Trinity Sunday 2020

Exodus 334:4-6, 8-9
2 Corinthians 13:11-13
John 3:16-18

In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

This is Trinity Sunday, so I’m going to talk to you today about the concept of the Trinity and what it means to us. I want to begin with a story that I’ll call the story of “Bo and the dusty table.” This is kind of a fun family story that we’ve told many times among ourselves that I want to share with you today, because it’s relevant to what we’re going to talk about.

Some years ago, my youngest son, he was much younger then, saw a table in the house that probably needed some dusting. He looked at the table in wonder and he said, “this table must be really old.” He seemed genuinely impressed with what he perceived to be the great age of the table, and he continued, “it’s really dusty”. So in his young mind the dust on the table denoted great age. This must have been an ancient table indeed.

The reason I tell you that story is I think that this is a nice segue to the concept of the Trinity. How so? Well, we have lots of thoughts about God, we always do. We think all kinds of things about God. We even evaluate God. We wonder whether He’s doing a good job. We sometimes think maybe He’s not doing such a good job, and we think we’ve got it figured out. Sometimes we might even think we’d do a better job than God would. Of course none of that is true. God, who knows all of our thoughts, knows those thoughts that we have about Him and He probably regards them in the way we regard “Bo and the dusty table”. Bo didn’t understand the dust on the table, he was just a little boy, and we don’t understand God. And the concept of the Trinity is a perfect way to see how we don’t understand God. Our lack of understanding of God is really built into the very concept that Christianity employs to tell us who God is.

We can define the Trinity, in sort of an academic way, as follows: God consists of three persons and yet is one God. Each of the three persons of God are coequal, coeternal, uncreated, and omnipotent. Now that’s kind of an academic idea, but I think that’s the way we can, not unpack it, because it really can’t be unpacked very well, but I think that the way we can pull it together in a way that we can sort of understand, is to say this: that the Trinity is a mystery of the Christian faith. In order to be people of faith, we have to reconcile ourselves to the fact that there are some things that really are mysteries to us. It’s simply more than our finite human minds can understand. How can three persons be one God? How is any of this possible? We simply can’t see it. Our minds can’t understand it. One way I’ve often explained this, in homilies and also in conversations with people, is to say “try to imagine infinity”. Your mind simply cannot do it. We can’t do it. God is infinite, therefore we can’t understand God. We simply can’t wrap our minds around the being of God. And the concept of Trinity is helpful to us in seeing that. It’s a central mystery of the Christian faith. But it tells us what we can understand about God. One of the things it tells us about God is that God is awesome. When I say God is awesome, I don’t mean the slang term, like the term we often use to express approval of something. You know, that’s awesome. I mean God is mighty. God is omnipotent. God is all powerful. And God is King of the Universe.

The reading that we saw a few minutes ago, from Exodus, describes God as “coming down in a cloud” and Moses addressing God as Lord. This is a beautiful way to picture what we can about the being of God as an awesome, omnipotent God. Exodus goes on to tell us more about God. We see that God is a mighty, but yet a loving God. This, in a sense, is a story that repeats itself over and over again throughout the Old Testament. The people of Israel, they kept turning their backs on God, they kept abandoning God, and sometimes God would let them kind of suffer the consequences of their abandoning Him. But He always came back. He never abandoned them, even when they abandoned Him. He always gave them another chance. Those stories that we see over and over again in the Old Testament show us the forgiving, compassionate, and loving nature of God – that we see also in the person of Christ in the New Testament.

God is both mighty and loving. Moses, in Exodus, in the passage we read today, asked God if he would “come along in our company” and receive us as your own. Can we be your people? And God accepts them as His people. God bids us to come to Him. God is always there, always waiting for us to turn again to Him. We see that in Exodus, we see it throughout the Old Testament. We see it in the New Testament as well.

In the passage that we read today from John, chapter 3, verses 16 – 18. These are passages that most everybody has heard at one time or another. “God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him might not perish but might have eternal life.” God gave Himself for us, because remember the Son is a person of the Trinity. God gave Himself. He assumed human form, He became God incarnate, He became one of us. He had all the sufferings and everything that any normal person would have, yet He was God. So He took upon Himself the ultimate suffering, tortured to death on a cross, because He loved us that much. “He so loved the world that He gave His only Son.” He gave himself for us.

So what does the Trinity tell us? It tells us again, in the first place, that God is a mystery to us. Try hard as we might, we’re not really going to fully understand God. We just can’t. Our minds are not capable of fully grasping the being of God. But we can learn a lot about God. In Scripture, we can see that God is infinitely powerful, mighty, and our King. The King not only of us, but of the whole Universe, which God created. We can also see that we are not alone, that God is with us, and that God always bids us to come to Him. Even when we in our lives turn away from him, or abandon Him, He’s there waiting for us to turn back. And He bids us to come to Him. We are always in the presence of an all-powerful creator who loves us – and that is awesome in the ordinary sense in which we like to use that term today. God is almighty and God loves us.



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