June 12, 2022
Proverbs 8:1-4, 22-31 Canticle 13 Romans 5:1-5 John 16:12-15
Today is Trinity Sunday. The theology of the Trinity is theological quicksand. Many a heresy has been proclaimed over a preacher’s explanation of the Trinity. So many, in fact, that many priests assign preaching on this Sunday to a curate or seminarian. I have neither, so I’ll do what I have done each year. I’ll avoid any attempt to explain the Trinity, choosing instead to talk about relationships. I can do so with a clean conscience because none of us can fully explain God. The nature of God is beyond our comprehension. Many try, but the number of different denominations speaks to the number of disagreements we have about God and what God wants of us.
This month, in Batesville, one such theological difference has been highlighted over PRIDE. Is everyone created in the image of God? I believe so, the Episcopal Church says yes, but some believe acceptance of our differences to be a heresy. They cite scriptures to back up their claim, but they do not read the scriptures as I do. I understand the scriptures to contain truth, but I also believe that our understanding of the truth has, and needs to, evolve. Slavery, though it still exists, is no longer considered acceptable. Equal rights, though not always applied, are considered our God given rights. Freedom to believe differently, though not always respected, is considered one our rights in this nation.
Someone has been “preaching” on Main Street outside of Stella’s on the sin of homosexuality. He was preaching at the PRIDE celebration last night as well. Earlier in the week, the owner or manager of Stella’s posted about it on Facebook. Though she respects his right to free speech, she wrote that some customers have verbally attacked the servers because of the multicolor sticker on their door that says “Safe Place.”
She noted that the colors on the PRIDE flag are the colors of the rainbow, which she says represents the hope that one day everyone “will know what it means to be as Christ.” She also spoke of the teaching of Jesus which, when asked what is the greatest commandment, Jesus says to love the Lord your God with all your heart, might, mind and strength. And Jesus follows this with, “the second is like unto it” – meaning equal, “thou shall love thy neighbor as thyself.” She then asked us to “please, do not enter my establishment and spread hate. This place will, for as long as the doors are open and I am standing upright, be a SAFE place.”
I applaud what Stella’s is doing. I see in them the core of what it means to follow Christ. In the liturgy we used at our PRIDE Eucharist last night, it says, “While Jesus lived among us, he stood up for women and children, he touched the untouchable, healed the sick, and welcomed those who had given up hope of being included.” This is what we are called to do and to be – a people who share the love of Christ with others. On the front page of our bulletin, our mission is printed. It reads, “The mission of St. Paul’s is to love God and to love our neighbor, sharing with gratitude and reverence the Light of Christ.”
“Sharing with gratitude and reverence the Light of Christ . . .” If you want to understand the Trinity, I suggest you start here. Our trinitarian understanding of God as the three in one, God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit makes the most sense to me when I think about the relationship of the nature of one to the other – a relationship of love. In the gospel of John, Jesus speaks of the Spirit of truth, who glories Jesus. Jesus then says, “All that the Father has is mine.” In last Sunday’s gospel, Jesus tells his disciples to abide in his love, then says, “If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love.” Love is the nature of God and the relationship of the Trinity that, I believe, makes the three one.
We begin the Nicene Creed with “I believe in one God,” then say we believe in the Father, “maker of heaven and earth,” Jesus who is “of one being with the Father,” and the Holy Spirit, “the giver of life.” Life is experienced when we abide and share the love of Christ with others.
Thus, the Trinity is best experienced, not explained. When with abide in love, we not only love and support one another, we glorify God. And, we live into the mission of St. Paul’s – we share the light and love of Christ with others, especially those who had given up hope of being included. In addition to the preacher yesterday, there were people holding signs saying Repent. We do not need to repent for being who God created – we need to abide in the love of Christ and spread the love of Christ to others.
Let us pray.
Help us Lord, to share your love with those who Christ came to serve, the sick, the friendless, and the lonely. Help St. Paul’s to come together as a church and find ways to reach out to people in this community who are in need of love and acceptance. We offer our prayers in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.