Circle of relationship not a chain of command – Short talk / Sermon for Holy Trinity Sunday – 7th June 2020 – VIDEO & TEXT

Andrei Rubliev – Holy Trinity, Abraham’s Hospitality
Andrei Rubliev – Holy Trinity, Abraham’s Hospitality

Matthew 28:16-20

Holy Trinity! A big word and a source of so many discussions and heresies. The theological debate about the relations between the persons of the Holy Trinity started with the very first years of the Christians community. I am sure that you won’t follow my invitation to have a look into these debates because you already know that it is not very useful. I don’t want to demolish the importance of the theological debates, but I want to say that these debates never end. One thing is important: we believe in one God, in the unity if the three persons – The Father, The Son and The Holy Spirit. One thing is important: the three persons are the unique God we confess. How these three persons relate to each other is an other discussion and the history of the debates about that created and will create so many errors in understanding and so many beautiful approaches. It is not my intention to start a new debate about how the three persons of the Holy Trinity relate to each other. My intention is to invite you to understand that in this relation is just a relation of love and life. How it’s happening I can’t explain. God is over our human understanding. Our mind can not comprehend this mystery.

Stepping down in time, when I used to be lecturer in a theological institute, a student told me that she was almost to lost her mind trying to understand how the Holy Spirit relates to the Father and to the Son. She came to me to find some advise to help her to make her effort to give some fruit. I remember only that I advised her to stop to try to understand and to start to contemplate this relation as a relation of love, true love.

We use to say about the Father that he is the Originator, the Creator. We say about the Son that he is the Saviour. We say about the Spirit that he is the Sanctifier, the Ordinator (who make order, put things in order in creation). We name each of the Holy Trinity persons in so many ways and we are tempted to know who is the first and who is after or the lower. In our way of understanding, the things and the beings are part of a ladder of relation. It is about who commands to whom, or who follow whom.

Paul Young, in his novel, The Shack, gives an amazing answer, imagining a discussion between the main character of his novel and God. He writes about the Holy Trinity’s life: “What you are seeing here is relationship without any overlay of power. We don’t need power over the other because we are always looking out for the best. (…) You [human] rarely see or experience relationship apart from power. Hierarchy imposes laws and rules and you end up missing the wonder of relationship that we intended for you”. It is a reality beyond the reality of this world, of our life.

In today’s Gospel, Jesus send his disciples to go and to make disciples, empowering them with this relation: circle relation. The source of this discipleship is the Holy Trinity, God’s way of relation. The disciples are sent to share this new way of relationship. Once they start to have this relationship, they will look out for each of them for what is the best. This is love. It doesn’t mean that this relationship repeals the leadership in the disciples’ circle. It is evident that this leadership is developing under the shadow of the circle relationship of love. The disciples, in their life, follow a process of growing towards what means the higher relation of God’s love.

It is not easy, but this is Jesus commandment: baptise in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.

What Jesus did in his mission on the earth? He looked out for the best for each of us. In this way he called his disciples to do the same. Being Christians, we are his disciples and we are invited today do not forget what is our mission: to look out for the best for our neighbours, for our brothers and sisters.

We use to say that we have to share Jesus’ teaching. It is not wrong. But it is better if we know that this teaching is a way of life, a kind of relationship. The Holy Trinity is about that. It is not a dogma or a theological definition. It is life which invites to be lived. As Christians, disciples, this is what we have to share, when we are making new disciples. In a simple way of speaking, we are called to live looking out for the best for the others.

Try to imagine! A such way of life is tempting, isn’t it? Is there somebody who doesn’t want to live this kind of life? Living in this way we will be able to make new disciples. We are sent to look out for the best for all around us.

This is one of the deeper meaning of the message of the Holy Trinity Sunday.

I wish you all the best. The love of God, The Father, The Son and The Holy Spirit be with you!

(Revd. Bernard Noghiu, Southend on Sea, 4 June 2020)

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