Title: Holy God, Holy Mighty, Holy Immortal!
Age: 3 to 8 years
Liturgical Time: Any; recommended for early in the year.
Note: This lesson is a modified version of part 1 of Hymns.
Direct Aim: This lesson intends to define hymns and their function in the Orthodox Church. The focus of this lesson is "Holy God! Holy Mighty! Holy Immortal!"
Hymns of the Divine Liturgy by Eikona
Joyful Feast by John Chakos
What is a hymn?
A hymn is a way we respond to God when He touches our heart. It is a prayer or meditation set to music. It is a conversation with God. Hymns allow us to connect with God in a very special way, one that involves our body, our senses, and our mind. When we sing a hymn, it is as though we are praying twice, once with the words that we say and once with the song that we sing!
What are we saying when we sing hymns?
- We are giving glory to God.
- We are giving thanks to God.
- We are asking Him for blessings.
- We are learning about our faith and what we believe about God.
- We express the full range of our emotions from joy to sorrow by calling out to our God.
We Sing with the Angels- Holy God! Holy Mighty! Holy Immortal!
Among the many blessings that Jesus wants to share with us is a special place in Heaven, close to Him. By His sacrificial death and resurrection, Jesus has given us the privilege of being with Him and with all the saints and angels. To celebrate this joyous event, we join our voices with the chorus of angels in heaven who continually sing praises of God (see Isaiah 6:1-4). We sing Holy God! Holy Mighty! Holy Immortal! three times, indicating our belief in the Trinity. Let us see what the words of this beautiful hymn mean.
When we sing Holy God!, we mean that God is different from us and our world in a very special way. He is pure and spotless. He is awesome and majestic. When Moses approached the burning bush, he was told to remove his shoes because the ground that he was walking on was holy; God was present there (Exodus 3:5). Singing the words Holy God helps us to remember that during the Divine Liturgy we are in God's presence.
God is Mighty! There is nothing that is as strong as our God. The parting of the waters of the Red Sea was one such instance when God proved His might. Our God is the chief source of our strength when we need help. When we sing Holy Mighty, we remember that we cannot do anything by ourselves, but with and through God, all things are possible.
God is Immortal! This means that God cannot die. Everything in the world is created, and sooner or later everything dies. Only God, who is the source of all life, has no beginning and has no end. As the Creator, He alone is eternal and immortal. When we sing Holy Immortal, we are reminded that if we believe in Him, follow Him, and unite our lives with His, we, too, can live forever with Him.
It is interesting to note that the word for holy in Greek is ayios. The prefix a- means not, and the root word –yi means earth. Therefore, the Greek word for holy literally means "not of this earth." The Thrice Holy Hymn is a beautiful reminder that during the Divine Liturgy, we are experiencing a taste of heaven, something not of this earth.
Sing this hymn together as a class as a closing prayer.
Think of how you can be holy (not of this world).
Learn to sing this hymn and, sing it in your daily prayers.
Sing along with the choir during Divine Liturgy.