Timeless Praise

Six years ago, I played an organ video for Will. It was one of my favorite hymns of all time, Holy God We Praise Thy Name. The organist in the video was Stephen Tharp, one of the world’s leading organists, who had recorded that hymn at his church  in New York. Will was 13 at the time, and was two years away from even starting organ lessons.

(Parenthetically, Will later got to meet Mr. Tharp when he came to perform on the Schantz pipe organ at Gesu Church in Milwaukee. Tom and Will’s first and beloved organ mentor, John Weissrock, posed for a photo after the concert.)

Fast forward to this weekend, and Will is playing the pipe organ at the 150th anniversary for a church. One of the hymns he is playing with the congregation, is this same one, Holy God We Praise Thy Name. His father is accompanying the hymn also with a brass quintet. The roof will be lifted with the beautiful sound of brass, organ and voices.

It goes without saying that the king of instruments, the pipe organ, is the fitting choice for accompanying this great hymn of praise. The organist and music express the words and meaning of the hymn that, in a very clear, doctrinal and confessional way, points to our Heavenly Father, who is worthy of all praise. Here is the full text of the hymn, and below that, the video!

Holy God, we praise Thy Name;
Lord of all, we bow before Thee!
All on earth Thy scepter claim,
All in Heaven above adore Thee;
Infinite Thy vast domain,
Everlasting is Thy reign.

Hark! the loud celestial hymn
Angel choirs above are raising,
Cherubim and seraphim,
In unceasing chorus praising;
Fill the heavens with sweet accord:
Holy, holy, holy, Lord.

Lo! the apostolic train
Join the sacred Name to hallow;
Prophets swell the loud refrain,
And the white robed martyrs follow;
And from morn to set of sun,
Through the Church the song goes on.

Holy Father, Holy Son,
Holy Spirit, Three we name Thee;
While in essence only One,
Undivided God we claim Thee;
And adoring bend the knee,
While we own the mystery.

Thou art King of glory, Christ:
Son of God, yet born of Mary;
For us sinners sacrificed,
And to death a tributary:
First to break the bars of death,
Thou has opened Heaven to faith.

From Thy high celestial home,
Judge of all, again returning,
We believe that Thou shalt come
In the dreaded doomsday morning;
When Thy voice shall shake the earth,
And the startled dead come forth.

Therefore do we pray Thee, Lord:
Help Thy servants whom, redeeming
By Thy precious blood out-poured,
Thou hast saved from Satan’s scheming.
Give to them eternal rest
In the glory of the blest.

Spare Thy people, Lord, we pray,
By a thousand snares surrounded:
Keep us without sin today,
Never let us be confounded.
Lo, I put my trust in Thee;
Never, Lord, abandon me.