As he moved through the Church’s year in his cycle of hymns to accompany The Book of Common Prayer, Heber came to Trinity Sunday, with its reading from Revelation 4 and its vision of the worship of heaven. In the hymn we meet the threefold ‘Holy’, the song of the four living creatures round the throne of God, but find that it is we, in an early morning congregation, that are singing. Only in the second verse does our song join with the company of heaven, worshipping the mystery hidden in darkness, that sin prevents us from piercing. Nevertheless we have our part with the whole Creation everywhere in heaven and earth, as it joins in the worship.
The Revd John Bacchus Dykes was one of the finest tune-writers of a very fertile period in the nineteenth century. His tunes went out of favour with hymnbook editors for a while, but never with congregations. ‘Nicaea’ is his finest, named after the great Council of the Church in 325 that gave us the Nicene Creed.
from notes by Alan Luff © 2002