the one that makes our brain hurt...
May 23, 2016, 9:00 AM

Holy Trinity Sunday - May 22, 2016

Text: John 16: 12-15

Grace and peace to y’all from God our Creator and our Lord and savior Jesus who is the Christ – will y’all pray with me? May the words of my mouth and the meditations of all our hearts be acceptable in your sight O Lord, our rock and our redeemer; amen!

Ever try to explain something to someone? Some things are easy to explain like how to get to The Lutheran Church of the Redeemer. Some things take a little effort, but eventually people understand like trying to teach someone how to drive a car.  Eventually they ‘get it.’ Then, there are those things that no matter what we just can’t seem to fully explain even though we know they are true – like why do you love your spouse? Or, why exactly are the Texas Rangers the best team on earth? Or even, as we celebrate today the Holy Trinity – explain.

I remember in seminary that I and my classmates were tasked with writing about the Holy Trinity for a paper in our Theology class. Of course, before we embarked on that journey, our professor told us – ‘now remember, we as humanity and creation can never fully understand the Holy Trinity, but you better not start your paper with that. It’s never good in an academic paper to state that you really don’t know and can’t fully know what you’re writing about. Have fun!’

The Holy Trinity is something that we really and truly cannot full explain (it is a good thing I’m not in seminary anymore). No matter how hard we try, every ‘answer’ and explanation is more wrong than right, more untrue than true. There simply is no way to explain it in a way that actually gives justice and fullness to the Trinity.

So, though we may not be able to fully explain it; we can and we get to do something else. We get to explore it. Instead of trying see how each individual part fits in with the other, diving in like little engineers attempting to tear a lawn-mower down in order to build it again, we get to sit back and think about what the Trinity has to say about us and to us. 

As we sit back and think on the Trinity, most of us usually gravitate to one person of the Trinity that is the most easily understood. Some grasp for God the Father – seeing this person of the Trinity as the ‘guy in the sky,’ creator, sustainer. The loving, yet stern parental figure. The one who sets the rules and dishes out judgment.

Some center their faith on God the Son – Jesus Christ. From have you accepted Jesus today? To “What would Jesus do?” and even looking to Christ Crucified. Many find comfort in the tangible and physical person of God that we know of in Jesus Christ.

Finally, there are those of the faith for whom, feeling the spirit is everything. Speaking in tongues, handling snakes, faith healers, Charismatic Catholics and all in between. Even those who say they are more ‘spiritual’ than religious – those guided by feelings and the movement ‘of the Spirit’ in their daily lives. So naturally, they are drawn to God the Holy Spirit.

Now, all of us are a little bit of each of these, and almost none of us is completely one of them; but all of us favor one more than the other two. And the point is, each is an authentic way to experience God, and none of them is complete in itself; at least not for a healthy Christian life of faith.

Though we may not truly understand how each person of the Trinity interacts with one another we do know one thing – each person of the Trinity never works alone.

There isn’t a moment – at least in my thought and belief – that the Son goes off alone to ‘find himself’ or to seek guidance that is absent from the Father and the Spirit. The Spirit doesn’t remove himself from the other two in order to learn in solitude. The Father doesn’t abandon the others because he feels like the other two aren’t pulling their weight.

No, the Trinity works in community with one another. They are eternally one together, even though they are individually their own. The relationship they work together in is in their mutual love for one another. They work together – the work that they participate in – the serving, guiding, loving, forgiving, declaring, and more is all done together.

So what does that mean for us today? There are those that feel it necessary to go off alone, to discover themselves or find God in the midst of their life. Yet, they go alone. Lone Rangers out into the wilds of the world – searching for the ‘one.’ Most individuals that I’ve talked to who have done that or are in the midst of that journey usually remark that something is missing, it is an adventure that doesn’t seem quite full.

Of course, my response to that is usually – well, you’re forgetting one major aspect of the life of faith that is modeled for us in the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit – we don’t do this alone. We work in and serve through and are in relationship with not only the Trinity, but with one another as well. As we learn and grow we share and tell. We discover, we discuss, we talk, we disagree, we learn, we continue to grow in our faith.

We look to the Trinity as a model of how that community relationship works and grows. Where there is mutual love, honor, and respect. Each person of the Trinity offers their own gifts and skills, yet leans on and into the others for support and guidance.

We too are called to work in community within this life of faith. Seeing before us all those who are given honor and care, respect and love. We don’t venture off alone, seeking to find the ‘answers’ to life in solitude.

Instead, we strive, struggle, and thrive with one another. Where we are together in love serving, caring, seeking, learning, and growing. Life is better with others.

Others that know your cares and struggles. Others that pray for you. Where you celebrate the joys of those around you. As we all come together to learn and discuss.

This life of faith isn’t one that can be lived fully or completely or even satisfactorily without the presence of others around us.

That is the only way I can explain the Trinity. And it still leaves me scratching my head more often than not. I cannot explain how the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are truly one God, yet three persons. Different, yet the same. United, yet individuals. But, what I do know is that as I explore – as I ask questions – as I delve into conversations with each of you – we get to experience the love of God for us. We get to remind ourselves that though we may not fully understand what we’re trying to explain – we can matter-of-factly with no doubt in our mind state – This God, this unexplainable, majestic, makes our brain hurt God loves each of us fully and completely, knows us inside and out, has forgiven of us all that we have done and all that we will do, where we are seen as perfect in this God of Love’s eyes. 

Our God loves us and continually invites us into this relationship of love. Our response to this amazing gift is to tell others that we don’t have to understand God to be loved by God. Not understanding our God doesn’t keep us from exploring how this love works or what it looks like, but we cannot wait to explore it with you – together and in community with one another.

We may not be able to wrap our arms and minds around the Trinity, but it really doesn’t matter.  The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit wants us to know, experience, and feel that we are loved.  Loved fully, completely, without hesitation, with no regrets. Ever. No exceptions.

The Trinity loves, let’s explore it together. Amen.

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