2 Corinthians 13.11–13
Last week, I said that while preachers often feel the Trinity Sunday is a hard gig, I really feel that Pentecost is the hardest day to preach and to do justice to the message.
Today, I’m not so sure. Trinity may be the hardest day to preach after all. But here goes!
‘Trinity’ is the best way we have to speak of the unutterably great, incomprehensible God who came to earth in Jesus Christ and who comes to earth today as Holy Spirit.
God is unutterably great; God is beyond the understanding of our best minds. God has come to us as a human being, Jesus of Nazareth, exactly as we are yet without sin. God is poured out upon us as the Spirit of Jesus, the Spirit of God.
When the New Testament speaks of God, it often links God our Father with Jesus the Son.
For example, Paul begins 2 Corinthians like this:
Grace and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
It is clear from the New Testament that we can’t think of God, we can’t talk about God, we can’t know God without Jesus the Son.
And then the New Testament also speaks of God in a threefold way, so Paul ends 2 Corinthians with these very familiar words:
The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with all of you.
And there are other places too. For example Galatians 4:
God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, ‘Abba! Father!’
Or Ephesians 4:
There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to the one hope of your calling, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is above all and through all and in all.
There are other examples, but let’s look at the closing verses of Matthew’s Gospel. Here, the (singular!) name of God is given as Father, Son and Holy Spirit:
Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you.
And that’s the Name we use of course, whenever we baptise anyone. The name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.
I wonder what would happen if we only baptised people in the name of the Father? Or just the Son? Or just the Holy Spirit?