Grace and peace to you, from God our Father, and our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,
AND the Holy Spirit. Amen.
We don’t really talk about the Holy Spirit, do we? I mean, the Holy Spirit is in all the creeds. And Jesus told the disciples in today’s Gospel to baptize people in the threefold name: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. I wonder if it is because the Father and the Son SEEM so much easier to understand. Don’t they? God is the Father and Mother of all things, Creator of everything that exists. God is active in creation, and loves all of creation, including us. Jesus, the Son, was sent by God to share God’s love through teaching and preaching, calling us to follow and share that Good News – that God loves all creation, Including us.
But the Holy Spirit? What the heck is the Holy Spirit? Scholars and historians, priests and pastors, we all struggle with defining the Holy Spirit. Last week, we heard that the Holy Spirit came upon the disciples in the form of a flame. And suddenly, they were understood by people who spoke different languages. But what else is the Holy Spirit about? Jesus tells us that God is… love. Not loving but IS love. We know we have only one God. Yet, love requires more than one. That’s where the idea of the Trinity comes from. If God IS love, there has to be more to the story. In the stories of the Bible, we hear mentions of God creating, and Jesus, the Son, coming to save, and the Holy Spirit, the Sustainer, helping us be aware of God’s presence. Even though it sounds like three gods, there is only one.
We can grasp this more with our hearts than our heads. In the one God, there is fellowship and intimacy. Each of the persons is one in being, yet distinct – loving and serving. It’s a mystery. We can’t really get our heads around the idea of it. Whenever we try, it slips from our grasp. What’s important is not what we know or understand about the Trinity. Instead, we focus on the understanding that God IS love and community. What does that mean for us?
Today, we hear the end of Matthew’s Gospel, Jesus’s last words before he is taken into Heaven, “Go! Make disciples. Baptize in the name of God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.” (There’s the Trinity image). “Teach what I have commanded.” (Remember Jesus’s command at His last supper?) “Love one another as I have loved you!” And HOW are we to do all that? Jesus tells us to “REMEMBER, I am with you always.” That’s the Holy Spirit dwelling in each one of our hearts. We celebrated that in worship last Sunday.
YOU are called to break open your heart, and receive the grace of God who IS love. We get to be part of THAT dance. It’s what grounds us as followers of Jesus. It’s what grounds our mission as a congregation of faith, following Jesus. If God, (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit) isn’t at the center of who we are and what we do, then we’re just a social club who happens to receive weekly Communion.
May the one true God guide you and keep you. May the Blessed Three enfold you in their joy. May God the Creator, who created you in the image of God, re-create you daily, as a child of love. May the Son of God, embodied in Jesus of Nazareth, equip you daily for the service to which he is calling you. May the Spirit of God cleanse you of anything that may impede your service and witness, comfort you in grief or loss of any kind, and empower you in the pursuit of justice, peace, and freedom for all God’s people. Amen.