May I speak in the name of the Triune God ... Father Son and Spirit. Amen.
We have now reached about the mid-point of the Christian Year, which began way back in November with Advent, we have progressed through the major festivals Christmas, Epiphany, Lent, Easter and Last Sunday we had Pentecost. Today gives us a chance to pause and reflect on God being God.
Today as we have heard is Trinity Sunday - is a time when we reflect upon the mystery and the uniqueness of the God we worship.
God as Father, Son and Holy Spirit -
St Patrick’s Breastplate describes trinity as
Three in one and one in three.
Yes it is a Christian Doctrine, A key piece of our theology
it shapes our worship, it is fundamental to our creeds and prayers, it impinges on how we know anything about God. It separates Christianity from any other religion, and it is a complicated theory but actually it lies at the heart of our faith.
Trinity ensures us that we cannot put God in a Box, we cannot describe him adequately, nor can we comprehend all that God is. We need the trinity to sum up all who God is and all that he does.
Christianity is full of paradoxes due to how God acted in the past and continues to act today as trinity. Christians proclaim God as Holy (set apart) yet through the incarnation his is accessible, God the father is creator yet through the son became created, God is all powerful yet is able to dwell in our hearts and lives.
Many Illustrations have been used over the years to describe the relations of the trinity one in three and three in one
St Patrick as we know used a shamrock, others I have heard include water, ice & steam, triangle. Artists over the years have tried to depict the trinity in various ways.
We must remember that the term “trinity” does not appear in the Bible but it comes out of studying scripture, from what Jesus said, from passages throughout the Old and New Testament. The Trinity is foundational to our understanding of who we worship.
We do not worship 3 gods - “Hear O israel the Lord your God is one”. Our creed says “We believe in ONE God” ,three persons.
To make sense of this it might be useful, instead of thinking about you as a person and me as a person of thinking of relationships. For example to my mum I am Son, to my sister I am Brother and to my gran I am Grandson. One person 3 relationships. This is of limited use.
However it does show us that there is one individual but various roles. At the end of the day the Holy Trinity is the deepest mutual relationship possible -
Great Christian Thinkers like Augustine have concluded is a mystery and the more I think about it I am quite content in allowing the relationship of Father, Son & Spirit to stay mystery as long as we know that the wholeness of God is more than the sum of its parts
Individually we know about God the Father what he did in creation, in loving us, of being the source of everything and still working in the world today
Individually we know about God the Son Incarnation, ministry, death resurrection & ascension
Individually we know about God the Holy Spirit, Gifts, empowerment
We know that they are all completely working together for the building up of the church and the fulfilment of all things. and also to say that it is essential that we do believe in the equality of the trinity - anything less and we are in danger of falling into false teaching and our faith will be skewed.
But let us turn to the Gospel passage this morning and see this relationship worked out - as examples are always good for demonstrating theories.
Our Gospel passage is one of the many, many examples of the Godhead working together in Scripture
Jesus is talking to his disciples and he is showing them the working out of the plans of the father
we see that Jesus is unconcerned that is earthly ministry is limited...
“I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. 13When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth;
he knows that once he has died, raised and ascended the Holy Spirit will come and will continue to guide.
God is a God who doesn’t teach us everything immediately, he is a God who is with us for the long haul. The life of the disciple is one of learning on the job, of trying things out, of allowing God to teach us as we go on living. None of us (i am pretty sure) know everything, none of us can say I don’t need to learn anymore.
In our lives we need to know the fathers love and care, we experience that love through the Holy Spirit, we learn through the Holy Spirit and see Jesus’ Life as an example of the three persons of the trinity together.
Impact of the trinity today
As we look around our parish everyday we see people who are hurting, people who have been bereaved, people who have questions, people who are facing uncertanties of life. I am sure that each person here can identify those known to them who are those everyday people.
The Triune God is the only God who can adequately speak into all of our lives. Into places of hurt, grief, despair as well as happiness and joy.
When the major themes and questions of life are thought about only God who is creator, redeemer, sanctifier come together does life have creativity and meaning. There is absolutely nothing more creative, nor is there any other philosophy which makes any sense compared to what trinity does in relationship.
Yes, at the end of the day it is a mystery as to how it all happens but actually when we see the creativity and the meaning produced when father son and spirit get together then we realise why we are worshipping father son and Holy Spirit.
Let us pray