Read Genesis 1: 1 – 2; 4a; 26 – 27; 31a and Matthew 28: 16 – 20
Today is Trinity Sunday! The day we think particularly about the mystery of God as a loving relationship of three eternal ‘Persons’ in one – The Holy Trinity.
One God, in three Persons – Father, Son and Holy Spirit – all related to each other in a way we might think of as ‘Lover’ (that’s God), ‘Beloved’ (that’s Jesus) and ‘Love’ (that’s the Holy Spirit), because the three equal persons of the Trinity are united in a deeply intimate and eternal (‘let us make…’ Genesis: 26) movement of mutual self-giving love – an ‘indwelling’ of each other.
God is all Three, and those Three are One God.
The concept of Trinity helps us to understand the fullness of the nature of God. And that’s important for Christian believers because it’s a distinctively Christian way of understanding God as a mystery of love that defies description, it’s one of those subjects where language fails us.
I expect there have been times when you’ve wanted to say something really significant, perhaps to tell someone how important they are to you, or to say how deeply sorry you are. But the usual phrases come nowhere near to expressing what you really want to say. The only words you can find seem inadequate, but you still have to use them, because to say nothing would be worse. You have to say what you can and hope that the words point to what you can’t really say. It’s a bit like that with the Trinity. But however difficult it is, it’s important it’s important for Christians to be able to give an account of it!
Significantly, it’s in the doctrine of the Trinity that we find our Christian model for community. God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit relate to one another demonstrating love for each other. They work in concert together to accomplish the entire purpose of God in the world. Each ‘Person’ of the Trinity works together for the enrichment of all – a model of perfect community.
Jesus’ last words to his disciples refer to all three ‘persons’ of the Trinity and knowing the fullness of all three was important for the ‘mission’ Jesus sent the disciples out to undertake, flawed and doubting as they were. Likewise, Jesus invites us to step beyond our inhibitions and never discards us because of our fears and failures.
The Spirit empowered, equipped, and emboldened the early Church through the ministry of the disciples, the work of sharing with ‘all nations’ the good news of Jesus, who is God’s gift, sent into the world to redeem it, to claim it back for God, to put it right with God, so that we receive something better than our input.
Through the Holy Spirit, there is no time, or place outside of Jesus’ reach and care, no limit to his involvement in people’s lives. The Trinity enables an eternity of love through time and place.
So, in the doctrine of the Trinity we find our mission as the Spirit equips, empowers, and emboldens us. Jesus still needs committed people like us to share God’s love in community. Jesus said, I’m sending you out to “make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you”. This is our mandate for mission, a task that’s always ahead of us.
Just as God the Father sent Jesus into the world, so Jesus sends us into the world to do the Father’s work, accompanied by the Holy Spirit all three working together to encourage our ministry in our time and context, so that Jesus can be with us, as he promised “always to the very end of the age”.
God’s work involves more than welcoming individuals to heaven when they die. The full nature of God is about bringing about his kingdom on earth, so that creation can know the peace that proclaims that all things are as God made them and always intended them to be – good!
Becoming aware of the fullness of God in all God’s ‘Persons’, as Father, Son, and Spirit, enables our spiritual lives to deepen, our vision of God’s kingdom to expand, and so the work God has for us to do will take on a new energy, vibrancy and urgency.
As followers of Jesus’ way, we are created and loved by the Father, shown an example to ‘copy’ by the Son and empowered and led by the Spirit. All three Persons of the Godhead are eternally at work in our lives; in the life of God’s church, and in the life of the world. Our mission is to enable them to work in us and through us, so that they will each be revealed to their best advantage to God’s Glory!