Trinity Sunday

For centuries Christians have known that God is hard to understand.

 

For millennia our Jewish brothers and sisters have known the same.

 

Words and reason fall short of describing God.

 

There is so much to comprehend!

 

There is so much we don’t know.

 

There is so much we don’t knowwe don’t know.

 

That is why a pattern in Christian life emerged.

 

We developed cycles of time, seasons, dedicated to different mysteries of God.

 

These cycles give us space and time with the way God has interacted with the world.

 

Our Christian Calendar has two big cycles to it.

 

Advent, Christmas, and Epiphany make up one.

 

Lent, Holy Week, Easter, and Pentecost make up another.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In Advent we remember that God promised to come long ago and promises to come again any time.

 

In Christmas we remember God was made flesh in Jesus.

 

Epiphany shows us the many ways God lived among us as a human.

 

Lent saw that humanity tested.

 

Holy Week saw that humanity killed.

 

Easter saw that humanity resurrected.

 

And Pentecost saw the Holy Spirit empower and invite our humanity to become the Church.

 

We have been working our way through this stuff since the week after Thanksgiving.

 

We spent months thinking about God tearing the heavens apart and being manifest in Jesus.

 

We spent longer thinking about God being willing to suffer death in order that we might know eternal life.

 

And yet for some reason, today, Trinity Sunday, we get about ten minutes to talk about a more impermeable mystery.

 

The Trinity.

 

 

 

Theologians have worked hard to come up with the right words and formulas to point toward how God is Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

 

Creator, Redeemer, Sustainer.

 

One and three.  Three and One.

 

Sprinkled across St. Alban’s are allusions to this mystery.

 

One of my favorite is in the Narthex.

 

There you can find three fish swimming in a circle.

 

Or is it one fish swimming so fast is appears in three places at once?

 

Where one fish begins and another ends is tough to tell.

 

To me, Trinity Sunday feels like trying to catch one of those fish with your bare hands.

 

Try as you might, you will be lucky just to graze a scale, let alone pull out a fish to properly examine it.

 

But that’s the trick, right?

 

God can’t be caught.

 

God will never be perfectly understood.

 

God can’t be kept within the limits of our comprehension.

 

God will always have many things to tell us that we won’t be able to bear all at once.

 

And yet something about the divine evokes our curiosity.

 

God has given us hints that he desires our engagement.

 

God has revealed himself in history.

 

God acted in creation, in the exodus of Egypt, in the womb of Mary, in the tomb of Jesus.

Unfortunately, there are few scenes when we get all of the characters (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit) on stage at once.

 

One scene that comes to mind involves water as well; when Jesus went to the River Jordan and was baptized.

 

Here we have Jesus, given to the world by the Father.

 

Jesus gives obedience to the Father is baptized.

 

From the Father is given the Holy Spirit;

 

Coming down like a dove.

 

Jesus comes out of the water and receives from the Father these words:

 

This is my son, with whom I am well pleased.

 

From there the spirit drives Jesus out into the wilderness

 

There Jesus will give more obedience to the father.

 

What we see is this constant giving and receiving among each character.

 

There is a steady stream of generous giving and gracious receiving.

 

But whatare they giving and receiving?

 

Here we move to the simplest part of God.

 

Love.

 

God is love.

 

Not TV or romance novel love.

 

The love that Jesus taught.

 

Love that seeks the well-being of others regardless of their response.

 

That is what the persons of the Trinity are doing.

 

Wow, that’s neat.

 

But what does that have to do with us?

 

I guess we can put that in box until next year’s Trinity Sunday.

 

Actually, it has a lot to do with us.

 

Let’s go back to the fish.

 

 

 

We can’t catch them.

 

And they likely don’t want to be caught.

 

But we also know that God is inviting us to something!

 

I think God is inviting us to swim.

 

Throughout the Gospel Jesus invites us to be in relationship with the Father just like he is.

 

Last week, when those four people stood right there, I asked them what they wanted.

 

They didn’t respond with

 

“To comprehend the nature of the triune God.”

 

Or even

 

“To better understand Christianity.”

 

They said,

 

“Life in Christ”

 

In other words, they wanted to swim like Jesus.

 

They wanted to get into the same water he was in.

 

And that’s what we did.

 

We put them in the water.

We all are called into this swimming/love giving receiving thing.

 

The letter of John says, “God is love, so then let us love.”

 

Perhaps the best thing we can do is study what God is but rather how God moves, gives and loves.

 

Perhaps then we ourselves will be able to move, give, and love a bit more like God.

 

And perhaps others will be drawn to swim with us.

 

It’s hot out.

 

Let’s get to swimming.

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