As I believe, so shall I do
Trinity Sunday June 2019
The Rev. Deacon Lisa Kirby
As I believe, so shall I do
Today is Trinity Sunday but I am not going to stand up here and attempt to explain the Trinity.
John Wesley once wisely said “Bring me a worm that can comprehend a man, and then I will show you a man who can comprehend the triune God. “
Simply put we might say that the Trinity is like H2O---it can be a liquid, a solid, or a gas, but it’s still water—H2O
Our creeds are designed to give an explanation of the Trinity.
I trust we know that the word “Trinity’ does not appear in the Bible. In fact, the notion of “God in Three Persons” does not appear in Christian writings until the 4th century when the Nicene Creed was written.
BUT, where is the first place in the Bible that we see the three persons of the Trinity acting together? Genesis. In Genesis God the creator is accompanied by the light and by the winds which blow over the water, so the light of the world and the spirit are present at creation. As theologian Daniel Migliore says: The creation of the world is the first of the majestic and gracious acts of the Triune God.
Jesus isn’t created in the birth story in Luke, he is only first revealed there. The Holy Spirit does not come into existence at Pentecost—that is just where she is revealed to us.
The Creeds define the Trinity—look up the Athanasian Creed
On p. 864 in the Prayer Book for the longest explanation.
The Apostles Creed is the “I believe Creed” and we use it in our personal and corporate morning, noon and evening devotions. And at Baptism
The Nicene Creed begins with WE believe and that is repeated, you can guess it, three times. This is the statement of what the Christian Community believes.
We say these creeds constantly, but my question is ‘so what?’
How do our stated beliefs affect our actions? If we believe in a God the Creator of Heaven and earth, a creation he declared to be good, do we treat all of God’s creation and creatures as being good and worthy of love?
When we say The Apostles Creed at Baptism, we then renew our Baptismal Covenant which to me is the “therefore” part, the ‘so what’. We believe this and so we will do that…We will work for justice, freedom and peace, and so on…
I think all creeds should have a “therefore”. I believe this and so I do that.
When we say the Nicene Creed, it is followed by prayers for “all sorts and conditions” of men. We pray variously for world leaders, the poor, the sick, the mentally ill, those who are affected by natural disasters, the unemployed, the widow the orphan. That’s our “therefore”
If we care about all those we mention in the Prayers of the People, the question is “what are we doing about it?” Are we standing up for those who have no voice, are we actively helping the poor? Are we advocating for the disenfranchised?
When we say these prayers, are we thinking about what we can do or is it just that we can’t wait for the Peace so we can stretch our legs a little, or ask our friend if he or she wants to go out to lunch after the service, would another friend be available for a committee meeting on Tuesday.
In addition to the formal creeds, which are intended to define the Trinity and the Grace of our loving God we have personal beliefs about life and about our relationship with God that are revealed to us directly and thru scripture.
What are those beliefs? How do they affect our lives?
What if we went home today and began writing a personal creed concerning our beliefs about God, life and the Universe. They’d all be different—Kirbian, Dailian, Canadian creeds.
We would begin by putting at the top of the page the words “I BELIEVE”. Then we would write down the things we believe in. What do we each believe about creation, mankind, our place in creation? Even if you can only quote the song “I believe in love” it has significance, and certainly relates to the Trinity which defines the greatest love.
Secondly, having written down what we believe, we will need to acknowledge that those beliefs have implications for how we live day to day. It’s the “so what”? If all you can put down is “I believe in love”, what are the implications involved in living in a loving manner.
So, after each of our beliefs we will want to put the word: THEREFORE, which answers the question “so what”?
Because our beliefs should determine our actions. What we believe colors how we approach everyday issues in life and also the big societal issues: capital punishment, abortions, the medical and emotional treatment of our returning troops, children at the border, how we look at homosexuality, the environment, conflicts in our community, in our church and within our own families
it’s a process. What is revealed to us through scripture and revelation concerning our Triune God and its working in our lives, will not be same tomorrow as it is today. Our responses will not be the same. Our understanding is evolving and growing because, like the disciples in today’s Gospel, we can’t take it all in at once.
I pray that we are always open to the changing, life affirming revelations of our most loving Triune God, and that we may draw on the power of the Holy Spirit to live in harmony with those revelations, living so that what we profess with our lips, we believe in our hearts and show forth in our lives.