I say again, Rejoice!

“[The Spirit] will glorify me, because He will take from what is Mine and declare it to you. Everything that the Father has is Mine; for this reason I told you that He will take from what is Mine and declare it to you.”

I am so thankful you have chosen to worship with us this Sunday as we reflect on the mystery of God.

This is one of those fun days in the life of the Church where the congregation sits back and watches the pastor as he tries to explain the unexplainable, as he invents poor analogies and repeats fanciful stories thinking they might cover his inability to really get at the core of Who God is. It is like watching a slapstick comedy, people tripping over shoelaces and tumbling about in an effort to get from one side of the stage to the other.

Besides the tumbling about, we must wonder why so many try. All of you, the members of Christ’s body, the Church, dwellers in the Kingdom, are not even looking for an explanation. You keep it simple. We adore one God in three Persons. You own this mystery. You view this mystery practically – not in its academic analysis, but in what it really is. I’ll talk about that in a moment.

First, I want us to imagine that moment we get to heaven. We’ll be standing there at the gates. We might come to the gates with an agenda – what is God like, where’s mom and dad, my best friend, those I love? Oh yes, that one thing I could never figure out… Then God will reveal Himself to us in all His majesty, His presence, as He is, and we will finally get it. Our questions and wondering will be gone. It will be so simple that a child could figure it out. It will be so beautiful we will feel its overwhelming power.

So, what is God really, what is this great but quite simple mystery? God is the totality of mutually communal love. God created us in the world to share in that communion of love.

This means that we, created in the image of God, are made to fulfill communal love in relationship one to another and to God and all His creation.

St. John captures Jesus’ intimate communion with His Father and how we would be brought into that communion, how we would share in that same relationship, through the Holy Spirit. “[The Spirit] will glorify me, because He will take from what is Mine and declare it to you. Since Jesus dwells in the totality of mutually communal love – the Spirt Who Himself dwells there takes from that and gives it to us.

That is why the Holy Spirit dwells with us, to constantly call us into the joy of mutually communal love with God and each other – just what it means to dwell in the kingdom.

So let us not reflect so much on mystery but rather rejoice and rejoice again living filled, fulfilled, and sharing in the love of God. It is that simple.

Mystery & Challenge

“Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.”

Trinity Sunday, and every pastor is suddenly digging into the Church Fathers, the great theological treatises, and some good old-fashioned bad analogies so they can explain the mystery of God to their congregations. I even witnessed a brother in the clergy ask an entire group: ‘How are you going to approach this Sunday?’

I am thankful, not because I have the answers, but exactly because I do not, nor do I have to try. There is no theology, no treatise I can share that adequately captures the mystery of God: Father, Son, and Spirit. What I can share is the word I will now repeat for the third time: Mystery.

People love to solve mysteries and expend a whole lot of energy trying to do exactly that. They engage in an effort to unlock the secret of God’s self-revelation as Father, Son, and Spirit, and in doing so focus on the wrong mystery. We must ask then, what mystery does God wants us to focus on?

Indeed, God has called us to do something far different. He challenges us to focus on a different mystery, one easily solvable. His challenge is far different than a scientific study of an unfathomable mystery. God calls us to spend our time on the mystery and challenge of love.

I told the brother who asked: Skip the bad analogies and focus on the attributes of God.

You see, people get to know one another through the attributes they see in the other. He or she is good, caring, spends time, is cautious, is deep, likes to share. We get to know people that way. So, it is with God. How do we know His mystery? It is through His attributes and the attribute of the Trinity that has been and is ever before us is the attribute of love.

The mystery of love is God’s challenge to us. When He said: Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you He was not speaking of any other rule, any other thing than love. Teach, show, and welcome in love.

See how God has revealed His love: In creation – particularly that of humanity, saving His people, rescuing them, and finally sending His Son and punishing Him for our sakes, sending the Holy Spirit to be with us. Even though we may ignore His call, He remains with us. He tells us, we have the Son’s inheritance even though we would otherwise be unworthy. All because of God’s attribute of conquering love.

Love’s mystery is the call to give fully for the other. How can we do that? The answer is that we, as God’s children, can do it exactly because God loved us first in Jesus. God showed us all His love. Now we understand the mystery and set out to live the challenge of love.