Sunday, June 19, 2011

The Holy Trinity

Matthew 28:16-20 (NRSV)

Living in the community of the Trinity

Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. And Jesus came and said to them, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age."


Today is Holy Trinity Sunday. If that sounds confusing to you, don’t despair. There have been thousands of books written on the mystery of the Trinity and we still don’t fully comprehend it.

When I was a little girl and had deep theological questions my mother couldn’t answer she would say, “You’ll understand it better, by and by.”

Well, by and by still hasn’t arrived. I’ve heard people say that the Trinity is like the three elements of water. God the Father is Liquid Water. God the Son is Solid Water (Ice). And God the Holy Spirit is like Gaseus Water (Steam). I’ve heard others say the Trinity is like the Sun. God the Father is the Ball of Flame in the Sky. God the Son is the Bright Light by which we see. And God the Holy Spirit is the warmth on our skin.

I’m sure your own Sunday School teachers attempted to explain the Holy Trinity to you in other ways but the bottom line is that the miracle and mystery of the Trinity is so grand, that we can only partially understand it while on this Earth.

It’s an amazing thing to contemplate God the Father on Father’s Day. If you were blessed with an awesome father like my Dad, then perhaps today is easy. I have fond memories of my Daddy being my whole entire world. As a little girl I knew that he knew everything and that he was the strongest, bravest, most handsome man in the whole entire world. I was lucky that way.

For others of you who may have had an absent father, or a father who was abusive, neglectful, or addicted, I can imagine that Father’s Day is hard for you and contemplating God the Father harder than that.

Many people have a punitive and harsh image of God the Father. We fear him and his lightening bolts. We know that we can never be good enough. And so we attempt to be unseen and unheard so that we aren’t punished into eternity.

When I encounter people with this very sad world view, I love to remind them of the Unconditional Love and Amazing Grace of our God. Our God is not like an earthly father who has the capacity to mess up, hurt and harm, or walk away in disgust.

God is the ultimate father—He is the creator of everything, the provider of all that we need and the mighty one who protects us from danger.

If you are an earthly father who has messed up, do not despair. God knows that your kids don’t need you to be perfect. They have a Heavenly Father for that. They only need you to love them well and to the best of your ability. If you have done that, we salute you. If you have not done that, there is still time to make it right. As long as there is air in your lungs, you have the opportunity to offer an apology and do the best that you can to make things right, with the help of God.

One of the first things we can all do to be in better relationship with others, is to put all of our hope in God the Son.

It seems to me, that God the Son is easier to get our arms around, eh? Perhaps that is because he took on flesh and dwelt amongst us. His “earthiness” is easier for us to comprehend. We understand that he was born. We understand that he had parents. We understand that he had friends. We understand that he prayed and went to temple…All this is understandable, because we do the same.

However, it gets dicey in our imaginations, when we start talking about Jesus’ willingness to die on the cross for us. It gets more mysterious when we meet him resurrected at the empty tomb. It gets more shocking still when we stand upon the mountain with the disciples today and hear the words, “"All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age."

God the Son, God our Brother, God our Lord, God our Savior becomes more mysterious as the Word made flesh, the judge of the living and the dead, the redeemer of all sin, and the Eternal One who was present in the beginning and will be present in the end.

Yet, despite the mystery, the good news that we have found in Jesus Christ is just too grand to keep to ourselves. So we continually and emphatically declare the mystery of our faith with boldness, “Christ has died! Christ has risen! Christ shall come again!”

We sing with holy boldness, “Jesus loves me this I know. For the Bible tells me so. Little ones to him belong. They are weak, but he is strong. Yes, Jesus loves me. Yes, Jesus loves me. Yes, Jesus loves me. For the Bible tells me so.”

We are able to make this good news declaration through the Power of the Holy Spirit, who enables and equips us to make disciples of all nations.

And this brings us to the Third Person in the Holy Trinity. God the Holy Spirit. The wind and fire of God. The spirit of Christ alive in this world. The unseen one who allows us to be the hands, feet, and smile of Jesus in a world so desperate for the unconditional love and amazing grace of God.

Through the work of the Spirit we share the ridiculous joy and preposterous peace of being God’s Children. Through the work of Spirit we are made a holy people unto God, full of faith, forgiven of sin, and resurrected into a new and eternal life. As a result, we affirm our faith weekly saying, “I believe in God the Father. I believe in God the Son. I believe in God the Holy Spirit, One God, now and forever….Amen.”

This affirmation of faith, and the move of the Holy Spirit, are the means by which the mission and ministries of God’s Holy Church go forth--blessing and helping those with need. This week, Atonement delivered meals, helped to build a Habitat Home, and partnered with St. Peter/St. Paul to welcome almost 200 kids to Vacation Bible School who then turned around and donated 180 malaria nets and 439 pounds of food to friends in Africa and St. Cloud—all to the glory of our great God!

God is on the move! The winds of Spirit are blowing in this place. Jesus is being magnified and glorified, and for this we give God praise!

It is my prayer that your heart will encounter the Triune God in a new and special way on this Father’s Day weekend. It is my prayer that the Three-In-One would be made known to you in ways that only God can fathom. And it is my prayer that Almighty God, Father, + Son, and Holy Spirit, will bless you now and forever. Amen.


If you have questions about how to become a friend and follower of Jesus, please see the devotion entitled, “Come to Jesus” @

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