(Proverbs 8:1-4, 22-31, Psalm 8, Romans 5:1-5)
(watch here: https://youtu.be/ucnq4ogd7Qc)
[Jesus said,] 12“I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. 13When 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. 14He will glorify me, because he will take what is mine and declare it to you. 15All that the Father has is mine. For this reason I said that he will take what is mine and declare it to you.”
Relationships are important. How we interact with each other and with ourselves matters. How we interact with God…well, there’s nothing more important than that! The first 4 commandments deal with our relationship with God and rightly so. Our relationship with God is of the utmost priority! Once we’ve established a right relationship with God then we are to establish right relationships with each other. The other 6 commandments help us to do just that. At the core of all the commandments is this understanding that relationships are important. We need relationships with each other and with God. Without relationships we are nothing. Sure we might exist but we are a fearful, unhappy, unsatisfied people without relationships. It is only when we are in relationships that we become fearless, happy, and satisfied. Some may claim they are the most fearless, happy, and satisfied when they disencumbered with relationships with anyone and God. They claim that not being held accountable by anyone or by God helps set them free to be all that they were meant to be. I would argue that even they aren’t ever truly free of relationships because they must continue wrestling with the relationship with themselves. We are all in relationships with ourselves even if no one else is. We can’t hide from ourselves. We can’t run from ourselves. We can’t avoid ourselves. Like it or not, we’re stuck with ourselves. Better yet, we’re stuck with a relationship with ourselves. And I would even argue that all of us are in relationship with God whether we choose to acknowledge it or not. God is in relationship with each of us whether we admit it or not. Relationships are important. We are something when we are in relationship.
It is helpful to keep this in mind as we set about celebrating Trinity Sunday this morning. Even God exists in relationship! Relationships are just important to God as they are to us. God is comprised of three persons, each serving distinct purposes yet comprising the same God and having identical importance. It is a deep and profound mystery about God as we heard in our children’s message. A countless number of preachers and theologians have wrestled with explaining and understanding how God can exist in three persons. Many have been branded heretics because of their efforts. The Triune God is a mystery and will always be a mystery! We’re fools to believe we can solve the mystery. Indeed, we get in trouble when we try to make sense of the mystery! Truth be told, words are simply unable to fully explain the mystery of the Triune God. But this is quite alright, we don’t need to understand how God can be comprised of three persons! What is more important to understand is why God is comprised of three persons. God is comprised of three persons in order to establish relationships. The Trinity teaches us that God exists in relationship. And not just in relationship with Himself or 1 other person but with 3 persons! Imagine the difficulty of reaching any type of consensus on a decision between 3 people as opposed to simply 1 or 2! Three persons, equally important, equally necessary, each serving distinct roles and purposes, trying to agree on anything! Oh, the madness! Yet somehow God manages to exist and create anew in such relationships. God values relationship just as much as we do.
Reflecting on relationships and their importance, I was reminded of certain wisdom I once heard. If one had to come up with 6 of the most important words to complete a phrase or question, it would have to be, “I admit I made a mistake.” 5 of the most important words, “You did a good job.” 4 of the most important words, “What do you think?” 3 of the most important words, “After you please.” 2 of the most important words, “Thank you.” The 1 most important word, “We.” Perhaps you might guess what the least important word is: “I.” That’s right, “I”…the least important word to complete a phrase or question. There is great truth in these statements! It is when we think outside of ourselves, when we think about words that help our relationships with others, that we realize truth about ourselves and about God. None of us is an island unto ourselves. We are in relationship with each other and with God. Sometimes we place higher priority on our relationships with ourselves than others or God but that doesn’t mean we aren’t in relationship with others and with God. None of us is an island…we affect others. What we do affects others! Who we are and how we carry ourselves affects others! Yes, there is great importance in relationships!
We hear this reinforced by the scripture readings assigned for this week. In our reading from Proverbs, we heard of how the Lord created wisdom before all other creations. Wisdom has traditionally been used to represent the Holy Spirit. It is the Holy Spirit that “was beside him, like a master worker; and [it] was daily his delight, rejoicing before him always, rejoicing in his inhabited world and delighting in the human race.” The Lord created the Holy Spirit to “delight” in Him and “rejoice” in Him and His creation. In other words, the Lord created the Holy Spirit to be in relationship. Otherwise, no one could behold all that the Lord created! Creation can’t fully understand its creator much like a child can never fully understand his/her parents. The Creator needed relationship and understanding so the Holy Spirit was created.
In our passage from John, we again hear Jesus explain to his disciples how the Spirit will “guide [us] into all the truth” by speaking the words of the Father to us. Just as Jesus’ words were the words of the Father, so too are the words of the Spirit. When one speaks, it is as if all three have spoken. The three persons, the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, all speak the same message of truth and understanding. They are all equal yet distinctive persons of the same God. The all understand and teach the same truth. Though the Son is not clearly visible to us today as he was 2,000 years ago in the person of Jesus, God is still active in our world through the Spirit. The Son might have changed his appearance but the Spirit never changed. The Spirit is the same formless being today as it has always been since its creation. The Spirit keeps speaking to us words of truth and understanding, words taken from both the Father and the Son. We must keep inclining our ear to the words of the Spirit because they are the same words as those of the Father and the Son.
God is in relationship both within Himself and with His created world. God created different persons within Himself for the purpose of being in relationship. It is through the Trinity that we see God places value on being in relationship. God wants us to be in relationship just as He is in relationship. God wants each of us to be in right relationship with Him but if we can’t do that then at least we ought to be in right relationship with each other. God gave us His commandments, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit to help us be in right relationship with Him and with each other. As we celebrate the Holy Trinity, let us be less concerned with how our God can exist in three persons but rather rejoice in why our God exists in three persons. God understands the importance of relationship. Let us give thanks for each of our own relationships and work to place value in them. Though we are many, let us work to be one in God, the great…One in three.
In the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.