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Trinity Sunday: Relationship, Relationship, Relationship!

By Pastor Elaine Boone, Advent Lutheran Church, Toronto

“May the words from my lips and the meditations of our hearts always be pleasing to you O God.”

Trinity Sunday has been celebrated since the 10th C as a special celebration of the triune God. It is also a day when many preachers wish that they had booked this as a day off!

Trinity Sunday is a “head thing”. The doctrine of the Trinity is central to Christians but it is very difficult to understand and explain. But we try! There are metaphors and objects we use to try to make sense of this relationship. Some will use a 3 leaf clover, others a 3 legged stool. I have used a tricycle and my magic rings! It has been a while since I used the rings, so I thought I would bring them along today!

DEMO – 3 linked rings – 3 in 1 – 1 in 3……joined – indivisible & then separate…… 

Sometimes the Doctrine of the Trinity starts to feel like a mathematical dilemma. But none of these things really get to the heart of the Trinity. The Doctrine of the Trinity is not an IQ test that is used to test our worthiness, nor is it an exam question! It is at it’s heart the specifically Christian way of thinking about God. It is a way that we use language to try to better understand or speak of our incomprehensible God.

The Trinity is really about relationship. How Jesus and God and the Holy Spirit are in relationship with each other, how they were in relationship with the disciples and the early Christian communities and how they are in relationship with us.

We know God because we know Jesus. We know the Holy Spirit because we know God and Jesus. It was to the be the work of the Holy Spirit in maintaining relationships among the followers of Jesus.

The writer of the Gospel of John wanted to assure his listeners, the members of his community, that they were not alone. They were living in tumultuous times and they wondered about their very survival. With this Gospel there is an attempt to shape a community that is receptive to Spirit-led growth. And an openness to fresh encounters with the revelation of Jesus. John might well have been writing for the Church of our day.

The message of Jesus, and the meaning of Jesus asks for ongoing interpretation. I think the writer of this Gospel anticipated that. John saw a community that was not locked into the past. John saw a community that was open to understanding what Jesus meant for it’s own time.

John might well have been writing for us.

John anticipated that changing circumstances and new questions require communities to think afresh. John was confident that by relying on the Spirit of Truth his community would be led where it needed to go. John might well have been writing for the Church in our time.

Are we a Spirit led Church? Are we a Spirit led community? Where do we need to go? Are we being open to the guidance of the Holy Spirit? Jesus asked his disciples to trust the Spirit of Truth – John asked his community to trust the Spirit of Truth, for this Spirit, this guide comes from God. We can be confident in the future when we are following the guidance of the Holy Spirit.

Jesus said that there were things he needed to say, but that the disciples were not ready to hear. We can understand that! The teachings of Jesus, the relationship to the Father, the work of the Holy Spirit – all these things – these truths must be fed to us gradually.

Our future is open. Our future depends on the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Our future depends on us conforming to the witness and teaching of Jesus, in our time and in our context. Where do we need to be led?

We are a Spirit-led Church. We are a Spirit-led community, but we are also a Church and a community that needs to take time to listen, to discern, to follow the guidance of the Advocate sent by the Father. A Church and a community that must watch and trust that God will continue to reveal Godself through the Spirit of Truth.

We have not been left alone – as we saw last Sunday with Pentecost! We have been giving the gift of the Holy Spirit and so we pray – and so we ask and so we cry out – COME HOLY SPIRIT!

Come and lead us where we need to go.
Come and lead us into who we need to be.
Come and lead us into a deeper understanding of the teachings of Jesus.
Come and lead us into a knowledge of the Grace of God.
Come and lead us.
Come and lead us into the Peace of Christ, the love of God and the Communion of the Holy Spirit.