In the name of the Father of the Son and of the Holy Spirit – Amen.
Today, as I’m sure you’re all aware is Trinity Sunday. It’s a day we call to mind the Holy Trinity and what that means to us today.
Trinity Sunday is an annual reminder of the simple command to live within the love and commandments of the father, son and holy spirit – and Jesus tells us how we discern how to do that.
It is tempting to try and pull apart the Trinity. To understand it at a purely academic level. To pull apart the gospels – scripture in general and to concentrate solely on our brains in the exploration of our faith. To forget our stomachs and our hearts.
To explore the difference between the descriptions of the holy spirit in Matthew, Mark, Luke & John or to carry out a deep scriptural analysis of what was written when.
Those are good and worthy pursuits, but for us – to only do the academic work is to leave behind a great deal of our faith.
Because our faith is a felt faith. It is a faith that exists as much in our hearts and our stomachs as it does in our brains. The moment we forget that we lose the awesome breadth of what God has in store for us – we lose the ability to engage with what Jesus taught us – and we lose sight of what the Holy Spirit wants us to do in this life.
Now, I’m not saying we should leave our brains at the door when we come to church. What I am saying is that academic and intellectual exploration has to work alongside that gut feeling we all experience when we see the work of the Holy Spirit and that gentle warming of our heart we feel when we see the love of Jesus in action.
Our faith is a broad, complex and wonderful thing. It interacts with the world in a myriad of ways and people interact with us – and the faith they see in us – in a myriad of ways.
We should be open to all those possibilities.
The fact that somebody may want to talk to us about where the Trinity appears in scripture for example, is an opportunity to engage people about their faith. For us to crack open the bible and talk them through the gospel of John and its rich description of the workings of the Father, Son & Holy Spirit. (so I suggest you take your pew sheet home and read around these chapters!)
Or it may be that people want to know what the practical outworking of the Trinity in our day to day lives is… or they may want to understand how our love of God the Father, Son & Holy Spirit makes us feel.
We need to be prepared to answer these questions in the real world.
There are three things that I think any christian should be ready to answer in the street.
- How does God make you feel?
- How does the Holy Spirit guide your daily life?
- How has Jesus taught you to live a life more pleasing to God?
These questions form the heart of what we talk about in the world when we bring people to the love of Jesus – and in so doing – to the love of God and the Holy Spirit.
They are true because we experience them across the breadth of our lives and because we see them in scripture – the test of truth.
We experience them with our brains, with our stomachs and with our hearts.
This is a truth that has been known for millennia.
Our faith is an experienced faith.
It has to be lived out to be understood. It has to be engaged with and asked questions of, but ultimately the truth of it is found in our hearts, stomachs and brains.
When we talk to people about God, we engage them with all three of those things. We engage them with the truth of what we have seen, what we have learnt, what we have experienced in our day-to-day life with Jesus.
And we should be more prepared for it.
We should, each morning as we cross ourselves and say the Our Father – think with our brains, feel with our stomach, experience the joy of love in our heart, and ask ourselves – how can I go into the world today and bring somebody to Jesus.
How can we bring people to this church, this place and bring them to baptism – to a relationship that is earth shatteringly life changing with God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit?
It is up to each one of us to figure that out. Each one of us will bring a different gift, each one of us will bring different experiences and feelings, each one of us will have engaged with scripture in different ways and each one of us will reach somebody that another person cannot.
Nobody is beyond the love of God the Father, Son & Holy Sprit.
So, go out into the world my brothers and sisters and bring people to baptism, to this place, to a relationship with the Holy Trinity – because the only way to understand the Trinity – is to live inside its love.