“Only material bodies fill or occupy material space. The Godhead is beyond all space; let no one seek the Godhead as though it were in space. Everywhere the Godhead is invisible and indivisibly present. Who can comprehend this? What then are we to say of God? For if you have grasped what you wish to say, it is not God. If you had been able to comprehend it, you would have comprehended something else in the place of God. If you had been almost able to comprehend it, your mind has deceived you. It is not God, if you have understood it. But if it is God, you have not understood it.”
(Isn’t that great? Honestly I get so tired of people trying to explain the Trinity, like it’s as simple as ice/water/vapor or one person who is a mother/sister/daughter at the same time. I can wrap my mind around those things. But the Trinity? Sometimes we just have to quiet ourselves and be in awe at the mystery. “Be still and know.”)
Holy Trinity Sunday, sisters and brothers in Christ. We gather this day, on yet another mountain top, where Jesus gives us the Great Commission (my dad’s confirmation verse: [his first bible, my first bible]).
We gather this Trinity day, on yet another mountain top, where Jesus gives us the Great Commission. I’ve mentioned this before, but have you noticed all the mountain tops we visit as we move through the church year, especially this year of Matthew?
Jesus was born in the Bethlehem plain, but he very soon ascends the mount in Matthew to give the sermon. Then back down into the valley where he does his ministry…until the Mount of Olives where he is transfigured, Transfiguration Sunday (March). Then back down into the valley of Lent which finally ends with a cross on a Mt. Calvary. But then, from that blessed cave in the valley, the Messiah emerges, only to climb, in the Gospel of Matthew right back onto the same mountain (we think) where he delivered the sermon at the beginning. And here is where he now says, “Lo, I am with you always.” And that’s the end, no ascension in Matthew’s world. In fact the opposite: the promise never to leave us.
Another mountain top moment for us sisters and brothers in Christ! Only this time, it’s Holy Trinity Sunday on the mount, and we’re gazing down into the beautiful valley of “Green Sundays” lasting through Summer and Fall – season of stories and images and teachings of Jesus for the people of God who come to partake in that lush, green valley. But I think that the Spirit is encouraging us today to just stand in awe at the mystery of the Triune God, before we plunge back down into that valley.
Let us be in a state of praise and thanksgiving at the beauty and mystery of the Trinity. (Stretch and Pray.) May we, this Holy Trinity Sunday, be in praise on this little “mountain top” of Shepherd of the “Valley” Lutheran Church (I love the irony).
Let us just stand in awe of God. Because, when it comes down to it, like Augustine of old, we have to admit, that there’s not a lot we can say about God. We just have to get out of the way and let God be God.
Holy Trinity Sunday is gives us an opportunity to reflect on the Apostle’s Creed, one of the oldest doctrinal statements of our church. The Apostle’s Creed, as you may know, is not written in the Bible. (Neither is the word trinity.)
The creed didn’t come into existence for several hundred years after Jesus walked on the earth! I think that speaks to the mystery of the Trinity – it took several hundred years just to come up with a central statement, which marks us as Christians. It gives more depth to the Triune name under which we are baptized. It binds us together with one, holy, catholic and apostolic church. And the creed reminds me, anyway, that some things are much bigger than I am.
On my good days, I love being a part of this larger creedal family called the church, which has stood the test of time, which has spread to all corners of the globe as Jesus commanded, gathering, nurturing, and sending Christ’s people out with this same grace and love of God that we celebrate today.
And on my more difficult days, I really struggle to understand and to believe parts of the creed, sometimes even to say them.
But, like Augustine points out, all words finally fall short.
So we really have to rely on the artists and poets and musicians and dancers to help us honor the mystery of the Trinity. In a few minutes we’ll sing “Come Join the Dance of Trinity”, envisioning the sacred three as a dance into which we are invited.
I like that. I think it gets at what Augustine is getting at.
Others said it too: Richard Fuller--"God is a verb." Paul Tillich--“God must be understood as being itself.” Martin Luther--"God writes the gospel not in the Bible alone but on trees, and flowers and clouds and stars." (Reminds me of our participatory 1st lesson today from Genesis.) Wonderful to hold those quotes in balance as we celebrate and reflect on that beautiful creation story!
I’m gonna take my own artistic hack at envisioning this Holy Trinity Sunday on the mountain top and invite you this day and always into this idea: “You are already being danced around by God.”
Have you ever been “danced around”? It’s hard not to crack a smile, even when you’re upset, when a few others start dancing around you. To just sit there while a couple friends or family members crank up some music and boogie on down all around you…
Ever experienced this? My brothers can get me laughing every time. Heather can too.
“You are already being danced around by God,” sisters and brothers of the faith! God has cranked up the music of creation. Listen to it, study it, celebrate it, protect it, and then just try not to crack a smile as the Trinity is rockin’ out all around you! Sliding from side to side, bouncing all around, taking you by the hand, and beckoning you to join…even and especially when we’re upset, when we’re broken, when we’re lost.
Many times it’s just when we’re talking. We’re talking and talking, and describing and describing, and teaching and teaching…
Sisters and brothers of the faith, when it comes to the Triune God, at some point, we just have to shut up, and enjoy the dance.