“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”
This opening verse of John’s Gospel, chapter 1, verse 1, is a religious teaching and statement for the great minds of theology and philosophy. That leaves me out!
But this above verse takes us to the point I wish to travel to on this Feast of the Most Holy Trinity. The point being “the beginning.” Because is we hope to gather personal information about the God who created us, loves us, and sustains us, then we must travel for a moment back to the beginning.
In the old Baltimore Catechism, which some of you may remember –we won’t discuss how old that makes you today – it asks the question, “Why did God make you?” A good question. Thought-provoking. Intuitive. Inquisitive. Curious. I won’t ask anyone to raise their hand with the answer, although I’m sure a few of you have memorized the answer all these years. But you’re safe. No give and take here. But the answer to the question, “Why did God make you?” in the Catechism states, “God made me to know Him, to love Him, and to serve Him in this world, and to be happy with Him forever in the next.”
We have been made, not only to give praise and glory to our Creator, but to share the joys of heaven with those we know and love. This reminds us that there are no enemies in heaven. Jesus’ commandment to love your enemies has no need of application in heaven. It’s an earthly commandment that prepares us for heaven.
In the beginning, when God created time and space, there was a major void in God’s creation. Something was missing. The best part of creation was missing. It’s like a Red Sox player running out to his position at Fenway Park missing one Red Sock, a shoe, and his hat. The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit of baseball. Something was missing from creation. Something so personal that would reveal God’s very self. More than the rest of creation. That missing link, the missing part that made God’s creation whole, complete, and satisfying, was fulfilled in Adam and Eve. God found the special possession he was looking for and gave it life. In the beginning.
Not long after the beginning, we showed the bad side of our colors – but not our true colors – and we fell down. We fell into sin. When another person falls down in our presence, the instinct is to help them get up. But we don’t want those who fall to simply get back up. We want them to stay up. So that they don’t fall and stay down, forever. But rather that we be raised up, forever.
Thus, the beautiful, familiar words of today’s Gospel, where God so loved the world, he so loved what he called forth in the beginning, that he sent his only Son, so that everyone who believes that God loves us unconditionally, they might not perish, but might have life eternally.
These words that St. John wrote long ago reveal to us God’s true colors from the beginning. That our Lord is faithful to us and consistent with us. He is not a God who wavers. He is not a mind-changer, nor does the elevator of his heart go up and down on us. God is consistent. If we want to see what being inconsistent looks like, then all of us can take a peek in the mirror.
The coming of Jesus back then, and our Lord’s coming to us in a liturgical setting, and outside these holy walls when we leave, was and is ordained for the purpose of picking up a fallen race –from near the beginning, shortly after an apple episode – and making sure we stay up, even if we fall again.
At the heart of Trinity Sunday is the symbol of the Cross. The Cross of Christ is the purest symbol of unconditional love. The symbol of the manger at Christmas is also pure love. But the Cross, which is not possible without the manger, (the death cannot happen without the birth) is the reminder we need that we have been lifted up. That we don’t fall down and stay down.
For those times where we do fall momentarily, may we fall back on the words of Exodus today, “The Lord, the Lord, a merciful and gracious God, slow to anger and rich in kindness and fidelity.” Of one thought we are sure; we like a God who takes an awful long time to get angry. If there were lightning bolts for every sin we committed, the hair on our heads – or what little some of us have – would be standing 24/7 like a Swiss Guard protecting the Pope. We like a God – Father, Son, Spirit – whose mercy triumphs over justice, while keeping justice on the table.
As we celebrate the mystery of God today, may we carry forth in our hearts the measure of God’s love for us. That the Lord has not only picked us up from our own awful fall in the Garden. But has promised to us in the sending of his Son and in the sending of the Spirit that we were not created to stay wounded on the ground.
Trinity Sunday celebrates the God of love. He loves to bend down and pick us up so we can move forward toward our inheritance. It’s a love that releases us from our own faults, and fills us with the desire to do good, which was ordained for us from the beginning.