Click here for Sunday Worship Material



By Kathy Gionis

Today is Trinity Sunday, and as Christians we understand that God is “Three in One”. God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. This is not an easy theological concept and it is a concept that is most likely better experienced than explained. Matthew 3:16 says, “As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on him.” Most of us probably have pictures in our minds from Sunday School or children’s books of what this must have looked like.

In Matthew, Chapter 28 verses 19-20, Jesus gives the Great Commission to the eleven disciples after his Resurrection: “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and to teach them to obey everything I have commanded you.”

When Jesus was confronted by one of the teachers of the law about which commandment was the most important one, Jesus prefaced his answer with, “The Lord our God, the Lord is One.” Mark 12: verse 29.

John 1:14 says: “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.”

So, noting that this is Trinity Sunday, and the Scripture reading is from Chapter 16 of John, the little tidbit that we get is part of a larger discussion that Jesus had with his disciples immediately after the Last Supper in Jerusalem and the night before his crucifixion. This Farewell Discourse is given by Jesus to eleven of his disciples and is contained in four chapters, chapters 14-17. Jesus tells the disciples that he will be going away and that he will send the Holy Spirit to guide them.

Jesus instructs them to live in peace and commands them to love one another. “Love one another as I have loved you.” He tells them, as in today’s reading, that when the Spirit comes, he will guide the disciples and, “He will declare to you the things that are to come”. John 16:13(b). Wouldn’t it be nice that if over the past couple of years, we would be blessed with knowing what the future was going to hold? Instead, we have all experienced a rather chaotic time of it. Our life routines have been turned upside down. Our predictable and consistent life-style of work, family, church and leisure are no longer predictable. So, we don’t know the things to come, and neither did the disciples. In this discourse, Jesus is giving them instructions for when he is gone. Jesus tells the disciples he will go to the Father and reassert his divine relationship with Him. Jesus affirms his relationship with the Father and tells the disciples, “If you know me, then you will also know my Father”. “Whoever has seen me, has seen the Father.” He commands the disciples to love each other and informs them of the arrival of the Holy Spirit. He wants to give them the gift of peace and of courage. He advises them that they will be the objects of conflict and hatred, just as Jesus was, for no reason or for no cause. Jesus is the worried parent here, giving instructions to the disciples to carry on his work that He started. In our reading today, Jesus is telling them that the Spirit will come and guide them. The disciples have important work to do and Jesus is telling them how they can be in touch-through the Holy Spirit.

These four chapters focus on bringing God the Father, Jesus the Son, and the Holy Spirit together and emphasize to the disciples that the way to the Father is through the Son, and the Spirit will be there to guide them. Peace and love were the messages that Jesus wanted the disciples to practice and to spread as establishing Christ’s new church. They were wildly successful when you look at the spread of Christianity worldwide and for over 2000 years.

I’m reading a book entitled, “All the Light We Cannot See”, by Anthony Doerr. Although it was published in 2014 and the paperback in 2017, the relevancy today, in 2022, since the invasion of Ukraine by Russia, is eerie and heartbreaking. The story takes place as Germany is preparing to invade Europe in the late 1930’s, and morphs into World War II and is about the lives that were changed forever or in many cases, prematurely ended, because of the greed for power, land, art, jewels, money, status. The insanity of what led up to the military invasions and kept it going is incomprehensible. It is a rottenness of the soul, an immorality, a selfishness and lack of compassion for one’s fellow human being. Poor Ukraine! Germany invaded Ukraine in the early 1940’s, much the same as Russia is invading Ukraine today. What has me completely baffled, is what are the invaders thinking? What are the leaders thinking?  I think that the vastness of the criminality in World War II was not really known until after the war. To think that invaders can march into another country and appropriate the culture, the art, the lifestyle, the wealth, the food, and just make it theirs. As though they are entitled to it.

So, it makes me wonder what the long-term plan is for the perpetrators of the Russian invasion. How much is enough? How much land, power, wealth, jewels, money is enough? What’s the point? We see “evil” written all over this.

This certainly is not the message that Jesus left with his disciples. I think there are lessons here for Christians all over the world. This can be a time to re-access our own lives and priorities.  How much worldly treasure do we need?  How can we lift up others not as fortunate as ourselves?  Can we take a stand when we see racial and social discrimination? How can we contribute to a caring and respectful analysis about our country and our goals and aspirations as a nation? Is it possible to have fruitful and courteous discussions with other people who don’t share our views?

If we are able to incorporate Jesus’ commandments to love one another and strive for peace in our souls, and to listen to the Holy Spirit, we are more apt to achieve a life of community and connection.   This is Trinity Sunday, a time when we celebrate the mystery that is the nature of God. A God that is one, but that is experienced and approached in three ways. God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.