The God Who Worships



Worship—Christian worship—is in the name of the Trinity. You entered the body of Christ, you were baptized, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Our Prayer of Great Thanksgiving, for Holy Communion, is offered to the Father, through the Son, in the Holy Spirit. We believe in one God Who Is Three Persons, the Trinity, and worship, Christian worship, is in the name of the Trinity. We worship the Trinity, and the Trinity alone. We worship in the name of the Triune God, and of the Triune God alone.

Belief in the Trinity is one of our most important doctrines. A doctrine is a teaching of the church. Doctrines teach us about who God is; they guide us so that we speak in ways that glorify God, and so that we act in ways that honor God. You may have your own beliefs about God; they may be sincere, and they may come from deep experiences in your life, or from passionate readings, on your own, of the Bible. But God entrusts his truth to the whole church, and not just to individuals, and if your beliefs contradict the doctrines of the church, then you are wrong. Christian belief belongs first to the universal church, not to us as individuals.

Sometimes our eyes start to glaze over when there’s talk about doctrine. We want life to be exciting, and we want to talk about things that thrill us, that grab our attention. Give us mission and passion and fierce faith, and leave aside the dry doctrine, we like to think. But such thoughts betray our sinfulness. In our gospel reading this morning, Jesus tells the disciples that the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of truth, “will guide you into all truth” (by the way that you is plural, as in, “the Spirit will guide y’all into all truth”). Indifference to doctrine, indifference to truth, is indifference to the Holy Spirit, who is given to the church to guide us—us—into all truth.

Besides, Christian doctrine, when taught and thought well, can lead us into greater worship of God, can help us speak a more profound alleluia, can take us to depths of love and wonder, when most of the time we just skate across the surface of life, never thinking that there might be something deeper, something more. Or never thinking at all. And this morning I want us to scratch the surface, to delve a little deeper into the truth that sustains our lives as disciples of Jesus Christ. Because today is Trinity Sunday, the day we set aside to honor and glorify and teach the Three-One God, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

Christian worship is inseparable from the Trinity. We already said that, of course, and we turned to baptism and Eucharist to illustrate just how bound up our worship is in the Triune God. But there is a richer world behind even that starting point, a deeper magic, as C.S. Lewis says in The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. In the Trinity, God worships himself. Worship is not first something we do. Worship does not begin with us, or with who we are, or how we feel. Worship is not first our songs, or our prayers, or our sermons, or our sacraments. Worship is God’s life. God worships God. The Father worships the Son by begetting the Son in Love, by giving all he has to the Son, as Jesus says in this morning’s gospel reading; the Son worships the Father by offering back the Father’s Love; the Spirit glorifies the Father and the Son by binding them in Love; the Father and the Son worship the Spirit by rejoicing in their unity; and the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit worship the One God Who They Are by the Wisdom of their life of mutual Love and Self-Giving. Worship is God’s life. God worships God.

When we worship God, then, we don’t start something new. In grace and majesty and love, God invites us to worship. God invites us to do something that is part of who God is. That invitation isn’t a message, it isn’t a note, and it isn’t even a verse in Scripture. The invitation to worship is a Person: Jesus Christ, the Son of God. Jesus is our invitation to worship. Jesus is our call to worship. Jesus offers himself to us, and because of the Trinity, that means Jesus offers God to us, offers us the chance to worship God. These days, people planning to get married go to all manner of lengths to ask each other: notes on billboards, song and dance routines, YouTube channels, and ballpark JumboTrons. Jesus is God’s proposal: will you worship me? Will you be my bride? Will you let me join my life to yours? Jesus is God’s proposal, God’s invitation to worship. And, through the Holy Spirit, God enables us to respond. Our worship is our human response to God’s invitation, our “yes” to God’s proposal in Jesus Christ.

But it’s even more than that. Our worship is more than a response. Worship is God’s life. The Father sends the Son to invite us and the Spirit to enable us to join into God’s life. When we worship we enter into God’s life. We become part of who God is. Our lives are united and incorporated into God’s own life. Even our very bodies, our frail, broken, ailing, aging bodies enter, through the body of Jesus Christ, into God’s very own life. It’s like diving into a pool and then discovering, to our amazement, that we have gills. It’s like spending our lives underground and then one day breaking out to breathe fresh air and see the sun. It’s like waking up from a deep sleep to a sumptuous feast at a table that has a place for everyone. It’s like the love of God in Jesus Christ poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. Worship is when we come alive, because we join the life of the Triune God Who is Life, and Whose Worship is his Life.

Is worship our life? Do we live to worship God? Do we find life in worshiping the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit? The invitation from God is that our whole life can become worship, that honor and glory and praise and thanksgiving can be offered day by day, minute by minute, not only in the prayers of our lips and the songs of our hearts, but in the compassion of our hands. If we really have responded to Jesus Christ, God’s beautiful proposal, then we don’t just join the dance of life on Sunday mornings. We move to the rhythm of God’s life in giving of ourselves every day, especially in acts of love to our enemies and to God’s beloved poor. May the worship of our mouths be sustained by the worship of our hands. And may our life together ever bless and worship the holy, holy, holy Lord, God in Three Persons, Blessed Trinity.

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