You hear it every Sunday: In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit . . . The creeds we say take on the same form: I believe in God the Father . . . I believe in Jesus Christ . . . I believe in the Holy Spirit . . . We sing it in hymns: God, in three persons, blessed Trinity. Yet she (the Church) hath union with God the Three in One. Even the best-selling book and recent movie, “The Shack,” offers its own creative portrayal of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. This Sunday is Trinity Sunday. In my sermon in the Sanctuary services I’ll focus on the nature of God and the Christian, Trinitarian way of understanding God.
Throughout the ages, people have struggled to capture in language and understanding the fullness of the nature of God. We can see this wrestling in the words of Psalm 139:6: “That kind of knowledge is too much for me; it’s so high above me that I can’t fathom it.” Even though Judaism is staunchly monotheistic (“Hear, O Israel The Lord our God, the Lord is one.” — Deuteronomy 6:5), the Hebrew word for God is Elohim and the im suffix in Hebrew makes a noun plural. In the first of the two creation stories in Genesis God says, “Let us make humanity in our image to resemble us so that they may take charge of the fish of the sea, the birds in the sky, the livestock, all the earth, and all the crawling things on earth.” It takes something like the “royal we” to capture the holiness — the greatness — of God.
Fast forward to the New Testament and there we don’t find the doctrine of the Trinity spelled out, but we find the Trinitarian language used over and over again. One of those places is in our scripture text for this Sunday in 1 Corinthians 13 — a passage often used as a benediction at the close of worship services: “The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.”
The doctrine of the Trinity was hammered out in the first couple of centuries of the church as a way of understanding God and remains central to the Christian faith.
I look forward to being with you Sunday as we think together about and worship our Triune God.
Grace and Peace,
Dr. Tim Bruster,