Three interlocking circles with symbols representing the three persons of the Trinity
May 21, 2024

Opening of Worship for Trinity Sunday

With texts from the Revised Common Lectionary, Year B

Whether or not you mark this coming Sunday as Trinity Sunday in your church, given the significance of the Trinity to the Christian faith it ought to receive attention in our worship. Here is a beginning list of songs to consider for use with such a service as well as an outline for the beginning of worship.

Come, Join the Dance of Trinity Leach
Love Divine, All Loves Excelling Wesley
God the Spirit Boswell
Let Us Be Known By Our Love Liturgical Folk
Trinity Song McCracken
Magnificent Trinity Helser, Helser
Come Thou Almighty King cAnon.
For the Honor Brown, Brock, Furtick, Joye
Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God Almighty! Heber
All Hail, Adored Trinity  11th C. Latin, Chambers
Holy God, We Praise Your Name Franz, Walworth
Jesu, tawa pano/Jesus, We Are Here Matsikenyiri
Lord, Jesus Christ, Be Present Now Wilhelm II
Holy God, We Praise Your Name Te Deum, 4th C.
Now Thank We All Our God Rinkart
Baptized in Water Saward
De boca y corazón/Lift Heart and Voice to Heaven Rinkart, Fliedner, Leckebusch 
This I BelieveFielding, Crocker
We Believe (Apostles’ Creed) Getty, Getty, Townend
In God the Father I Believe DeVries
My Only Comfort Ursinus, Olevianus

Trinity Sunday


Gathering Song: Trinity Song McCracken

Lighting of the Christ Candle 

Song: Come, Join the Dance of Trinity Leach

God’s Greeting*
Our Triune God who created all things is with us. 
     God the Almighty, speaks to us.
     God the Son, the Word incarnate, intercedes for us. 
     God the Spirit, the breath of God is in us and among us. 

This Triune God—Creator, and Re-Creator
greets us with these words: 

“May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, 
and the love of God,
and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.” 
—2 Corinthians 13:14

Opening Prayer* 
Dear friends in Christ, we have come together on this Trinity Sunday to celebrate in word and song and to affirm our faith in God, the Three in One. As we stand in God's presence, let us pray.

Almighty God, 
when you spoke 
and created the heavens and the earth,
angels sang for joy. 

Hear our voice this day 
and accept our praise and thanksgiving 
for the gift of speech and song, 
which we on earth share with the heavenly host.

O Jesus Christ, 
you are the Word made flesh, 
the firstborn of the family of God 
who have heard your music in their hearts.

Open the ears of our hearts this day, 
that all we say and all we sing 
may reveal you in us and us in you, 
whose body and voice we are in this world.

O Holy Spirit, 
with tongues of fire you have inspired the speech and song 
of evangelists, preachers, poets, and musicians.

Visit us this day to kindle anew the fire of love 
and the light of understanding, 
that your church may live in the counterpoint of community.

O Creator, Redeemer, Sustainer, 
you are three persons in one God living in harmony. 
As your church, our many voices, our many lives, 
become one chorus to praise your holy name.

Bless our coming together now so that we, 
in communion with your saints, 
may hear your voice and sing your words this day and always. 

—Rachael Boles, Reformed Worship 47 © March 1998, Calvin Institute of Christian Worship. Used by permission.

(Or consider these Opening Words of Praise as an alternative to the Opening Prayer)

Opening Words of Praise from Psalm 29*
Ascribe to the LORD, you heavenly beings,
     ascribe to the LORD glory and strength.

 Ascribe to the LORD the glory due his name;
     worship the LORD in the splendor of his holiness.

The voice of the LORD is over the waters;
     the God of glory thunders,
     the LORD thunders over the mighty waters.

The voice of the LORD is powerful;
    the voice of the LORD is majestic. 

The voice of the LORD breaks the cedars;
     the LORD breaks in pieces the cedars of Lebanon.
He makes Lebanon leap like a calf,
     Sirion like a young wild ox.

 The voice of the LORD strikes
     with flashes of lightning. 

The voice of the LORD shakes the desert;
     the LORD shakes the Desert of Kadesh.

 The voice of the LORD twists the oaks
     and strips the forests bare.
And in his temple all cry, 

The LORD sits enthroned over the flood;
     the LORD is enthroned as King forever.

 The LORD gives strength to his people;
     the LORD blesses his people with peace.
—Psalm 29


Songs of Praise: Come Thou Almighty King Anon.

Call to Confession based on Isaiah 6 
The prophet Isaiah, when he “saw the LORD, high and exalted” cried, “I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the LORD Almighty”. 

Today, we have heard God speak to us. We have acknowledged God’s presence among us. And like Isaiah, we are confronted with the reality that we are unworthy to be in God’s presence. We are a people of unclean hearts and lips. And so we come before the Lord Almighty to confess our sin. 

Prayer of Confession
Almighty God, 
forgive us for thinking small thoughts of you
and for ignoring your immensity and greatness. 
Lord, have mercy. 

Jesus Christ, 
forgive us when we forget that you rule
the nations and our small lives. 
Christ, have mercy. 

Holy Spirit, 
we offend you in minimizing your power
and squandering your gifts. 
Lord, have mercy. 

O triune God,
we confess that our blindness to your glory, 
has resulted in shallow confession,
tepid conviction, and only mild repentance. 
Holy God, 
Holy Mighty, 
Holy Immortal, 
have mercy on us. 
—Kenneth Koeman, Reformed Worship 27 © March 1993, Calvin Institute of Christian Worship, alt. with the Trisagion, 4th C. Used by permission.

Assurance of Pardon
Our God is a God of grace and mercy. After Isaiah acknowledged his sin, an angel took a hot coal from the fire surrounding God’s throne and touched Isaiah’s mouth with it saying, “See, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away and your sin atoned for” (Isaiah 6:6–7).

Our own sin has been atoned not through burning coal but through Jesus Christ, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16). 

Song: Magnificent Trinity Helser, Helser
or De boca y corazón/Lift Heart and Voice to Heaven Rinkart, Fliedner, Leckebusch

Passing of the Peace

Rev. Joyce Borger is senior editor of Reformed Worship and a resource development specialist at the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship.