Let everything that has breath praise the LORD. Praise the LORD!
The words to this hymn were written in 1674 by an Anglican Bishop named Thomas Ken. These particular lyrics were originally intended to be the final verse of each of “Three Hymns for Morning, Evening, and Midnight.” During the time this hymn was written, many people in the Church considered it a sin to sing lyrics that were not in the Bible, so during the Bishop’s lifetime this hymn (which is not taken directly from Scripture) was not allowed to be sung during church services. Continue reading
“Holy, holy, holy is the LORD God Almighty,
who was and is and is to come!”
Reginald Heber was an ardent missionary and hymn-writer during the early 19th century. He wanted to compile a hymnal organized around the church calendar, with hymns assigned to particular services and paired with complementary Scripture readings. He wrote the lyrics to Holy, Holy, Holy for Trinity Sunday, which is the first Sunday after Pentecost; a day devoted to celebrating the Christian doctrine of the trinity. The Church of England’s Book of Common Prayer prescribed the reading of Revelation 4 for this day, which became the basis for Huber’s words.
Unfortunately, at the young age of 43 — just three years after accepting the post of Bishop of Calcutta, India — he died without ever seeing his desired hymnbook come to fruition. After his death, his wife found the lyrics to “Holy, Holy, Holy” scrawled among his papers. She published it a year later, along with 56 other hymn texts. Continue reading
O Lord God of hosts, who is mighty as you are, O Lord, with your faithfulness all around you? You rule the raging of the sea; when its waves rise, you still them.
Often known in America as the “Navy Hymn” because of its association with the U.S. Naval Academy, this is perhaps the best known of the many maritime hymns written during the 19th century. Cross-Atlantic travel was common during this time, but perilous, leading to a genre of prayer-hymns for seafarers. Continue reading