Learn more about the readings, music, and worship-service planning helps for the Holy Trinity (May 27, 2018).
Season & Preparations
Trinity Sunday is one of the few Sunday festivals in the Church Year during which we celebrate a doctrine, not an event. Trinity Sunday is a celebration of the revelation, as seen in Scripture, that our God is one God in three persons. The Father has made Himself known through His Son and by His Spirit.
Many Lutheran congregations mark Trinity Sunday by confessing the Athanasian Creed, the longest of the three ecumenical creeds (the Nicene Creed and the Apostles’ Creed being the other two). In the Athanasian Creed, we confess what we believe about the triune God, including phrases such as these:
We worship one God in Trinity and Trinity in Unity, neither confusing the persons nor dividing the substance (LSB 319).
But the Godhead of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit is one: the glory equal, the majesty coeternal (LSB 319).
So the Father is God, the Son is God, the Holy Spirit is God; and yet there are not three Gods, but one God (LSB 319).
And in this Trinity none is before or after another; none is greater or less than another (LSB 320).
Because of the length and challenging language in this creed, some congregations elect to confess this creed responsively, dividing the lines between the pastor and the congregation.
The color for Trinity Sunday is white. You also may have appropriate banners to beautify your sanctuary space. Banners with trinitarian symbols or the phrase “Holy, Holy, Holy” are appropriate choices.
Readings & Theme
Despite the word “trinity” never appearing in Scripture, the concept exists in numerous places. The reading from Acts 2 is one such place. This reading is a continuation of Peter’s Pentecost sermon from the previous week. We see the Trinity at work in verses 32 and 33:
This Jesus God raised up, and of that we all are witnesses. Being therefore exalted at the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, he has poured out this that you yourselves are seeing and hearing.
Likewise, we see the Trinity throughout the Gospel of the day, from John 3. Jesus tells Nicodemus, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God” (v. 5). And later, we read these familiar words:
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him (vv. 16–17).
The Old Testament Reading, from Isaiah 6, provides the words of praise most common on Trinity Sunday. In verse 3, we hear the seraphim calling to each other, “Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory!” We continue to sing these words every time we sing the Sanctus in preparation for the Lord’s Supper.
Hymns & Music
The Hymn of the Day for Trinity Sunday is “Come, Holy Ghost, Creator Blest” (LSB 498/499). While much of the hymn focuses on the Holy Spirit, the final two stanzas draw on the Trinity as “Three in One.”
Drawing on the Isaiah 6 reading, another popular choice for Trinity Sunday is “Holy, Holy, Holy” (LSB 507). If you wish, you can use Martin Luther’s “Isaiah, Mighty Seer in Days of Old” (LSB 960) for the Sanctus.
Also, consider “O Blessed, Holy Trinity” (LSB 876) and “I Bind unto Myself Today” (LSB 604) as they draw on the trinitarian themes of the day.
Additional Resources for Worship & Study
The Arch Book Nicodemus and Jesus is an excellent resource for teaching the Gospel story from this week to children.
Looking for additional information on planning for the Holy Trinity? Download our planning sheet to help you get started!
Quotations marked LSB are from Lutheran Service Book, copyright © 2006 Concordia Publishing House. All rights reserved.
Scripture quotations are from the ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.