It’s one of my favorite days of the year—a beautiful spring day, a long weekend, perfect time for barbecues and hiking. It’s the Lord’s day, a day the Lord has made, and I think we ought to rejoice, if we can, in it. This is one of the high holy days of our Christian calendar—the day we celebrate with special focus the Holy Trinity, our God. We’ve celebrated the enfleshment of the Word at Christmas, we’ve seen the revelation of Jesus as the Son of God at Epiphany, we’ve walked with Jesus in his obedience to the Father all the way through Lent to the cross on Good Friday, we’ve rejoiced with the scattered and scared band of apostles at the Resurrection of their Lord and our Lord on Easter, we’ve felt the rush of the mighty wind of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, becoming visible so briefly as fire and audible in the preaching of the apostles. In this, the church calendar is a story—it takes place over time, with a purpose and a plot, at once a romance and a tragedy. But today that story stops, and we take another layer off the curtain—and when we do it, we see a mystery. At some point, when we end up messing with God, everything stops, our mind fails, and we simply get overwhelmed by God.
That’s what we’re here for, today. I can’t promise you that you will be overcome by awe today. I’ve done my best to include all the majestic Holy Trinity hymns, but I suppose they might get a little ponderous by the end. They might get a little…awful. But I can promise you this: Today you get to receive, like Isaiah that purifying and life-giving ember that cleanses you and strengthens you and stands you up to speak to the world—the truth. And the first thing that I believe we need right now is the assurance that there is truth and we can know it and trust it. The truth comes not from a flag, or a border, or a culture, or a race, or a nationality, or anything else that has emerged for good or evil on this earth. The truth—very truly I tell you, says Jesus—is God, comes from God. Anything that is true we do not have to fear, because truth comes from God.
Now I know that it the concept of truth has been used in all sorts of horrible ways, just as the concept of awe, and all the other moments we hear in our reading today. But this why we celebrate the Holy Trinity—not only is God awe and wonder, but humble service and love, meant for the flourishing of all people. The truth is inclusive and sanctifying. It lifts up, rather than puts down. The truth has room for everybody, and weaves people in. We celebrate truth today. And the truth is we celebrate the Holy Trinity because the Holy Trinity makes us Christian. The Holy Trinity makes us holy.
The Holy Trinity makes us holy. Sometimes you’ll hear people call the Holy Trinity Creator, Redeemer, and Sanctifier. This is wrong, because all three persons of our God are Creator, Redeemer, and Sanctifier. The Holy Trinity makes us holy—all three of those words. Makes: before time, the Holy Trinity called forth the stars and the planets and delighted in creation. Us: The Word became flesh and lived among us so that we can become family with God—all of us transformed so that unlike Isaiah, we can rejoice to see God face to face. Holy: The Holy Trinity renews us and forgives us and cleanses us—all three persons work within and without us to lead us into holiness. The Holy Trinity makes us holy—the Holy Trinity makes us bearers of embers to the world.
We live in a time when the truth is under attack. We always live in the wreckage of history, trying to build with parts of this philosophy and that theory from the past: but it’s true now that truth is under assault in ways many of us could not have imagined. Now, like the slavers of old, our government is separating children from their parents. Like Russia, our government is using the threat of separating families to strike fear and intimidate people it doesn’t like. Like the ghettos in the 30s, our government marks with yellow the people it considers undesirable. Like the regime in Rwanda, our leaders are calling whole groups of people animals, so that when it comes time to commit these foul acts of separation, it soothes the conscience. Do not underestimate the power of propaganda and the delight human beings take in sin. Human history is replete with this. Tomorrow ask yourself: did our veterans die for this? Is the freedom our soldiers fought for? The truth is, true freedom and true life comes only from God. Christ came not to condemn the world but to save it. If we want to be a so-called Christian nation, we would do well to consider the lost and forlorn, the sinful and the needy, and, like the Holy Trinity, fully enter into their lives to accompany and save.
Our creeds are symbols of truth. I don’t care what anybody says, today billions of people will be proclaiming their faith with the words of the Nicene Creed. I do not exaggerate. And for almost two millenia, Christians have been proclaiming this creed together. It is the faith of billions of people today, and billions who have gone before, and trillions who are to come, should we not blow up this world in the meantime. This is perhaps the greatest sign of love and unity that human beings possess, save for our own flesh and blood. And in this we confess that even God shares our flesh and blood. We are made, redeemed, and made holy by the Holy Trinity. This is truth for us to trust and proclaim and bear to the world. Amen.
The Reverend John Flack