Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:19-20
This Sunday is Holy Trinity Sunday. The Festival of the Holy Trinity is always the first Sunday after Pentecost.
Pentecost itself is a day, not a season. Trinity Sunday, the first Sunday following Pentecost, has been kept since the tenth century as a special celebration of the mystery of the triune God, as in a similar way, the Baptism of Our Lord follows the Christmas season with its own trinitarian focus.
On every Sunday of the church year, we praise our triune God. Yet on this coming Trinity Sunday, we attend especially to the mystery of our three-in-one God. On this special day, we celebrate the wonder of relationship with God while leaving us distinctly dissatisfied with our limited understanding of what God is. While guarding against the idolatry of language, we survey our scripture, doctrine, creeds, and symbols of our heritage. Equally important, we pray for God to inspire fresh, innovative ideas of God in the present moment.
Metaphors for the Trinity always fall short, but Saint Augustine’s analogy of Lover, Beloved, and Love endures. The Most Rev. Michael Curry used this image in his sermon at the wedding of then Prince Harry and Meghan Markle:
“The late Dr. Martin Luther King Jr once said, and I quote: “We must discover the power of love, the redemptive power of love. And when we do that, we will make of this old world a new world, for love is the only way.”
There’s power in love. Don’t underestimate it. Don’t even over-sentimentalize it. There’s power, power in love. If you don’t believe me, think about a time when you first fell in love. The whole world seemed to center around you and your beloved.
Oh there’s power, power in love. Not just in its romantic forms, but any form, any shape of love. There’s a certain sense in which when you are loved, and you know it, when someone cares for you, and you know it, when you love and you show it – it actually feels right.
There is something right about it. And there’s a reason for it. The reason has to do with the source. We were made by a power of love, and our lives were meant – and are meant – to be lived in that love. That’s why we are here. Ultimately, the source of love is God himself: the source of all of our lives. There’s an old medieval poem that says: ‘Where true love is found, God himself is there. There’s power in love.
There’s power in love to help and heal when nothing else can.
There’s power in love to lift up and liberate when nothing else will.
There’s power in love to show us the way to live.”
That God is beyond our understanding may be both troubling and comforting. The temptation may be to attempt to apprehend the idea of God with our intellect, forgetting about the importance of relationship. Another possibility is to simply celebrate God’s presence in all its glory and colorful wonder and our belonging to this love-filled God. Come to worship, and receive the blessings that the Trinity gives.