St. Luke's Episcopal Church
Heidi Edson / 07 June, 2020 Trinity Sunday
This Sunday is also known as Trinity Sunday. And this year we find ourselves in an unexpected place in our lives and in the life of the Church. We are in the middle of a pandemic. All of us are affected to one degree or another by the pandemic of the COVID-19 virus and the pandemic of racial injustice and unrest taking place in our country and in other parts of the world.
I see this Sunday in which we, as the Church, honor God as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit as an occasion and a blessing. This is particularly true in these troubling times. Despite what all is happening with and around us, we are given an invitation by God to reflect on the nature of our Triune God and what our response might be in the light of who God is.
All of our Readings for this Sunday point to God as Trinity. As we read these passages prayerfully with an open mind and heart, we come to discover that God's nature as Trinity is for a purpose. It is for the purpose of relationship- of connection! God first connects with God's Self as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit and then God connects with everything God has made. This is where we come in as managers of God's good creation.
This deep connection God enjoys first in communion with God's Self and then in communion with us as human beings made in the likeness and image of God is what allows us as Christ's followers this day a glimpse into God's heart of love. When we look to God, we can't help but come to recognize the interweaving of God with all of God's creation.
When we learn to trust God with our own lives, we will come to discover our own creativity in finding ways of being together with God and one another despite the fact that we must remain physically apart for now.
From the creation story in Genesis, we come to learn that the One God in Three Persons created us not only out of love, but for love. As God's created being, we were designed by our Maker to enjoy healthy and loving communion first with God, and then with one another.
Together with God, we care for God's creation out of love. And it is from this relationship of love we share with God, that we are given redemption for our own selves and salvation for all of God's creation. These are God's gifts of grace bestowed upon us and all creation.
Out of God's love comes also God's blessings for us as the Church. Paul, after exhorting us to live together in peace, offers us this blessing in II Corinthians: "The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with all of you."
These words by Paul are not merely sentimental thoughts. Paul wrote these words because he, Paul, was living them! Paul had personally experienced this communion and sense of connection with God and with the people of Corinth.
This day we recognize another Trinitarian expression in the words of Jesus to His disciples. In Matthew's Gospel for today, Jesus takes His disciples to the mountain and imparts to them His final thoughts. Jesus instructs them to make disciples of all nations (not just a select few) and to baptize all disciples everywhere in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.
Jesus' final words is this promise for each and every one of us: "Remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age." Jesus, Himself, as Emmanuel ("God with us"), is the visible expression of the Triune God. His promise to never ever leave us should bring us great comfort and hope for us and our world today.
With heaven brought down to earth with Jesus and with earth taken up to heaven in Christ, both earth and heaven are now brought together in God. For us this means that Jesus, though He ascended, never really left us. Jesus, the Face of God is with and also living within us today as the Unseen Source (God) and as the Breath of Life (Holy Spirit).
We may be wondering how seeing God as Trinity relates practically to our lives and situation. Given what our country and our world are going through these days, afflicted with the pandemic of the deadly virus coupled with the recent incidences of protests against police brutality waged against people of color in particular, what can we do to bring healing to those affected by illness and violence? How can we soothe those who are angry and hurt?
How? We learn to love as God loves! We follow in the footsteps of Jesus who taught us these words: "You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind" Jesus adds to this prayer, saying: "You shall love your neighbor as yourself."
When we are candid about the interconnectedness of creation, we have to acknowledge that woven within the tapestry of God's creation are not just sky, animals and humans, but also what is mostly invisible to the physical eye: viruses and bacteria; injustices and racism.
Rather than these things being mere accidents, these things that cause us death, pain and anger in our country and world are, at the same time, occasions for us to practice kindness, understanding, and generosity. Loving the other as God loves us means standing together in solidarity with the families of those who have died from violence and disease.
We stand together with God and each other in solidarity against injustice and for oppressed, the rejected, and the afflicted members of the human family. Ourselves created in the image and likeness of God, we seek to love as God loves.
Trinity reminds us yet again that God is Love! What wonderful news this is for us as the Church who, by faith, choose to follow Christ in our world.