THE HOLY TRINITY
This Sunday, June 7, 2020 the Christian Church celebrates and affirms the HOLY TRINITY. Around 829 AD Pope Gregory IX introduced Trinity Sunday as a Christian Festival that honored the Biblical belief of one God in three distinctive persons – Father, Son and Holy Spirit Although the early church was plagued by contrary views of what the Holy Trinity was. the Holy Trinity was finally affirmed by Pope John XXII in 1334 as a Festival of the church year as a doctrine of the church and not an event of its sacred history.
Historically it was Tertullian, a writer and theologian from Carthage who was the first to use the word TRINITY, or trinitas (Latin – meaning three) or Trius (Greek – number of three) to describe that the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit was ONE in essence. One hundred years later the First Council of Nicea (325 AD) established the doctrine of the Trinity for the church as orthodoxy. Our Nicean Creed also originated and was adopted from this council and remains a critical part of our worship today.
Our belief that we worship a TRIUNE God (literally “three as one”) is fundamental to the Christian faith because it helps our understanding as to what God is like, how he relates to us, and how we should relate to him. We relate to the trinity in names like “The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit” or sometimes as the “Creator, Redeemer, and Sustainer.” For Christians the expression of the Holy Trinity center around our God in Heaven who is creator of all things, our God who came to this earth in human form as Jesus -Emmanuel. (God with us), and the unseen God as the Holy Spirit moving in the hearts of men and women today. (1 John 5:7) Even in our prayers we offer our petitions to God, Jesus, or the Holy Spirit, with the implicit understanding that they are praying to the Trinity because the three parts of the Holy Trinity are indivisible. We often begin our worship in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, We are forgiven in the same name, and we are blessed and sent on our way in the same Trinity. We also affirm in the Apostle’s Creed a sustained belief in the Trinity when we say: I believe in God the Father Almighty . . . I believe in Jesus Christ God’s Son our Lord . . . . and I believe in the Holy Spirit.
In Matthew 28:19 Jesus commissions us to “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” And in his letter to the Corinthian church the Apostle Paul offers them his benediction “The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.” Even though the word ‘Trinity’ does not appear in scripture The Trinity is the doctrine that states there is one God but three Persons. Although the Trinity is a mystery of the church it remains a relevant part of our belief because our Creator is a trinity of persons inviting us into an intimate relationship made in his own image, who also made us to participate in the lives of His people. Jesus speaks of God’s Trinitarian nature in the Gospel of John chapters 13-17 when the disciples were clearly troubled that Jesus would be leaving them giving them guidance for their walk with God after his ascension.
Symbolically the Holy Trinity is often represented by three enjoining circles or trefoils. Some will use the Shield of the Trinity, a traditional Christian visual symbol which expresses many aspects of the doctrine of the Trinity. Many churches will use gold or white paraments for the altar and pulpit and pastoral stoles and liturgies and hymns may emphasize and affirm the Holy Trinity as a Festival of the church.
As you reflect on our Triune God also reflect on this passage from the Book of Jude 1: 20-21: But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting anxiously for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to eternal life.”
HYMN TO THE TRINITY by Peter Illych Tsaichovsky
Hymn, HOLY, HOLY, HOLY, LORD GOD ALMIGHTY