Skip to comments.The Rev. Samuel Edwards: Sermon for Trinity Sunday
Posted on 06/12/2006 5:39:12 PM PDT by sionnsar
This past Lord's Day being Trinity Sunday, here is a reflection on the Trinity by the Rev. Samuel Edwards of the Anglican Church of the Holy Comforter in Alabama:
Sermon on Trinity Sunday (2006)This sermon fits in well with those we have been reading in connection with Pentecost, doesn't it?
In the Name of the Most Holy and Undivided Trinity: The Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost.
Today the worship of the Church focuses our attention on the very center of Christian belief about God not just the truth about God that it was his eternal purpose to reveal not just the truth that informs and directs our living and moving and having our being but that Truth Himself, Who is the way, Who is the Life in which he invites us fully to share.
In the end, the Holy Trinity is God himself, and the revelation of God as Trinity of Persons in Unity of Nature was the final purpose of the Incarnation of the Son of God. The Triune God is himself the foundation for our understanding of reality as a whole and, more particularly, of the whole idea of communion, of what it means to live together as people.
What we learn from Gods revelation of himself as Trinity is that he is a communion of Persons bound together in charity. (Charity is supreme love the love wholly poured out upon its object without regard to the worthiness of its object, the love which enables friendship with God.) In order for us to fulfill our purpose, both as persons and as groups of persons, we must be like God. In order for that to happen, we must accept the gift of his life within us and prefer that to any other plan, purpose or goal. God alone can make this happen.
So how does he do it? We need look no farther than the Scriptural record for an answer to the question: The Father sends the Son, who is incarnate of the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary. In the power of the Holy Spirit, the Son presents our human nature to the Father on the strength of his offering of himself. At the prayer of the Son, the Holy Spirit is poured out on us by the Father. The Holy Spirit forms Christ in us, so that the Father sees in us his beloved Son, in whom he is well pleased, and so that we see and love Christ in one another and in ourselves.
By this, we can see the intent of God for the communion of the Church and its extension to the communion of man. Because he has told us not only that he is everlastingly three distinct Persons in one divine Nature (or three Whos in one What) but also that we are made in his image and for his likeness, we know that the divine intention is that human society have both hierarchy and equality, both order and freedom, both unity and diversity and that it be made up of persons who themselves have all their distinctive spiritual faculties operating with a single purpose.
If we are leading a genuinely Trinitarian life, it will be one which while integrated and complete within itself will always freely choose to overflow and to draw others into communion with it. This, after all, is characteristic of the Triune God himself: Although he is complete within himself, and needs nothing other than himself for his perfection, he chooses not only to create, but to draw those whom he has created into fellowship with himself. (One of the implications of this is that none of us is in any way necessary: Neither the universe nor anything in it had to exist. Rather, the existence of the world and all that is therein it shows Gods sovereign freedom.)
This being so, it must be true that the society the Church which God forms is meant to reflect his own nature and character: Its members are equal, but they are so within an order; they are diverse, but they are so within a unity; they are free, but within a discipline; they are complete as they are (catholic), but are always seeking to draw others into their society (evangelical). To extent that any element of the Church, from international communion to Christian family, does this, the universal church is present in it and it is itself fulfilled. In other words, we can judge our success at being the Church at every level by the standard given us by what God has revealed about himself.
The way we are expected to behave in our common life as the Body of Christ does not seem natural to us, but (as I have said before) that is because our nature is corrupted by sin, the habits of which linger even after baptism. All too often, we Christians tend to behave and expect others to behave as if the Church were an institution like any other. It is not: In fact, to call it an institution at all is to mischaracterize it by limitation: It is true, but it is not nearly true enough. The Church is a communion before it is an institution. Its institutional aspect is to the Church as clothes are to the body, or as the physical body is to the spiritual body. It is what people see, but it is not what the Church is at its core.
What is seen should point to what is not seen, however. That is why in its institutional life at every level, from the family to the international, the Church is not to be an arena for the pursuit of power by means of faction and subterfuge, but rather is to be a school of holiness characterized by truth and charity. As Paul says (2 Corinthians 4:1-2), seeing we have this ministry, as we have received mercy, we faint not; but have renounced the hidden things of dishonesty, not walking in craftiness, nor handling the word of God deceitfully; but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every mans conscience in the sight of God.
So long as we are living in a fallen world, we are much and ever in need of instruction and reflection on how we are to live in this way, according to Gods design and intention. That is why the Churchs lectionary spends nearly half the Sundays in every year, year after year, doing just that. If we are alive to Gods call to share his life and so become genuinely human, if we use the time that he gives us, however much that will be, if we use the means provided through the Word written and the Word sacramental, then by his grace we will see him as he is (for we shall be like him), and we will have the joy to know that at that time the vision of beauty will never end.
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