My statistics page indicates that someone was looking for an anthem containing the words “And the house was filled with smoke”, which I believe come from the Prophet Isaiah. It is none other than John Stainer’s I saw the Lord. Truly, it is the quintessence of the Victorian Anglo-Catholic anthem, evoking ideas of an over-zealous thurifer overdoing things a little during Benediction.
This anthem is traditionally sung on Trinity Sunday, as the Church contemplates God in his transcendence and mystery. None can know God except through revelation and the experience of divine immanence. The Old Testament breathes that fear of God, which is the beginning of wisdom. Thus is salvation history, from fear of the Almighty to a Father / son relationship and love. God always revealed himself through the veil of smoke, or the veil of the Temple. This is the significance of our using veils of different kinds in the liturgy.
This is the only decent recording I could find on Youtube. I prefer St John’s College Cambridge, but you can’t have everything!
PS. I forgot I had already done an article on this anthem – And the House was Filled with Smoke. There was a good version by Westminster Abbey choir, but it has been deleted from Youtube for copyright reasons.