A sermon for trinity Sunday- Preached in St. Columba's on Sunday 3rd June at Choral Evensong.
May I speak in the name of the Triune God ... + Father, Son and Holy Spirit
Today is Trinity Sunday ... A day when we celebrate God, a day which young preachers dread ... how do we explain the mystery? ... a day when we focus on the nature of God and how he relates to himself.
It is a day unlike other celebrations in the liturgical year - At Christmas we have reading about the incarnation, At Easter we have Good Friday and Easter Day. At Pentecost which we celebrated last week we celebrate Holy Spirit coming. Today is different ...
Nowhere in scripture do we find the word "trinity" but it is a doctrine which we cling tightly to as Christians because without understanding that God is One and also God is three we would have an imbalanced understanding of who God is and what he has done in the past and what he is doing now.
Our Gospel reading this evening however, points to the fact of God the Father (the voice from heaven), Jesus God's Son being baptised, and the Holy Spirit descending as a dove. There are other points in scripture where 1, 2 or 3 persons of the Trinity are present in their respective roles doing things.
Many images have been used to describe the trinity in the past ... as to visualise How God can be One but also be 3
Famously Patrick used a Shamrock one leaf ... three parts
Others have used Ice water and steam or 3 ingredients for shortbread ...Sugar, flour and butter.
All of these have their own advantages and shortcomings
but in essence ... the doctrine of the trinity is all about the relationship between the various parts of the Godhead.
God - Father, Son and Holy Spirit - Creator, Redeemer and Sanctifier
Each part is intimately linked to the others ... It is a relationship of mutual dependance ... it is a relationship where all are equal but all distinct as well.
It is this relationship which shapes our worship sunday by sunday.
Our worship has this trinitarian dynamic to it ... our psalms are suffixed with the Gloria
Our absolution ...
Our creeds are trinitarian in their structure
When we pray ... we pray to the father, though the intercession of the son in the power of the Holy Spirit
When we read Scriptures ... God’s Word we ask for the Inspiration of the Holy Spirit to help us to apply it to our lives.
When we go out ... we go on the commission of God ... to make disciples, to baptise in the Name of Father, Son and Holy Spirit
As we leave church every sunday we leave with the Blessing of God, Father, Son & Holy Spirit.
As Triune God Christians ... we are called to show the Love of God in everything we do. So often we fail, So often we get things wrong, we mess up Oh how I Long that as Christians we would be able to show the world that relationship which Father, Son and Spirit have by the way we treat each other.
Time and again we do get things wrong, we forget to show love, we dont have time for other people, we say the wrong things, we do the wrong things we even think the wrong things.
Over the course of this week on radio on various topics ... I have heard various people who have looked at the church and see people who say one thing and their experience is of something completely different. It is painful to hear of that kind of experience ... I would love to have the opportunity to say to them ... give the church a chance ... yes we do get things wrong sometimes but we need you!
Being trinitarian we are invited into a dynamic relationship ... where we are called Children of God, invited into a relationship which changes us ... we are a redeemed people and we are being sanctified, being changed.
It’s been nearly 3 years since I appeared in St. Columba’s and day after day, week after week I have been learning, developing and growing ... perhaps some may use the chiseling term ... the edges have been knocked off ... the work of the Holy Spirit is very much like that and we should be all open to that ... our discipleship should be informed by our relationship with the Holy Trinity ... becoming more like Jesus.
This dynamic relationship, this creative relationship between the 3 persons of the trinity isn’t simply a theological argument for university student ... rather the God we worship is the same yesterday, today and forever ... he is working, somehow in his church today and when we come into a working relationship with him - as Christians we can be transformed by the Holy Spirit into becoming more like Jesus in relationship with the father.
I wonder if you were to ask ... how has the Holy Spirit been transforming your life since this time last year?, How have you become more like Jesus?, How have you been communicating with Father God this past week, month year?
We are all invited into this dynamic relationship.
It is a creative and transformative relationship which should impact all areas of our lives.
Our Trinitarian God wants us to have our L Plates firmly up!