June 8, 2017
The Holy Trinity
2 Corinthians 13:11-13
Please pray with me,
May the words of my mouth and the meditations of all of our hearts be acceptable in your sight, O God, our rock, our strength and our redeemer. Amen.
It’s Holy Trinity Sunday, a day when we think about and are challenged by the idea of Trinity….of God…three in one…Father, Son and Holy Spirit….and what role that plays in our faith journey and our day to day lives.
There is a story about a gentleman who rarely went to church on Easter Sunday, but always went on Trinity Sunday. Why, you may ask. It was because he knew that most preachers could do a passable job of the Resurrection, but always wanted to see how the preacher could explain the totally un-explainable (or incomprehensible) doctrine of the Trinity.
However explainable or un-explainable it is….there are ways that we can see God at work in the world as God the Father, as God the Son and as God the Holy Spirit….and that may be the best way for us, this day, to see the Holy Trinity in our midst.
So what does this text say to us today?
As soon as we hear this command, we think…time to get going! Time to move! There’s no time to sit still. You see in most translations, the main verb in the Great Commission is GO! But in the original Greek text, the verb is translated in the participle, which means going…The main active verb in the Greek is “make disciples” or literally translated “discipline.” Yet that doesn’t make as much sense in the English to us.
Perhaps the most literal translation of this text comes from a contemporary translation of the New Testament called God’s Word: Today’s Bible Translation that Says What it Means It reads, “So, wherever you go, make disciples of all nations: Baptize them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Teach them to do everything I have commanded you.”
There is also an interesting translation in Clarence Jordan’s Cotton Patch Bible, “As you travel, then, make students of all races and initiate them into the family of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Teach them to live by all that I outlined for you.”
In both of these translations, the action isn’t go or going, it’s baptizing and teaching.
It’s fair to say that we are in the same boat as the eleven who heard this command directly from Jesus. We, too, gather. We, too, come some with belief and some with doubt. And, whether we think we are prepared, knowledgeable, equipped and prepared….we are still sent.
That’s the call. That’s the great commission. To be one of Jesus’ disciples and to continue to baptize, teach, invite, love and serve.
Is this the best plan of action for the church? I talked about what was the best plan last week, and sometimes makes you wonder, doesn’t it. Yet after 2,000 years the church is still going, in spite of us.
So here’s the call….the commission…the challenge….to share this belief…this faith…this seeing God at work in our own lives and seeing God at work in the world.
We understand this from our own experience. We too are called to "go" to where Jesus will meet us. We too are called to worship. We are directed to the place where we will meet the living Christ, yet one wonders why anyone would listen.
Because here’s the thing….if we don't believe what we believe strong enough to invite others into it, then I wonder how strongly we really believe it. While certainly belief in Christ is part of that, but also belief in our congregations and in our congregational ministries and activities.
Do we really believe all that we say and do?
Think about what we believe…about what you believe. When we say the creed, it begins with I believe…
Even Diana Prince, aka Wonder Woman, would agree, she says, “It's about what you believe. And I believe in love. Only love will truly save the world.”
Without any spoilers for those who have not seen Wonder Woman, there is this force, this drive that pushes Diana to live her life in care for others. That drive for her is love.
That’s what she believes will save the world. Her actions, both the words she speaks and the way she lives her life shows that love is at the root of her calling.
That, too, is at the root of our calling. The calling we received when we were baptized. The calling we will celebrate with Eli as he is welcomed into the Body of Christ through the celebration of Holy Baptism this weekend.
We are called to love…to care for and serve others. To make disciples of all nations…because of what we believe. That love will save the world.
The great love that God has for this world, shown to us as God sent Jesus to live among us, to teach us, lead us and to die for us so that we may love others, serve others, speak out for others and share this love of God with others.
So what does that mean, then, for us to make disciples of all nations? To baptize, yes, but also to live our lives and show others the love God has for the whole world.
Seeing the people that gather in this place week after week, I believe that we feel God’s transforming love in our lives. Here we are, a group of people who under other circumstances wouldn’t probably be spending time together each week. Yet, through the power of the Spirit, we are drawn together into one family of God.
We gather in this place to be fed, nourished, encouraged, loved, hugged, cried with, supported …all for the sole purpose of going back into the world to tell others about how amazing this is.
We leave this place, to live lives that show and tell others about God at work in the world.
We leave this place to see the amazing things that god is up to in the world right now. And we leave this place to tell others that while God is at work in the world, this is a place we can gather to talk about these experiences and support one another.
We have been gathered in this place solely to be sent. Back into the world to see God at work, to point out to others that God IS busy at work in the world and to tell others about it.
As you go about your life this week, look for the answer to this question:
Where have you seen God at work in your life?
Take time to answer this question, and to share your answer with someone, maybe with family around the dinner table, maybe with friends as you meet to grab a cup of coffee or go for a walk, maybe it’s shared with your neighbor across the street.
See God at work. Tell others about it.
And now may the peace, which passes all understanding, keep our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus and let all God’s people say, amen.