The Most Holy Trinity, St. Mark’s Lutheran Church, Ashville NC, USA..
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“The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with all of you.” 2 Corinthians 13:13.
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This is the core belief of all Christianity. This was the ultimate revelation Jesus proclaimed before he ascended into heaven. Inexplicable in human terms, where “Three Persons in One God” makes no logical sense at all, this teaching and reality is the foundation of Christian belief in God. It was in the name of the Blessed Trinity that Jesus instructed his followers to invite all who would listen and respond to the call to love (Matthew 28:19-20). But Jesus did not come to us to confuse or blind us with impossible conundrums. He came to show us that the one, the only, way to conduct our lives was in and through love. The Trinity is the burning source of all love. It was through love that the universe, all of us, were created, for no other reason. As we have been given the unique gift of free will, we are exposed to this message and may accept or reject it as we will. That means all of us who accept this gift are enabled to live a life which anticipates the joy of heaven almost here and now. How?
Pure love is never isolated. It is a reality which must grow. As the song says, “Love in your heart isn’t put there to stay. Love isn’t love ’till you give it away” (Oscar Hammerstein). Love is the driving power of the Trinity. The Father, (Yahweh יהוה God’s name revealed to Moses at the burning bush, meaning, “I AM WHO AM”), and the Spirit (remember that the word Spirit, רוּחַ Ruach, as shown in the Trinitarian symbol above, is feminine in Hebrew), whose love is so intense that the Son is the eternal emanation of that love. Recall the beginning of the gospel of John: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God” (John 1:1-2). This was the Word (Λόγος, Logos) that became flesh (John 1:14), Jesus (whose Hebrew name was Y’shua ישוע or Joshua), and dwelt among us, full of grace and truth. And as John says, “we have beheld his glory, glory as of the only begotten Son of the Father” (1:14). Then, as God deliberately and slowly revealed the Trinitarian nature of God through history, it was only through Jesus and his gift of the Holy Spirit (celebrated last week) that we were all eventually invited into that same burning heart of eternal love.
The closest we get to experiencing such a love is probably our family. There we should find unquestioned, unconditional, love. There we should find love which can be relied upon, always welcoming and always a source of strength and life. And “family” seems to come in many different forms today. The traditional definition is married life. But does that mean that love cannot exist in other ways? Even Jesus himself wasn’t married! Yet he demonstrated an unconditional love for God and for his followers even to death which is our model to this day. So God exists where true, unconditional, love exists, because God is the ultimate source of true love, born from the Trinity of Love which we celebrate today. Consider: love exists to be given away. Before the universe began, how could a solitary or single God of Love exist? It could not be love of self, which by definition a single God seems to suggest. It can only be love for another, which of course the Trinity always was, is and always will be. And love knows no limits. Love which is absolute can embrace even those who are imperfect, selfish, wanting in human mercy and behavior. We might well consider ourselves such from time to time, and even think “who could love someone like me?” Well Jesus himself answered that one in his parable of the lost, prodigal, son, who “came to his senses”. Love always welcomes, never rejects as we see in that wonderful parable. And we worship and thank a forgiving God of Love! How infinitely fortunate we are! Let us all reflect on that love that, with God’s help, we must always show in all that we say, think and do.
Reflections on next Sunday’s Mass Readings will be posted on Wednesday.
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