06022021 – Holy Trinity
Isaiah 6. 3 says, “And one called to another and said:
“Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts;
the whole earth is full of his glory.”
And the Book of Revelation, the 4th chapter, says…
After this I looked, and there in heaven a door stood open! And the first voice, which I had heard speaking to me like a trumpet, said, “Come up here, and I will show you what must take place after this.” 2 At once I was in the spirit, and there in heaven stood a throne, with one seated on the throne! 3 And the one seated there looks like jasper and carnelian, and around the throne is a rainbow that looks like an emerald. 4 Around the throne are twenty-four thrones, and seated on the thrones are twenty-four elders, dressed in white robes, with golden crowns on their heads. 5 Coming from the throne are flashes of lightning, and rumblings and peals of thunder, and in front of the throne burn seven flaming torches, which are the seven spirits of God; 6 and in front of the throne there is something like a sea of glass, like crystal.
Around the throne, and on each side of the throne, are four living creatures, full of eyes in front and behind: 7 the first living creature like a lion, the second living creature like an ox, the third living creature with a face like a human face, and the fourth living creature like a flying eagle. 8 And the four living creatures, each of them with six wings, are full of eyes all around and inside. Day and night without ceasing they sing,
“Holy, holy, holy,
the Lord God the Almighty,
who was and is and is to come.”
9 And whenever the living creatures give glory and honor and thanks to the one who is seated on the throne, who lives forever and ever, 10 the twenty-four elders fall before the one who is seated on the throne and worship the one who lives forever and ever; they cast their crowns before the throne, singing,
11 “You are worthy, our Lord and God,
to receive glory and honor and power,
for you created all things,
and by your will they existed and were created.”
The reason I share these texts of scripture with you – it is based on THESE TEXTS that Reginald Heber wrote the hymn Holy, Holy, Holy.
From 1807 – 1823 the author wrote more than 100 hymns. This particular one was not released until AFTER HIS DEATH!
The text speaks specifically of the Holy Trinity, and was actually written for use on TRINITY SUNDAY, although it can also be used as “a general hymn of praise” at any time throughout the churches liturgical year.
It comes to us, from the Church of England, the Anglican Church.
The text has a wide scope, successively referencing “HUMANS, SAINTS, ANGELS and ALL LIVING CREATURES,” and its main theme is the “basic belief in the Trinity”, which is shared by most denominations of the Christian church despite all of our other many differences.
The first stanza opens with “an invitation to worship God in the MORNING.”
The second stanza magnifies the opening idea, “with SAINTS” joining “in adoring the Majesty in heaven”.
The third stanza describes SOME ATTRIBUTES of the Christian deity, while the final stanza is a climax of the preceding with “EARTH and SKY and SEA” joining in praising the divine.
It almost sounds like a PSALM.
The reason I share this background with you, is because if you are anything like me…this was probably your first introduction to the DOCTRINE of the Holy Trinity.
Long before you knew there was “an OFFICIAL DOCTRINE or A TEACHING of the church,” you knew the hymn.
We grew up belting out the lyrics to this song, singing it LOUDLY, joyously, and ROBUSTLY.
It was sung frequently throughout the church year and not just on Trinity Sunday.
People LOVED singing it.
They sang it WELL and loudly.
Over the years the words “God in three persons, Blessed Trinity” were TATTOOED on our souls.
A great many churches at one time, sang the doxology, as well…which always ended with the words, “Praise Father, Son and Holy Ghost.”
It was GOOD THEOLOGY, but most of us never really knew what it meant…or realized it was doctrine…we just sang our hearts out.
The TRINITY was never proved, it was assumed. It was never explained, it was just stated as a given. And it was never preached because it did not need to be, it was sung!
And all of that was GOOD ENOUGH.
We left the arguments about three-in-one and one-in-three to the THEOLOGIANS. We believed in ONE GOD as the weekly prayers at the ALTAR always reminded us.
The three-in-one never MUDDIED THE WATERS, for us, because we knew in our heart of hearts that we were MONOTHEISTIC and believed in one God…and that was enough.
The one God just MANIFESTED himself in different ways…and THAT WAS SUFFICIENT for us.
May you be blessed by the Blessed Trinity this night! I pray it is so.