Pastor Michael Frye:
The Holy Trinity is the only major festival of the church year that is based upon a doctrine of the Church.
The lessons and the Gospel for today bear witness to this.
We are all quite familiar with the creation story in Genesis, Chapter 1, which is seldom read as a lesson for the day, but which certainly testifies to the majesty and greatness of God the Father, Almighty, Creator of heaven and earth.
Although the term Holy Trinity isn’t used in scripture, one can hear it by listening carefully.
In verse one, we hear the words: “the earth was a formless void and darkness covered the face of the deep, while a wind from God swept over the face of the waters.”
Wind from God is often the description of the Holy Spirit in scripture.
Again, in verse 26, we hear: “Then God said, let us make humankind in our image, according to our likeness;” and just a couple weeks ago Jesus had said in his prayer to his Father in heaven.
As reported in the seventh chapter of John’s Gospel: “Father, I desire that those also, whom you have given me, may be where I am, to see my glory which you have given me before the foundation of the world.”
You can’t get much clearer than that.
The Triune God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit were there from the very beginning of time.
The second reading this morning was somewhat of an enigma.
It is a bit strange, isn’t it, to begin a passage with the words: “Finally, brothers and sisters, farewell?”
Theologian Debbie Boyce calls this passage “an ending that serves as a beginning.”
After Paul has admonished, explained, appealed and encouraged the Corinthian Christians, he calls upon them to live among themselves and the community in peace… and that the “grace of the Lord, Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit” would be with all of them.
We begin worship every Sunday with this blessing, knowing that it is because of and with the Triune God that we begin our life together as God’s people, the Church.
Furthermore, I am certain that the majority of you here today recognize the Gospel message as being the closing verses in Matthew known as “The Great Commission.”
Up to this point, Jesus had not minced words with his disciples about what they were facing.
He warned them about impending persecutions, hatred, torture, and betrayals (“like sheep in the midst of wolves”).
It is into this that Jesus is sending them to share the Gospel message with all people, teaching them obedience and discipleship, and baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit; not just for them in that time and place, but to the end of time – which means that Jesus’ commission to them is ours, as well.
That is why we are in this place and why we have been entrusted with the mission to “grow disciples and make Christ known.”
It is why we worship and pray together; and, it is why we are sent from this place out those doors into our community, and into the world, to “serve the Lord.”
Every time we leave worship we are being sent into a new life of witness and service in the grace, love and communion of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. God’s love is revealed through his creating word; our risen Christ gives new life through his redemptive victory over sin and death; and the renewing breath of the Holy Spirit brings new life again and again to those who are gathered and sustained by God’s everlasting presence and peace.
No matter what trials we may face, whether it is pain, or disappointment, or corruption, or sorrow… we know beyond any shadow of doubt that Jesus’ words are true: “Remember, I am with you always.”
And that, my dear sisters and brothers in Christ, should bring pure joy and hope both now, and always.
In the name of God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.