The Different Persons of the Father, Son & Spirit in Corporate Worship
One of the hardest aspects of our faith to comprehend in our limited understanding is the Trinity. Father, Son and Holy Spirit; all the same and all different. There have been entire books written on the Trinity and it is a concept that has boggled minds for generations. There are three important statements to keep in mind when studying the Trinity: God is three persons, each person is fully God and there is one God. You might be thinking, “Okay, why is the Trinity important to know as a worship leader? I’m never going to have to preach a sermon on this aspect of theology…” While this might be true and you might not be asked to stand up in the pulpit, the Trinity has a profound impact on our worship. This post will be exploring the aspect of God being three different persons and how they are each represented in corporate worship.
God the Father in Worship
Each person of the trinity is different from the other, even thought they are all fully God. God the Father occupies specific roles and has different titles:
Father (John 17:11)
Creator (Genesis 1:1)
Head (Ephesians 4:6)
God of all comfort (2 Corinthians 1:3)
God of our Lord Jesus Christ (Ephesians 1:17)
One God and Father of all, who is above
(some titles retrieved from Christian Theology by Christopher Morgan & Robert Peterson)
He also has his key attributes such as omnipresence, omnipotence, omniscience, eternity, immutability, glory, justice, etc. He performs distinct actions such as creating the world and sending Jesus and the Holy Spirit. In worship, it is important to recognize that while we are worshipping the Trinity, each person is distinct and the songs we choose speak to each person in a different way. At our church, we choose to intentionally start the service with a song about God’s glory- not because he is more important than Jesus or the Spirit, but because the Scriptures reflect that he is the head. One obvious example of a song like this would be, “How Great is Our God.” It speaks to the person of God the Father and his attributes: glory, splendor, majesty etc. It also focuses on the act of his creation.
Jesus the Son in Worship
A phrase that I hear so often is, “Jesus is the center of our worship.” This is true, however, I do not know if people really know what they mean when they say that. Jesus is God and is one with God, but He is distinct from God. Jesus also has several roles and titles in the Bible:
Son of Man (Matthew 18:11)
High Priest (Hebrews 7:26)
Savior (Luke 2:11)
Brother & Friend (Mark 6:3, John 15:15)
Teacher/Rabbi (John 3:2)
Emmanuel (Matthew 1:23)
Some of his attributes include: love, grace, forgiveness, humility, compassion, obedience, gentleness…the list could go on forever. He also performs individual acts that are separate from the Father and the Spirit such as: incarnation, death and resurrection. The Bible says that Jesus has and will receive his own praise and honor. One day, we will all bow before him and confess his lordship. We see in Hebrews 1 that God directs angels to worship the Son and worship of Christ is also mentioned in Revelation. We must respond the same and give Jesus the glory he is due in our services. This includes singing songs that praise the person of Jesus such as, Jesus Messiah, Tremble, King of Kings, Living Hope, etc. Another way of giving glory to Jesus in our services is through regularly observing communion and remembering what he did for us on the cross.
The Holy Spirit in Worship
The Holy Spirit is perhaps the person of the Trinity that becomes most out of balance in our church worship. It is often over-emphasized OR rarely recognized or talked about at all. The Holy Spirit is of vital importance in our worship and it has it’s own roles and titles:
Helper (John 14:15–18)
Witness (Romans 8:16)
Intercessor (Romans 8:26)
Counselor (Isaiah 40:13)
Some attributes that the Spirit encompasses are: wisdom, discernment, conviction, fear of the Lord etc. The Holy Spirit guides us, indwells and empowers us, constantly abides with us and acts as a helper and comforter in our lives. He unites us to Christ and applies our salvation in Christ. There is so much power in the Holy Spirit and so much to give him credit for in our worship. There are many songs that talk specifically about the Spirit such as Holy Spirit, Spirit Break Out, Spirit Move, Freedom etc. However, the place in our services that we need to incorporate the Spirit is prayer. We have so much opportunity and available access to God and Jesus when we pray in and through the Spirit.
inspiration from Christian Theology by Christopher Morgan & Robert Peterson (chapters 3, 6 & 9)