Engaging the Word: 6/11/17 (The First Sunday after Pentecost: Trinity Sunday)

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Holy Trinity by Szymon Czechowicz, c. 1757. Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.

Holy Trinity by Szymon Czechowicz, c. 1757. Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.

By Barbara Klugh

Genesis 1:1 – 2:4a; Psalm 8; 2 Corinthians 13:11-13; Matthew 28:16-20. Go to www.lectionarypage.net for the weekly lectionary text. .Genesis 1:1-2:4a; Psalm 8; 2 Corinthians 13:11-13; Matthew 28:16-20. Go to www.lectionarypage.net for the weekly lectionary text.

Trinity Sunday is always the First Sunday after Pentecost. It celebrates the Christian doctrine of the Trinity, one God in three Persons: Creator, Redeemer, and Sanctifier. The best advice I’ve heard is to think of this central mystery of our faith as analogous to water—water may be liquid, or solid, as in ice, or gas, as in steam, but it’s all H220. We may experience God as Father, Son, or Holy Spirit, but it’s all one and the same God. This week’s lectionary is especially unified around the concept of the Trinity.

God the Architect, Frontpiece of Bible Moralisee, mid-13the cent. Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.

God the Architect, Frontpiece of Bible Moralisee, mid-13the cent. Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.

Genesis 1:1-2:4a: The Book of Genesis opens with beautiful poetry, the holy drama of God’s creative work. “In the beginning when God created the heavens and the earth, the earth was a formless void and darkness covered the face of the deep, while a wind from God (the Holy Spirit in my opinion) swept over the face of the waters. Then God said, ‘Let there be light’; and there was light.”

On Day 1 God made light and the separation of day and night.

On Day 2 God made the sky, and the separation of the waters.

On Day 3 God made dry land and vegetation.

On Day 4 God made celestial lights and separated day and night.

On Day 5 God made birds of the air and water creatures.

On Day 6 God made land animals and humankind, male and female.

On Day 7 God rested and blessed the day.

“God saw everything that he had made, and indeed, it was very good…. And on the seventh day God finished the work that he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from all the work that he had done. So God blessed the seventh day and hallowed it, because on it God rested from all the work that he had done in creation. These are the generations of the heavens and the earth when they were created.” God says the Word, and life begins. We remember from John’s Gospel that Jesus is the Word of God: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God…. And the Word became flesh and lived among us.” All three persons of the Trinity were present at creation. And each day, God made something new. Still does.

Psalm 8: This week’s psalm is a hymn of praise to God as Creator, and the psalmist is amazed and humbled at the 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.”

2 Corinthians 13:11-13: Our brief reading this week is the final greeting and benediction of Paul’s Second Letter to the Corinthians. Paul urges the Corinthians to live in peace and unity “and the God of love and peace will be with you. Greet one another with a holy kiss. All the saints greet you.” He concludes with a Trinitarian blessing, “The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with all of you.”

St Ansanus Baptizing by Giovanni di Paolo, 1440s. Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.

St Ansanus Baptizing by Giovanni di Paolo, 1440s. Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.

Matthew 28:16-20: Earlier, on the day of his Resurrection, Christ appeared and told the two Marys to “tell my brothers to go to Galilee, there they will see me.”

In this week’s reading, the disciples are at the mountain in Galilee. When Jesus appears, some worship him and others doubt that it is really him. Jesus declares, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.”

And in his God-given, all-encompassing authority, Jesus delivers the Great Commission: “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 teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

One commentary noted we should recall the prophesy at the beginning of Matthew’s gospel: “Look, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall name him Emmanuel, which means, ‘God is with us.’”

And as we have read from Acts during the past few weeks, the disciples took Jesus’ words very seriously. By the end of the first century, Christian communities were found throughout the Roman Empire. Jesus kept and still keeps his promise.

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