Monthly Archives: May 2016

Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God Almighty!


trinityEveryone I know loves the hymn “Holy, Holy, Holy,” and would be very disappointed if we didn’t sing it on Trinity Sunday.

When Reginald Heber’s widow found the hymn among her deceased husband’s papers, she found the words of one of the most powerful hymns ever written. But years would pass before the lines took their place in worship services around the world.

Reginald Heber was a Bishop in the Church of England. He wrote the hymn “Holy, Holy, Holy” for Trinity Sunday as he was compiling a hymnal around the church calendar.  When Heber was 40 years old, he and his family left  England to begin service as Bishop of Calcutta, India.  After three years, the combination of arduous duties and hostile climate brought about his collapse and death in 1826.


After Heber’s death, Hymns Written and Adapted to the Weekly Church Service of the Year was published and it included all of his hymns.  Even today, most hymnals include two or three. But it is this one “Holy, Holy, Holy,” that has blessed people all over the world.  Translated into many languages, it was Heber’s most enduring gift to the church.


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!


Composer John Dykes played organ, piano, violin, and horn, but is best known for composing over 300 hymn tunes. After receiving the words from Heber’s widow, he wrote the tune Nicaea within thirty minutes. The tune is named for the First Council of Nicaea which formalized the doctrine of the Trinity in 325.


Did you know?

“Holy, Holy, Holy” is sung in the 1953 film Titanic.



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Music for the Day of Pentecost

Pentecost Sunday

music pentecost


 “I will pour out my Spirit on all people…And everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” (from the Acts of the Apostles, Chapter 2)


Come, Spirit, Fill Our Hearts

Children’s Choir

Arranged and directed by June Gladding


As we gather on the day of Pentecost, the Children’s Choir will sing the choral call to worship, asking the Holy Spirit to come and “bless us as we sing and pray.”  To the singing, June Gladding has added choral speaking, drums, recorders, and xylophones.  It reminds me of that first Pentecost when the people spoke in many languages, but could all be understood.  June is an excellent teacher of the many “languages” of music.

You may recognize MADRID, a traditional Spanish tune, paired in our hymnal (and 93 others!) with the text “Come, Christians, Join to Sing.”  This hymn began as a Sunday school song for children. Originally entitled, “Come, Children, Join to Sing,” the hymn’s name was changed when its author Christian Bateman realized everyone loved to sing his hymn. The text was written in 1843 and first appeared in a Scottish hymnbook for children entitled Sacred Melodies for Sabbath Schools and Families. The hymnbook reached a circulation of a million and a half by 1862, four million by 1872, and above six million by 1881.



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Music as Prayer

music as prayer



“…my peace I give to you…Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid.”    John 14:27



Every Sunday at Christ Presbyterian, we hear prayer requests for ourselves or people we know who are facing significant uncertainty in their lives. Some are struggling with their physical health, and concerned about how they will face the next steps in their treatment. Others are facing changes in their employment, experiencing fear and doubt about how they will survive financially. Still others are dealing with mental illness or depression in a world that doesn’t always provide good help.


“Healer of Our Every Ill,” by Marty Haugen is a prayer for healing, not only of the body, but also of the mind, and spirit.


The refrain, “Give us peace beyond our fear and hope beyond our sorrow,” is a powerful prayer for all of us.  Sometimes the text of a hymn or anthem, can express thoughts we find difficult to put into words.


This hymn is also about joy (stanza 2) – “your grace is still unfolding.” It is also about love and kindness (stanza 3) – “Give us strength to love each other.”  It is also about compassion for others (stanza 4) – “Spirit of compassion, fill each heart.”


May God answer your every prayer with hope and peace.



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