Holy Trinity Sunday—Year A—June 15, 2014
Preached at the Lutheran Church of Framingham
In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.
If someone ask you what kind of person you were…depending on who asked and in what context…you might answer with an identity based on your:
– Hometown I’m a Virginian
– Profession I’m a pastor
– Political position I’m a Democrat
– Hobbies and interests I’m a knitter
– Meyer’s Briggs classification I’m an INTJ
– Religion I’m a Christian
– Denomination I’m a Lutheran
…the possibilities are nearly endless. Our identities are formed from all kinds of different groups
And over the last couple of weeks, sermons at LCF have suggested some other identities that we might live into:
– an Easter (resurrected) people
– an Ascension (waiting, discerning) people
– a Pentecost (equipped, spirit-filled, always being made new) people
And today, I want to add another one for your consideration…we are a Trinitarian people?
What does that mean, you might be asked at this point. On the surface, it means we confess the Triune God (Father, Son, Holy Spirit—creator, redeemer, sustainer—earth-maker, pain-bearer, life-giver)…as opposed to being Unitarian—one who does not verbally divide the Godhead.
But really it is about more than our word choice. The language of trinity is not about limiting, confining, of boxing up God, but in fact it is a way of opening up our understanding and interaction with God. In an effort to be able to understand anything about the infinite and divine God with our finite brains, we expand our language of God to talk about the Trinity.
It is not that God exists in three acts (like a play), first functioning as a creator, then a savior, and now as the Holy Spirit. For new creation acts happen every day and our dying and rising is a daily occurrence.
All expressions of God always existed and always will, we simply talk about them separately to help us break down how we are in relationship to God.
That is why we use Paul’s words regularly in worship: “the grace of our Lord, Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all.” We repeat this apostolic greeting to remind ourselves of what is God is up to in the world: creating peace, spreading love, and sustaining community.
When we use those three aspects of God to measure our success as God’s people in the world, then we are living into our identity as a Trinitarian people.
When we hear both the reassurance and the call to action in Matthew’s “Great Commission,” we are a Trinitarian people.
– We have been taught (in worship, in Bible Study, in daily interactions) about who God is and what God’s hope for creation entails.
– We have been given authority to spread the good news, teach, and welcome the whole of creation as we baptize in God’s name.
– But we do not go alone, off into the unknown, with what we have been given thus far. We are accompanied as we are sent out, sustained by God in our ministry to God’s vision for the world.
Paul says to the Corinthians that they must agree with one another. I personally think this is unreasonable…if you read it as “agree on everything.” However, if like I talked about last week, we can agree one the basics:
– God created the world
– Jesus died so we might live
– The Holy Spirit gives us every good gift
– We are capable of doing God’s work with our hands
If we can agree on those, then we can still function as community, a Trinitarian people, while having different opinions about details like:
– How old is the earth? Was evolution part of how God creates?
– How do we know if we are saved?
– Is God’s kingdom look more like socialism, capitalism, communism, or are we totally off the mark?
– What translation of the Bible is the best?
– What hymns should we sing to worship God?
– Is LCF called to focus on serving the poor, the hungry, the homeless,…
– How are we going to do that?
We do not have to agree on everything, when we agree on what is really important: God. We are a Trinitarian people; we are fearfully and wonderfully made, washed clean in the blood of the lamb, equipped to do make creation a ever more like the paradise it was created to be.
All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to Jesus, who says to us “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, [God] is with you always, till the end of the age.” Amen.