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May 30, 2021: TRINITY SUNDAY

Isaiah 6: 1-5

Psalm 29

Romans 8: 12-17

John 3: 7-16

This is the Trinity Sunday. Some of the preachers dread this subject because what can one say about the Trinity? It is a mystery and it will blow our minds when we try to analyze it.

What I would like for you to remember this day is that: we were created in the image and likeness of God. We have the Trinity as a model in front of us; we are like the Godhead! This is our identity, and we should never have an identity crisis. Look to the rock from which we were hewn. We have the Holy Spirit to remind us that we were created in the likeness of our God. We say that God is good all the time and His goodness is in the unity and the oneness of the community of the Godhead.

The Athanasian Creed says, “And in this Trinity none is before, or after another; none is greater, or less than another. But the whole three Persons are co-eternal, and coequal.” This is our likeness which is why we should never ever think that we are more important, higher, more deserving or more worthy than others. Remember that we were created in the likeness of our God, Who in the Trinity, is a community of love, of acceptance, and of desiring in pursuing the good of the other.

In Genesis 1, in all that God created at the conclusion of the day, God said, “It is good.” After everything was finished, before God rested, God looked at the completion of what He had done and said, “It was very good.” Each individual created was very good; but the harmonious whole was very good. The fullness of the goodness is in the oneness. This is our inheritance from the Trinity and the likeness we were created in.

Sin entered into the world. Sin is “turned toward self.” The Trinity is a community of love and love is turned toward others. Sin is the opposite which focuses on self, which is the opposite of the likeness of the Holy Trinity. Sin damaged the image and likeness of God. Immediately, God planned redemption. What is redemption or salvation? Salvation is being delivered from sin. We are to be delivered from being self-centered to be restored back to being in the likeness of our God – a God of love a desire and a pursuit for the good of others.

In God’s expression of love, how did He save us? God gave His life! Why? Because God is love – and this is the image and the likeness of which we were created. If we are being selfish and not being loving to others, then, we are falling short of the image and likeness of God. In John 3:16, it says, “God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son so that all can be born anew, born again, born from above of the Holy Spirit.” In that Easter evening, when Jesus appeared to His disciples in the locked room, He breathed His breath unto them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit.” It is to make peace; to forgive; to give our all; to accept all; to love all. This is the process of salvation – us being delivered from being self-centered and being like God who always gives preference to another. This is how the Holy Spirit will renew the face of the earth.

The Trinity always work as one. A German philosophy says, “The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.” A German word called gestalt means: the way a thing has been placed or put together, and how that when together, it produces multiple times its potential than each working individually. There really is no exact equivalent in English to describe what this German word means. Synergy is the closest. It is a mystery beyond language and vocabulary. If this is so for this work, more so for the Holy Trinity. Our language fall short because our minds fall short. God is infinitely more than we can fathom. This is why I said that we should not even attempt to decipher the Holy Trinity theologically, intellectually or ontologically because we are not expected to do this. What we are expected to do is to remember what image and likeness we were created in. We are to confess with our mouth and believe in our heart and not analyze with our minds. We confess more than we understand.

When the celebrant says during the Eucharist, “The body and blood of Christ,” do we fully understand how the bread and wine become the body and blood of Christ? No, we accept it by faith. We confess with our mouth and believe in our heart even if our minds fall short. It is the same with the attribute of God which is love, forgiveness, and acceptance. Some can’t walk in love, forgive or accept people because they are motivated by their minds, not their hearts. If we use our hearts, in which the Holy Spirit works in, by the grace of God, we can forgive, accept and love others. The more we walk according to the Trinity’s likeness - in unity, in oneness, in commitment and in love - the more we know God. We can’t know God in our minds, in reading books or in lecture; it is experiential not intellectual. Christianity is experiencing, encountering and living in a relationship, so we spend our lives toward this. We focus our thoughts, our efforts, our everything, and our being toward these for our relationship to grow.

Knowing God is a requirement for fulfilling our mandate. Jesus sent His disciples saying to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth have been given to Me. Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the Name of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them all that I have commanded you and know that I am with you always even to the end of the ages.” The phrase “In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” is not a formula but it means “according to, in the manner of, consistent with what the Trinity is and stands for. Baptize people in this and to baptize is to immerse in what the Holy Trinity is about. Before we can baptize and immerse people in the Trinity, we, ourselves, have to be immersed in the likeness of the Godhead.

The good question that we can ask ourselves today is: What are we immersed in? Is it in K-drama? In vices? In gadgets, in computer games? In our career, in relationships? To effectively baptize and to immerse people in the Holy Trinity, we should be immersed in the Holy Trinity. In the principle of dying a white shirt, we immersed it in color dye so that its white color identity is gone and it takes on the color that it was immersed in. In the words of John the Baptist, he said, “I must decrease so that God might increase.” When we get up from immersion, we lose our own identity, and we now get the identity of God and His likeness. Self-centeredness is gone and the image of God, which is love, is in us.

Jesus said, “Teach them all that I have commanded you.” How do we teach the Trinity? It is a mystery that falls short of a language. Believed by faith and we teach the nations by walking in the faith that believes in the unity of the Trinity, of which the result is unceasing love for each other. Again, love is seeking the good of another. God freely gives this love. He doesn’t make us earn this love. Let us not require people to earn our love. Freely we have receive, freely we give because of God’s image in us.

In conclusion, I share what Pope Francis said: “Rivers do not drink their own water, trees do not eat their own fruit, the sun does not shine on itself and flowers do not spread their fragrance for themselves. Living for others is a rule of nature. We are all born to help each other no matter how difficult it is. Life is good when you are happy, but much better when others are happy because of you.”

The image of the Holy Trinity is the image and the likeness we were created in, therefore, we are to walk in this because this is the way it is in the kingdom of our God.


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