Saturday, June 13, 2015

New, Cross-Centered Stanza of "Holy, Holy, Holy"

"Holy, Holy, Holy" is one of the all-time classic and beloved hymns of English hymnody. And for good reason. It's God-centered and Trinitarian in its theology (it was originally written for Trinity Sunday), and it's majestic musically.

But for some time now, I've felt as if there's been something missing from this classic hymn. There's no stanza that's explicitly Christ-centered and cross-centered. While the cross certainly displays the love and grace and mercy of God, it also displays the holiness of God. And this is a truth that is often overlooked. So why not highlight this truth in a hymn about the holiness of God? We need to be reminded that sin has cost God greatly. At Calvary, God not only unleashed His mercy; He also upheld His holiness - all at the cost of His beloved Son.

So I've written a new stanza to sing with "Holy, Holy, Holy" to try and communicate these truths. I'm sure other hymnwriters could offer a better additional stanza than this one, but here is my attempt to provide a Christ-centered and cross-centered stanza to a classic hymn (we're going to sing it at our church between the original third and fourth stanzas).  
Holy, holy, holy! raise our eyes to Calv'ry,
That we might behold Thy Son condemned upon the tree.
Oh, how sin has cost Thee; oh, Thy grace and mercy!
Christ, fully punished; sinners, fully free!