A Holy Trinity Sunday sermon - Matthew 28:16-20
Trinity, that big word we use, exists in the body of Christ, and Christs brings to you the Trinity. The Trinity as not some weird academic exercise that we confess every now and then just because that is what Christians do; but a declaration of a God who does something. Who says something. Who is something, captured in a name given to you as Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Something more than a phrase, but an actual offering to you of this God as an active God.
I imagine it in this way. You can have someone come to see you. Me for instance, which I would like to do sometime. They visit but just sit there. They don’t say anything, or want to do anything. They listen well, are present with you, but not exactly one who does something for you apart from just being there. That counts for something. Sometimes you don’t need anyone to say anything. You need someone to listen and just be there.
But then you can have that someone who then comes to visit and will speak to you. Have a conversation with you. A conversation about you, about them, about both. A relationship develops and flourishes from speaking. Finding commonalities. Some of us are better listeners, and others are better conversationalists. Both serving a purpose, but different. Both could even be the same person. A tired introvert maybe, versus a rested one.
After one who comes to visit, or one who comes to talk, we can have one who comes to inspire you. To say some things that not only just contribute words, but words that do something. Maybe you are down and need a pick-me-up. Maybe you are sick and need a prayer, or a hug. Maybe you are angry and need to be given wise counsel. Three happenings, a gathering of one. Could be the same person. Visitation, conversation, inspiration. This makes it a relational expression.
But there are also implications of the Trinity when it comes to Creation. There is not just some cosmic force there, but a person doing things. This is one of the ways I teach the Confirmation folks about this whole creation idea in our thinking.
In the beginning, to begin with, at the start, I have to tell you first that God created the heavens and the earth. That is what it says there in Genesis 1. It’s not just some theatrical introduction. It is a statement to say – before we begin, before we go anywhere else, God created. If we lose that then we lose the Trinity. If we lose that, we lose the truths of the Creed, the commandments, and the Lord’s Prayer. If we don’t start there it makes life one in which we aren’t really going to care much about much.
Now don’t soil yourselves in thinking that I am speaking of a six-day creation. We’re not talking about Ken Hamm, touring Noah’s Ark. Not about Genesis 1 as a timeline. I’m not making a case for scientific Biblicism. What I am saying is that we are missing our God if we advocate for Genesis to be poetry or history and not trinity reality. Because if we pass up this part of the Trinity we miss the truth there in Genesis. I don’t know if you heard it. There is this formula – God said…and there was…and it was good. This working formula of God speaking, the words doing, and the doing being good. The Trinity in action. This God working as one but three. As voice, as words, as hearing. The Father saying it. The words coming forth and doing something. That doing something becoming good, or as a good thing. The Father as speaker, Christ the Word as those who do, and the Spirit making it good. Working all together as one and yet those three pieces.
On top of this, we have the great commission as this working of the Trinity. Baptizing, teaching, and going. Baptizing as the Father gathering in his children. Adopting as daughters and sons the precious lambs you are.
Teaching as the words of Christ, speaking to you, telling you of this Jesus, of the weird stuff that is this Gospel. A Gospel that says for us to love our enemies, to trust God in suffering, to turn to Christ as the author and finisher of the faith.
The going is being sent in the Spirit. The Spirit being the paraklete, the helper or advocate; the walk-along-sider. The one who is there for us when our sins tries to condemn us. When the world tries to betray us. When our pain tries to defeat us. Being there as the one to open our eyes to our adoption as children, bringing us back to our baptism, and to cause the Word to do it’s work in our hearing.
This makes the Trinity an all-inclusive experience. An always-being-with-you-God is what we have. A never-failing-you-God is what we are given. A creating God, who gave in his creation of us, his creation of the world, but also gives in giving us Christ in bread and wine and word. Giving us a faith that is more than theology but reality. A faith to nurtured as more than an hour on a Sunday, but one which impacts our daily living. A God who is given to us in each moment of the day, because that is this giving God is the definition of the Trinity.
Luther did well in his formulation of the Small Catechism. He begins at the beginning by telling you that you have a God. That that God is the Almighty Creator, but also your Father. Think of it. First commandment - “You shall have no other gods.” Why? Because you have a God who brought you out. A God we confess in the creed as the Creator. A God we have the comfort of calling Father when we pray.
If that isn’t enough, we have words given to us as Jesus coming to earth for you. The incarnation of the God said, and so it was. God saying and happening upon you in the Gospel. Leaving you the Scriptures to read so it can happen again. Giving a church family to hear these words so that they speak them to you. We sing the hymns because the music can help us recite the words if we forget. We have the liturgy to continue to tell the story to us. Of confession, forgiveness, prayer, proclamation, feeding, sending.
If that isn’t enough, the spirit opens your ears to hear. The Spirit envelopes each of us to be ones to speak to you of Gospel. Of the presence of God. His goodness. This Spirit reminding you of baptism, of your bringing out from the fear of sin and death to life and light of Christ. Going with you in all places so that the Spirit is not just here, but a Spirit that goes with you. Sent to you and sends you. Sends you to others, but also sends others to you, that you might have every opportunity to hear the Gospel and to speak it. To be with you as you try to teach this faith to your kids. To make them the future of the church. But most importantly, to hear Christ. To hear – I am with you always. With the Trinity, this God we have, the God you have, as your God, is impossible to avoid. Thanks be to God. Amen