This is Trinity Sunday, a topic many preachers avoid, perhaps for good reason.
Trinity is not some ethereal concept made up by theologians to confuse, though it has sometimes become that. The idea of God as three yet one is simply a description of how many experience God: as creator, genesis of all things, ground of being; as forgiveness, reconciler, co-sufferer in the human condition, one of us; as indweller, companion on the journey, one that enables us to live the right way. Maybe it’s true that our innate understanding of God is Trinitarian. The church has long said that our experience of God is Trinitarian.
For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God. For you did not receive a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received a spirit of adoption. When we cry, ‘Abba! Father!’ it is that very Spirit bearing witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs, heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ—if, in fact, we suffer with him so that we may also be glorified with him. [from Romans 8]
We are all part of a family. That is another thing we all have experienced. Birth family, adoptive family, step family, foster family, institutional family. Family determines so much of who we are, whether we’re talking genes or experience, family of origin or the people we now call family.
But we are also all part of God’s family—children of God, says Paul. Loving, supportive, accepting, encouraging, helping. That sounds easier than it is. Because real life is made up of real people, we usually act like real people. Meaning: imperfect, flawed people.
We gather together, greet each other with good words and handshakes and hugs, hear one another’s joys and worries and pain, pray for each other with thanksgiving and intercession, confess our sins together, experience forgiveness together, enjoy and encourage the children, and we laugh together.
Together. That’s the operative word. If allowed only one word to describe how Trinitarian thought impacts the world of the church today, I would choose “together.” It is relational, expresses equality and friendship, and has a hopeful sense to it. Together, we can be so much more and do so much more than we can alone.
Together. God’s family. All of us.
© Melissa Bane Sevier, 2015