Should we worship the Holy Spirit?
Isn't the Spirit's role to point away from himself and bring glory to the Father and the Son? If you've ever wondered about this, you'll be pleased to hear you're in good company!
We sing lots of songs that worship Jesus, glorify the Father, but few that worship the Spirit. There's a sense that the Spirit is somehow less the focus of our worship? Is it right to worship the Spirit? Or are we getting sidetracked? It's one of the oldest questions that the church has wrestled with through the ages.
I have been reading recently about how in the days of the early church, some tried to argue that the Spirit was not supposed to be worshipped. In response, one of the giants of the first few centuries of Christianity, Basil the Great, wrote an amazing work called "On the Holy Spirit" 375 AD that sounded loud and clear with the message that the Spirit is fully God.
Basil says that the Spirit is more than some divine access point, rather the Spirit is the starting place of our worship, writing, "If you remain outside the Spirit, you will not be able to worship at all."
So important was the divinity of the Spirit, and the place of the Spirit as equally God with the Father and the Son, that in 381AD the great leaders of the church got together an put out a kind of press release, The Creed of Constantinople, as a way of tying down what we believe.
They wrote that we believe "in the Holy Spirit, the Lord and Giver of Life... who with the Father and the Son together is worshipped and glorified..."
The Holy Spirit is to be worshiped and glorified, because he is God. To deny that is to create a false hierarchy in the Trinity.
So, I feel challenged not to forget the Spirit. He has been worshipped through the ages of the church, in our prayers, our hymns, our lives. The Holy Spirit is fully God, and therefore to be worshipped with the Father and the Son. I also feel challenged to not reduce the Spirit as the vehicle to get to the Father, but as the destination of my hearts affection, the one who leads me to intimacy with the Father and Jesus.
So, songwriters, worship leaders, creatives, planners, speakers, prayers... Praise the Father, the Son and don't forget to praise the Holy Spirit.
Here are some cool things on the Holy Spirit:
An ancient prayer (might inspire some stuff...)
Come, true light.
Come, life eternal.
Come, hidden mystery.
Come, treasure without name.
Come, reality beyond all words.
Come, person beyond all understanding.
Come, rejoicing without end.
Come, light that knows no evening.
Come, unfailing expectation of the saved.
Come, raising of the fallen.
Come, resurrection of the dead.
Come, all-powerful, for unceasingly you create, refashion and change all things by your will alone.
Come, for your name fills our hearts with longing, and is ever on our lips.
Come, for you are yourself the desire that is within me.
Come, my breath and my life. Come, the consolation of my humble soul.
Come, my joy, my glory, my endless delight.
- St Symeon the New Theologian (C10th)
Here is an ancient hymn to the Holy Spirit: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Veni_Creator_Spiritus
Basil's 'Treatise on the Holy Spirit' is on Amazon, and there's also a great book coming out soon by Graham Tomlin on the Holy Spirit.
Over to you... What do you think?