"Holy, Holy, Holy" by Hank Ellington 3/6/19

There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called;  one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all. Ephesians 4:4-6

I remember well, Easter Sunday of 1957 when the worshippers of Beechmont Baptist Church on South Third Street in Louisville, opened the new Baptist Hymnal for the first time. We sang Hymn #1, “Holy, Holy, Holy”. If I’m not mistaken, that great and glorious hymn has been the first hymn in all later editions of the Baptist Hymnal and is first in the weighty Celebrating Grace Hymnal that we now use at Calvary.

The majestic words of this powerful hymn have spoken with clarity and with power for almost 200 years. As we look this Lenten season to the cross of Calvary and to the hope of Resurrection, the words of the third verse, which have always spoken to my heart, come to mind, “only Thou art holy; there is none beside Thee, perfect in power, in love, and purity”.

In a world that seems to be full of “gods” clamoring for our attention and our loyalty, there is but One who is worthy, the perfect Lamb of God, the Christ. Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God Almighty.

As a nine year old Baptist boy, this great hymn introduced me to the reality of the Trinity – God in three persons – a hallmark of Baptist belief that has shaped my life and I hope yours as well.

Lord God, Grant us the courage and the wisdom to lift high the Cross, to proclaim the loving sacrifice of Jesus, to celebrate the presence and power of the Spirit, and to worship the Great God of Creation.


 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,
who 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 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!
--Reginald Heber, 1826

Read more Hymns for the Journey (click here)

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