Holy, Holy, Holy! Lord God Almighty!
Early in the morning our song shall rise to Thee;
Holy, Holy, Holy! Merciful and Mighty!
God in three persons, blessed trinity!

This is another very familiar hymn – one I know extremely well and could probably almost sing from memory. It was written by Reginald Heber in 1826 for Trinity Sunday, the day that has traditionally celebrated the doctrine of the Holy Trinity established by the Council of Nicaea in 325. The tune, written by John B. Dykes in 1861, named Nicaea, also commemorates this significant event.

Well, that’s the history. And, no, it isn’t Trinity Sunday this week (that would be the first Sunday following Pentecost – sometime in the spring). This one came to my list with a story that had nothing to do with its history; little to do with the meaning of its words. This story is about a five year old child struggling in new surroundings and being encouraged by this hymn. Attending a small church that had a time of song requests at the end of their service, this child would often ask to sing this hymn – to the amusement of the adults! But they would sing it enthusiastically and the memory of this community support has stayed with my friend into adulthood. Partly because they indulged him, and partly because it created an image of a united group, walking through life together.

It’s interesting to me how powerful our communities can be. How much they can carry us through our lives. How much they shape the way we interact with our world.   This story once again reminds me that we have no idea what the impact of listening to, and really hearing, a small voice will be. There are always consequences to how we respond to the voices around us. We can encourage, discourage, challenge, inspire, deflate and support.   We can educate and be educated. We can tear down or we can build. Sometimes it’s difficult to figure out which response is the positive one, but the lesson I take from this child’s experience is that to be heard is the starting point.

Finding a community that encourages our voices is truly a gift. Being a community that listens, is both a challenge and a privilege. So early in the morning when our songs are rising, I hope there is space to hear all who wish to sing.

Holy, Holy, Holy! Lord God Almighty!
All Thy works shall praise thy name in earth and sky and sea;
Holy, Holy, Holy! Merciful and Mighty!
God in Three Persons, blessed Trinity!