Trinity Sunday “Wisdom’s Call” June 12, 2022
Let’s begin with prayer…
O Holy God, as we come together today in worship, may you warm our hearts and unite us, that we might open our lives to you to accept all your love and to respond to it by entrusting ourselves to you with all that you have made us and given us. We ask this in the name of Jesus the Christ. Amen.
Today is Trinity Sunday, which is a church celebration of God as Trinity, traditionally known as “Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.” Our scripture reading today is from the Gospel of John, and it comes near the end of Jesus’ time with the disciples. Before this in John 14, he has predicted his death, and after this in John 17, he will spend a lot of time in prayer for the disciples and others who will learn about him because of them. Here, he makes a promise to them about what is going to happen as he leaves.
John 16:12-15 (NIRV) says:
I have much more to say to you. It is more than you can handle right now. But when the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth.
He will not speak on his own. He will speak only what he hears. And he will tell you what is still going to happen.
He will bring me glory. That’s because what he receives from me, he will show to you.
Everything that belongs to the Father is mine. That is why I said what the Holy Spirit receives from me he will show to you.
“Guide,” “hear,” “truth,” and “what will happen,” are all words in this scripture that describe the Holy Spirit. Based on Jesus’ words, tradition has linked the Holy Spirit not only with “truth,” but with “wisdom.” The Holy Spirit does speak truth to us because God in his wisdom, speaks through the Spirit, and God is loving, trustworthy, and truthful. The Holy Spirit always brings glory to God. When we listen to the Spirit and follow the Spirit’s direction, our lives will glorify God too.
When we honor God, we are glorifying God. When we praise God, we are glorifying God. When we worship God, we are glorifying the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
When we listen to the Holy Spirit, we are listening to God. When we do that, we glorify God and show the world how much we love God.
One popular and simple illustration of the Trinity is the egg. A chicken egg consists of a shell, a yolk, and an egg white, yet it is altogether one egg. The three parts create a unified whole. The shortfall of this illustration, and others like it, is that God cannot be divided into “parts.” The Father, the Son, and the Spirit are one in essence, but the same cannot be said for the shell, yolk, and white of an egg.
A similar illustration uses the apple: the fruit’s skin, flesh, and seeds all comprise the apple, just as the Father, Son, and Spirit all comprise God. This illustration has the same weakness as the egg illustration, namely, the parts of the apple, considered independently, are not the apple. By contrast, each Person of the Trinity, taken independently, is still God.
Augustine, the distinguished bishop of Hippo in North Africa, was strolling the beaches of the Mediterranean Sea one morning, engaged in deep thought. He was attempting to come to grips with the depths of the doctrine of the Trinity.
He was interrupted in his thoughts when he stopped to watch a little fellow running toward the ocean with a bucket. He watched with amusement as the little guy filled his pail with water and hurried back up the beach to pour it into a little hole he had pawed into the sand. Within seconds the sea water soaked into sunbaked, thirsty sand.
Then the bishop’s eyes followed the little boy down to the ocean again, and then back up to the hole. Once again, the little guy poured the water into the hole, and once again the sand swallowed it up greedily.
“What are you trying to do?” asked Augustine with a smile. The little boy, a little annoyed at being interrupted in the middle of his busy task, replied, “I’m trying to put the ocean into this hole.”
Suddenly, it dawned on Augustine that he was behaving much like this little fellow. He was trying to cram the ocean of God’s truth about Himself into his little box of brains and was having no more success than the little boy with his bucket.
I can’t explain the mystery of the Trinity and we can’t get it. It is beyond our human comprehension to grasp the concept of the Trinity – three persons in one God, each fully God. If God is so much greater than we are, it shouldn’t be surprising that we can’t fully understand him.
But here are three good reasons why we should attempt to understand the mystery of the Trinity as best we can within our human limitations.
The first reason is that Jesus revealed the Trinity to us. The existence of the Father, of himself, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, whom He and the Father sent forth upon the apostles.
Jesus came and lived among us to teach us, to show us how to live and how to love, He worked miracles and died for our sins and rose from the dead to show us the way to eternal life.
Secondly, while we cannot grasp the idea of one God – three persons – each God, we can recognize that the Trinity, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are the perfect model of harmony and unity, a community of relationship, so perfectly intertwined that you cannot tell where one begins and the other ends.
One of the core truths of believing in the Trinity is that God, by nature, is relational. God is not a solitary being. As those created in God’s image, we are created to be relational. God desires a relationship with us, reaches out to us, and desires a connection with us.
As I look around the church, I see people in relationship to one another and I am honored to be able to share in those relationships.
The third and most important reason is that in the first chapter of Genesis, humankind, you and I, are created in the image and likeness of God.
Therefore, since Jesus has revealed to us the essence of God as perfect unity, harmony, community, and relationship, then the very core of our creation is a call to perfect harmony, community, and relationship. This is a real challenge living in a society where individualism is promoted. Nonetheless with God’s great wisdom, we are called to expand our circle of relationship to include more and more people.
He intended us to live in harmonious relationship with others, as the three persons of the trinity exist in harmony with one another. The Bible says we are the “body of Christ” with each believer fulfilling a role and supporting the others (1Corinthians 12:12-27).
The relational nature of God gives us a model for how we as Christians engage in witness by us not merely giving of our money but giving of our time, our talents, and in building relationships.
What better day for us to celebrate the relationships in our lives than on the Trinity Sunday which is the perfect model of relationships.
Let us join together in saying The Nicene Creed:
I believe in one God, the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth, and of all things visible and invisible.
And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son of God, begotten of the Father before all worlds; God of God, Light of Light, very God of very God; begotten, not made, being of one substance with the Father, by whom all things were made.
Who, for us men for our salvation, came down from heaven, and was incarnate by the Holy Spirit of the virgin Mary, and was made man; and was crucified also for us under Pontius Pilate; He suffered and was buried; and the third day He rose again, according to the Scriptures; and ascended into heaven, and sits on the right hand of the Father; and He shall come again, with glory, to judge the quick and the dead; whose kingdom shall have no end.
And I believe in the Holy Ghost, the Lord and Giver of Life; who proceeds from the Father [and the Son]; who with the Father and the Son together is worshipped and glorified; who spoke by the prophets.
And I believe one holy catholic and apostolic Church. I acknowledge one baptism for the remission of sins; and I look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come. Amen.
In this season of Pentecost, we are emphasizing what it means to live in the Spirit. Part of that life is growing in wisdom, in knowing how to use knowledge and truth. We believe the Spirit teaches and inspires us; and then because of the Spirit, we teach and inspire others.
God’s wisdom calls us. How are each of us going out teaching and inspiring others?
Let us pray…
Lord, we confess that we have not always listened to you. We worry about trivial things and crowd out your cry. Lord, we confess that we’re not eager to hear what you have to say to us. We think we know a better way to do most everything. Lord, we confess that we’ve ignored your Holy Spirit more than once today. Lord, we confess our faults as ask you to speak to us again. Send your Spirit of Truth and speak to all that is false within us. We will receive your words and follow your ways. Amen.