Trinity Sunday (C) John 16: 12-15
Baptism of Beatrice Kathryn Huen
Holy, holy, holy! Lord God Almighty! Early in the morning our song shall rise to thee: Holy, holy, holy! Merciful and mighty, God in three Persons, blessed Trinity.
Grace to you and peace on this spring Sunday, in so many ways the doorway to the summer season ahead. Memorial Day Weekend, of course, a national holiday to honor the fallen of our nation’s wars, and in the ecclesiastical realm Trinity Sunday, the last great event and occasion of the Church calendar: Advent, Christmas, Epiphany, Lent, Holy Week, Easter, Pentecost, Trinity—and now stretching out before us the long “green season” of ordinary time through the summer and fall. One last bright and energetic flourish of trumpets and choir. “By invocation of the same, the Three in One, and One in Three.” “God in three Persons, blessed Trinity!”
And if there’s one word to center on for Trinity Sunday: “glory.” Certainly in our readings. Paul in Romans: “Since we are justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have obtained access to this grace in which we stand; and we boast in our hope of sharing the glory of God.” And Jesus, in John 16: “When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all truth; for he will not speak on his own, but will speak whatever he hears, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. He will glorify me, because he will take what is mine and declare it to you. All that the Father has is mine.”
Perhaps you remember the really wonderful Robert Duvall film, “The Apostle,” where that word echoes again and again, a recurring prayer and exclamation, almost a kind of mantra, with this sense of a vision and experience of and trust in God’s living and active presence in the midst of this very bleak and hardscrabble and sometimes brutal world. “Glory, glory, glory.”
Back in Exodus at the Burning Bush Moses says to God, “If someone asks me what the name of this God of mine is, what should I tell them?” And God replies not with a name, but with what sometimes sounds like a riddle: ‘ehyeh ‘asher ‘ehyeh. The verb to be, repeated in a somewhat odd, difficult to translate, construction, past imperfect. “Was and is.” As the hymn has it, “who was and is and is to be, for aye the same.”
A God whose very Name is a verbal construction including past, present, and future tenses. The Trinity is the frame of the whole glorious story, the bottom line, the Alpha and the Omega, where we begin and where we end, all in him. The bright burst of fireworks, the quiet rhythm of a single beating heart. The morning of Creation, the angels over Bethlehem, the Manger, the Cross, the wild wind and flames of Holy Spirit. One like a Son of Man, rising in the East and coming on the clouds. The Holy City, New Jerusalem coming down from Heaven, a bride adorned for her bridegroom. God with us. All to lift up with one voice: Glory, glory halleluiah. The whole choir singing, all of us.
And so wonderful on this day of the calendar to add the exclamation point of a baptism! Beatrice Kathryn . . . .
In the 28th Chapter of Matthew’s Gospel. “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, to the close of the age.”
The Great Commission. More going on in that baptismal font than we can see with our eyes. A splash of water. A promise. A remembering. A hope. The love of Jesus, the message of his Cross. “And I when I am lifted up from the Earth will draw all men unto me.” A Trinitarian affirmation not simply for the Sunday after Pentecost as a liturgical formula or as a theological template, but the mission statement of the church and our reason for being, our call to action for every Sunday, and for every Monday—for every day and every hour. Everything that is of the Father’s glory shared fully with the Son. Everything of the Son, shared fully in the Spirit. And all that, for us. “He will glorify me, because he will take what is mine and declare it to you.” It’s not just his name, but as we have sung in the great Breastplate of St. Patrick, it is now who we are.
His Name we bind to ourselves. Our identity now. That we might take a moment each morning as we look into the mirror to say, “I am a Christian. His Name is my name. “ Emmanuel. God with us. Take seriously and with intention the words that Beatrice Kathryn’s parents and godparents will speak on her behalf and on our behalf. All of us, renewed in the baptismal mystery. Dying with Christ, rising with him. Do you turn to Jesus Christ and accept him as your savior? I do. Do you put your whole trust in his grace and love? I do. Do you promise to follow and obey him as your Lord? I do. To live those three promises, and it is all glory. A splash of water. A new name. Holy, holy, holy. Father, Son, Spirit. All glory be to thee, O Lord most high . . . .
And now, I would ask Beatrice Kathryn Huen’s family and godparents to come forward, as we do just exactly what Jesus told us to do.