For the Church: Singing Glory to the Holy One

from Mar 19, 2015 Category: Ligonier Resources

Glory to the Holy One,” from Dr. R.C. Sproul’s Glory to the Holy One sacred music project, provides both a striking description of Isaiah’s beatific vision of God (Isaiah 6:1-8) and issues a stirring call for God’s people to join the heavenly hosts in reverent, heartfelt, and true worship. It also presents rich insights into a gospel-driven, biblically-informed model of liturgy. Note the dialogical order of this celestial Divine-creature meeting.

  1. Call to Worship. God, the supreme Sovereign, initiates worship by summoning Isaiah into His glorious presence. “Seated on the heavenly throne above all mortal view, the King supreme in glory sat bathed in resplendent hue.”
  2. Doxological Response. “”Holy, Holy, Holy,” cried the seraph throng. Glory to the Holy One, join in heaven’s song.” God’s creatures rightly respond to His infinite majesty with reverent adoration.
  3. Confession of Sin and Assurance of Pardon. Exposed and convicted by the refulgent glory of God’s holiness, Isaiah recognizes his unworthiness and confesses his sin. “Angel come now, purge my lips, make pure my soul anew.” The purging of Isaiah’s sins points to the atoning work of Christ.
  4. Word. God reveals His will and sends Isaiah in His powerful Name. “Whom shall I send, and who will go for Us?” (Isaiah 6:8a). This Divine call is implied in Isaiah’s following response.
  5. Response and Sending. “Now I’ll rise and stand again in grace to go for you.” Transformed and equipped for service by God’s grace, Isaiah goes forth as God’s ambassador.

A similar progression is paralleled in several other scriptural narratives, including Exodus 3-4 (Moses and the burning bush), Nehemiah 8 (Ezra’s reading of the Law), and Luke 1:26-38 (Mary and Gabriel) (Refer to F. Russell Mitmann, Worship in the Shape of Scripture).

How unspeakably blessed we are, as God’s redeemed people, to “join in heaven’s song” in ascribing glory to the transcendent Holy One; to be corrected, comforted, strengthened, and called through His appointed means of grace; and to go forth to serve in the matchless name of Christ.

Lyrics

Seated on the heav’nly throne
Above all mortal view
The King supreme in glory sat
Bathed in resplendent hue

Refrain

Holy, Holy, Holy”
Cried the seraph throng
Glory to the Holy One
Join in heaven’s song

All around the mercy seat
The heav’nly creatures sang
Glory to our God on high
Their poignant anthem rang

Refrain

Shielded eyes and covered feet
The angels hovered high
Glory shook the portal walls
And smoke rose to the sky

Refrain

Angel come now, purge my lips
Make pure my soul anew
Now I’ll rise and stand again
In grace to go for you”

Refrain

Experience Glory to the Holy One Today

Note: If you buy the CD from Ligonier.org, we will add the digital edition to your learning library for free.

See also:

Randall Van Meggelen is chief musician at Saint Andrew’s Chapel in Sanford, Fla., and provides direction for the church’s various music ministries. He is a graduate of Covenant College and Concordia University.