Song Stories

'Holy, Holy, Holy' magnifies the great Trinity

By Lucy Adams | Feb 07, 2017

Reading God's word is one of the most important parts of being a Christian. From God's glorious creation in Genesis, to the words “Holy, holy, holy” in Revelations, we are blessed to feast on his love and purposes for us.

That was one of the reasons I was eager to attend my beautiful church as a child. Sitting next to my mother made me feel very secure. I will never forget the majesty of one special hymn that took root in my soul. I did not understand its wording, but there was no mistaking the basic message — The Lord God Almighty was holy.

Now I understand the hymn's real message as one of the basic doctrines of the church.  Embodied in its four verses are attributes of the Trinity — “God is three persons, blessed Trinity.”

Many years ago, it was a poem written for Trinity Sunday, which is the eighth Sunday after Easter. Its author, Reginald Heber, was born in Cheshire, England, in 1783. He was educated at Oxford University and was ordained into the Church of England in 1807.  He was an eloquent preacher and a published author of poetry, essays and hymns.

When he wanted to find more suitable hymns for his people to sing in church, he wrote his own and compiled them into a hymnal in 1820. It was the first to be organized into topics for each Sunday in the church year.

Conflict arose, however, when Heber's superior, the bishop in London, rejected the hymnal saying, “The time is not ripe for such a book of worship.” Therefore, the Anglican Church continued to sing the same formal church music.

Very soon, the vivacious and gifted Heber was assigned to India as the bishop of Calcutta. After three years of leadership, he died.  His premature death, at the age of 43, was a great loss to the church.

But the hymnal that was not been accepted in England, prior to his death, was published in his memory. It was eagerly received, and one of the greatest of the hymns was, "Holy, Holy, Holy."

It unites Christians worldwide as we sing about our heavenly home that is portrayed in Revelation 4:8-11; that vision of the throne of God is the theme of this majestic hymn.

As a small child, I did not know how to worship the true and living God. But many years later, I rejoice as I sing, “All thy works shall praise they name in Earth and sky and sea. / Only thou art holy, there is none beside thee.”

It is a blessing to praise God and to stay focused on his glory.