Sunday, June 03, 2007

Trinity Sunday Sermon

There is nothing greater in life than watching a child discover something for the first time. Back in January, I went to Oklahoma to visit one of my closest friends. Her little boy, Asher, who I proudly declare my nephew, was still a young infant. One day during my visit, both parents had to be at work so I eagerly took on the task of babysitting him. I had him on the couch and we were having fun, looking at toys and making faces. I sat for a moment, and just observed him. He started to grab for his toy and just stopped. His eyes got really big as he stared at his hand, moving it back and forth and back and forth. You could watch and see the mystery unfolding in his little mind. It was as if he was realizing for the first time that this thing that he uses to grab stuff is actually a part of him. He has control over his hand. He then stuffed his hand in his mouth, took it out, and stared again. You could see that he was kind of like, “wow! I can put this in my mouth and suck on it.” “Oh look, I can take this thing and grab something I want.” I can even grab the other hand and stuff both in my mouth” It was absolutely the most awesome thing to witness. This young boy was putting all of the pieces together in his mind, unraveling a great mystery.
Today is what we call on the church calendar Trinity Sunday. It is unlike most Sundays in the church in that the focus is not on a particular story from scripture, but rather on what most would say is the most important doctrine of the Christian church. Today, we are called to look at the doctrine of the Trinity and try to piece together the great mystery that is the relationship between the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
I read once that if a person is to try and speak about the Trinity for more than two minutes, they begin to enter false teachings, also known as heresy. The reason this is believed by some to be true is the Trinity is in fact a mystery; it is beyond our ability to reason through. How can one explain how we have a God that is one essence but distinct in person? And when we say person, we don’t mean like the relation we have with three separate humans. Rather, this is to mean that each part of the Trinity is somehow distinct from each other but united in will and essence. Are you confused yet? I will admit, I am. That is what makes the Trinity a mystery. No one can exactly explain how God can be three in one and one in three. No one can explain how the entire Trinity has been united from the beginning, from creation, and still united on the cross and united in the sacraments, and united for all eternity. It is truly a mystery.
We, in our human nature, desire to find an explanation for everything. How do we cure cancer? How come one sock is always lost in a load of laundry? How come Paula Abdul breaking her nose gets more headlines than those who died in Iraq the same day? How is Christ truly present in the bread and the wine? Or even like Asher, how does each member of our body interact with each other? We have questions upon questions upon questions, most of which will never have an answer.
In our consumerist society, we are always trying to find information as fast as possible. Studies say that in our world today, information doubles every two years. We thrive on knowing as much as possible as fast as possible. Books are becoming less important in our world as the information does not come nearly as fast as it does on the internet. Even for me, in looking for information on the Trinity for this sermon, I found it much more simple to hop onto the internet than to pull out my old dusty text books. Professors of mine have published most of their notes on the internet. I found the information I desired in less than half the time it would have taken me to walk to the shelf, pull out a notebook, and leaf through the pages. We desire for the answers to come quick and easy.
In our Christian faith, we learn that information does not always come to us, and when it does, it doesn’t come as fast and as easy as we would like. The hard knocks we experience prove this to us. Why our prayers are not always answered the way we would like. Why we struggle to forgive even though we know we should. And even the simple questions, like the one the third and fourth graders wanted answered in Sunday school this week about how dinosaurs fit into the creation story. We don’t always know the answers, and when we think we have sometimes found them, they don’t always come in the time frame we would like.
Why do we always feel the need to have all the answers? We are constantly trying to de-mystify the things in life which cannot be explained. We believe we need to know and we need to know now. This is one of the most awesome yet frustrating parts about our relationship with God. Christianity is not about how. It is not about when or even why. It is about who. Who created us? Who created dinosaurs? Who comes in the form of bread and wine? Who forgives us? Who gives us everlasting life? Who is always working in all things? The only thing we need to know is that God is always at work. Who is much more significant in our faith lives than the how questions. We cannot explain the great mysteries of God because if God wanted us to know, we would have the answers. How can God come in the form of three persons yet still be one? It is not for us to know. That is what makes our relationship to God one of faith.
In our gospel lesson for this Sunday, we hear about the Spirit guiding us in truth, who will continue the work of the Trinity in our lives today. It is here that we learn that the truth will be revealed to us only when we are able to hear it. The mysteries of the faith are not always going to be revealed. If and when we are ready, the knowledge and words will come. The Spirit will continue the mission of the church through us, giving us the tools when and if we need them.
The mysteries within our faith offer us great lessons for living our daily lives. It is okay not to have all the answers. It is okay to say, “I don’t know”. Those of you in the adult Sunday school class are fully aware that when you ask me a question, I am not afraid to admit I do not have all the answers. We are simply human, and to accept the fact that some things will always remain a mystery is a healthy thing. How can faith play a role in our lives if we have evidence of all things? There would be no need for trusting in our God. All our questions would be answered. We would have all the evidence we ever needed that God does in fact exist. We would have complete clarity about what is written in scripture, we would know why prayers are answered the way they are.
There would be no need to have faith. Really, there would be no need for us to gather on this day in worship. There is a reason why we have these great mysteries. There is a reason God comes in the form of three distinct persons yet is of one essence. If we needed to understand why, God would provide the answers. But the greater reason, I believe, is for us to question, and for us to build in our faith and trust in our great God. When we are ready, the truth will be revealed, and we, like Asher, will look in amazement and awe as the mystery is unraveled. But until then, we can know that God’s plan is greater than anything we can reason, and we can proclaim all that Christ has revealed and rejoice in the mysteries of our faith. Amen.

1 comment:

Sue said...

It has been awhile since I visited your blog but they always captivate my attention and I always finish reading them feeling refreshed and renewed in the Lord. Thank you for sharing the Word of God with us semi faithful readers.