Today I’m beginning a blog series called “Questions People Ask About the Holy Spirit” (#HSQuestions). Thank you to everyone who submitted questions! You can still submit questions here. Today I’m answering two questions that people asked.
There are not a lot of worship songs directed to the Holy Spirit. And most songs that we do have in both history and contemporary music are prayers for the Spirit to come, but not actual worship of the Spirit.
You can sometimes find worship to the Spirit when it is directed to the Father, the Son, and the Spirit.
Is this lack of worship of the Spirit justified?
The Bible never says we are to worship the Holy Spirit. This might seem to settle the question, but….
For the early Church, the answer was clear. In the fourth century, some heretics were arguing that the Holy Spirit was not fully divine. To reject this claim, the church responded by confessing in the Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed (381) that the Spirit is “the Lord and giver of life.” As stated in the creed, this implies that, “with the Father and the Son together [the Spirit] is worshipped and glorified.”
When we wonder if it is okay to worship the Spirit it reveals that our doctrine of the Trinity is probably confused. When understood correctly, this historical doctrine of the church affirms that there is one God who exists as three persons or three distinct expressions.
So we can start with the affirmation that the Spirit is personal (more on that in a later post!) and fully divine and that there is only one God. The Spirit is distinct from the Father and the Son, but not a different being.
Is the Spirit God? Yes. Should we worship God? Yes.
On the other hand, it is natural that we don’t have so many songs to the Spirit. The Spirit is what one theologian calls the shy member of the Trinity. (I’ll write more about the place of the Spirit in the Trinity in a future post.)
That is, the Spirit points us to Jesus and the Father. The Spirit reminds us of Jesus’ teachings (John 14:26) and leads us to confess “Jesus is Lord” (1 Corinthians 12:3). And we “worship the Father in the Spirit” (John 4:23).
So, yes, we can worship the Spirit, but, at the same time, the Spirit enables our worship of the Father.
Question: Can you think of any songs that worship the Holy Spirit?
You can still submit questions here, and I will answer many of them in this blog series.