This Sunday is Trinity Sunday.  I asked my colleague to preach this week, and to ‘massage’ the liturgy I had prepared to suit the emphasis of his sermon.  He reminded me that ‘every Sunday sounds like Trinity Sunday around here.’  I took that as a compliment.

 

Still, I have to wonder if the emphasis upon this particular tenet of our faith gets greeted by a big yawn.

 

The problem rests upon the ego of preachers like me that believe I can say anything complete and at the same time digestible about the Trinity.  Why should I believe that I can, in 15 minutes, say what theologians better than I have been trying to say for well over 1600 years?

 

I know that my colleague is taking the easy way out, preaching on the Genesis text.  I cannot say that I blame him.

 

Some weeks ago I decided that tonight, at our midweek Eucharist, I would focus the Homily on the Matthew text (28:16-20).  My preparations made me try to keep in connection the great commissioning and the baptismal formula.

 

Finally, I’ve decided that what I want to say is that this Jesus gave us painfully few “commands” and that we should take this one (and all of them) seriously.  This command is about making disciples of Jesus.

 

This one is hard, nearly impossible even.  All anyone of us can do is not rely upon ourselves but the source and content of such a command.  Making disciples, trying to urge the church to emphasize faith formation is a daunting task.  The task involves all of the developmental understanding we can muster, and at the same time keeping our eye on the context of our lives where this faith is necessarily expressed.  This sounds like a recipe for a hernia to me.

 

I wish I could have sense that this formula facilitated a magic ritual, whereby through water and this pronouncement we could all sing “All Is Well With My Soul.”  Being the cynic I am, this isn’t possible.  I know that the baptized is just starting on a journey that will be marked by detours and sometimes flat tires. 

 

I also know that this formula did not originate in the cloistered study of some bishop in North Africa.  It was born as the earliest believers tried to describe how they experienced God as they went about their life and how this ‘triune’ God did not contradict the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. 

 

When I read stories of the earliest saints I yearn for this same presence and power.  Bundled in all that Athanasian theology is a God who is all powerful, who redeems the whole world, and who is not far off, but nearer than I realize.   I know that is enough.  I hope that’s enough to keep us going, being, and making, disciples.

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