Devotional Thoughts Based on the Glory to God Hymnal
Then the Lord will appear over them, and his arrow go forth like lightning; the Lord God will sound the trumpet and march forth in the whirlwinds of the south.
The first verse of this hymn by Julia Ward Howe is referenced to Zechariah 9:14. “Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord; he is trampling out the vintage where the grapes of wrath are stored, he has loosed the fateful lightning of his terrible swift sword, God’s truth is marching on.” You can see how this hymn is referenced by Zechariah 9:14.
My favorite verse is verse 3. “In the beauty of the lilies, Christ was born across the sea; with a glory in his bosom that transfigures you and me; as he died to make us holy, let us live to make all free; while God is marching on.”
There is an anthem version of this hymn by Peter J. Wilhousky that has a beautiful tenor part. As a chorister in a community program, I had the pleasure of singing this anthem. Every time I hear it, I sing along because it was such great fun singing it with others years ago and because I am always moved by that last verse. The Glory to God commentator has noted the apocalyptic imagery in the hymn: “the coming of the Lord,” ‘the winepress,” and “the sharp sword.”
O God, we thank you for the impulse to sing and to herald your might deeds. As Christ died to make us holy, let us live to make all free, all the while knowing you are marching on even as we sing “Glory, hallelujah.” In His name we pray. Amen.