Sermon at First Presbyterian Lockhart
May 30, 2010
By Sharon Samford CLP
A story is told about some young boys who were outside playing when they noticed a small, dead bird on the ground. After they’d gathered around and thoroughly inspected the situation, one of the youngsters, the son of a local minister, suggested the proper thing to do was to bury the little animal.
After digging a space, the guys decided a prayer was in order and they turned to the minister’s son for him to say a few words. He had attended many funerals and was familiar with the final words of committal at the end of the service. With heads bowed, they heard him say in a solemn voice:
“In the name of the Father, and the Son, and “into the hole he goes…”
Now while our first impulse is to laugh at the mixed wording of what was supposed to have been “Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, in all honesty we face our own inability to describe what we’ve come to know as “the Mystery of the Trinity” – the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, three in One… or is it One in three??? Or is it both??? Or is it “something else”???
“The mystery of the trinity…”
A “mystery” can be defined as “something once hidden, now revealed”. Something once hidden, now revealed… Something once hidden but if we pay attention, look closely, eventually we begin to see “clues” that will help solve the mystery.
Now, if you are expecting me to provide a full revelation of the Trinity to you this morning, I’m afraid you’ll be disappointed! My desire is to point to the resources that might bring a new understanding of this Trinitarian mystery.,.an understanding that will enrich our faith and strengthen our ministry in
this hungry and hurting world we know today.
Our primary resource, as in all things theological, is the Holy Bible read with deep and constant prayer for understanding and application. I would ask you to keep in mind three particular passages from Scripture as we endeavor to better understand the “mystery” we observe today on this Holy Trinity Sunday:
(1) From the first epistle of John in the New Testament: “God is love.” 1 Jn. 4:16b
(2) From the Book of Genesis: “In the beginning, God…” Genesis 1:1
(3) “I Am Who I Am and I will be Who I will be.” Exodus 3:14 (God revealing God’s self to Moses)
“God is love…”
When he wrote “God is love.” the Apostle John is describing a self-giving, generous, faithful, on-going, unceasing, up-building, enabling, “agape” love. One of the most beloved verses in Scripture comes from the Gospel of John, 3:16: For God so loved the world, He gave his only begotten son that whoever believes in him should not perish but have everlasting life.”
“In the beginning, God…”
When creating the heavens and the earth,
1. God, as Father, is the Creator of all and everything that is. God “spoke” and by God’s Word the world came into existence. (Genesis 1)
2. God the Son is the living Word re-creating and renewing our lives. John writes in the beginning of his Gospel: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” According to the written Word, in the fullness of time God the Father through the Holy Spirit gave his only begotten Son for the forgiveness of our sins. The Son is from God, of God, fully divine and fully human full of grace, mercy, and love.
3. God the Spirit moved upon the unformed waters and brought ordered life out of chaos. The Spirit of
God continues His work today. Hear the words of Jesus in John 16: 1-15: “Now I am going to him who sent me…but I tell you the truth, it is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away the Counselor will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you… When he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth.,,. All that belongs to the Father is mine. That is why I said the Spirit will take from what is mine and make it known to you.”
Present in the creation of the world, present in the conception of the Son, our Savior, now God the Spirit, the Counselor, Comforter, Helper, lives not above us, nor beside us, but in us. Giving of himself, the Holy Spirit teaches us to understand the love of God that we not only receive but are called to demonstrate to a hurting and hungry world. Giving of himself, the Spirit of God gives us the power to love God because he first loved us. The power to give of ourselves as we are filled with God’s Spirit a generous love that is full of grace and mercy enabling others to know as they are able to understand, God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit.
“I Am Who I Am and I Will Be Who I Will Be”
The Trinity is presented to us in the Bible as God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit.
How that all works together in its intricate details is most likely beyond our comprehension. On his New Testament writings, the Apostle Paul reminds us that now we see in part…and know in part.. While we strive to better understand God’s revelations to us, perhaps we need to remind ourselves of God’s sovereignty and to receive with gratitude and thanksgiving the unfolding presence of God in our lives as Creator, Redeemer, and Sustainer.
May it be so. Amen.