May 30, 2021
Order of Worship:
The Sunday after Pentecost is Trinity Sunday. After we’ve celebrated the coming of the Holy Spirit, we celebrate all three persons of our one God. The Trinity is a completely unique doctrine to the Christian faith, and interestingly the word ‘trinity’ doesn’t appear anywhere in scripture. Instead, this belief is something we read out of the text in passages like today’s, which speaks of the three persons of God engaging with one another and us. May the Spirit open our hearts to the lessons of the Word:
- Christians affirm that there is only one God (something we share with our Jewish brothers and sisters): “The Lord is God, the Lord alone; the Lord is one” (Deuteronomy 6:4, and repeated throughout scripture). This is why when Jesus proclaimed to be the “Son of God,” in effect making himself equal with God, the Jews accused him of heresy. Christians affirmed that he was in fact God incarnate, and in addition we also said that the Holy Spirit was a distinct person of God; but there is still only one God. We can see why this confuses people; only in the Church does 1+1+1 equal 1. How do you understand your own belief of the Trinity? If someone from another faith asked you to explain it, where would you start?
- Sometimes we talk about the three persons of the Trinity in terms of what ‘work’ we associate them with. For instance – God the Father is also the Creator; Jesus the Son is our Redeemer; and the breath of the Holy Spirit sustains our life. But we need to be careful in these discussions that we don’t give the impression that the persons of the Trinity are not all the same God at work (for instance: we affirm that Jesus and the Spirit are both present at Creation, John 1:1-14; and Christ says it is only by the Spirit and the Father working through him that salvation is accomplished, John 14:1-11). What roles in your own faith life do you associate with the different persons of the Trinity? Is there one whom you think of as being “closer to” or “further from”? When you pray, is there one you’re more likely to address than another? How does it change or deepen your faith to consider God in all three persons?
- At the end of any discussion of the Trinity, all theologians eventually arrive at the affirmation of Divine Mystery. No analogy will explain the relationship of the persons of God perfectly, and we know that some truths are beyond our human understanding and language. We proclaim our belief in the Trinity, one God in three persons, by faith alone. Do you find it more helpful or frustrating to affirm the mysteries of our faith that we cannot understand? How do you embrace ambiguity in your life and experience as you also reflect on your relationship with God?
- In our text for today from Romans, how do you see Paul referring to the three persons of the Trinity? How is each one present and engaged with the others and with us? What is Paul saying about our relationship with God in this chapter? What challenge and comfort does this bring to you today?
May the Triune God bless you with grace, love, and peace!
-Pastor Maggie Rust