Last Sunday which was the Feast of Pentecost, I spoke of the need for revival in our church at large and perhaps even personal revival for all of us. I know that I am in constant need of revival, in constant need of knowing that God is present, that Jesus is alive, and that the Holy Spirit lives in me to help guide me into the ways of truth, just as Jesus promised. I am sure that when Jesus told the disciples that he has more to tell them that they could not yet bear, that they might have been afraid; I am sure I would be. He tells them this just before he is taken away and murdered; but here, Jesus tries to reassure them and us that the kingdom of God is not ending, but merely beginning.
When I was in highschool, I was a music kid and a social sciences kid. I tried to run as fast as I could from math class, even though some of my favorite teachers were in the math department. When my guidance counselor told me I only had to take two years of highschool math, believe me when I say, that is all I took. So math is not my strong suit. Trinity Sunday is that Sunday feared by many because we all know that anything we say is probably wrong, and how do you explain three persons equals one God if you’re not good at math?
Well, the good news is that there probably isn’t an algebraic equation that will help. Perhaps this is where the social science geeks among us can shine. Or not.
One of the things that I *think* I would say to someone who asked me about this whole Trinity business is that it’s not about math but really about relationship. When we read the gospel of John, or John’s letters in the New Testament, we hear Jesus talk about abiding. Jesus abides in the Father, who will send the Spirit who will abide in us. What’s important here is that you and I have been brought into God’s internal life and into the relationship that the Trinity has. That’s a big deal. We are part of God’s life just as God is part of ours. There is no where that we can go where God is not. Bill said something the other day that really struck a spiritual cord inside me. We were talking about anointing, and how when we are baptized we are anointed with sacred oil called chrism. Kings are anointed with oil in the Old Testament. Kings are anointed to symbolize that they have been chosen by God. Jesus was anointed and prepared for his death as God’s chosen, we are anointed in baptism and sealed by the Holy Spirit as Christ’s own forever… what Bill said, that I had never thought of before, is that as we are anointed with oil outwardly, we are also anointed inwardly by God’s Holy Spirit, an “inward oiling” if you will. I found myself moved by that imagery. It felt to me as though there was this eternal spring of life pouring over and through us. In Romans, Paul tells us that this Spirit prays within us, sighing too deep for words – and you and I know that place where our prayers no longer have words, but just a longing to know Jesus and to feel God’s presence with us. And it is there… within us, as temples of the Holy Spirit where God’s very love is poured into our hearts through the presence of the Spirit.
Like the kings of old, we are chosen; chosen by God to be in relationship with God purely out of love. We were created because God’s love was so powerful and overflowing, creation happened and we were loved so much that God’s very image was placed on us… then in baptism, the gift of the Holy Spirit is freely given to us so that you and I will never be separated from God again.
The life of the Trinity, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, is one that is rooted in all truth and all love. The world around us will try to keep us from hearing and acting in that truth and love by promising all sorts of tempting things; wealth, power, esteem… and some of those false promises will come in small, personal ways as well, like addiction, lust, fear. None of this is news to any of us; all we have to do is watch the news or drive around our neighborhoods. We belong to Jesus whose Spirit lives within us in the love and creation of the Father. Every day is Trinity day for us; every day is a day where we are called to live into the truth and love of the Trinity as beloved, adopted children of God. While that love and truth are freely given, they are not cheap; God’s love and truth must compel us to act in the world as God has acted in the life of Jesus. His life was freely given, as our lives are given to his service.
I pray that each of us will find ways to bring God’s love and truth into the world. There is so much that needs to be done; if we each do at least a little, God will empower us to do what God has asked us to do. I would like to close with the motto of the Order of the Daughters of the King. I have always been very moved by this prayer, and I think it sums up our life as disciples pretty well.
For His Sake…
I am but one, but I am one.
I cannot do everything, but I can do something.
What I can do, I ought to do.
What I ought to do, by the grace of God I will do.
Lord, what will you have me do?