Three in One and One in Three = Truth

triThe Pas Trinity Sunday – Pentecost + 1
Year C
16 June 2019

Proverbs 8:1-4, 22-31
Psalm 8
Romans 5:1-5
John 16:12-15

Holy and undivided Trinity,
you are an eternal harmony of gift and response:
through the uncreated Word and the Spirit of truth
embrace us and all creation in your extravagant love;
through the Wisdom of God,
who raises her voice to call us to life. Amen.

Isn’t it interesting that, in today’s gospel, Jesus describes the Holy Spirit as “the Spirit of truth”? (Jn 16:13a)

At the same time, I find it interesting that what we, as humanity, search for the most in our lives is the Truth? (and we can put that in air quotes, and capitalize it, if we’d like: “The Truth”)

It seems that, throughout our lives, what we look for, what we constantly try to search out is that one immutable, unassailable, absolute, and indisputable truth; and when we find it, we often fail to recognize it for what it is, the working of the Holy Spirit, the love of God, the teachings of Christ.

So, today, in the wake of the arrival of the Holy Spirit, we celebrate the Triune nature of God.

Today we celebrate the God who Created us, who Redeemed us, and who, every day, Sustains us throughout the journey that is our lives.

But the best part is that this isn’t three deities who we celebrate today. Rather this is our One True God who loves us so much that there is nothing that God wouldn’t do to show that love, to guide our lives, and to always honour the Free Will that can and does throw a wrench into the works, from time to time. God wants to be a part of our lives, a part of every aspect of our lives.

This is our one God who is so full of love for God’s creation, including each one of us, that we have the sixty-six books of the bible in the Old and New Testaments. We have these books to show us how God has, in the past, and continues into the future, to interact with and in each of our lives, and the lives of our loved ones, as well.

We see this in the way that God is always urging us to live lives that honours that love toward us, around us, and through each of our lives for the benefit of not only each one of us, but for all of creation as well.

And we know that such love isn’t easy to acknowledge, to accept, or to live out to and through the world every day. In fact, it can be exhausting! But it is worth the effort.

In today’s gospel we can see Jesus being his usual clear cut, yet absolutely confusing self as Jesus reminds us of how much God loves us by sending us Jesus to teach us how to love as we are loved. To tell us how much that love continues to grow and to spread throughout the ongoing actions of the Holy Spirit, still, today.

And sometimes that love, that on going guidance, that revelation of Jesus teachings, of the intricacies of God’s creation can be elusive to our ears and our eyes.

And we can see this in Jesus’ words, today, as well. He tells us: “12 “I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear.” (Jn 16:12)

Jesus recognizes that glazed expression that means our brains cannot absorb any more information, now. And we all know that when we’re learning something, anything, we will get to a point where we can’t absorb any more information, at the moment, and that’s when we pray that the lesson will conclude soon. And that is what Jesus sees in each of our eyes, as well, in today’s gospel.

Some of you know how much I love using, writing with a fountain pen. I like the balance of the pen. I love that there is no pressure to make the letters, although my calligraphy is best left in the trash bin.

The pen I have, now, came with a refillable reservoir, and I have to admit that you can always tell when I’ve refilled my pen’s reservoir because there is ink all over my hands, and sometimes on the desk as well! And now this is compounded by the fact that while I was away, I acquired a steel-nib dip pen! And I love writing with it as well!

But in both cases, you’ll be able to tell when I’ve been writing near an open bottle of ink, because there’s ink on my fingers.

And this reminds me of how we can see the work of the Holy Spirit, today, God created so that we can have life, and love. Jesus came reinforcing God’s love for each of us in Jesus’ teachings, leading us to interact with, work through, and uphold God’s creation every day. But Jesus, being in human form, was unable to stay with us, and so, promised the Holy Spirit to guide us and lead us into the world to share what we know of God, and of Jesus.

We can see this in the way that Jesus describes the role of the Holy Spirit today. “he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come.” (Jn 16:13b)

Its like ink on the fingers, it’s just a little thing, but it gets everywhere, and affects the world around me with colour. The Holy Spirit affects our lives with that minor adornment, that shows the love of the triune God to all around us, and invites all of us to metaphorically, symbolically, and actually, to get ink on your, on our, fingers, as well.

Because we can take that out into the world and have someone ask us, why we have ink on our fingers? why we have a smile on our face? why we are acting as the stewards of creation in the world around us?

Jesus tells us all about the Holy Spirit. He says: “14 He will glorify me because it is from me that he will receive what he will make known to you. 15 All that belongs to the Father is mine. That is why I said the Spirit will receive from me what he will make known to you.”” (Jn 16:14-15)

Its that immutable truth that begins, and ends, with God’s words to each one of us “I love you.” And we find evidence of that love on all sides, and in every aspect of our lives, especially when we’re looking.

We find it in the fact that God not only created this beautiful world, but each one of us, as well.

We find it in the fact that God sent Jesus to us to teach us to love as we are loved by God.

In fact, John’s gospel explains this, in the conversation between Jesus and Nicodemus, when Jesus says: “16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.” (Jn 3:16-17)

And we find it in the fact that when Jesus left us and retuned to heaven, he didn’t leave us without God’s guidance. Rather, he told us to await the Holy Spirit who came into the world to “guide [us] into all the truth. 14 He will glorify me because it is from me that he will receive what he will make known to you.” (Jn 16:13b, 14)

And here is where we began.

Looking for that one, single, guiding truth. Looking for that one truth that never changes, no matter what is thrown at it, at us, or at life.

And that truth is that God loves us all. God loves each one of us. God love me. God loves this whole world that God created and filled with everything that God loves.

And this is the truth that the Holy Spirit tells us, reminds us, shows us, and guides us toward, every day.

This is the truth that surrounds us, and fills us and encourages us to go out into the world filled with this truth; filled with the love of God for all those who are still searching for this one immutable, absolute, unassailable, and indisputable truth of the universe.

But it begins here.

It begins with that life changing fact that each one of us deserves to be loved. No only by each other, but it begins with the realization that we love ourselves, because we are loved by God. And we know that this can be lifelong journey of self-realization in itself, but it is true.

Recently, I watched the Disney Movie “A Wrinkle in Time”. It’s a story written by the modern philosopher Maya Angelou. And the point it keeps coming back to, in its idea of good vs bad, right vs wrong, light vs dark, is that what undergirds absolutely everything in the universe is love.

In this movie, Love was a ‘frequency,’ that then enabled humans to travel from planet to planet. Love is the power to accept each of our own unique faults.

Love is what keeps us encouraging each other, reaching out to each other, offering the olive branch of forgiveness to each other, as well as standing up to each other to declare those words of love, and understanding, especially when they’re needed to be heard by us, by others, and, at the same time told by us, and by others, as well.

Love is the light that draws us all together and makes the world just that much brighter, just that much close to the world God envisioned at the moment of creation.

Now, this isn’t the confused romance novel kind of love. Rather, this is the kind of love that exists between all of the members of the family of God. It’s the kind of love that encourages us to look after the world in which we live, including each other, so that it’s here for many more generations to come.

This is the kind of love that emanates from just offering a stranger a smile as we pass each other, or a listening ear, and knowing that that smile, that ability to stop and to just listen came from God, from Jesus, through the action of the Holy Spirit, in each of our lives.

Because Jesus tells us: “12 “I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear. 13 But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come.” (Jn 16:12-13)

And this means that we’ll get ink on our hands because it means that we reach out to love, as we are loved, by God in three persons: Creator, Redeemer, and Sustainer.

It means that we look at that person in the mirror and declare “Hey Beautiful! You are Loved and you are Deserving of Love!” because that is what we hear, every day from the God who loves each one of us to the ends of the earth.

And it all comes back to the passage, today, from John’s gospel. It all comes back to Jesus words “13 But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come.” (Jn 16:13)

Because Jesus knows we need to hear God’s message of love and to feel the truth of that message not just today, but every day.

Not just when God created, and Jesus redeemed, but absolutely every day.

We need to be sustained in that love, through the messages, and the actions of the Holy Spirit, continuously.

So, God sent the Holy Spirit to remind us of all of this: to remind us of God’s love shown, told, and experienced, and we know that message comes from God and guides us in ways that are new to each one of us because God loves us / me / you / the stranger in our midst / the neighbour we never met, as well.


About pastorrebeccagraham

A Lutheran minister serving an Anglican parish in Northern Ontario.
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