This Sunday is Trinity Sunday, which always follows the Sunday of Pentecost. This is the only Sunday, far as I know, that celebrates in the liturgy a long cherished ‘doctrine’ of the church. Most special worship days celebrate an event (such as Christmas, Easter, or
Pentecost). Oddly enough, the only doctrine celebrated in the liturgy is the most ambiguous and counter-intuitive of them all!–three in one, one in three?! Regardless, the reflection on the Trinity throughout the ages has continued to remind the church that the very makeup of the divine is ‘community’ and that God, no matter how good our theological definitions and creeds, will always remain in part an ineffable mystery.
Proverbs 8:1-4, 22-31
In the book of Proverbs chapter 8 we are introduced to the personification of wisdom (lady wisdom). We learn that she was created before God did any of God’s other creative work. We all also learn that lady wisdom calls after us all, and the purpose for the call of wisdom is that we might ‘live.’
In our Psalm lection the psalmist considers the wonder of creation, and how a God who created such a creation could also be concerned for something so small as humanity. The psalmist’s concern speaks to our need for ‘species’ self assurance and self esteem. The psalmist marvels that human kind has been crowned with glory and honor and given dominion over the rest of creation–and therefore the psalmist glorifies God.
Romans 5 is one of the many texts where the Father (‘God’ in the text), the Son, and the Holy Spirit are mentioned together. The text speaks about our ‘justification’–or our being declared righteous before God. This justification is accomplished through Jesus Christ who gives us access to the grace of God. Further, we rejoice in our sufferings, for our sufferings lead to a realization of God’s love. This realization is accomplished by the Holy Spirit who pours the love of God into our hearts.
John 16 takes us back in time before the day of Pentecost. Jesus is telling the disciples in this text of the coming of the Holy Spirit. The Spirit will teach the “truth” that Jesus himself can not yet tell the disciples. Interestingly the content of the “truth” is something
Jesus ‘owns’ on account of it being owned by the Father (i.e. “all that the Father has is mine” [vs. 15]). This text, and other texts like this one, became the theological mine by which the early Christians extracted their ideas about God’s plurality of oneness (a glaring contradiction of terms I know!) Standing in the Christian tradition we inherit this mystery, and we ponder what it means for the community of faith that God has called forth through the work of Jesus and the sharing of the Spirit.
Celebration of Worship
As you prepare your hearts, hymns, prayers, and thoughts for Sunday consider how our church’s community gives witness to the divine community. It is true that we are all of one substance (flesh) yet we are distinct. How does the care amongst the divine community (the Father for the Son and the Spirit; the Son for the Spirit and the Father; the Spirit for the Father and the Son) offer instruction about the care we pass on and receive from the rest of humanity? What does it mean for us as we try to be like God when Jesus says, “All that the Father has is mine.”