I believe that this song I am about to discuss–“Hallelujah, Salvation, and Glory”–is one of the best gospel arrangements in history. Originally arranged by Stephen Hurd for choir, the lyrics follow:
Hallelujah, salvation and glory
Honor and power unto the Lord, our God
For the Lord, our God, is mighty
Yes, the Lord, our God is omnipotent
The Lord, our God, he is wonderful
All praises be to the King of Kings
For the Lord, our God, is wonderful
Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, He is wonderful
Hallelujah, salvation and glory
Honor and power, He is wonderful
The lyrics come from Revelation 19:1, which states: “After this I heard what seemed to be the loud voice of a great multitude in heaven, saying, ‘Hallelujah! Salvation and glory and power to our God…'” (NRSV).
Another song/chorus based on a simple verse of scripture. And it is so beautiful when you hear it!
This is all worship. This isn’t just “Jesus we love you/Oh how I love Jesus/Jesus loves me/Reckless love”–although all those are appropriate and wonderful, and there were times when Reckless Love got me through seminary.
BUT–this song is about more than just the relational aspect of God. We’ve moved beyond–no pun intended–God’s immanence and onto His transcendence. Because while God is near to us and loves us, God is also powerful, omnipotent, wise, and mighty. So this song expresses honor in proportion to those qualities.
As beings created in the image of God and for the glory of God, this verse and song works because, through it, we are joining in the chorus of angels and elders and saints in the Kingdom of God and proclaiming God’s excellence and worth through song.
Revelation 7:10 is another verse we can use: “They cried out in a loud voice, saying, ‘Salvation belongs to our God who is seated on the throne, and to the Lamb!” (NRSV)
Hallelujah–literally, “Praise God!”
Salvation–remember Palm Sunday? Hosanna–Hoshienu–“Save us!” Salvation belongs to the Lord our God because only God has the power to save.
Glory–Glory has two aspects. It is something that we give to God, but it’s also something that emanates from God. We say things like, “God, we glorify Your name,” but also “Fill this place with Your glory.” Glory is an abstract concept, difficult to define, but through context I would say that it is the full God-ness of God. It is the immense weight and gravity of God’s essence combined with God’s might and holiness. When God’s glory is made manifest, when you’re in church or your dorm room (or, for me, in the kitchen lol), you KNOW when you are in the presence of God’s glory. It’s hard to describe, but you know.
I also like this teaching by John Piper on the glory of God.
Honor–we think of honor as respect that we give to anyone in authority, such as kings, presidents, and dignitaries, which is true. But it is also something that we give to each other. You know how those hippie-like people who do yoga (or the actual Hindus from whom they got that practice) say Namaste at the end of a practice? That word, which I believe is Sanskrit, means something along the lines of “The divine in me recognizes the divine in you.” That’s what honor is. And regardless of the image I use to explain it, I hope such a concept would not be foreign to Christians or anyone else who believes in God, because it’s like saying “We are both created in the image of God, and I honor you as a fellow sibling.” (In fact, this is originally a Jewish concept–remember, creation in the image of God originated in Genesis–part of the Torah).
Power–AKA might, AKA omnipotence. Power is the ability to do something. Power is physical strength. Power is influence. God has all of these qualities.
Because my brain is extra active tonight, I’ll give you another song: Handel’s “Hallelujah Chorus”, from his epic work “Messiah”. This work is traditionally sung at Christmas every year in the chapel of my alma mater. I think part of the reason I like “Hallelujah, Salvation, and Glory” is because the different layers and parts remind me of the “Hallelujah Chorus”.
Hallelujah! For the lord God omnipotent reigneth. The kingdom of this world is become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ. And He shall reign for ever and ever. King of kings forever and ever! And Lord of lords forever and ever!
(This also sounds a lot like Agnus Dei).