Trinity Sunday 7th June 2020
Today, we celebrate the Holy Trinity, the Christian belief that God has been revealed to us as Father, Son and Holy Spirit. There are several, often quite complicated, doctrines of the Trinity. It is not an easy concept. One way to think of it is: Father – God at work as Creator, Son – God at work in Jesus Christ, and Holy Spirit – God at work in the world, through human beings.
Isaiah reminds us of the ultimate power of God – the Creator of the ends of the earth. Although God is all-powerful, he is intimately engaged in humanity – he gives power to the faint, and strength to the weary and powerless. Last week, we celebrated Pentecost, Jesus’ disciples receiving the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is God at work in the world, empowering and strengthening God’s people. Thus, Isaiah gives us a picture of God the Creator, and, the one and the same, God the Holy Spirit.
The Gospels tell us of God at work in Jesus Christ. In today’s reading, we hear of Jesus and his disciples on “the mountain”. Throughout Matthew’s Gospel, much has taken place on the mountain, even though it’s not specifically identified. Important things have happened on “the mountain”. Jesus is tested by the devil on a mountain in the desert. On the mountain in Galilee, we hear the Sermon on the Mount; Jesus prays on the mountain before walking on the lake to his disciples; he heals people there before the feeding of the four thousand; he is transfigured there in all his glory.
Now, at the end of Matthew’s Gospel, Jesus is commissioning his disciples, on the mountain. We’re told that some worshipped him, but others were unsure. Jesus tells them to go and make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
Disciple means ‘student’ or ‘apprentice’, a learner. Jesus tells his disciples to teach others everything he’s taught them – the teaching of the Sermon of the Mount, and Jesus’ life and actions, exemplified by all the things that happened on the mountain. Making disciples doesn’t mean converting people but teaching so that they may learn. They may be converted, but by God’s grace alone.
Matthew’s Gospel is self-fulfilling: “I’m teaching you and this is how you should teach others”. He’s teaching his readers what Jesus taught and said and did, and helping them to teach others, and through this, we are taught. We are all learners. Like Jesus’ disciples, we come to worship, and we sometimes doubt. Matthew writes his Gospel in the assurance of Jesus’ continued presence: “I am with you always”. ‘I am’, as we have thought about recently, is a name of God. The Holy Spirit is God’s continued presence in us. The Trinitarian God is with us always.
Updated 4th June 2020