Sunday, June 11, 2017
2 Corinthians 13:11-13
Glory be to the Father
and to the Son
and to the Holy Ghost.
As it was in the beginning,
and ever shall be,
world without end.
“Doxology” is Greek for “praise-words.” This particular doxology is commonly known as the “Gloria Patri,” which is Latin for “Glory to the Father.” The fact that these words have been handed down to us through ancient languages should tip us off, that people have been saying and singing these words for a long time.
This Sunday, we will praise “God in three persons, blessed Trinity.” Trinity is what we call one God Who is always Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
[Hundreds of years ago in the English language, the word “Ghost” used to mean what the word “Spirit” still means today]
The New Testament part of the Bible contains numerous mentions of God as Father, Son (Jesus Christ) and Holy Spirit. Perhaps the most vivid of these is when Jesus gives his last earthly farewell to his disciples, according to Matthew 28:19-20 :
“All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 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, and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
I myself especially love this one, from Romans 8:11: If the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will give life to your mortal bodies also through His Spirit that dwells in you.
However, the word “Trinity” is not found in the text of the Bible. A Christian teacher named Tertullian seems to have invented that word, some time before A.D. 200, to express that there is only one true God, Whom we address as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit: tri (three) + unity (one).
The classic creeds of the Christian faith try to help us express what it means for God to be Three-in-One. The Nicene Creed, which was developed by Christian leaders between A.D. 325 and A.D. 381, says this:
We believe in one God, the Father, the Almighty,
maker of heaven and earth,
of all that is, seen and unseen.
We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ,
the only Son of God,
eternally begotten of the Father,
God from God, Light from Light,
true God from true God,
begotten, not made,
of one Being with the Father;
through him all things were made.
For us and for our salvation he came down from heaven,
was incarnate of the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary
and became truly human.
For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate;
he suffered death and was buried.
On the third day he rose again in accordance with the Scriptures;
he ascended into heaven
and is seated at the right hand of the Father.
He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead,
and his kingdom will have no end.
We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life,
who proceeds from the Father and the Son,
who with the Father and the Son is worshiped and glorified,
who has spoken through the prophets.
We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church.
We acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins.
We look for the resurrection of the dead,
and the life of the world to come. Amen.
Yes, that is a lot to take in. You might say it’s a mission impossible. Our mission, should we choose to accept it, is to seek God and give God praise and glory. So in preparation for Trinity Sunday (and for the rest of your life), pray and contemplate our God the Three-in-One.
Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.