Most Holy Trinity A

On this first beautiful and summery day, I thought nothing could be more beneficial than an overly theological homily!

Couched in the second reading is a very familiar phrase as Saint Paul greets the Corinthians in his second letter.  “The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with all of you.” I congratulate all of you for not saying “And in your Spirit” as a response to the second reading!  Yet, this phrase, with the slight correction of the recent liturgical translation of fellowship to communion, represents a staggering insight into the Trinity. And through this insight, we might discover that what seems the most theoretical and foreign of doctrines, the Trinity, provides the greatest revelation of our character and humanity.

Let us begin where everything began.  The Love of God.  Love is the most complete thing we can say about God.  But love as we know is not static.  It immediately and inevitably seeks an object.  First among those objects was that Jesus was begotten.  He stands first as the beloved of God.  His being the beloved makes Jesus the verb of God, love in action.  When he became human, he was still the uniquely beloved of God.  But love does not stop at perfection, fortunately for us.   Love presses on, always needing to express itself so God presses on and expresses God’s self.  And thus came the next thing to be beloved:  creation.  Love is always creative and God’s love brings forth the world.  It is good as we hear in Genesis not just of itself, but more importantly because it is of God and God is good.  Therefore in our deepest place, in the marrow of our bones with more certainty than our DNA, we know we are created in love and are the beloved of God.

Now all of us have been loved.  Two things happen immediately.  We come to true self-knowledge when loved. If you don’t believe me, ask yourself would you know who you were if no one loved you?  If all refused to recognize your dignity, if no one found in you anything redeemable or loveable, not only would you not know yourself, you would likely just wither away.  Being beloved of God changes all that.  Not only do we have a dignity; it is a supreme and unassailable one as we are loved by God – indeed, loved by love.  Jesus accepted this dignity and this love perfectly, retaining everything that God has given him.  Grace is the action of God as shown in Jesus Christ.  And while far from perfect, we come to know ourselves through our experience of grace no matter how stumbling and bumbling is our reception of that grace.  As the beloved one, Jesus Christ, perfectly reflected God.  You and I, imperfect as we are, are still the image of God.

Within the Trinity, the love of God and the grace of Jesus Christ is bound by the Holy Spirit as it is the work of the Holy Spirit to bring together, to create a common union.  As within the Trinity, so it emanates outward and the Spirit is the agent of our love of God.  And since God is all love, then all love is expressed through the Holy Spirit.  For the beloved then asks another question, “How can I return love to the one whose life gave me life and whose love gave me love?”

A young adult once asked me one of the great theological questions of all time.  “Were Adam and Eve cavemen?”  Wow.  But with the help of another friend, we actually developed an answer that I think is pretty good.  If the most elemental human thing is to love, than that which defined the first humans was not an opposable thumb, but the ability to love and the ability to return love to its ultimate source. Perhaps that is why the religious instinct runs so deeply in all cultures.  We are here because worship of the one who loved us first is the first and most fitting of our desires.

The love of God, its action through grace in Jesus Christ and its expression through the Holy Spirit is not just the story of God, it is ours as well.  Lost in the debate of the origin of the universe is the most important fact – that it is fundamentally a pouring out of the love of God.  Love is the foundation of the world and every creature as it is the entire nature of God.

Yesterday, was a tough day for me.  The youngest child of two of my friends passed away at 13 and yesterday we had a service for him.  What can you say when you can barely breathe?  And yet a beauty showed forth.  Rather than the mourner’s black, we wore the bright colors that Ian favored.  There was nothing to do but to smile and cry.  And love.  We all loved the parents, their daughter and each other.  Stripped of everything we could still do the one thing we were made for.  We could still do the one thing that matters most.  We could still be as God made us to be and we could still be what God is.  We could love.

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