The 3 men I admire the most: The Father, Son and the Holy Ghost.
I will begin and end this Sermon this Trinity Sunday with a quote from a song, that I am sure many of you know and perhaps love just like I do.
In my fond childhood memories this song plays as one of the dancing tunes that was played at my parents’ house, when they had guests. I remember how I sang along without having no clue what so ever what I sang in that foreign language of English; but I also remember that I loved the song, the melody, the words, the voice and the mood. And I still do and now I actually understand most of it!
This iconic song is by Don McClean. Do you remember it? It is called “American Pie”
1. A long long time ago I can still remember
How that music used to make me smile
And I knew that if I had one chance
I could make those people dance
And maybe they'd be happy for awhile
Did you write the book of love
And do you have faith in God above
If the bible tells you so
It is indeed a beautiful song. It is indeed an iconic song of its time reflecting on American History and Spirit and Music.
The last verse sounds like this on this fine Trinity Sunday:
“The lovers cried and the poets dreamed
But not a word was spoken
The church bells all broken
And the three men I admire the most,
The father, son, and the holy ghost
They caught the last train for the coast
The day the music died…. “
Today it is Trinity Sunday – the Sunday after Pentecost to celebrate our faith in the Triune God “ the 3 men I admire most, the Father, son and the Holy Ghost” But unlike the song, we believe and celebrate that they did indeed not catch the last train for the coast and the music did not die. We still believe they are here and we still sing our songs and hymns of praise.
Trinity is the celebration of the Triune God: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. We confess our faith in the Triune God Sunday after Sunday through the old words of the Apostle Creed. We confess that we believe God as the creator and father, we believe in God as the son Jesus Christ, we believe in God as the Holy Spirit among us and in us. We confess it Sunday after Sunday, but has it just become words that we say every Sunday without really thinking about them? Has the Apostle Creed become a lukewarm confession of old memory and tradition? Or like an old song in a foreign dusty church language that we sing a long, but really have no clue what we are saying?
Today as we celebrate and confess our faith in the Trinity, we should be challenged by the legendary story of St. Augustin, one of the church history finest thinkers and theologians:
St. Augustin was walking on the beach one day and in his great mind and profound faith mediating and wondering about the great mystery of Trinity; and he met a young boy. He had dug a hole on the beach and was relentlessly running back and forth to fil it with water.
“What are you doing? “St. Augustin asked the boy.
” I am trying to move the ocean into my hole!” the boy said.
St. Augustin as the kind better knowing adult said to the boy: “But that is silly and impossible!”
And the boy replied: “But your intent to understand the holy Trinity with your little human brain is even more impossible!”
Or like one of my favorite church jokes goes: The wife came home from Sunday Service and her husband looked up from the Sunday paper and said: “Sorry I did not go with you, - but my intelligence hinders my faith!” And the wise wife said: “Well, that is a small hindrance!”
Trinity is not just a line in the Bible (in fact the word, term or doctrine Trinity is not even mentioned in the Bible in forms later in the early days of Christian Confessional history), Trinity is not and should never be just a lukewarm creed that we repeat Sunday after Sunday without any clue, concerns, or questions.
Our Creed and our Confession are always an invitation to experience and explore. With these words of confessions man tried to capture the mere mystery of God in our human sentences. Man tried to fill the entire ocean in the hole ….
Truly the trinity is the greatest mystery of Christianity. We do believe in one God, but not a one dimensional one, but a 3 dimensional God. It is this mystery and this dynamic that is at the center of Christianity: God is not just a distant God, he is also a relation, love, and forgiveness embodied in the Jesus and in the blowing spirit.
At the end of the gospel Jesus sends his disciples and us into the world: Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy spirit. Math 28,19.
This is the Trinity unfolded by Christ, whit out saying Trinity by name, but giving us the image of God as Father, Son and Holy Spirit, - and this became the foundation of the traditions and teachings of the first church and it was unfolded in the old Apostle Creed.
“The 3 men that I admire the most,
The father, son and the holy ghost”
We believe we confess:
· We believe that God cannot just be described in one word and his entire being cannot just be understood through one expression.
· We believe and confess that God is more than we ever can understand and explain.
· We believe and confess that we need at least 3 ways to describe how God works and how God is:
As the distant creator, the mighty God who made our wonderful world and gave us breath and life. As the caring Christ in time who walked our paths, who talked our language, who touched people, who healed people, who loved people and gave hope. As the invisible, blowing Spirit, that from the very creation has been in the world and has been moving us and around us.
We believe and confess in one true God – but in a God who expresses himself/herself/itself in 3 different ways. Who is 3 in 1……. 3 in 1.
Today we celebrate and confess our faith in God in his 3 forms and expressions. Father, Son and Holy Spirit. The tree Christian symbols intertwined as the symbol printed in the bulletin.
Or as we also loving call the Trinity: Faith, hope and love. The tree Christian symbols intertwined as a Cross for faith, an anchor for hope and a heart for love.
The Holy Trinity is our celebration of the mysterious God, who cannot be described and captured with one word. Who cannot be limited to one expression. And who may surprise us in ways unforeseen and unspeakable.
The time of Trinity is the green time. The time of growth and harvest. We enter the green season now, as we have celebrated Christmas, Easter and Pentecost. We have heard the stories about God Father creating the world with word and spirit. We have heard the stories about God loving the world so much that he sends his son. And we have heard the stories about God sending his spirit to the world as the lifeline to God.
But even if the expression of the triune God has been told to us through these amazing stories and revelations, we are reminded today that God is not just past and history. The story does not end today…. But it begins anew every morning with us and our faith and our hope and our love.
We do not meet for Services just to look back at something that happened a long long time ago.
We do meet for services because we believe that God is still here, that God is among us right here and now. The Holy Spirit reminds us that God is not past, but present and future too.We are reminded that God is not a distant unchangeable God, who just minds his own business in his heaven above. God is a living dynamic God, not limited of time, but expanding time: past, present and future. Quite often we tend to limit God. To make him fit into our images and limitations. To make him fit in the hole.
Today: we listen to the old words from the Psalm. Today we listen to the old words from the New Testament. Today we sing the old words of the hymns of Danish Grundtvig, Swedish Carl Broberg, and other beloved hymns of the past. But today we will also sing a new hymn of Per Harling from 1990: You are holy/ Du ar helig.
We sing it because I think it is beautiful. We sing it because I think it is fitting today.And we sing it, the same verse, 3 times, we do celebrate the Trinity. And we sing:
“You are holy, you are whole. You are always ever more than we ever understand....”
God is always ever more than we may ever understand…. He is the beginning and the end, alpha and omega, he is the distant creator, he is the healing speaking talking and walking Jesus, & he is the ever blowing wind and spirit.
The Lovers cried and the poets dreamed
But not a word was spoken
The church bells all were broken.
And the three men I admire the most,
The Father, son and the holy ghost,
They caught the last train for the coast,
The day the music died…. I started singing….”
The Holy Trinity might have found their way to the west coast, but they certainly did not retire. The music did not die …and we are still singing and believing. Maybe we are singing along and confessing along without understanding every word and every creed, but as St. Augustine we have to remember that it is impossible to explain or understand the mystery of God fully with our human brain. That is the mystery of faith and also the beauty of faith…. We are never done exploring, experiencing, and finding new ways.
“You are holy, you are whole.
You are always ever more than we ever understand…”