Trinity Sunday June 11, 2017
Today is Trinity Sunday when those of us who are preaching may try to find some grand way to explain the concept of the three-in-one, the one-in-three: the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. You may recall I have used the example of 3 forms of water – water, ice and steam – three forms, but one substance.But that still doesn’t do justice to the concept of the Trinity. So, perhaps we could approach the Trinity not so much as something to be grasped intellectually but as something that wants experiencing, that manifests itself in the dynamic relationships that exist within it and flow out from it. The real gift of Trinity Sunday may lie in how it invites us to acknowledge the mystery in which the Trinity lives, and to open ourselves to the love that is the nature and essence of the Trinity – the love that imbues and defines every action and aspect of the Divine. Â Even as we stretch our minds in our continual quest to know, to glimpse, to perceive, how will we also open our hearts to the love that is the Trinity’s ultimate gift to us?
Well, let’s pay attention to the close of Matthew’s gospel: “And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” This is what David Lose refers to as the “Great Promise” Jesus’ great promise to us, to be with us always.
It also might help to focus on what the Trinity does. Not simply the individual members of the Trinity – as in Creating, Redeeming, Sustaining – but rather in terms of the Trinity’s more holistic and ongoing activity to remind us of God’s promise in Christ to be with us and for us always, to help us believe that promise. At the heart of the Trinity is the belief that God is inherently and irreducibly both communal and loving. One God in three persons whose shared, mutual, and sacrificial love spills out into the world and all its inhabitants. Ultimately, aren’t we are called to be church in a similar way? Loving, respecting, and caring for each other in a way that spills out into our neighborhoods and communities in tangible, beneficial, and attractive ways.
And that’s part of what promises do – they bind us together, they provide hope, and they create courage to live with each other, support each other, forgive each other, and encourage each other. At the heart of every authentic and nurturing relationship, when you think about it, is a promise. A promise that is a whole lot like Jesus’ promise: I will be with you. I am for you. You can count on me. I’ve got your back. Let’s see what we can do together.
Jesus’ Great Promise makes it possible for us to dare the Great Commission and so much more. So what would you dream, dare, and do if you believed that Jesus is with you, no matter what? Not, what would you do if you knew you couldn’t fail – most daring and faithful feats involve a fair amount of failure! – but rather what would you do if you knew that God was for you and with you no matter what and forever.
Promises create relationships and possibilities. And that may be what the Trinity is about, as well.
Each one of us is created with the image of God indelibly imprinted on our souls, so that, in some miraculous and inexplicable way, the diverse expressions of God that are you and you and you and me all come together to illustrate the mystery, to live together in community as we do our best to display for the world all the possibilities that the divine imprint on all of us could mean.
Just think: if we started to live into the mystery of the trinity, then it might just be possible for us to look at each other and see, not all the differences about how we look or speak or see the world, but rather an intricate relationship, a curious community, created in the image of God and living out the possibility for unity, even in our diversity. Can you imagine? Some have their doubts that this could ever really happen. Some are still doubting.
And so it is with the mysterious God we worship – diverse and unified all at once, illustrating for you and me the possibility of unity even in diversity, of different experiences fusing together to create a beautiful mosaic of God’s possibilities for the world. It’s a curious community we’re called to embody, but how can we do anything less?
Let us make humans in our image.
And some doubted.
Today, on Trinity Sunday, we are invited to prove them wrong, to live boldly into the dream of the Trinity, the dream of everything we can be together. After all, we are, each one of us, created in the very image of God.