majestic text based on these words was written approximately 150 years ago by an Anglican minister, Reginald Heber, and it is still one of the hymns most frequently used in our corporate worship.
Worship is the cornerstone of a believer’s spiritual life. The bedrock of the local church is its worship service, and all aspects of the church’s ministry are founded here. It is only as a Christian truly worships that he begins to grow spiritually. Learning to worship and praise God, then, should be a believer’s lifetime pursuit. Our worship reflects the depth of our relationship with God. We must learn to worship God not only for what He is doing in our personal lives, but above all for who He is—His being, character, and deeds.
Reginald Heber was a highly respected minister, writer, and church leader, serving for a time as the Bishop of Calcutta. His early death at the age of 43 was widely mourned throughout the Christian world. One year after his death, a collection of 57 of his hymns was published by his widow and many friends as a tribute to his memory and faithful ministry. It is from this collection of 1827 that these words were taken:
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! All the saints adore Thee, casting down their golden crowns around the glassy sea; cherubim and seraphim falling down before Thee, which wert and art and evermore shalt be.
Holy, Holy, Holy! Tho the darkness hide Thee, tho the eye of sinful man Thy glory may not see. Only Thou art holy—there is none beside Thee perfect in pow’r, in love and purity.
Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God Almighty! All Thy works shall praise Thy name in earth and sky and sea; Holy, Holy, Holy! Merciful and Mighty! God in Three Persons, blessed Trinity!
For Today: Psalm 145:8–21; Isaiah 6:3; Revelation 4:5–11; 5:13
What does the term worship mean to you? How could your life of worship be improved? Use this hymn to help—