This is Trinity Sunday, the appointed day for us to celebrate, proclaim, and – on some level – try to explain to doctrine of the Trinity. It’s a day dedicated to that central, crucial Christian belief that there is One God in Three Eternal Persons, that the Father is God, the Son is God, the Holy Spirit is God, but there are not three gods, but one; perfectly united, existing in a way far above and beyond anything in the created world.
Now, as it happens, it’s also my last Sunday as your rector… so naturally, I guess I have to take this morning to try and teach you everything I know about the Trinity, right!?
…Or maybe I should just copy what Jesus said in the gospel today: (just look at it – how perfect) “I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now”. That might be more accurate!
If there is one thing I believe we should take away from Trinity Sunday, it’s this:
our God is more.
I could almost end it there. That’s what Trinity Sunday is all about. Whatever we wish God would be, however we would dream up a god in own image to meet our needs, the one true God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, is more. It should really be no surprise that God more than we can easily comprehend. A god you or I could figure out wouldn’t be much of a god at all.
But that’s the fundamental truth of this day: our God is more.
God is more than we could imagine.
Lots of people long for a saviour. Across all of human history, people have drempt up superhero stories, longing for a a messiah-figure to save them from the predicament they find themselves in. It’s fallen human nature to look for help on our own terms, isn’t it? To find a hero we can hide behind. We want a solution that we can understand, and that doesn’t ask too much of us (it’s like me wanting to get fit but not wanting to do any exercise!).
But one of the biggest proofs that the Trinity is real is, simply, it’s a description of God that is not self-serving. It’s not God made in our image; it demands real humility on our part. I mean, who in their right mind would cook up a plan to tell the world about a God whose nature we cannot accurately describe? It’s either crazy… or it’s real.
And we know it’s real – because in God, in the person of Jesus the Son, we don’t just get the saviour humanity is longing for. Our God is more: we find a saviour who calls us to be his apprentices, and expects us to learn from him and imitate him with our lives, to the point where the highest goal for each of us is to be like Jesus.
But God is more. In Jesus we don’t find a good teacher by human standards; no, when we fail we don’t get an angry note covered in red ink; when we act out we don’t get sent to the principal’s office: we get picked up and carried over his shoulder, as a good shepherd seeks out the smelly, stubborn sheep who wanders away.
A saviour who loves us; a teacher who calls us to be more; and a shepherd who picks us up and draws us back into the fold. That alone is more than we could imagine.
But there’s more. We don’t just have a saviour, teacher, and shepherd. There’s a loving Father, above and beyond all the failings of human parents, who is more than everything we think a father could be… and he’s the king who owns it all.
Lots of cultures, lots of people and nations since the beginning of time have drempt up a god who is a king, who demands their allegiance and service. But who would dream up that the eternal king would send his only Son to save us by his sacrifice, not to demand anything from us, but so that all who were willing could be adopted into the royal family as sons and daughters? You see, that’s the great message of this day: God is more.
And He operates through his Holy Spirit, all-powerful, almighty, yet gentle and wanting to co-operate with us from within. We serve a God who brought all of creation into being, and who will finally make all things new, and yet, scripture says, he won’t so much as blow out a smouldering wick or break a bent blade of grass; instead, he stands at the door and knocks; and if the door is opened, he moves in and starts renovating from the inside out. And, from within, God the Spirit calls you to be more like Christ; in actions, in words, in keeping quiet when your words don’t bring life and justice. Inspiring ordinary, broken people like you and me to do things that aren’t just pleasing to God, but which actually bring him glory.
God is more.
But God isn’t just more than we can imagine…
God is more than we could ask for.
If there’s one thing I hope this parish remembers from our three years together, it’s this: you need to dream big, you need to be bold, you need to stop making all the right, logical, reasonable excuses, and you need to remember that, God, working in us, can do infinitely more than we can ask or imagine. You need to remember that, if you’re seeking and doing God’s will, you will have everything you need. But if you want to wait until you rely on your on strength and rely on your own bank account, you’re guaranteed the opportunity God has in store will pass you by.
Trinity Sunday tells us that the God we serve is more than we could ever ask for, so let’s not limit what he calls us to do.
If anyone is hungry – anyone – whether that’s a physical hunger, or it’s that deep spiritual hunger, that ache in the pit of the stomach for those who don’t know the purpose of life and don’t know where to find that daily bread, God is the answer, who does he call to be part of the solution? You.
If anyone is thirsty – anyone – who is parched and dry and shrivelled up, who’s the answer? God is. And who does he call to be part of the solution? You.
Who knows someone who is lonely? Who knows someone where all they long for is not to have to do life alone? Who is the answer to human loneliness? God is. And who does he call to be part of the solution? You.
If anyone is wavering, wandering, flailing around making absolutely nothing of their life, going around without direction, having a great passion but nothing to invest it in except a bottle or worse, who will give us all the opportunities we ask for and more? God. But who does he call to share that message? You.
Do you know someone confused about the purpose of life? Confused about spiritual things, looking for something that makes sense? Sure you do. Who is the answer to all of those spiritual searchings and more? God is. And who does he call to be part of the solution? You… he wants you to invite those people to Alpha (so don’t let God and your neighbour down – ‘cause we believe you’re the solution God has sent!).
When we’re facing our own mortality, when we’re dealing with the fact that, until it’s remade by God, creation won’t last forever, that our bodies will wear out, some sooner, some later, who is the answer to all our hopes, who can drive away our fears? God. And who does he call to share that hope? You.
When we’re facing our failures and have to admit that we’ve missed the mark, that we can’t stand before God face-to-face and say “I did good, you owe me”, who is that source of boundless mercy and fathomless grace? God is. And to whom has he entrusted that message? You.
When we’re unsure of the future, when we’re certain our plans won’t work because there’s no sensible human reason why the least and smallest and weakest should ever succeed, who is the one who chooses the last and the least to do His work? God is. And who is God calling to be those through whom his glory does absolutely remarkable, unimaginable things? You.
And, my friends, when, like on Friday night, our cup is running over, we’re joyful, we’re feasting, we’re enjoying each other’s company, and we’re echoing the Gospel as we call out far and wide and invite any and everyone to come in and share in the feast, who’s the one providing the abundance? God is. And who does he want to experience that abundant life? You.
My friends, God is more. He’s more than we could ever imagine, and he gives more than we could ever ask.
But, as I leave you this week, as you go out into the future as those who have tasted and seen that the Lord is good, and who have heard, from my lips, time and time again, of the great opportunities that God has called you to, it’s time to take up the torch.
Be bold. Be faithful. Trust in God. And don’t ever forget, that God, working in us, can do infinitely more than we can ask or imagine.
Do you believe that?
…now keep living it… and all to God’s glory. Amen.