Trinity Sunday, Year C: Original Experience

SUNDAY’S READINGS | June 12, 2022

Prov. 8:1-4, 22-31
Ps. 8 or Cant. 13 or 2
Rom. 5:1-5
John 16:12-15

At the end of St. Matthew’s gospel, we hear what is commonly called 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, teaching them to obey all that I command you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age” (Matt. 28:19-20). In obedience to that command, the disciples and their successors spread out across the globe. “You will be my witnesses,” Jesus said, “in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth” (Acts 1:8). As they went, they carried with them the mystery of the trinitarian name.

In our liturgical calendar, today is designated Trinity Sunday. In the appointed collect, we pray that we may “acknowledge the glory of the eternal Trinity” and “worship the Unity” (BCP, p. 176). The words glory and worship suggest awestruck reverence and exuberant praise. “O Lord our Sovereign, how majestic is your name in all the world!” (Ps. 8:1). “Glory to you, Lord God of our fathers; you are worthy of praise; glory to you. Glory to you for the radiance of your holy Name; we will praise you and highly exalt you forever” (Cant. 13, BCP, p. 90). The exalted and radiant name of God is announced at the end of Canticle 13: “Glory to you, beholding the depths, in the high vault of heaven, glory to you. Glory to you, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit; we will praise you and highly exalt you forever” (Cant. 13). Nearly everywhere we turn in the liturgy, the triune name of God is used: the opening sentence of the Eucharist — “Blessed be God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit” — the Gloria, Scripture, the Creed, the prayers, hymnody, even gestures. Do we not cross ourselves in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit?

As with all the mysteries of the Christian faith, we are called to rediscover for ourselves a kind of primitive experience, the original power and excitement that lay behind the Church’s commitment to one triune God. Jesus says, “I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all truth; for he will not speak on his own, but will speak whatever he hears, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. He will glorify me, because he will take what is mine and declare it to you” (John 16:12-14). The passage is dense.

In the life of the Church, collectively and among all her members individually, the Holy Spirit, the Advocate and guide, is leading us into all truth. The Spirit in me and you, the Holy Spirit of God, is our guide, and teacher, and comforter. But the Spirit does not “speak on his own.” Rather, “the Spirit will take what is mine” — what belongs to Jesus — “and declare it to you.” The Spirit bears witness to the Son. Moreover, “the Spirit [bears] witness with our spirit that we are children of God” (Rom. 8:16).

The Spirit makes us sons and daughters of God by adoption and grace, and thus we stand “in Christ.” And so we are bold to cry out, “Abba, Father”; we are bold to say, “Our Father who art in heaven.” One Spirit unites us to the one Son who is in the bosom of the one Father. The Spirit of God in us leads us directly, even now, into the heart of God.

Look It Up: Romans 5:5

Think About It: The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of love.

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