Grace to you and peace in God our Creator, Christ, and Spirit of Life. Amen.
Today is Trinity Sunday. It’s the day when we celebrate and explore how God is three-in-one and one-in-three. So, to celebrate Trinity Sunday I thought I’d bring all of my favourite three-in-one stuff:
· Axe 3-in-1 shampoo, conditioner, and body wash.
· 3-in-One lubricating oil – lubricates, penetrates, and cleans!
· Three-in-one caulking tool for scraping, removing, and spreading caulking
· Survival three-in-one whistle, compass, and thermometer
· And of course, this afternoon I’m going to enjoy some three-in-one ice cream: Spumoni, of course! Vanilla, chocolate, and strawberry all in one!
Now, when we talk about the Trinity, we sometimes talk about the Three-in-one or the One-in-three. And maybe it sounds like we’re talking about God as if God were like 3-in-1 shampoo, or spumoni ice cream. But the mystery of the Trinity isn’t that simple, is it? I mean, Axe 3-in-1 isn’t really a mystery, is it? It’s just three different kinds of soap in one bottle. And my survival whistle isn’t really a mystery either – it’s just one tool that I can use in three different ways. And spumoni ice cream may be delicious, but it’s not really a mystery either. It’s just three flavours of ice cream all in one box.
But the Trinity is a mystery. It’s a mystery that we believe in one God, but we experience God in three different ways. Traditionally we would talk about God as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Today we have many other ways of talking about the Trinity as well – personally, I like to use the words, “Creator, Christ, and Spirit of Life.”
The idea of the Trinity comes back to this sense that God shows up in Scripture, in our world, and in our lives in three different ways. We experience God as the One who creates us, in whose image we are formed. And we experience God as the One who became flesh and dwelt among us, who died on the cross and rose again for our salvation. And we experience God as the One who dwells inside us, who is moving and active in our world. So, we connect these experiences of God with this sense of God as Creator, Christ, and Spirit of Life.
Often when people think about God, they picture a clock-maker God. A God who creates the Universe, who designs all of the laws of nature and sets everything in motion, and then steps back and lets it all run, watching from a distance. Just like a clock-maker, who builds a clock, winds it up, and then lets it tick. This kind of a God was active at the beginning of creation, but isn’t really involved anymore. This kind of static idea of God isn’t a God who can be in relationship with us.
But the Trinity is all about relationship. This triune God that we confess as Christians is not only the God who creates the Universe, but also the God who steps into human history in the person of Jesus, and the God who is active in our world today as the Holy Spirit.
You know, I think it’s really beautiful that we are not only celebrating Trinity Sunday today, but we’re also celebrating Elizabeth’s baptism today. First of all, in the Gospel of Matthew today we heard Jesus tell his disciples, “Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit.”
And that’s exactly what we did today, didn’t we? We poured water over Elizabeth’s head, and she received God’s gift of baptism in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
And secondly, the promises that God made to Elizabeth today – the promises that God makes to each of us in baptism – are Trinitarian promises. They are promises of God the Creator, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit.
In baptism, God as Creator has promised Elizabeth, “You are my beloved child. I have created you in my image. I love you beyond measure.”
And God as Jesus Christ has promised Elizabeth, “You are joined to me in this baptism. Now my death is your death, and my resurrection is your resurrection.”
And God as Spirit of Life has promised Elizabeth, “I have been poured out in you today. Each day I will stir up new faith in your heart, so that you can learn to trust in God’s promise of love for you.”
And that’s why we prayed that prayer for the Holy Spirit: “Sustain Elizabeth with the gift of your Holy Spirit: the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord, the spirit of joy in your presence, both now and forever.”
Maybe this idea of the Trinity seems too complicated for you. And maybe it is complicated. Or maybe it’s just mysterious. But at the end of the day, this wonderful mystery of the Trinity points us back to one thing: God’s love for us. God’s love shown to us in the beauty of creation. God’s love lived out in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus. And God’s love poured out upon us in the Holy Spirit. All of this points us back to the amazing, mysterious, and never-ending love of God.
May you know this love of God, Creator, Christ, and Spirit of Life, today, and always. Amen.