Holy, Mighty, Worthy

Sometimes, as I put together the selection of songs for a particular service, things don’t gel as well as I would like. This morning’s selection seemed to work well, though, and I wanted to share it (as well as record it here for my own sake!).

At my present church, I tend to select a given service’s congregational hymnody in connection with whatever prepared music (choir, or smaller ensemble) is being presented. Today, my wife and I sang Chris Anderson’s newer hymn “Holy, Mighty, Worthy” with its rather stately melody, and I shaped the congregational singing around that piece. We normally sing three congregational songs in the morning, so I matched one song to each of the key words of the duet, trying to choose some very “classic” hymnody that was distinctly God-oriented to set the tone at the beginning of a new year:

(Welcome)
Responsive Scripture reading: Revelation 5:6-14
“Holy, Holy, Holy”
Prayer of repentance
“I Sing the Mighty Power of God”
Prayer of thanksgiving
Worship in giving
Duet: “Holy, Mighty, Worthy”
“Crown Him with Many Crowns”
Sermon

The Scripture reading and “Crown Him” bookended the singing portion of the service with the vision of the enthroned and reigning Christ. With the duet, I couldn’t help but have the congregation sing with my wife and I on the last verse, even though the song was new to them. I was hoping that us having sung the melody three times through would give our people what they needed to join in, and indeed they did join in with a good will. And what a fitting stanza for them to sing!

“Glory, glory, glory!” We, Thy church, adore Thee.
Called by grace to bring Thee praise; trophies of Thy pow’r to save!
None shall share Thy glory! All shall bow before Thee.
Father, Son, and Spirit: One! “Glory, glory, glory!”

I like this particular piece of Chris’s in that the text is simple, and each line (or even half-line) contains a more-or-less complete thought, and uses shorter words. Charles Wesley managed to include words like “inexhaustible” in his hymnody and have it work well, but for us lesser mortals, that can be pretty tough! There is a bit of potential confusion with singing or merely hearing “Father, Son, and Spirit: One!”, especially because “won” (a verb, which would be expected) and “One!” are homophonic. That being said, I’m glad for the Trinitarian emphasis, which (without my having researched the matter) seems to have fallen on hard times in the church’s hymnody.

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