(Deuteronomy 4:32-34; Romans 8: 14-17; Matthew 28: 16-20)
Trinity Sunday-a day in which we celebrate God- which may sound odd for as Christians we are called to celebrate God daily. So why a special celebration?
The early Church had a very clear sense of the divinity of Jesus, the reality of the Father and a belief in this rarely spoken about Holy Spirit. This belief was grounded on experiences which the early Christians had of God and while there was a sense of the three being ‘divine’ the challenge was how to reconcile this with monotheism. In other words how can we say that we believe in only one God but speak of Father, Son and Holy Spirit as divine?
Scripture does not offer us a clear cut answer for this, which may seem frustrating or disconcerting for some. But it highlights an important part of Christian teaching, namely that God gave us a brain as well as a heart. After the Roman persecutions ended it took about 150 years of discussion, wrangling, fighting and praying for the Church to intellectually clarify a doctrine of Trinity (which again reflects earliest Church beliefs).
God is one and revealed in history as three persons, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, which are not mere masks of God but point to distinction among the three persons. Grounded in eternal relationships Father, Son and Holy Spirit reveal themselves to us in creation, redemption and sanctification. God’s work of creation is linked to salvation and the ongoing elevation of humanity and the entire cosmos to Godself (sanctification). Our God is not a lonely old man sitting on a cloud but pure relationships of love among the persons which flows out of God to all creation. God is a unity of three persons, each fully God, equal but distinct. A unity with real difference!
Trinity Sunday not only reminds us of Church as place to use our brains to clarify doctrine, but also asks us how much we think or reflect on what we claim to believe. Questions are a good thing and can lead us to deeper understandings of our faith, God and ourselves. Ask questions and if you get no answers, then look for them (there are some wonderful free resources online!) but with humility as some questions cannot be answered in this life.
Trinity Sunday is a time to celebrate God, Church as a community of reflection/discernment and our ability to have a ‘faith seeking understanding.’
God bless you and please remember mission doctors who help so many with their talents and love.