Rev. Jim Horton
“Almighty God, you have given to us….grace, by the confession of a true faith, to acknowledge the glory of the eternal Trinity, and in the power of your divine Majesty to worship the Unity….”
These words from this week’s Collect are directed to this specific day, Trinity Sunday, the day that acknowledges the Trinitarian formula presenting God as Father, Son and Holy Spirit. While various early Christian fathers alluded to or espoused this understanding of God, it was not until the Council of Nicea in 325 and the Council of Constantinople in 381 that this understanding of God as a Trinity was, through the Nicene Creed, promulgated as the orthodox, Catholic understanding of God. I use the word understanding purposely because I do not believe, as I have often said in the past, that any human formula ultimately defines God; we human, finite beings attempt to define God, but because of our finitude we ultimately are unable to define the infinite, to define God. We therefore as Christian folk make a leap of faith and say, divine revelation seems to imply that God manifests Himself or Herself as Father, Son and Holy Spirit, a Triune God. The Catechism expresses it this way; we believe in God the Father who creates me, God the Son who redeems me and God the Holy Spirit who sustains and sanctifies me; that is our understanding of God and the role each Person within the Godhead plays.
We believe that God the Father is the Creator of the world. I accept the theory of evolution and can accept the notion that the universe is thirteen billion years old. I also believe that it was God’s will that ignited the process; God created this process ex nihilo, as the church teaches, God created this universe out of nothing and as the Old Testament writers recall, in their anthropomorphic understanding of God, God looked at His creation and said it is good.
We believe that God the son is our personal Redeemer but also the Redeemer of all creation. For whatever reason, the good creation and we as individuals, have dysfunctional moments or years or eons that are at least to the eyes and minds of us as creatures debilitating, destructive, contradictory times. God the Son, whom we believe is Jesus, dramatically intervened in this existence and through the attributes of understanding, compassion, sacrifice and self-giving love exhorted us to the understanding that such behavior not only redeems but transforms that which is dysfunctional.
We believe that God the Holy Spirit sustains and sanctifies us and all of creation. The love of God, manifested through God the Holy Spirit is in my mind both fire and glue. The fire of the Holy Spirit ignites and revitalizes that which has been redeemed; the glue of the Holy Spirit allows that revitalization to grow and be sustained. Fire and glue that ignite new dreams, offer the gift of discernment, sustain our choices and sanctify our journeys.
The miraculous aspect about the attributes of the Trinity is that we are called to be participants in the work of God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. Traditionally it is referred to as the Imago Dei, that is, being made in the image of God. The Imago Dei has to do with having been given the attributes of God, that we, as people of God are called, as God does, to create in freedom out of love. To create in freedom and out of love.
We, as people of God, are called to be creators of life, people who build up one another, people who erect relationships and families and communities and nations. We are called to create in freedom; people not locked into old through patterns or encased in fear and uncertainty; people who look at one another and their relationships and have the courage and fortitude to modify behavior patterns and restructure attitudes. And we are called to create in freedom and out of love. Love is both fire and glue; it ignites, purifies and strengthens all that it touches. The fire of love intensifies our wills, our hearts and our minds in such a fashion that we become people who enhance all we touch. The glue of love is not made of hardened material but pliant material. It allows for the sustaining and strengthening of relationships while at the same time permitting those relationships to move and stretch and assume new forms.
We are all people of God. May God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit ignite, redeem and strengthen us that we will indeed fulfill our vocation of creating in freedom and out of love.