“Holiness Unto the Lord” (modern arrangement)

I just returned from the 28th General Assembly of The Church of the Nazarene, the quadrennial gathering of my denomination. I heard several people comment that during our corporate worship services, we never sang the (unofficial) anthem of our church, Leila Morris’s 113-yr-old tune “Holiness Unto the Lord.” In some ways this is unsurprising, as the original musical setting is very “marchlike” and feels quite dated today.

A couple years ago now, I set out to rewrite this song, cherished by so many Nazarenes (though virtually unknown outside of our tribe), in a more modern musical style that could work with today’s more guitar-driven worship style. I wanted to stay as true to the original lyric and tune as possible, but the chorus, I felt, needed to be altered significantly. I wasn’t sure what to do – I didn’t want to write an entirely new and different chorus – but then I realized that just reversing the order of each couplet and tweaking the melody a bit could make it much more singable.

The finished product has caught on well in my congregation, and I know a few other churches have tried it as well. Feel free to give it a whirl; I thought I’d share the “stripped down” acoustic version rather than a full band arrangement so you have a bit more of a blank slate to imagine how it might work in your context!

Download free chord chart

6 responses to ““Holiness Unto the Lord” (modern arrangement)

  1. love love love this arrangement!! I appreciate the original but I can hear this in my church. It gives this hymn a whole new life IMHO!

  2. I like this, Brannon, I like it a lot…

  3. LOVE IT!!! Great job!

  4. Fabulous! Thanks for sharing

  5. I like the arrangement. I am going to share with our worship team! Thanks for your insight and creativity. Pastor Wes Harris Ph.D.

  6. love the arrangement. we live in Guam and all we have are guitars.. so this will really help. thanks

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