Trinity Sunday 2017 Iuka/Flora, Psalm 8
A man confessed to going to church only once a year. He didn’t choose Christmas or Easter to fill his spiritual tank for the next 364 days. He chose Trinity Sunday. “Because,” he admitted, “I love to see the preacher get so confused trying to explain the Trinity.” This is that Sunday today, Trinity Sunday, as we confessed in the Athanasian Creed, the Sunday devoted to the blessed Holy Trinity and the undivided Unity of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. However, St. Augustine cautioned, “If you think you understand it, it’s not God.” Even with interlocking circles and triangles, we fall far short of grasping the greatness of our awe filling God.
Therefore, I turn our attention to Psalm 8 in which the writer exclaims, “Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth! You have set your glory above the heavens.” No explanations. Only an exclamation of praise to the Lord who created the heavens and the earth, who brought light out of darkness, order out of chaos, whose strong word ordered the seasons to run. His fingers set the moon, stars, planets, and comets in their place like an artist creating a mosaic on the vault of heaven. All of creation, from Super Novas to nursing babes tell the wonders the Lord has done.
The Psalmist asks, what are we that the Lord of quarks, atoms and neutrons should think about us, here on this third rock circling a middling star we call the sun? We should Know that humans are not an afterthought, but the crown of creation, slightly less than heavenly beings. God already had a pattern in mind when he reached down and formed the first lump of mud into man. Christ, is who God had in mind. St. Paul calls us to have the mind of Christ among ourselves. That’s the way we were created with a mind turned toward Christ as the pattern for our life, that we might run to him, and in running to Christ we are running toward God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Christ was not an afterthought either. For St. Paul tells us in Ephesians “God was making known to us the mystery of his will, which he set forth in Christ, from before the foundation of the world.” And to all that, God said, “It is good, it is very good.” He blessed man and gave him governance over his creation from the purple mountain majesty to the fields of golden grain, from the mighty Mississippi to the wandering Skillet Fork, to care for it in his stead. Yes, this was all the work of the blessed Holy Trinity and the undivided Unity of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
But something went terribly wrong. Remember the story of the fox and the gingerbread man? An old woman baked a gingerbread man, who when she opened the oven, he ran. He outran the woman and her husband and the cow and the horse all the while taunting his pursuers,
“I’ve run away from a little old woman,
a little old man,
And I can run away from you, I can!”
But when he came to a river he needed some help, which a fox was glad to provide. At the fox’s invitation, the Gingerbread man hopped on the fox’s tale. But as they crossed the river the fox said he was getting too heavy and suggested he climb up on his back. Soon the fox coaxed the gingerbread to move up to his head which was still out of the water. Just when the gingerbread man was settled high and dry, the fox flicked his head tossed him in air, caught him in his jaws and gobbled him down.
Is that not the story of man, who was created to run toward God, but instead ran away? Isaiah describes it as everyone going astray, going his own way. And in the end, we are done in by the sly cunning unholy trinity of sin, death and the devil, who have an inexhaustible hunger to devour what God has made.
But the blessed holy Trinity in their undivided unity had a plan. The Son would be born of the Virgin Mary through the overshadowing of the Holy Spirit. This is how the psalmist describes it, He was made, for a little while, a little lower than the heavenly beings. He was, as we confessed, “perfect God and perfect man, equal to the Father with respect to His divinity, less than the Father with respect to his humanity.”
He was the good news we needed, a Savior, Christ, the Lord, a nursing infant laid in a manger, of whom angels sang and to whom shepherds ran to see this thing that the Lord had done. This was Jesus, whose fingers touched the unclean leper taking his uncleanness upon himself and giving him health of body and of soul. This was Jesus who said that if you have faith no larger than a mustard seed you could tell the majestic purple mountains to move and they would. This was Jesus who plucked the golden grain as he walked along the fields on the sabbath. This was Jesus who prayed in Gethsemane under the stars his fingers had set in place, that if it were possible let the cup of his suffering and death be removed, but if not, then the Father’s will must prevail. This was the blessed Holy Trinity in their undivided unity at work for us and for our salvation.
Thus, according to the plan and foreknowledge of God, Jesus was crucified. But also, according to God’s plan He raised Jesus from the dead, for death can have no permanent dominion over him. He is now seated at the right hand of God in all power and will finally return to destroy, our last enemy death.
So, we are gathered here today, 21 century disciples, not on a mountain but on the plains of Marion County (Clay County) at the end of Trinity Lane (at Faith church in Flora) to worship him. At that last gathering on the mountain in Galilee, his disciples worshipped him. But this was not a perfect church, for there were only 11, not 12, in the loss of Judas they lost nearly 10% of their membership. And even their worship was not perfect for doubt lingered among them. Yet our gracious Savior did not reject them, he announced that all authority in heaven and on earth had been given to him. And now he was sending them, imperfect and doubting as they were, to go and make disciples baptizing in the name of the Holy Trinity, who lives in undivided unity. He who came into the world as Immanuel, God with us, before he left he issued one last blessing that he is still Immanuel, “With us to the end of the age.”
O Lord, our Lord how majestic is your name in all the earth.