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Trinity Sunday: Unity through God, with God & in God.

Updated: May 12, 2023

Simeon the New Theologian (949-1022)

Trinity Sunday celebrates the union for all time between God and His people. It is the day when the fullness of God's presence is celebrated in all aspects of Church life. It is recognized and lifted up. In the Eastern Orthodox tradition of Christianity, the relationship is expressed very simply and directly, like a neatly wrapped package, by the monk and mystic Simeon the New Theologian, when he says, "The Holy Trinity, pervading all men from first to last, from head to foot, binds them all together."

This tells all Christians, both Eastern and Western believers, an important truth. The Trinity is not just a theological idea that is 'out there' someplace and too complex for most people to understand. In reality, the Trinity is within us all and it is intimately part of our spiritual existence. It is, in fact, the very essence of the relationship between man and God, man and man, and man and his world.

Great truths are probably never understood instantly and completely by most people; not even by the most religious among us. Most of us do have some idea about the relationship of Father and Son in the Trinity because we recognize that kind of connection. We all have had or have parents. Some of us have had loving and nurturing parents. And it is in the way the Trinity has some immediate resonance in our human experience.

It is probably the nature of the Holy Spirit and its role in the Trinity which has given Christians, both theologians and everyday believers, trouble over the ages. And it is interesting to see the care taken, in all of the readings we have heard today to help us understand that role.

In today's passages from John's Gospel, we have the parting message of Jesus to His faithful. His message is about how they will experience his absence and how they will cope in a world without His physical presence. Jesus reassures them that they will be able to handle His physical absence after he has gone on to join His Father.

Jesus declares that it will be because of the unbreakable power of the Holy Spirit that will, in a very real sense, make known to them the total presence of the Holy Trinity in their daily lives. He adds, "When the Spirit of truth comes, He will guide you into all the 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."

It is not easy for man to fully conceive of the width, the breadth and full majesty of the Holy Trinity. It is probably much easier for us to view the relationships between the persons of the Trinity on a very basic level, similar to the bond that is experienced within the human family. Although the Holy Trinity can be, and should be understandable to us at some level, it is one of the deepest mysteries of the faith. And it is a mystery so profound that we can, perhaps, only hope to throw pebbles into the well of belief and try to understand what the ripples might mean.

Our readings remind us of the things about God and the Holy Trinity that we can not hope to fully understand. But it would be a shame to be so impressed by the wonders of the mystery that we lose track of what we can know. John's Gospel does indeed bring us a forthright statement about what we can expect when our Lord Jesus Christ is physically absent from this world.

We can anticipate the reality of the Holy Trinity alive and active in the world. They are an eternal presence and the foundation of love, especially familial love. We are blessed with the Father who creates, the Son who redeems, and the Holy Spirit who sanctifies; each person of the Blessed Trinity binding us to one another, as well as staying with us until the end of time. The following lines of this Hymn of the Resurrection, in the Eastern Orthodox tradition, would be a good prayer to say, and to sing in our hearts today.

"I glorify the power of the Father, I magnify the power of the Son, And I sing a hymn of praise to the power of the Holy Spirit; One Godhead, Trinity indivisible, uncreated, equal in essence and reigning forever." Amen.

For Morning Prayer on Trinity Sunday

Published on June 10th, 2001 {Revised on May 5th, 2023}

© Dr. Charles Warner 2023

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