Sunday, June 7, 2009

Trinity Sunday

Dear All,

The Trinity is both the most frequently invoked prayer and at the same time one of the more complex concepts to grasp. Every time we say “In the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit” we pray to the triune God. Yet understanding ‘this thing’ of one God and three persons is one that does not meet the standards of every day life. The doctrine of the Trinity developed first out of the communal prayer of the early Church. After several Trinitarian controversies it was formulated at the Councils of Nicea (325) and Constantinople (381) and is now professed in the recitation of the creed. The Feast, now celebrated every year in the week after Pentecost is from the high middle ages (twelfth century).

The trinity concept is really hard for us to internalize. How that makes any difference in our lives, whether it is one God in three persons and all the philosophical explanations in the world are not really much of a turn-on, are they? Who would argue that it is really hard to get excited about the idea of a triune God? It is tricky to make it something viable and alive that you want to go out and do wonderful things for other people about it, isn’t it? And yet behind the significance of the feast for the sake of us, we take the concept to “humanize” God through it and get to understand some… that is , there is one God, we don’t really understand his nature (if we did he wouldn’t be God), but we try to explain what he does and how he interacts both with himself and with us… that is where this notion of trinity grows up in the New Testament, especially the end of Matthew, which we read today: “baptize in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit”. The Trinity is just a way of our very limited intelligence approaching and understanding of a little bit about the

nature of God, that’s all it is. The makeup of the nature of God is creation, redemption and sanctification. It is applying three types of work giving them persons to the nature of God. It remains a mystery, but if we come to see the world in which we live as sacred created by God the Father, redeemed by God the Son and sanctified by God the Holy Spirit, we may be at a first step of getting past the barbarism of human greed. By opening ourselves outward toward the world in which we live and cooperating with one another, just like the three persons of the Trinity interact throughout history, we can renounce the nature of selfishness and greed through compassion, giving meaning to our concept of God, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.

The Gospel passage of this Sunday, which we also read at every baptism ceremony, is known as the “Great Commission”. The risen Jesus sends out the eleven disciples to all nations and charges them with the task of forming more people as his followers. Interesting to note that the passage contains past, present and future: Jesus notes that power has been given to him from his Father (past); He commissions them to make disciples of all nations and baptized them in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit (present) and assures them he will be with them (us) until the end of times (future).

The complete text of the readings can be found at

With God’s Love and Blessings,



  1. Thank you Rainer for your insights! A few days ago I was visited by some Jehovah Witnesses and we talked about the divine nature of Jesus which they don’t accept. There is a passage where Jesus said, “My Father and I are one” that truth could be incorporated into the Holy Trinity, don’t you think?

  2. Absolutely... Creation and Redemption are natures of the one God.