Sunday, June 07, 2009

Trinity Sunday

Today's Link
Joy in the Truth

Today's Saying
Romans 8:16 it is that very Spirit bearing witness with our spirit that we are children of God

Today's Picture

A New Hanging Garden

Today the liturgical churches celebrate my least favorite church day. It is Trinity Sunday.
Now the texts in the common lectionary for this Sunday are fabulous . The Gospel is John 3:1-17 which clearly states God’s love. The second lesson is Romans 8:12-17 which speaks of our being heirs of God , a wonderful text. Even the First lesson Isaiah 6:1-7 has real preaching possibilities. It wasn’t the text that bothered me, it was the day.
Trinity Sunday
We believe in one God, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.
We proclaim that.
But how does one explain that ?
That’s the problem.
How can one God be three different and distinct persons?
I can’t. explain it and that’s the problem with the day.
People think the Pastor should be able to explain it.
Now it’s not that I don’t believe it. I do.
But I can’t explain it.
I know it grows out of the experience of the Church.
The disciples walked with Jesus, saw what Jesus did, and came to believe he was God.
The disciples experience the power of the Holy Spirit and came to believe he was God.
The disciples were taught by Jesus to see the Father as God.
Jesus taught them to baptize in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.
The disciples were good Jews and knew there was only one God.
In the beginning this was not a problem.
They baptized in the name.
They proclaimed the risen Christ.
They moved with the power of the Holy Spirit.
But as time went on there was a need to put the experience into words.
A need to define the faith.
Out of that need comes the Creeds. Each one more specific than the other.
First it was enough to say that all three were God
Then they spelled it out a little more.
Then they struggled with finding the best words possible.
We end up with the Trinity.
In the beginning they were concerned with the humanity of Jesus. It was under attack by those who believed he was God playing at being man.
That was not acceptable.
Today it is not his humanity but his being God that is under attack.
So the Church struggled to spell out the nature of Jesus. With every word important.
Battles were fought over the words.
The Church has bestowed on us all that came out of that struggle.
It defines but does not explain.
Nor do we do a good job of teaching it.
I used to give my new Confirmation students a true and false test when they started Confirmation.
One of the questions was : True or false we have three Gods, Father, Son and Holy Ghost.
Over half the class always got it wrong.
It is Trinity Sunday.
Time to proclaim that the God we worship is one God in three persons: Father, Son and Holy Ghost.
Time to rejoice that the Word became flesh.
Time to feel the power of the Spirit.
Just don’t ask me to explain it.

News from Pigeon Falls
The little town in my basement where the trains still run, dragons fly, and life is back to normal
Pastor Joan is back in the pulpit this morning. It is baccalaureate Sunday ( the Sunday before graduation) and there will be twelve seniors in Church this morning. They will be wearing their graduation gowns. Earlier the Church will have a breakfast for them . The chairman of Last Lutheran will do some remembering. They will all attend the late service. Pastor Joan has worked very hard on the sermon. Here is a piece of it:
“ Paul has some good news for our Seniors this morning. He wants them to know they are children of God. They are not just special because they are graduating . They aren’t just special because they have finished the course work. They aren’t even special because they get to wear robes. But I do have to say that if you like wearing robes you can join our choir they always can use a new member.
But these seniors are special today because they are children of God. This means they are heirs. . They stand to inherit.
And what an inheritance.
They receive a robe better than what they have on. It covers up their sin, their failings, the bad things they have done. So when the Father looks at them he sees his children in their sparkling new robes.
They inherit the promise they will be glorified with Jesus. And best of all they inherit eternal life. What an inheritance. And it all belongs to them.
Like all inheritances it comes with some strings.
The big one is they have to receive it.
If Gramps leaves you $10,000 in an envelope and you never pick it up it does you no good. You have to receive it.
The sad thing is you can turn and walk away from your inheritance.
You can.
We all can.
That would be so sad because Jesus died so you can have the inheritance.
It would be sad indeed.”

Wrap UP
Wonderful Sunday. Our choir sang four numbers including " Soon an Very Soon" . Fantastic! We honored our graduates. Pastor preached a great sermon. The only bad thing was our walk a thon that I lead on my scooter ended up being in the rain. But we raised some money so our youth can go to New Orleans in July. Part of that trip will be helping with a housing project. In the afternoon I brought St. Mark's website up to date then I visited the blogs of everyone who left a comment.Now I need a breathing treatment.


Blogger Sandi McBride said...

Sweet mystery of life...that's how I view the Trinity. I don't question it, I just accept that I can not explain it and God will tell me all about it when I get home. I know I'll arrive safely there because I've picked up my inheritance long ago...
Great post

3:46 AM  
Blogger jinksy said...

I think it all comes down to viewpoint again. We don't question that one man may be seen as father by his son, husband by his wife, brother by his sibling, son by his father and mother - and this doesn't even account for uncle, cousin, in- law . One person, many personas.

5:10 AM  
Blogger Melli said...

I remember as a child questioning and questioning the Holy Trinity. I finally gave up and just accepted it! And then it all made sense. But nope... I can't explain it - and that is anOther one of those things that non-believers use to their (believed) benefit. The way I see it though He is GOD! GOD can do and be whatever He wants to do and BE! He is GOD! If He couldn't do abstract UNBELIEVABLE (to us) things, He wouldn't be MUCH of a god! Who wants a god that can only do human things? OUR God is an AWESOME God!!!

I'm so sad for the people who don't accept their inheritance...

Yours is the only sermon I get today... so I'm glad it was a good one!

6:26 AM  
Blogger Mama Zen said...

It is hard to explain!

6:52 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What a great sermon. It makes so much sense about the inheritance. Thank you Dr. John

8:05 AM  
Blogger Lou said...

Good explanation of the Trinity, though I've never questioned it. (hmmm..maybe I should have)
My pastor is starting on a summer of Psalms.It was a beautiful, uplifting sermon. Of course, Psalms is fairly easy to understand!

1:50 PM  
Blogger Jo said...

What a great post. When I was a little girl, I never understood the Holy Trinity. "I believe in the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost, world without end. Amen." Unfortunately, I still have difficulty with it. I truly envy people who have faith.

3:26 PM  
Blogger Nessa said...

You always give us so much to ponder, Pastor John.

5:57 PM  
Anonymous Alice Audrey said...

That hanging garden is getting bigger and bigger.

LOL on choir robes.

6:31 PM  
Blogger Jeni said...

I suppose my theory (if you want to call it that) is to look at it as some one with multiple personalities. Ok, today we would say "multiple personality disorder" but in this context, it isn't a disorder but rather, to me anyway, an ordered way to think of it. You have God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit -all three -in one being. To me, that is simple, easy for me to grasp -well, I guess as easy as it is to grasp the concept of multiple personality disorder and yet, you see, I do understand that mainly because I accept it, don't question that it is or isn't a truth. Probably my explanation for myself makes no sense to others, but it's just how I understand it and how I accept and believe it.
Our Pastor had a very interesting bit in her sermon today -she asked the congregation to think about this, take a few minutes and even discuss it with those around us during the sermon as she asked "If someone asked you 'What does God look like to you?, how would you describe Him? She didn't ask anyone for their specific thoughts, but just asked us to give it a little thought and talk about it a bit. Quite a novel approach to the way most sermons are delivered but it puts things in a different perspective when one stops and actually thinks how we view God, each in our own minds, doesn't it?

9:13 PM  
Blogger Baron's Life said...

we are children of God
Indeed we are preacher

9:19 PM  
Blogger KB said...

I love the pic of the hanging baskets. Mine died in the frost while I was away on hols *sob*

10:22 PM  
Blogger Gattina said...

I really liked your post about Trinity ! So many open questions. My friend read during our holidays in Morocco a book about the life of Jesus and the whole historical background leaving all from humans invented things aside. From time to time she almost fell off her chair ! I am so curious now that I wait she finishes this book and then I will read it. Did you know that Mary was only 14 and Joseph 90 ??

10:54 PM  
Anonymous quilly said...

Dr. John -- once you've met Jesus and felt the power of the Holy Spirit, the Trinity becomes much easier to understand -- but still very difficult to explain!

2:06 PM  
Blogger Adam Pastor said...

Greetings John Linna

You asked:
"How can one God be three different and distinct persons?
I can’t. explain it and that’s the problem with the day."

Amen! That's indeed the problem.
But praise be to GOD, there is a solution.

You can totally discard it, because Jesus Christ our Lord, never ever taught a trinity or that God is 3 persons to his disciples!!
It is NOT the teaching of GOD and Christ!!

Indeed The disciples were taught by Jesus to see the Father as God;
And Jesus never taught them to see 2 or 3 "others" as God!

Rather, Jesus identified his Father
as the only true GOD & the only GOD
[John 17.3, 5.44]

Jesus indeed taught Matthew 28.19;
but there is nothing here about GOD being somehow 3 persons!
(Besides, the apostles solely baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus
e.g. Acts 2.38, 8.16, 19.5, etc.)

The disciples were good Jews and knew there was only one God.

Amen! And that includes Jesus who also was a Jew who believed in only one God viz. his Father.
Hence he said to his disciples:
(John 20:17) ... I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God.

And the early church agreed with their Master about who the only one God is:
(1 Cor 8:4) ... that there is none other God but one.
(1 Cor 8:6) But to us there is but one God, the Father, ...

That is the true teaching of GOD & Christ:
That there is solely ONE GOD, the Father.
The Lord Jesus is the ONE GOD's human Son!

(1 Tim 2:5) For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men,
the man Christ Jesus;

Therefore John Linna,
I recommend this video:
The Human Jesus

Take a couple of hours to watch it; and prayerfully it will aid you in your quest for truth.

Yours In Messiah
Adam Pastor

6:02 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dr. John, that is a helpful little diagram you have posted there.
I believe that God reveals himself in different ways because people have different ways of understanding things... Psalms describes God as a mother hen gathering her chicks under wing. But God is also a father providing for his family. God took the form of a man so that Man Jesus could show us the Love of God.

I always appreciate your Sunday Posts.

9:11 PM  

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