[Based on readings for Trinity Sunday.]
Grace to you and peace from God our Father and our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ!
What Sunday is it today? Yes… it is Trinity Sunday. It is about our God. About that God who has revealed Himself throughout the history in His works and in His words, as we can learn from His self-revelation recorded in the Bible.
It is about this one true God who has revealed Himself in a way that sends our minds into panic mode, makes us feel uneasy, for we cannot comprehend this greatest of mysteries that He reveals to us. That He is one God, but also – three persons. God the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.
And that is good that we cannot comprehend this God’s self-revelation, even as it is clearly revealed to us in the Scriptures. It is good, because why would we worship a god whom we can grasp with our tiny minds! Such a god would not be worthy of our worship and awe. But the God of the Bible – He certainly is.
Today I want to talk about something very practical. As my pastor used to say, there is nothing more practical than theology – because it brings us into the fellowship with the Triune God and gives us eternal life in the age to come.
Today I want to invite you to explore the following – how do we relate to the Triune God? What does it matter that our God is triune God? What does this mean for us? And what could possibly be more practical than that?!
Famous Early Church theologian Saint Augustin from Hippo said that we all have God-shaped hole in our hearts and unless the Triune God fills this hole, there will always remain deep and unfulfilled human longings.
What He says is that we cannot be fully who we are designed to be – we cannot be fully human, to live fully human life – unless we live in personal relationships with the Triune God. Sounds nice – God-shaped hole. But is this true?
Let’s reflect a little bit. What does this mean practically? As human beings in the depth of our hearts we all are quite similar. There are things that we all long for, crave for, that we all need if we want to live fulfilling lives. What are they?
There are quite a few, but for now let’s look at some of the most important ones. Significance. We all want to be someone. We want our lives to matter. We want to be of some significance in this world, we want others to recognize our worth.
Love. We also long to be loved, we want to be appreciated, we desire to be accepted and affirmed, we crave for this, for that is who we are as social creatures, we need to receive this from others around us. That gives us wings.
Belonging. We also want to belong. We long to belong. We need a community, or communities where we can be a part of. We don’t want to be on our own, unless we have been terribly hurt. We want to be valued in those communities, fit it, be welcomed, where we are among people who think well of us, who are happy to see us and cherish us for who we are. You know the feeling…
Now, we could say that these are universal human longings, but I also believe that a good case can be made that in these days these are especially important for younger generations. They have entered this world in very confusing times.
The worldly wisdom is of no help whatsoever. The loudest voices out there tell us that you can be whoever you imagine in your heart and that you can do whatever you dream about and the reality will adjust. It just doesn’t work that way…
Where do people today look to satisfy these deep longings? Significance… usually we are quite weak when it comes to our ability to think independently. Or even to think. So, we tend to follow the signposts and expectations of the society where we live. Whatever the world seems to value.
Thus, today we often look to gain significance by chasing careers, by trying by all means to present ourselves as someone really special, becoming social justice warriors, or climate change champions, we try to get our lives up to the standards that society expects – if we want to be seen as someone who matters.
Or we may try to be the most active, the most noticeable people in our congregations, trying to make a name for themselves in Christian community. And thus, our lives pass by, chasing after these ever-changing mile-stones. From time to time it may feel that we have made it, but that feeling usually doesn’t last.
It is quite similar with love. We want it, but often we don’t know what it is and where to find it. Sometimes we chase pleasures instead. That leads nowhere. Sooner or later emptiness and bitter aftertaste of such pursuits catches up.
Sometimes we search for love foolishly embarking in relationships not knowing the other. Not knowing what would lead to fulfilling relationships. Sometimes we just give ourselves to others, hoping that then someone may love us.
And in exchange we receive broken hearts and burned-out souls. We may become empty and desperate, bitter and cynical. Surely, we may get lucky and have wonderful relationships, but as we should know… even the best and most blessed relationships won’t be able to fill our hearts. Because you are created for more.
Similarly, when it comes to finding our place to belong. Today there are so many options. Our society intuitively senses that there is this longing for deep and meaningful connections, instead of just fleeing interaction.
Perhaps this sense is made even more urgent because we live in society where we witness right before our eyes the collapse of the foundational institutions of marriage and family and the Church. But the irresistible God-given longings remain.
Have you noticed how many different activities and interest groups use familial language? My marital arts family, my cross fit family, my Zumba family, my-this family and my-that family… And so many get attached to such communities, because the deep human need in us just wouldn’t go away. And, sure, that’s great that we have such human connections available for us. Thanks be to God!
But now, what has all of this to do with Trinity Sunday? What has all of this to do with the Triune God the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit? A lot, a lot, we could almost say – everything… this is all about us and Him.
What do I mean? Remember the saying about God-shaped hole? This is how it works. We are created by our Triune God for the life in relationships with Him. With God our Creator, with God our Redeemer, and with God the Holy Spirit.
It is in those relationships with the Trinity where all our deepest longing and human needs can and will be fulfilled. Nowhere else. That is the open secret of meaningful, satisfying, fulfilling and abundant life – entrusted to us to share it with the world.
This is what happens when we respond to God’s invitation, when we listen to His voice, when we recognize that He is our God and we are His creatures and His beloved children. Significance. Our Father, God our Creator bestows upon us the highest possible worth and significance. Imagine how important you would feel if you were chosen to be an honorary ambassador for our Queen?
But now you are more, so much more! You are created in the Image and likeness of our God, which means that you are created as His emissary, as His ambassador in this place and time, for all the people in your life. And He has entrusted you to care for them, the way He Himself would care for us, generously and self-sacrificially.
Your ultimate significance is derived from your God, who has created you and placed you here. Because you are infinitely precious in His eyes. This is the epitome of who we can possibly be, and it is given to us as a free gift.
Just don’t be too proud, don’t turn it away, accept this divine gift and allow it to transform your life. Lift up your head, and walk tall, for now you know who you are, and you know whom you represent. The Triune God.
Love. There is no greater love, no deeper love, no more passionate and self-sacrificial love that the love with which the Son of God loves you. He was with us in the beginning. His hands formed our first parents. He watched them falling away. He knew what it would cost Him to rescue us – His sufferings and death.
But He was fine with that price. For on that cross, hanging there in our place, bearing consequences of our sins, neglect, wrong-doings, indifference and so on, He was able to reveal to us how much He loves us, how far He is willing to go for you, even when we were still His enemies, ignorant and rebellious.
There is no other love like this. Love that overcomes death, love which triumphs in resurrection, love that is so unconditional, so unmerited, so unshakable, that nothing and no one can take it away from us, not even we ourselves. Jesus will always love you. You will never be able to scare Him way. He will stick with you no matter what. He will love you into His Kingdom, even as we often drag our feet.
I imagine you can guess what comes next. Belonging. Yes, indeed, the Trinity is the answer to this our need as well. It is not that our God just provides for us an opportunity to belong somewhere.
When we seek where to belong, on our own we can only find communities, where we fit it, where we sort of deserve to belong. But our Triune God does something that our fallen human reason can’t fully comprehend.
We can just marvel about it and rejoice. The Triune God, the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit opens for us the divine fellowships with Him. He invites us into community where we totally don’t deserve to be, where on our own we do stand a chance to belong. God’s own family, His chosen saints.
We didn’t choose Him, we couldn’t choose Him, instead, He chose you. Our God sends His Spirit to dwell in you and by that He includes you, He welcomes you, He embraces you in this divine fellowship with the Trinity and, yes, with all God’s people from every age and tribe and language. Amazing and undeserved privilege!
This fellowship is now our true family, because this connection through the Holy Spirit is more intimate, and much longer lasting than any human connection. When the Holy Spirit indwells in you, when the Triune God welcomes you, you become a loved and cherished member of His family.
This is not just about borrowing familial language. God the Father is your true Father in heaven, Jesus Christ is your true Brother, and because you are welcomed by the Trinity, all God’s people are your true brothers and sisters. Forever.
That’s a community for you! Time transcending, world-wide, powered and kept together by God’s own Spirit, destined for eternal blessedness. Your family with whom you will spend eternity. This is how the Triune God relates to us, and this is how we relate to the Triune God, this is what the Trinity means for us.
You see, this God-shaped hole is something that no one and nothing else can fill. Because this hole is in the shape of God the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Only when the true God steps into your live, when He shares His life with you, only then the hole in our hearts is filled up and all our deepest longings are satisfied.
And our Triune God longs to do that, and He begins it already here and now, as He gently calls us, gathers us, speaks to us, embraces us with His Spirit in this community of His chosen people, and He will bring this to the ultimate fulfillment when we see our Him as He is, face to face, in our new and eternal home.
You all probably know many who long for all these wonderful things – for significance, for love, for belonging. They long for them, they desperately chase them in all the wrong places, but there is never enough, that hole is never filled.
But you know Who is the answer… God the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.
I pray today that this incredible God would fill up your hearts, so that you are complete, that you are assured of your significance in your Father’s eyes, that you can experiences the love of Jesus in its fullness and also rejoice and celebrate – for you have been chosen to belong to this wonderful community, God’s family.
And the Lord willing, He may grant us opportunities, wisdom and courage to share this amazing truth with those who are still longing, and still searching in vain.
Blessed Trinity Sunday, dear Brothers and Sisters!