Engaging the Word: Readings for 5/22/16 (Trinity Sunday)

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 By Barbara Klugh

Proverbs 8:1-4, 22-31; Psalm 8; Romans 5:1-5; John 16:12-15. Go to www.lectionarypage.net to read or print the weekly lectionary text.

Holy Trinity, illustration in Guiard des Moulins Bible, 5th century. Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.

Holy Trinity, Bible illustration, 5th cent. Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.

Trinity Sunday: This Sunday celebrates the Christian doctrine of the Trinity, one God in three Persons: Creator, Redeemer, and Sanctifier. In Journey into the Heart of God, Philip Pfatteicher says, “Trinity Sunday, although not a commemoration of an historical event, is a celebration of the experience of the God of the Bible as the human mind has reflected on that experience. It is in a simple phrase, a celebration of the mystery of God.” We celebrate and affirm that God’s Spirit will continue to act in us as we turn in love and obedience to the unity of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

Wisdom, Basilica Notre-Dame de Fourviere, Lyon, France. Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.

Wisdom, Basilica Notre-Dame de Fourviere, Lyon, France. Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.

Proverbs 8:1-4, 22-31: In Proverbs, Wisdom, or Sophia, is personified as a woman who was God’s companion at the creation of the world. Some biblical interpreters connect Lady Wisdom with Jesus, who is called the Word in Gospel of John: ‘In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God … All things came into being through him.” In Genesis, God says, “Let us create humankind in our image, according to our likeness.” I always assumed that the “us” was God and Jesus, but I like to imagine that the feminine aspect of God was there as well. In our reading she says, “I was beside Him, like a master worker; and I was daily His delight, rejoicing before Him always, rejoicing in his inhabited world and delighting in the human race.” I wonder if we could consider Wisdom as another name for the Holy Spirit, and that God was in Trinitarian community from the very beginning of creation.

Psalm 8: This week’s psalm is a hymn of praise to God as Creator, and the psalmist is amazed and humbled at the unique duties and responsibilities God has given to human beings. “What is man that you should be mindful of him? The son of man that you should seek him out? You have made him but a little lower than the angels; you adorn him with glory and honor. You give him mastery over the works of your hands; you put all things under his feet.”

Romans 5:1-5: Our brief reading from Romans is perfect for Trinity Sunday. Paul tells the Romans—and us—that we have peace with God through faith in our Lord Jesus Christ. Paul also helps us to see value in suffering. Although we do not choose to suffer, and may never get to the point of boasting in our suffering like Paul did, if we accept it when it comes, it will produce endurance, character, and hope through the gift of the Holy Spirit that God has poured into our hearts.

Jesus and disciples by Meister der Reichenaur Schule, c. 1010. Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.

Jesus and disciples by Meister der Reichenaur Schule, c. 1010. Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.

John 16:12-15: In this passage from Jesus’ farewell discourse in John’s Gospel, the time for Jesus’ crucifixion is drawing near. The earthly ministry of Jesus has been fulfilled. “I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now.” The disciples are most likely feeling frightened, confused, and unprepared. But Jesus assures them that the Spirit will come and guide them into all truth. The Advocate will not bring them anything new, but will cause them to understand more fully what Jesus taught them. When the Spirit speaks, it will be in a way that glorifies Jesus. This seems like a good way to discern whether the Spirit is speaking, such when we hear a response to a prayer for direction. If what we hear glorifies Jesus, we are more likely to be on the right path.

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