Trinity Sunday A
June 7, 2020
John 3: 16-18
By Rev. John Tran
“The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with all of you;” words from today’s Epistle in which God is prayed to as the Trinity.
What does the Trinity mean to me? That is our important question for today. It is not so important to give a theological explanation of the meaning of the Trinity, the three persons in one God. What is important is to see that the key point to connecting with the Trinity is that it is a relationship, one between God and me. Our relationship with God began at Creation in the Garden of Eden. The relation between Adam and Eve and God was personal. They had it all: God’s love, his personal care for them, intimate contact with God as he walked through the Garden in the cool of the evening. But instead of being satisfied and grateful to be with God as creation to creator, our first parents decided to listen to evil, and try to be equal to God, thinking not of God’s love for them, but of their own selfish need for power. And so, we lost that intimate connection with God, though his love for us was still there.
But God still wanted us to be in close connection with him. Why? Because he loved us, and was, in fact, though one God, a community of three persons. That Trinity who was so closely united to each other as to be one God, still wanted us to be part of that union. It is only at this point that we begin to get a clue into the real make up of God, that God is a community of love within himself. We began to get this idea because the second person of the Trinity, the Father’s Son became a human being. The Son became Jesus, not only to save us from sin and death, but also to show us what God was really like. Through the Son’s intimate relationship with us did we begin to experience once again the relationship Adam and Eve had with God. This answered the prayer of Moses in the first reading from Exodus, “This is indeed a stiff necked people; yet, pardon our sins, and receive us as your own.” And this is exactly what Jesus did by making us part of his very body and children of His Father. Once Jesus returned to the Father, he sent his Advocate, the Holy Spirit to live within each of us and be our comforter and guide, our teacher and advocate, the one who takes up for us.
We were created in the image and likeness of God says the Book of Genesis. That was God’s original plan, and through Jesus Christ that plan was completed. It is this vision of complete unity within God that Paul tells the Corinthians in the second reading, “rejoice. Mend you ways, encourage one another, agree with one another, live in peace, and the God of love and peace will be with you.” When we do this, we experience something of the life within the God, and this is what Jesus meant as bringing about the Kingdom of God. If we relate to each other in this way, we are experiencing that personal relation that God has with each of us.
What gets in our way is the same drive that drove Adam and Eve out of the Garden: the need for power. We all to often feel the need to be in control, to dominate another, to get something over someone else, to have our way, to be the one in power. All this is the opposite of the unity Jesus asks us to create in which each person is valued, is cared for, is seen as a brother or sister. Just for a moment, consider all the ways that you or I can work against the love of God which is unity in the Body of Christ. How can we change this; how can we refuse to cultivate the need for power and instead create the need for love and unity? May the Spirit give us the strength and love to put on Christ and be a force of love like the world has never seen. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with all of you.
In a short story, the Russian author, Leo Tolsoy tells this story: Three Russian monks lived in a faraway Island. Nobody ever went there. However, one day their bishop decided to make a pastoral visit to learn more about their religious life. But when he arrived, he discovered that they did not know even the Lord’s Prayer. So, he spent all his time and energy teaching them the Our Father and then left them, satisfied with his pastoral visit. But when his small ship had left the island and was back in the open sea, he suddenly noticed the three hermits walking on the water – in fact they were running after the ship. When they approached it, they cried out, “Dear bishop we have forgotten the Lord’s Prayer you taught us.” The bishop, overwhelmed by what he was seeing and hearing asked them, “But dear brothers, how then do you pray?” They answered, “We just say, there are three of us and there are three of you, have mercy on us.” The bishop, awestruck by their sanctity and simplicity said, “Go back to your island and be at peace.”
So the important point is not that we can define the Trinity, but that we can live out in our lives the reality of who the Trinity is.