Field of Dreams: if you build it, they will come!

Trinity Sunday
May 26, 2013, 3:19 pm
Filed under: Sermons

A sermon preached at All Hallows, Easton, Sunday 26th May 2013

Every priest, every morning, is supposed to say Morning Prayer; and in our Book of Common Prayer that includes the Apostles Creed, the short one we say at Baptisms. But today, and on a few other days, there is a much longer Creed- not the one we say each Sunday at Mass, but one called the Creed of St Athanasius. St Athanasius was Bishop of Alexandria about three hundred years after Christ, but whether it was actually he who composed this Creed I don’t know.

It begins, “Whosoever will be saved: before all things it is necessary that he hold the Catholick Faith.” It goes on, “And the Catholick Faith is this: That we worship one God in Trinity, and Trinity in Unity.” There is a lot more, but the drift is that, as Christians we believe in One God, who is yet in some way Three.

Words are sometimes helpful, but they always fall short of the reality we are talking about. This is especially true when we are talking about God, because God is always bigger than anything we can say about him. All our words, and all our pictures, fall short.

rose2All the same, I am going to try to give you a picture, and talk about it. Here is a little rose-bush. It is one plant. We believe that there is only one God. That means that all believers (in whatever way their particular ideas about God fall sort) are worshipping the same God. There isn’t any other. Jews, Muslims, Christians may have different pictures in their minds, but it is the same real God that they are trying to imagine, the same God that they worship.

Our Christian belief, based on the Bible and the teaching of Jesus, is that this One God presents himself to us in three distinct ways. We say “three Persons”, but these Persons are not like human persons, three separate beings; they are more like what psychologists might call “three personae” of a single Being.

This rose has a root. You cannot see it, because it is under the soil, but everything else grows out of it. Think of God the Father as the “root” of the Holy Trinity. Everything, including the Son and the Holy Spirit, comes from him.

The Son is God revealing himself, especially revealing himself in Jesus Christ. Some old Christian writers call the Second Person the “Beauty” of God. The flower of the rose is beautiful, it is what we first think of when we talk about a rose. But the flower and the root are one and the same plant, the one comes from the other. Think of Jesus Christ as the flower or blossom of God.

What, then, is the Holy Spirit? Well, a rose has scent- invisible, but able to fill a whole room, a perfume that you can breathe in. the word “spirit” means “breath”. It comes ultimately from the root, through the flower, and permeates everything. You can detect the scent of the rose even when you cannot see the rose.

rose1So one rose-plant has a root, a flower and a scent. Actually, a real rose bush has many flowers, so this is one way my picture falls short. But we can still use it, if we think of Jesus as the first and chief of the flowers, but we are called to be Christ-like, little copies of Jesus, but still giving out the same scent. We are, as it were, “adopted” by the rose-bush.

Everything we are and everything we have comes from God the Father, through Jesus Christ. We breathe in the very Breath of God, and should ourselves give out a spiritual perfume or scent that attracts others to God too.


1 Comment so far
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A very beautiful and helpful way to understand. Thankyou.

Comment by judithlee1

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