Trinity Sunday, June 7, 2020

Title:Trinity Sunday, June 7, 2020

Portobago Bay, June 5, 2020 – Andrea Pogue

The Trinity which we celebrate this week on Trinity Sunday, is one of the great examples to counter the tendency of some Christians to see God as apathetic, a-historical, and unchanging in contrast to the passionate, evolving, and transitory world of time and space.  It was one of the last doctrines to be defined by the church.

God is constantly doing something new, and God is constantly being revealed to us in new ways. God is still speaking through the acts of creation, which Wisdom (which also has at times been interpreted as the Holy Spirit in the New Testament) is part.

The key to the Trinity is not worrying about understanding it fully but to see what it is doing – Creating, Redeeming, Sustaining – remembering the promise at the end of Matthew – God’s promise in Christ to be with us and for us always, to help us believe that promise, and to encourage us to live in the confidence it grants.

Today’s readings allude to the triune God. In Genesis, God’s Spirit moves—and creation comes into being. Alluding to all three Persons of the Trinity, Paul concludes his letter to the Corinthians with a familiar blessing. Jesus commissions his disciples to baptize all nations in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.

Paul’s reading in Corinthians is the most direct connection to the Trinity. Paul concludes his second letter to the church in Corinth with an exhortation to be reconciled to one another. The exchange of the “holy kiss” (v. 12), the customary Eastern embrace, became a regular feature of the early liturgy, signaling the reconciliation of the community members. The closing formula expresses a three-fold understanding of Christian experience: grace received through Jesus leads one to the Father’s love, which is expressed through the Spirit.

Matthew’s readings are the Great Commission. This Great Commission gathers up the themes that Matthew has woven throughout his work. Jesus’ ministry begins and ends on a mountain in Galilee, the place of revelation. There he inaugurates the mission of the Church.

Jesus makes a declaration, delivers a command and gives a promise. He has now received the authority of the exalted Son of Man and gives it to his disciples.

He commands them to make disciples of “all nations,” removing the geographical and ethnic restriction of Jesus’ own ministry and of the disciples’ previous mission. Jesus now extends the full range of his ministry to them. They are to spread the good news of God’s grace in Christ with the world through word and deed and welcoming all into fellowship through Baptism by keeping in mind the great promise. Before they had been commissioned only to preach and heal, now they are to teach all that Jesus commanded them.

The earliest accounts of baptism mention only baptism in Jesus’ name, but the living experience of the baptized assembly led to the trinitarian formula as expressing the full reality of the new life.

Finally Jesus promises to the disciples his ongoing presence. The pledge of his name, God is with us. Note that it is not in the future tense.

Christ is with us. Encouraging us, comforting us, working with us, guiding us, granting us the grace and courage necessary to be the people of God in the world right now. One God in three persons whose shared, mutual, and sacrificial love spills out into the world and all its inhabitants. Promises 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.