Holy, Holy, Holy
- Isaiah 6:1-8
- Psalm 29 or Canticle 2 or Canticle 13
- Romans 8:12-17
- John 3:1-7
Trinity Sunday is different from most feast days on the liturgical calendar because it celebrates a doctrine of the Church rather than an event in Jesus’ life. The Trinity is the Church’s answer to theological questions that were raised during the first three centuries C.E. and still persist today. Even after the formulation of all the Creeds, much remained to be done to reach a full definition. Scripture contains hints of the threefold nature of God; but nowhere in the New Testament is there a complete, explicit statement that tells us everything there is to know about the Trinity. However, today’s texts give us some understanding of the mystery of God as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
Our Old Testament reading is a compelling vision of the Prophet Isaiah, who gives the date for the beginning of his ministry as the “year that King Uzziah died” (v. 6:1) which was probably around 736 B.C.E. This vision unites heaven and earth, as Isaiah sees the Lord enthroned in the temple. But this temple is more than an earthly building, as the train of the Lord’s robe is enough to fill the structure. The Lord is attended by six-winged seraphs who sing the familiar threefold Sanctus we sing at every Eucharist: “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts.”
In Paul’s letter to the Romans, we receive a different picture of God – one of parent. Paul begins by stating that we are flesh, but God is Spirit. God has given us the gift of the Spirit, thus by adoption we become children of God. By being present with us, the Spirit enables us to know and to call upon God as Abba, our Father, just as Jesus did.
Through Nicodemus’ dialogue with Jesus, we learn that as Father, God offers us boundless love (John 3:16). God the Son is the one who came down from heaven and through whom we have eternal life (3:11-15). And finally, God the Holy Spirit infuses our lives in mysterious and surprising ways (3:3-8).
The doctrine of the Trinity is our human attempt to translate our experience of God into a theological statement. It is one of the great mysteries of faith in which we attempt to describe the many aspects of God that continually works in our lives and in the world.
- How have you personally experienced God as Father (or parent), as Son, and as Holy Spirit?
- In what sense do you feel wind aptly describes being born of the Spirit? What is your experience with such wind?