For the people of God, true worship is established on who God is and what He has done in the world for our sakes. The Father has sent his Son to redeem us and to make us His sons and daughters. Through Jesus the Son, the grace, mercy and forgiving love of the Father has been mediated to us. By the work of the Holy Spirit, we have been adopted as children of God, clothed in the righteousness of Jesus Christ and presented as holy in the Father’s presence. The basic premise of the Gospel as outlined by Paul in Galatians 4:4-7 affirms God’s actions as from the Father through the Son by the Holy Spirit.

The Scriptures describe the drama of salvation as a movement of God’s People responding to the saving actions of the Trinity. Therefore, our relationship to God is seen as by the Holy Spirit through Jesus Christ to the Father. This encompasses the entire response of faith in all dimensions of human life before God, from worship to the whole range of human experience. In Ephesians 2:18, Paul asserts: “Through Him (Christ) we both have access by the Holy Spirit to the Father.”

In the Gospel of John, we learn that true worship is directed to the Father through Jesus by the Holy Spirit (see John 4). The NT apostles insist that worship is Trinitarian in nature. We worship the Father in the Spirit through the Son. Gregory of Nazianzen summarized this perspective with the following comments: “This, then, is my position . . . to worship God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost, three persons, one Godhead, undivided in honour and glory and substance and kingdom.” (Oration 31:28)

We might be inclined to view worship from our human point of view as something we do. In reality, it is first and foremost something the Triune God does which prompts our participation and response. The worship of the church is the communion of the Holy Trinity with His People. Our focus is God-ward, centered on the Triune God, Father, Son and Spirit.

Therefore, since Christian worship is determined, defined by, and directed to, the Holy Trinity, we worship the Triune God with one undivided act of adoration. Gregory of Nazianzen provides a vital principle: “No sooner do I conceive of the One than I am illumined by the splendour of the Three; no sooner do I distinguish them than I am carried back to the One.” (Oration 41)

In the divine economy, only the Father sent the Son into the world. Only the Son became incarnate, not the Father or the Spirit. At Pentecost, only the Holy Spirit came upon the disciples, not the Father or the Son. The Triune God is eternally One but subsists as three persons. The mystery of the Trinity attests to the unique yet distinct being of God the Father, Son and Spirit. There is no confusion, no subordination and no division.

We are thereby called to worship and to love the Trinity. Our response in worship is shaped by the reality of the one we worship. A living relationship with the Triune God requires that each of the persons be honoured and adored in the context of their revealed relations with each other. At the same time, we must give full attention to the reality that God is one, indivisible and incomprehensible. The three persons of the Trinity are mutually coinherent and share equally in true communion as One.

There is the danger for our theology and worship to be conditioned by human expectations of what God should do for us simply because He loves us. Out of gratitude and humble submission, we need to relearn how worship is essentially a response to the revelation, redemption and renewal which the Triune God has made possible for us. Our response by faith is to know Him, to love Him and to render all praise and honour to God the Father, the Son and the Spirit. Amen.