The Trinity

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Ven. Ian Marshall
22nd May 2005, Trinity Sunday

Exodus 34: 1-8; Song of the Three Young Men; 2 Corinthians 13: 11-13; Matthew 28: 16-20

Advice of lecturer, if preacher makes excuses on Trinity Sunday. Quietly leave at the earliest opportunity!

Problems with not addressing issue of Trinity:

Pastors and churches close their eyes and jump into modern Arianism, Docetism, tritheism, modalism, and monarchianism — aware or unaware.

On the other hand, if worship and preaching are emptied of all trinitarian content and the deep mystery of the Trinity, personal faith will disintegrate into a unitarianism that is heavy on Jesus and light on God and the Holy Spirit. (Is the WWJD — "What would Jesus do?" — bracelet and its merchandising the expression of this?) Or might faith become a unitarianism of God, the first person; heavy on faith in the transcendent deity, but light on "Christ in you, the hope of glory" (Colossians 1:27) or on the reliance upon "the Spirit of God [who] dwells in you" (Romans 8:9)?

Our congregations are starving, not for doctrinal correctness, but for life in communion with the triune God. Our churches need the subversive presence of the triune God who defeats and break the chains of the strong enslaving the weak. The whole people of God are yearning to be encountered by the God who gives up the idea of God (Philippians 2:5-11) and becomes incarnate in the demands and struggles of daily life. We long for this God. Baptized into this faith, we are born to proclaim before the world the God who by the power of the Spirit animates Christian worship in the name of Jesus Christ.

History of Trinity to do with experience and language and politics:

God, then Jesus is God, Jesus promises Holy Spirit how are three interrelated?

Language Greek and Latin. Language does not mean the same to each of us. Fully sick different in hospital to youth culture?

Smell of coffee, language needs to have base of common understanding.

Politics: the Athanasian creed. 4 to 5th century (disputed author and date)

Call to mission (Matt. 28.16ff today's Gospel)

God — mystery

God incarnate

God alive and driving

God — mystery

  • Mystery in worship — allowing space, atmosphere
  • Mystery in theology — well some things are a mystery
  • Mystery in evangelism — God is present and experienced before us, do we have the language to communicate?

God incarnate —

  • Incarnate in worship familiar and present, suffering and experienced as love
  • Incarnate in service, meet human need through loving service
  • Incarnate in evangelism — valid expression of mission in itself

God alive and driving —

  • Holy Spirit in worship, presence and power
  • Holy Spirit in service, gifts for service
  • Holy Spirit in evangelism, does the work, we cooperate

Does the whole of our expression of mission encompass the triune nature of God?

What is your experience of God? (Language)

Think of mission (definition) how does someone outside of this congregation experience God — in daily life — in the witness of this church — in you?

Anglicare Incarnational

Experience, then language explains it.

Go then in exploration and experience of the otherness of God, stand in awe. Go in the company of God, emptied and on the journey of life with people. Go with the power, presence and inspiration of the Holy Spirit. Continue to engage in mission with passion.