We sing along/listen to:
Almighty and everlasting God,
you have given us your servants grace,
by the confession of a true faith,
to acknowledge the glory of the eternal Trinity
and in the power of the divine majesty to worship the Unity:
keep us steadfast in this faith,
that we may evermore be defended from all adversities;
through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever. Amen.
One of the many things that makes the Christian faith distinctive is what we celebrate chiefly today:
God in three persons,
Three in one and one in three.
Every time we celebrate Mass, we begin… In the name of
Every time the Church preaches… In the name of
Every time the Church baptizes a baby… In the name of
the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.
God is one and three.
Confused? Rowan Williams, former Archbishop of Canterbury, famously said: ‘let God be God’, that said, we need to go some way in trying to explain that God is three and God is one.
Every way we think of the nature of God is going to be inadequate, because God is beyond our words and our comprehension, beyond our grasp. But we have received some ways of thinking about the Trinity.
Today, in the Gospel, Jesus commands the disciples today to go and baptize in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.
The purpose? That those who receive baptism may be drawn into the very life of God, so that they may be with Jesus, forever, as we hear in his own words.
Jesus reveals to us, three important things – that God is one – and God is three.
Jesus speaks firstly of the Father, God, the source of all things. The one for whom all things exist.
Jesus then speaks of himself, he tells us elsewhere: ‘I and the Father are one, those who have seen me have seen the Father’.
Jesus spoke and acted in the person of God.
Jesus acknowledged that he was sent by the Father.
And yet, he and the Father are one, different persons – but one God.
They are different persons – like any Father and Son, and yet they are united, they are bound together, because they are family, they are a family of love.
Jesus then speaks of another, as we heard last week.
He says, he will send another advocate – and this advocate will lead the Church into the very fullness of Truth.
That of course, is the Holy Spirit, the divine Spirit who invaded the Church at Pentecost.
What holds them together as one?
We hear the answer from St John: ‘God is love’.
Love is the way we try to understand the Trinity.
God is love – you can’t love in isolation – and so we see, in the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit in a special play of love.
The Father, the lover.
The Son, the beloved.
The Holy Spirit, shared love – the Spirit of Love.
Love is what God is – the source of life and the source of love.
The life of the Church is one that prepares us for the life of God – our worship today prepares us to worship God the Holy Trinity for eternity.
The life of the Church prepares us to feast at the banquet of heaven.
One priest said this: ‘What matters for prayer is what we do next’.
We have come to pray today and that is what we do. But what are we called to do next?
We are called to do those things – to live the life of love, which is the life of God.
That life must be cultivated, so today I’m giving you a task for the week:
to meditate on the Holy Trinity – Father, Son and Holy Spirit, three persons, one God.
Today, you are called to:
‘acknowledge the glory of the eternal Trinity and in the power of the divine majesty to worship the Unity’.
May we be all kept, ‘steadfast in this faith’ that we may grow in love, and so come to share in the very life of God.
Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Amen.
Almighty and eternal God,
you have revealed yourself as Father, Son and Holy Spirit,
and live and reign in the perfect unity of love:
hold us firm in this faith,
that we may know you in all your ways
and evermore rejoice in your eternal glory,
who are three Persons yet one God,
now and for ever.
We sing/listen to: