Trinity Sunday – 2013-05-26 – Sermon

Trinity Sunday

Anniversary

Some of you will remember that today marks my 7th Year here.

Trinity Sunday in 2006 was my first Sunday with you.

I was thinking back over past sermons,
and thought today I’ll say something I wouldn’t normally,
and that is something of what the trinity is not.

Talking about what something is not,
is not my natural style,
but sometimes our understanding of God gets a bit muddled,
and I’m happy to talk more at morning tea,
or over a coffee or beer sometime.

What is not trinity

HISTORY

The concept of the Trinity is something that was made up around 300 years after Jesus.

It was made up as the early church grappled with the concept of Jesus being God.

Jesus being equal to God,
and the fact that the Holy Spirit continued to work,
created problems that needed answering.

The creeds we have in church was the answer,
and it took around 100 years to get them fully in place.

Mainly because people argued over whether:

1) Jesus was equal with God, or sub-servant

2) Whether the Holy Spirit was just God the Father working in Creation,
or whether the Holy Spirit was it’s own person.

[ Slide 2 – Father Son HS ]

For the record,
we decided that all three were equal,
Father, Son and Holy Spirit,
or Creator, Redeemer and Giver of life.

The Trinity is how we explain we worship one God,
who has been revealed to us in 3 distinct ways,
as the Father and Creator,
as the Son and Redeemer,
as the Holy Spirit and Give of Life.

[ Slide 3 – image ]

Son not Created

We also declared that Jesus was not Created by God,
as some sort of semi-God
but rather existed with God out side of Creation

Holy Spirit

We also declare that the Holy Spirit doesn’t come from Jesus,
or this semi-God,
but rather comes from the Father and the Son,
outside of Creation.

Our Creeds are our Trinitarian statements.

They don’t get universal acceptance,
but most Anglican’s, Methodist’s, Presbyterian’s, Greek Orthodox and Roman Catholics would believe them.

We do still argue over some of the points 2,000 years on.

One has to assume that satan has a hand in making us go round-and-round in circles,
over the same ground time-and-again.

Impersonal force

One last thing to emphasise before we move to the positive.

Sometimes we portray the Holy Spirit as a impersonal force,
that does things to us.

But the Holy Spirit,
is a person of God,
who wants to be in relationship with us.

So we need to remember that the Holy Spirit is not some impersonal energy force,
from a distant God.

But rather the Holy Spirit is the 3rd person in the relationship of the Trinity,
that wishes to have a relationship with us.

[ Slide 4trinitarian symbols ]

Relationships

The trinity then is all about relationships.

And like any relationship,
it is not an easy and straightforward one,
and at times we feel we are on the outside,
looking in and thinking: “That’s just weird, how does that work?….”

Father, Son & Holy Spirit

The idea of the Trinity,
is that the relationship between God,
Father, Son and Holy Spirit,
is a relationship of equality.

Each person in the relationship has equal standing;
though they have very different roles.

Equality is one of the important traits,
or values,
within covenantal relationships,
like marriage.

Marriages for example,
are relationships of equality,
where each partner has equal standing,
and equal say in what is to happen.

That said, one person might more fully understand the issues behind a decision.

In our marriage for example, if it comes to technology.

For example,
if we are to buy a new TV,
or change telephone and internet providers,
I do the research,
and say these are our options,
we can go with this one,
or this one,
or this one,
and these are the advantages and disadvantages of each.

So Angela and I bring different skills,
but when it comes to decision time,
we make the decision together;,
it is a relationship of equality,
even though I’ve got more technical knowledge.

When it comes to parenting,
Angela reads all the books,
talks to others,
and says with this decision we could do this, or this, or this,
and we make the decision together;
it is a relationship of equality,
even though Angela has far more knowledge in parenting and child development than me.

What I am trying to say,
is we are equal,
but have been created by God with very different giftings and skills.

At times we work almost seperately in different areas,
like the Father, Son and Holy Spirit,
but there is always unity in decision making,
like how Jesus would pray as he talked with God.

Equal rings

The only trinitarian symbols or images that have stood the test of time,
are the images where 3 equal loops, or circles are used.

You might wonder then why we don’t have one of these images behind the altar,
and it was simply that we couldn’t think of a way to do it effectively with what we had available,
so instead we went with some of the roles of God to try and depict the trinity.

But we are talking about equality today.

Now, why is equality important?

Simply put,
if we don’t see things as equal,
we naturally place less emphasis on the perceived weaker person of the relationship.

And this eventually leads the ignoring of one partner in the relationship.

With the Holy Spirit for example

Sometimes we might think that we don’t need to allow the Holy Spirit to work in our lives,
that it is not as important as the fact that God created us,
or that Jesus has saved Creation.

When we say this,
we are not trinitarian,
and we have diverted from mainstream and orthodox Christianity.

With the Creator for example

Sometimes we might think that we don’t need to look after creation,
that God will fix it all later,
we simply need to concentrate on the saving acts of Jesus,
and the Holy Spirit at work in our life.

When we say this,
we are not trinitarian,
and we have diverted from mainstream and orthodox Christianity.

Son

Sometimes we might think that Jesus saving us is an overplaying of the Gospels,
and that everyone is saved,
we simply need to focus on the Majesty of God.

When we say this,
we are not trinitarian,
and we have diverted from mainstream and orthodox Christianity.

Minimising

Equality,
the honouring of the different parts or people of the Trinity,
Father, Son and Holy Spirit is important.

If we don’t view the different ways that God works as equal,
we will end up ignoring a significant part of the way God works with us.

There can be a tendency to be self-centred
and only focus on the bits we’re interested in,
but Christianity and God in particular is far more diverse and bigger than our own agenda.

Equality – important

The trinity shows us the importance of:
– diversity
– communication
– and equality

It’s about relationships

The trinity as a concept then is important,
as it reminds us that relationships,
even difficult and complicated ones are of value to God.

We are reminded that equality is important,
so that we don’t ignore the different ways God chooses to work.

Let us pray:
God,
you show us the ultimate relationship of equality,
help us to aim for this in our life,
and where we don’t make the mark,
challenge us to turn back to your way. Amen.

John 16:12 – 15

I have much more to say to you, but right now it would be more than you could understand. The Spirit shows what is true and will come and guide you into the full truth. The Spirit doesn’t speak on his own. He will tell you only what he has heard from me, and he will let you know what is going to happen. The Spirit will bring glory to me by taking my message and telling it to you. Everything that the Father has is mine. That is why I have said that the Spirit takes my message and tells it to you.