Each year friends, our Church sees fit to celebrate a Sunday that not only allows, but actually implores us to look deeply at who God is for us. The word, “trinity,” we all know, speaks to the phenomenon of a God who is present to us in theology and in other ways as three distinct persons, yet comprising one God.
We are asked to believe this whether we can fully understand it or not. And when it comes to matters of faith, things that we can’t really get our minds around; I think it is best to come at them with our hearts. Our hearts are wiser.
Whether we can truly understand the concept of three persons in one God is not as important, I think, as understanding the idea that we are truly loved by our God. And how do we know this? We know it in Jesus, who as the second person of this Triune God became one of us humans in time. That too; we can’t truly understand, but we can understand the motive behind the action—LOVE.
Contrary to an older theology, still touted by some today that Jesus came primarily to redeem us from the fires of hell by dying on the cross; Jesus actually came as many present day theologians suggest and I agree, as a direct and pure expression of a God, who as Creator, loved creation beyond all measure. Jesus lived, loved, taught and shared life with us humans, always showing us the way to be our best selves. And in time, he died a cruel death designed for those who didn’t follow the rules. He died because of how he chose to live, demanding that all were equal and that we, as his sisters and brothers, must do the same. Understandably, his demands were met with some push-back, especially from those in power.
Now, to design a theology of errant humanity in need of redemption is perhaps an easier way to go than to give humanity the true picture of a God who loves over-the-top. When we teach the later, that of a God who loves without end, our task in this world becomes much more pronounced too—we can hardly do less!
Today’s readings give us three pictures of God. It is important, I think, to see them in progression to get the full image of who God truly is for us. If we were merely to stop with the first reading from Deuteronomy, we might tend to see our God as exclusive, choosing a small band of Israelites over all of creation. Better that we continue on through to the New Testament readings from Paul and Matthew to see the completion in Jesus who said upon leaving the earth, “I will be with you always, even to the end of the world!”
Paul fleshes this out for us in his letter to the Romans expanding the theology. He says that through the Spirit, our God has adopted us, adopted us all—we are heirs, with Jesus, in the great family of God.
Now the notion of God choosing us as a people in Deuteronomy is a good starting place as long as we see the completion of that in Jesus’ stories of the Prodigal and that of the shepherd leaving the 99 to go in search of the lost one. Both stories depict the over-the-top love of the Creator for the created!—a love intended for all!
So, on this Trinity Sunday, a day that calls us to consider who God is for us; I will share who God is for me. I often speak of God in the Trinity as Creator, Savior and Spirit. This concept is devoid of gender, per se, except in the person of our brother, Jesus, who when you think about it, probably gave us the most androgynous view of the good of both genders, female and male. I can most effectively have a relationship with Jesus because of his presence, in time, as a human being, and I believe this was the wisdom of our God in appearing in human form—to tell us in a way that we could understand, how much we are loved and cherished, each one of us.
God as Creator, I choose to see in all of created life—in all the beauty, the joy, the attempts to be people of peace and understanding.
The Spirit, for me, is that force within that gives me the courage to say the hard things, to do what I might not always want to do for fear of being rejected. The Spirit is really the life of Jesus, in a new form.
Friends, let us pray today for each other to allow God to be who she/he is as we each come to know this force in our lives ever more profoundly. Amen? Amen!