Sunday May 30, 2021 The Most Holy Trinity (Cycle B)
The tie in between today’s readings: In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost
All of scripture is the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. But hidden beneath the surface readings are deeper layers of revelation. The prophesies in the Psalms and the analogy between God’s command for Abraham to offer up Isaac and Christ’s sacrifice on the cross are easy examples. Probably the strangest of these profound realities is the doctrine of the Triune God. There are no flat-out statements on the Trinity to draw from. In fact, in many places the Bible insists that the Lord God is a one and only. A lot of people and all religions reject the idea of the Trinity all together. Who can blame them? The whole thing is so counter intuitive bordering on ludicrous. But still, the undeniability of this dogma is there, sprinkled throughout the pages of scripture. A hint here, a statement there, a well-placed metaphor, they all lead us step by step into this unfathomable mystery, as we will see in today’s readings.
In Deuteronomy 4:32-40, Moses goes to great lengths to encourage God’s chosen to love and obey the Lord as they endure their desert trek. He reminds them of the Almighty power that delivered them from slavery. Beginning from the burning bush, components of the unseen Trinity manifested themselves. Later, we see the Father judging Egypt with the plagues, the Son protecting the first born as the Passover lamb, and The Spirit, as the wind, parting the Red Sea for their escape and Pharaoh’s destruction. In the desert, Moses insists that their victories in battle over stronger and larger nations is the Lord’s doing as He clears the way for them to claim their land. While they journey, the unspoken Trinity is present with them in the ark, through the manna, and by the pillar of fire. The Lord is their protector, provider, and…jealous lover. Because of God’s love for them, Moses ends by motivating the people to take the commands of the one and only true God of heaven to heart so that they may live happily ever after in the Promised Land. So, here in the Exodus sojourn, inklings of the Trinity show up in hidden pictures. Things get a little clearer as we move to the gospels.
The Trinity shines like a neon sign in today’s reading in Matthew 28:16-20. In these few verses Jesus accepts worship from the disciples and claims all authority in heaven and on earth. These attributes belong solely to the Almighty Himself. He gives them the Great Commission to go into the world and make disciples, baptizing them in the name (not names) of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. This singular name for three persons screams Trinity. Not only that, the “I am with you always even to the end of the age” doesn’t hurt the Christ is God angle either. As the Trinity goes, it’s not too difficult to pick out the Father and the Son are God verses. The Holy Spirit as God is a little harder to see. Fortunately, our reading in Romans 8:14-17 clears things up a bit as it spotlights the Holy Spirit’s action in a believer’s salvation, a role that only God can perform.
Contrary to popular opinion, not everyone is a child of God. Only those in Christ can make that claim. It is the Holy Spirit that regenerates us into born again children of the Lord, truly a God thing. To the reborn, the Spirit takes away the fear of God’s judgement. He confers a “knowing” to us in our inner spirit that we are truly His adopted kids. With that inner testimony of The Holy Spirit, we can boldly enter into the throne room of grace, sit on the Almighty’s knee, and call Him “Daddy”! This is a privileged relationship and our connection to the Trinity as fellow heirs with Christ. The Apostle Paul concludes our reading with the phrase:
“…if we indeed suffer with Him so that we may be glorified with Him.”
Well, of course…there needs to be a family resemblance.
Suffering is unwanted. In fact, the root cause of many sins is the avoidance of suffering. However, it is very necessary for godliness. The Lord uses it to prune, test, and disciple us in order to develop a “Christ-likeness” in us and draw us into a deeper connection with the Godhead. We accept and endure suffering because we believe it always has that beneficial purpose in mind. This leads us to THE most fundamental aspect of the Trinity: relationship.
The whole thrust of one God in three Persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit is entirely relational. God’s Personhood is about love, unity in purpose, and coordination in execution among other things. For example, our reading in Psalm 33:4-5 shows the Triune God’s One Nature. Digging deeper through verse 9, God exhibit’s His cooperative action in creation. The second part of our reading, in Psalm 33:18-22, shows that God wants to have a relationship with us. Making the universe was easy enough for the Almighty, it only took six days of “Let there Be’s”. Making us His children…now that was hard. It cost God everything and the Lord did not hesitate to take it on. Before He spoke anything into existence, it was decided that the Holy Spirit would renew a fallen sinner, through faith in the sacrifice of the Son, and redeem that lost soul back to the Father.
So, are you and God in a relationship? If not, come to the cross. Find forgiveness of your sins by faith in the sacrifice of the Son. Find new life through the power of the Holy Spirit. Become a true child of the Father and fellow heir with Jesus. If you have strayed: confess, repent, pick up your cross, and carry on. The one and only true God will grant you the grace to finish your course so you may live and reign with Him forever. Join God’s family. Be in a relationship.