Sermon Preached by the Rev’d Jay C. James at the Church of the Advent, Sunday, June 16, 2019, Trinity Sunday

When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth; for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come.  He will glorify me, for he will take what is mine and declare it to you. All that the father has is mine; therefore I said that he will take what is mine and declare it to you.

My favorite jobs are those that have a beginning, a middle, and an end.  I love work that has a clear point at which one can know that the job is over.  At that point the only thing left to do is step back and look at what you have done.  That’s where I get such satisfaction from a real sense of accomplishment. It does not matter if the job is menial or noble; whether it involves doing the laundry and the dishes or completing the draft of a novel, I suspect the same feelings of contentment and satisfaction are generated by both.  I think doing these kinds of jobs is so satisfying because the fruits of one’s labor are laid out very clearly for yourself and for everyone else to see.

I’m reminded of this when I hear the story of creation and learn about what God did on the seventh day.  I can picture Him sitting back and looking at what He had accomplished those first six days. The story goes: …and on the seventh day God ended His work which He had made.  And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it He had rested from all His work which God created and made.   Can’t you see Him stepping back and adoring all that He had done?  Of course this would mean that God had a certain pride and that cannot be.  It would also mean that he has a kind of self-satisfaction and if He is all in all then He does not have or need self-satisfaction.  Nevertheless, I can picture God just loving and adoring the Creation He began six days earlier and now sees its completion.

Here we are at Trinity Sunday and are in a position to simply acknowledge, worship, and glory in all that God is, and has done.  The Church year has provided us with this opportunity. From Advent until Pentecost, last Sunday, we live through all God has done for us out of love for us.  That is called justification. We waited for Him to come in Advent. He came to us at Christmas. God revealed who His Son is through Epiphany. We prepared to celebrate all He accomplished to save and heal this broken world through Holy Week and Easter.  He promised to send His Holy Spirit to be with us and ten days after His Ascension He kept His promise and sent His Holy Ghost on Pentecost and we are living under the guidance and grace of the Holy Ghost. That was last Sunday and now after all that glorious and good work, the Church has given us a Sunday, today, Trinity Sunday, to glory in His presence and unity as The Father, The Son, and The Holy Ghost.

This central doctrine, God as three in One and One in three, is about real life, it’s about faithfulness, and it’s about salvation.  It’s about real life because the Holy God is in us. It’s about faithfulness and that faithfulness is to Jesus Christ, the second Person of the Trinity.  It’s ultimately about salvation, the true and perfect end for mankind. Let’s take each one of these aspects of our lives in relation to the Trinity. First, real life:  

We baptized a beautiful baby last week at Pentecost.  At that baptism, and at all the baptisms we celebrate here, we know the Holy Ghost comes down to claim those souls, binds them to Christ, and these new Christians begin their lives bound to the Holy Trinity.  This means that the life of the Holy Trinity is not something that happens “out there somewhere in the life of God”. He lives in us and we live in him. I came across a quote in an article by the late Father Peter Toon of Regent College in Vancouver, Canada that describes this active life of the Trinity:  Baptized into Christ Jesus in the one Name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost, confessing this one Name in the Apostles’, Nicene and Athanasian Creeds, and being blessed in church by this same Name, the baptized children of God worship the Father through the Incarnate Son and by the Holy Ghost.  Thus they are, as it were, enclosed by the Name; they inhabit the Name, and they are protected by the Name against the wiles and attacks of all spiritual and physical foes. The life of the Trinity is in us now, and we are in Him.  We are never ever alone. He is in us and we are in Him. What strength and comfort that is when we are going through times that are difficult and uncertain.  Wondering how to battle an illness that may lead to death. Needing the patience and strength to watch one of our loved ones suffer through heartache or loneliness, or if we are needing that strength and comfort for ourselves.  God is there in all His power to be with us. The is real life for us.

Life in and with the Trinity is about faithfulness to God and that means to God’s Word Written, the Bible, and God’s Word Incarnate, Jesus Christ.  It is this wonderful doctrine that keeps us faithful to Christ by keeping us faithful to the way He has revealed Himself to us in the Scriptures. We can make the Bible say anything we would like and many people do use passages to justify their own behavior and attitudes.  Faithfulness to the teaching of Christ and the Apostles is possible when Christians bring their knowledge and love of God the Holy Trinity to the Scriptures. This allows for the correct and faithful interpretation of the Scriptures. Just as Jesus sent out His apostles with the Scriptures, and the means by which the Scriptures need to be interpreted, so He sends us out.  Here is the Great Commission and when you listen to it, listen to Jesus giving the apostles the scriptures and giving them the knowledge of The Father, The Son and The Holy Ghost. This is the last teaching He gives to His apostles. Then opened (Jesus) their understanding, that they might understand the Scriptures, and said unto them, thus it is written, and thus it behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day:  and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. And ye are witnesses of these things. You can see now, why the Trinity is such an important teaching.  It shows us how God is known to us, and gives us the foundation of the faith we come to know in Holy Scripture.  That is how to be faithful.

Yes, real life.  Yes, faithfulness to Christ.  These are two reasons are enough to give honor and glory to the Trinity.  One more, salvation. Salvation is really the purpose and end of the Trinity. What is salvation, really, but perfect union with God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit?  If we are in a perfect union with God then we are saved from eternal death, and we are saved from our sins. What good things from which to be saved; our sins which so grievously hurt us and hurt others.

When we are saved in any of these three ways; by the atonement, by sanctification, or by glorification we are united to God.  When that unity is present, it is always a participation in the life of the Trinity. So this Trinity Sunday, and anytime we teach or believe the Trinity, we are really celebrating our salvation.  That is what the Christian religion is all about: the salvation of souls.

We know and can believe who Jesus is, and we can know Him as God wants us to know Him, because the Church has revealed Him as Trinity.  It is that Trinity that saves us and on this Trinity Sunday we should praise and give thanks, not only for God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit, but we should praise that same Trinity for the love that has come into our hearts and souls and brought us salvation.

We are left to adore God and thank Him for who He is.  Adore Him because He made you. Adore Him because He loves you enough to die for you.  Adore Him because even now He gives you new life and strength each second you are alive.  That is the Trinity for which we give praise and thanksgiving now, and worship and adoration for ever and ever.  

In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.