[Calvary Chapel] 2008-02-22 - Holy, Holy, Holy

Originally Published 2005-01-27

I received an album of hymns by a popular Christian artist as Christmas gift this past year. During the last week I finally got an opportunity to sit down and listen to the songs. These renditions of a number of classic hymns of the church had some quiet guitar and vocal solos in some and a touch of country in others. For some I'm sure this would not be their cup of tea. For me it was a welcome return to some of my favorite standards from the time I was very young through today.

One in particular has stood out for me this week - Holy, Holy, Holy. Only the first and third original verses where sung, and it was the third verse that caught my attention and drew me in to thought.

"Though the eye of sinful man Thy glory may not see"

I was reminded of the story in Exodus 33 where Moses was permitted by God to see the back of the Lord and to catch a glimpse of His glory. God warned Moses that no man could see the face of the Lord and live. What an amazing honor to be granted such a bold request, even if only in part, Moses was given. The gospels of Matthew and Mark tell us that Peter, James and John were permitted to briefly see the glory of the transfigured Christ.

The darkness hides God's glory from us. There is darkness in this world. There are many dark hearts in the world today that scoff at the mention of God or personal accountability (sin?). The world also has many people with great hearts that give at every opportunity out of their time and material possessions. But even those great hearts have some darkness in them that keeps the true glory of God hidden.

Ben Franklin, who was not a believer, asked that sessions of the Continental Congress be opened with prayer as they had previously been opened. The debates had degenerated into selfish squabbles at best. Franklin noted that the meetings had been far more harmonious and productive when they had been opened with prayer. The Congress returned to the matters at hand redirected and refocused by prayer. Franklin had caught a glimpse of the glory of God's blessing of humble prayer that Christians had missed or discounted.

We are also sinful men and women who miss the glimpses of God's glory, like the one Ben Franklin had seen, in the darkness of our own selfishness and distraction, the darkness in our hearts. I urge us all, including myself, to return to prayer at a regular time. It is the light of a holy God poured on a humbled heart that illuminates the darkness. That light redirects our focus from self to service and returns our perspective in the presences of our holy Lord.

Lord Jesus - remind us that You are our Lord and that You love Your humble servants who walk along the narrow path. Be a light on our path and a lamp unto our feet. Keep us mindful of your perfect power, love and purity. Amen.

Grace & Peace,

[email mike] jmhoskins@gmail.com

Modern Hymns - The Holy Trinity

Reginald Heber (1783–1826)

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! though the darkness hide Thee,
Though the eye of sinful man Thy glory may not see,
Only Thou art holy, there is none beside Thee,
Perfect in power, 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!

Hymns of the Christian Church. Vol. XLV, Part 2. The Harvard Classics. New York: P.F. Collier & Son, 1909–14; Bartleby.com, ©2001. www.bartleby.com/45/2/. [Date of Printout].