The Blessing of Trinity Sunday

I got invited to preach on Trinity Sunday (May 26, 2013) at Redeemer Church of La Mirada, a church just down the road a bit,  where a lot of my friends and colleagues attend. The sermon is available for download at their website for the time being, and I’ll see if I can figure out how to make it available here at the Scriptorium more permanently. It’s 38 minutes long.

Here’s the text (manuscript, not transcript) of the introduction. I hope to post text of the rest of the sermon later this week.

I’m here to share Trinity Sunday with you and celebrate the blessing of the Trinity.

Yes, the blessing.

Many of us don’t experience the doctrine of the Trinity as a blessing; it can seem like more of a burden. It seems like one of the tough parts that was into the Christian faith at some point to test our commitment. All the other stuff about the Christian faith seems to be obviously good news: forgiveness, reconciliation, peace with God, the power of the indwelling Spirit… even some parts of the faith that are hard to believe because they are miraculous, like the resurrection, are at least good news. We know common sense and science tell us dead people don’t get back up, but if that dead person, Jesus, got back up never to die again, that’s good news indeed!

But the doctrine of the Trinity, that one God is one being in three persons, that Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are the one, true God, while each is fully God: that sometimes just seems like unnecessary roughness on the belief system. And if we do manage to believe it, what good does it do? Doesn’t it just get us kicked out of the simple monotheist club, where we’d like to hang out with our Jewish friends and Muslim neighbors?

For churches that observe the traditional liturgical calendar, there is an annual reminder of the doctrine: Trinity Sunday. Church tradition seems to prescribe some reflection on the Trinity as part of your recommended annual doctrinal allowance. So maybe it’s supposed to be good for you:

Maybe it’s a blessing like broccoli: good for you, eat your trinitarian broccoli, take your trinitarian medicine.

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