Trinity Sunday | June 16th
“May the words of my mouth and the meditation of our hearts be acceptable to you, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.” (Ps 19:14)
After hearing some of the really strange stuff that scientists keep discovering, the idea of the Trinity isn’t all that outlandish.
[Light as both wave and particle at the same time.]
We know that two particles entangled respond to what’s happening to the other particle even though there’s no way to communicate fast enough between the two of them.
In a recent experiment, there were two exquisitely synchronized atomic clocks. One was moved high up a mountain where it was discovered that time had moved faster up there relative to the one at a lower elevation.
Push this to the extreme and if I could get on a rocket traveling close to the speed of light, turn around and come back, I could be younger than my future grandchildren.
All of this strangeness is emerging in experiments taking place with the things of this world.
Compared to these sorts of natural realities, the idea of one God in three persons, of Father, Son and Holy Spirit, the Trinity, doesn’t seem so implausible.
[One and Three = light example. Always together yet separate = entanglement. Rocket = timelessness/eternity]
I would imagine that the nature of God, the perfect, infinite, eternal nature of God, is beyond our comprehension and even our wildest imagination.
This is why we often make God like us. It’s easier. Think back to the creation stories in Genesis. God is out taking a stroll in His beautiful new garden. Doesn’t that sound surprisingly similar to something we might do?
Or flip to the other end of the Bible. Creation ends with the four horsemen of the apocalypse. Why horses? Why swords? Why not jets or tanks or even a Star Wars Death Star? Because horses symbolized power and speed 2,000 years ago and swords were the most advanced weapon of that time.
We can’t grasp the fullness of God so we imagine that God is like us.
[God as “He.”]
And so the Trinity is our best effort to come to terms with God’s own self-revelation in a way that we can sort of understand.
The Trinity is never mentioned in the Bible. That’s why today we share readings like the one Carol read for us.
It’s a short reading, but it mentions in quick succession God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit. They’re all there, but bringing them together as Trinity was still 300 years away.
That 300-year span is why the church asks us to hear today’s other reading. This is where we hear Jesus promise, “‘I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth.’”
That’s Jesus telling us that more is yet to come, and it’s going to take time for us to get ready to be able to process it, but the Spirit will be there right along.
The Trinity is a powerful example of the fact that “God is still speaking.” As Jesus says to us today, “‘[The Holy Spirit] will declare to you the things that are to come.’”
Revelation continues, in other words, and always will. Our lives as believers are fluid rather than set in stone.
Last Sunday we shared the story that the Spirit comes upon the church on Pentecost.
Pentecost was a Jewish religious observance long before it was a Christian one. It celebrated the giving of the Ten Commandments to Moses. Remember, the two tablets of stone.
When Acts says that the Spirit descends on Pentecost, it is a re-telling of the first Pentecost story. It replaces unchanging stone with the fluidity of wind and fire. This contrast inspires Paul to write “the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.” (2 Cor 3:6)
As believers we’re not locked into the unchanging of what was. We have the liberty of imagining what will be.
Instead of making God into us, with the progress of time we have the option of making us more like God. So what does the Trinity reveal about God’s nature?
The Trinity emerged because it helped to explain the special nature of Jesus and own relationship with Him. Christians wanted to more clearly convey how Jesus could be the carpenter and also the presence and power of God at the same time and in the same person.
The Trinity was born of devotion.
When Christians embraced Jesus because of His humanity – the humbleness of His life, the compassion He showed so easily, and His willingness to suffer and die because He loves us even more than Himself, they simultaneously embraced His divinity, and eventually the Trinity emerged.
The Trinity is how we make sense out of the human and the divine in Jesus and how the Spirit keeps Jesus always among us.
This is then how we can see ourselves because as Carol read for us, “We boast in our hope of sharing the glory of God.”
It’s not as important that we understand the how of the Trinity as we appreciate the why of the Trinity, and the why is to express the closeness of God to us in Father, Son and Holy Spirit, and the hope that since Jesus made God like us, maybe Jesus can inspire us to be like God.
In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.
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