The Sanctus (Holy, Holy, Holy)

Isaiah 6:3

Why does the worship, the gathering of God’s people, act like it acts? Now we take ourselves into the final service of the Sunday morning gathering of Christians called the Service of the Communion. There’s an interesting song that comes about at the beginning of that.

It sort of reminds me of when I was a young college guy. Some of my friends and I went to the big city, we went to Chicago, and we were going to go to a baseball game the next day. I had found a hotel room for us online, never been there, didn’t know what it looked like, it was just a good deal. We knew immediately when we got there that we did not belong in that hotel.

We were in ratty tattered shorts and thrift store t-shirts and raggedy backpacks and we were surrounded by people wearing Armani suits, and marble floors, it was immediately, in an embarrassing way, became apparent we were completely underdressed.

When we come to the Service of Holy Communion we sing a song called the Sanctus. It means Holy. It’s actually borrowed from the prophet Isaiah. As he is called to be the mouthpiece of the Lord, Isaiah recognizes that the Lord himself is holy and that he is not. Isaiah says:

“Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts;
The whole earth is full of His glory!” (Isaiah 6:3)

Isaiah goes on to say I am surrounded by sinful people and I myself am sinful. I don’t belong here. And this becomes our song as we are about to be approached by the Lord himself. And then it transitions into another song from the New Testament as people celebrate Jesus riding into Jerusalem and they cry out Save us! Hosannah! Save us now!

What an appropriate thing for us to recognize first that the Lord is Holy and that we are unclean. And then to pray to the Lord of Heaven and Earth, that he save us now. Hosannah indeed. Amen.

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