Friday, May 2, 2008

Preaching Trinity (1)

My next preach is at Northern Seminary. This term we have journeyed through the Christian Year celebrating the Easter season (with Ascension), into Pentecost and Trinity. For some students following through this pattern, with lectionary readings, is an eye-opener. Not only because of its discipline, but also its scope as they realize how much of the world church simultaneously practices this pattern.

My task will be to preach on the Trinity, with the set epistle: 2 Corinthians 13:11-13. Even mention the Trinity and some may frown assuming it to be complicated doctrine, (God-in-three-persons-theology-stuff), or yawn because it's bound to be boring! And, anyway, why worry when there are so few explicit Trinity passages in Scripture? Doesn't that rather prove the point that it's really a minor theme?

Actually, the Trinity is the great assumed truth everytime we open Christian Scripture and talk about the Christian God. The triune God is everywhere. True, Jesus is absolutely central to faith, but you cannot understand Jesus without the Father's sending, and the Holy Spirit's convicting. Scripture's story depends on seeing God at work in three persons in the whole story of creation, the forming of his people, Christ's incarnation, the church's formation and the ultimate fulfilment of His world purpose. It's not just about stories of Jesus, like his baptism (Luke 3:21-22), but how salvation works through God's cosmic story. Yes, it is complicated how God lives in three "persons" co-equally, co-eternally, but it's a necessary complication. God's mystery should never be oversimplified.

Seminary worship is compressed and I only have a twelve minutes to preach. But 2 Cor 13:11-13 gives that rich benediction:
The Grace of our Lord Jesus Christ,
the Love of God,
and the Fellowship of the Holy Spirit.
I shall let you know of my progress in preparation. As always, your insights are welcome.

3 comments:

Barbara said...

I'm interested in teaching on the Trinity because I write to a Jehovah's witness. I try to use their Bible where they haven't changed the wording.
Keep preaching it!
Barb

andrea said...

I am immensely grateful to read this post...I attend Calvary Memorial, and have just recently been dialoguing with someone I met in my work at an area public library about the idea of the Triune God. He has been giving me literature that refutes the idea (he's not a Jehovah's Witness, but some of the literature he gave me comes from that slant), and while I have no doubts about the idea of the Trinity, I am also at quite a loss of how to explain the belief sometimes. Reading what you have to say here is an answer to prayer...please post more about this study and subject!

Barbara said...

Andrea
I also attend Calvary and if you would like to meet sometime ask for Barb in the Friendship class.