Saturday, June 03, 2023

Trinity Sunday 2023

cool birds
cool fish
The birds of the heavens
and the fish of the sea,
Whatever passes through the paths of the seas.
Psalm 8:8
Psalm 8

1 O Lord, our Sovereign,
how majestic is your name in all the earth!
You have set your glory above the heavens.
2 Out of the mouths of babes and infants
you have founded a bulwark because of your foes,
to silence the enemy and the avenger.

3 When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers,
the moon and the stars that you have established;
4 what are humans that you are mindful of them,
mortals that you care for them?

5 Yet you have made them a little lower than the gods
and crowned them with glory and honor.
6 You have given them dominion over the works of your hands;
you have put all things under their feet,

7 all sheep and oxen,
and also the beasts of the field,
8 the birds of the air, and the fish of the sea,
whatever passes along the paths of the seas.

9 O Lord, our Sovereign,
how majestic is your name in all the earth!

Trinity Sunday

How does God self-reveal? How do we meet God? How do we know God?

Trinity Sunday is the octave of Pentecost and celebrates a doctrine or teaching rather than a time-and-place event. The church long has celebrated important days for eight days. (Think of an octave on a keyboard.) Scripture strongly implies God as triune or three-in-one / one-in-three, but never uses the word "trinity." In fact, the church didn't articulate the doctrine or teaching of God as triune until 325A.D. at the Council of Nicaea that gave us the Nicene or Constantinopolitan Creed.

You've probably heard the Trinity described in ways similar to ice, water, vapor; son, friend, brother? Those end up with the heresy of modalism with its claim God manifests in different ways at different times, yet they still provide some idea of the variety of roles the triune God rocks.

Although the Trinity is that copout word "mystery," human brains still try to describe it, and that's not at all negative. Teachers usually have students write about almost everything because if you can write about a concept, you understand it. Again, that's fine in a casual sense, but on Trinity Sunday we revel in the presence of the transcendent Holy Other and the immanent Sacred. Trinity and any Sunday worship is an occasion to celebrate God in song and sacrament, for the proclamation to remind us of God's glory, compassion, righteousness and love. Trinity-related God talk can happen in bible study, in seminary classrooms and lunchrooms.

In our readings this year we've had at least two explicit theophanies or revelations of the Trinity: the Baptism of Jesus and the Transfiguration.


How does God self-reveal? How do we meet God? How do we know God?

Humans casually assign characteristic traits to each Person, but they all participate together in every aspect of the life of the world.

Instead of an analogy that never approaches the essence of the godhead, early church fathers and mothers talked about the dance or the perichoresis of the Trinity. "Peri" refers to in the vicinity of, around, nearby–perimeter, peripatetic, pericope (a scripture or other literary passage cut out from its surroundings). "Choresis" has the same root as dance-related choreography.

Father, Son, Holy Spirit interact with each other, collaborate, do life together so wonderfully we also want to dance in response! Maybe more than anything, the trinity models our interactive and cooperative lifestyles and ministries. The church is the Image of the Trinity.


We baptize using water accompanied by the words Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. Baptism literally immerses us into Jesus Christ's death and resurrection, into the trinitarian nature of God as Creator, Redeemer, Sanctifier.

Jesus' great commission in Matthew 28:19 is the only occurrence of this baptismal formula in the bible, yet it was one of many later additions to the original text. The early church baptized in the Name of the Lord Jesus, Jesus the Savior, or similar words. The first recorded mention of the Trinitarian baptismal formula was in the late fourth century!

Trinitarian Formulas

Baptism engulfs us in God as Creator, Redeemer, Sanctifier, but all three persons of the godhead create. All three redeem and liberate. All of them sanctify and sustain.

For occasions other than baptism, trinitarian formulas include:

• Earth-maker – Pain-bearer – Life-giver A New Zealand Prayer Book
• Source – Word – Spirit
• Abba – Christ – Holy Spirit

The Church as the Image of the Trinity

How goes God self-reveal? How do we meet God? How does the world meet God? How does the world know God?

Jesus charged and trusted his followers – the church – to proclaim the gospel in word and action, to baptize, to remember him by breaking the bread of life and offering the cup of salvation. We reveal good news to the world when we live as sacraments that mediate between earth and heaven. We take our cues and clues from the perichoresis of the Trinity, and not from the consumer driven programmatic excesses of the world. Does the world meet God through us? Does the world know God because of us?

The grace of Our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the companionship of the Holy Spirit be with us all. 2 Corinthians 13:14

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