Homily Trinity Sunday 2020

Trinity Sunday 2020

Today is Trinity Sunday, the Sunday when traditionally Lay Readers or curate’s are asked to preach because the Vicar doesn’t know what to say or, at least, how to say it!  So, Kris, next year………….

Actually, though, I rather like Trinity Sunday – but not, I hasten to add, because I understand the Trinity any better than my colleagues – far from it!  It’s more because the Trinity is at the heart of faith and life, and whilst something of a mystery – indeed, it could be said to be the central mystery of Christianity – whilst something of a mystery, it speaks to me of love - active and creative love.

So, if it’s something of a mystery, what do we know?  Well, at the heart of the universe, there exists an eternal divine community of perfect love.

The Bible calls this community the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

The Bible also says that God is love, but the only way God can be love is for God to be a community of divine persons …………….

Because love does not and cannot exist in isolation - love has to be given and received.

And that eternal community of love – the Trinity – is God.

But what, then, is love like?  Because we have all sorts of ideas about that in human terms.

Well, perfect love is both freely given and freely received; and the nature of this true love is not constraining or limiting, but expansive, self-giving and creative.

Thus love grows.

And so the creation of the universe was, and is, an overflow of love from that original divine community as it expands in love and delight to include beloved creatures – those whom love has brought into being.

And those whom love first created longed to know more about the source of that love, and so began a journey of faith seeking understanding. 

It took many wrong turns and made many wrong assumptions, and so eventually love became incarnate to help creation find its way.

And the way as Jesus demonstrated and lived out, is the way of love, the way of perfect community, the way of the Trinity.

It’s not a way that limits life, but rather expands it, as creation has expanded in and through the love of God. 

Often our lives are limited and inwards looking, but our indifference toward others comes from the pain of our own unmet – if unacknowledged - need for love, for personal worth, for a place to belong. Knowing and accepting the limitless love of God leads and enable us to love the other.

And how important that is in these present days, in the midst of the pandemic but more pertinently at this time of anger at the injustice and racism that so many have experienced.  How important it is to love the other, celebrating the diversity of creation.

There is a word that was used by the early Church Fathers to describe  the Trinity: perichoresis.  In translation, it includes the ideas of complete interpenetration, a sort of perfect, loving, indwelling. But it can also be translated as a dance; the divine eternal dance of perfect love.  This latter meaning offers a much more vivid picture of the dynamism and energy that is God.

And it also gives a much more vivid picture of what it is God is inviting us to share in, because that is the extraordinary thing:  we are invited to join in with the Trinity’s dance, the life of God!

In John’s gospel, before his death Jesus prays to his Father, 22 The glory that you have given me I have given them, so that they may be one, as we are one, 23 I in them and you in me, that they may become completely one, so that the world may know that you have sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me. (John 17:22-23).

God’s will and purpose is to include us in the eternal dance of love.

To that end, the Father sends the Son to live as one of us. By faith and through baptism we are enfolded into and included in his relationship with the Father, and the gift of the Holy Spirit enables us to cry, “Abba, Father!”

We are in the Son, and the Son is in the Father, and we come to share in this eternal community of love through the Holy Spirit.

The Holy Trinity is utterly central to our faith, is at the heart of worship and Holy Communion, is explicit in the creeds, and in our prayers.

The triune God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, is the divine, eternal community of love out of which we were created, and this One Holy Trinity is our true and eternal home.