Sunday, June 15, 2014

Holy Trinity (A) 2014

+ In nomine Patris et Filii et Spiritus Sancti Amen +

Text: Matthew 28:19-20
Theme: Life With The Trinity

Dear friends in Christ Jesus,

Life is complicated. But not by design. By design life is unimaginably rich, let’s say, sophisticated. Yes, even complex. You heard the creation account moments ago. Complexity is an inbuilt blessing of the Creator. The complication is introduced by sin. Sin is the curse of poisoned complexity. The richness of life was compromised by the pitfalls of independence. So the sinner, in the honest, transparent reality of complete vulnerability before God is reduced to one necessity: Amnesty with Him. The Bible calls it peace, reconciliation, restoration, and eternal salvation, to name a few.

It’s no coincidence that our appointed Scriptures on this Holy Trinity Sunday include both the account of creation and the directive to proclaim the gospel to all of humanity. The God who creates is the God who redeems. The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit work in concerted effort to rescue sinners and reconcile them to Himself. He desires to restore to us the rich treasures of abundant life. Under Christ, the New Adam, the Head of the church, the Holy Spirit gathers, baptizes, and re-orders the people of God. Creation can only be understood in view of Christ’s work of restoring it to Himself.

There can be no human comprehension of the way in which God created the universe. We cannot peer back to the moment before time and matter came to exist. Science will never ‘re-enact’ the beginning of all things. It’s an impossibility! The Almighty God exists eternally- a concept beyond the limitations of our minds. God, in inaccessible and unknowable eternity, called creation into existence. He placed into being something completely other than Himself. There was now not only God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, self-existing, but there was also the object of His love. Creation was the benefactor of His expansive benevolence. Human beings are the crown of His creation. But things were soon in chaos.

Dear friends, if the peerless claim of the gospel is to be meaningful we must understand that the intent of God is a holistic and radical rescue of creation. The church doesn’t exist to simply mitigate the consequences of living in an imperfect world. Greater things are at stake.
The Bible says that all human beings are born in slavery to sin. Without help all souls would be lost inevitably to eternal destruction. Life is not about temporal peace and pleasure but communion with God. These truths are acutely relevant. They are pertinent to you. They are the context for the call of repentance.

Unload your sins. Pile them at the foot of the cross. Lay down your bitterness and resentment, your greed and your lust, your fear and your anxiety, your arrogance and indifference. He can bear them all. There is nothing too heavy for Christ to lift and nothing so sinister that He will turn away. There is no darkness that cannot be penetrated by His light. No one is beyond the reach of His redeeming embrace. He went to the cross to shed His blood for you. His sacrifice silenced Satan’s stinging accusations against you. His greeting of peace on Easter Sunday quenched the furor of death.

God’s word accomplishes things. Christ speaks the life-giving words of the Spirit. He raises us from the death of sin. He does this spiritually already in baptism. Ezekiel stood on the valley floor and prophesied to the dry bones and they came to life. Christ stood outside the tomb of Lazarus and commanded him to come forth. He says, “Truly, truly, I say to you, an hour is coming, and is now here, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live.”1 In the tension of this dying creation we can have peace, hope, and the certainty of eternal life. And in this truth we have the purpose of our existence.

The triune God says, “Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.”2 This is the purpose, the privilege, the calling of the baptized corporately, as the community of faith. It is a monumental challenge. But it’s not meant to be somber or intemperate. The call of Jesus is not to leave behind our jobs, our families, our friends, and passions. We’re not meant to be super-spiritualists showing our obedience by escaping the world. His call is to transform the world in those very vocations in which He has placed us.

Yes, we do have to take leave of our sinful desires and selfish agendas. Repentance demands humility, transparency, and self-denial. We can’t be serving Christ if we are unashamedly serving ourselves. Sacrifice is involved. Baptismal living means infusing the lives of those we are called to serve with love, hope, and truth. Typically this involves doing the hard yards of bearing with others in their difficulties. The glory of living out our calling, of participating in the making disciples of all nations and teaching them is not usually the high-profile experience of seeing people make dramatic conversions of faith. There is no promise we will convert others by our charisma. The Holy Spirit changes hearts.

We are called to faithfulness. Our high, holy, and priestly work involves the everyday modeling of integrity, persevering with others in the midst of their sicknesses, addictions, and weakness. It is life in the trenches; life under the cross. When the masses were organized for the allied D-Day landing in Normandy, France, only a few prepared in the security of distance and had the privilege of observation. Most were in the dark hulls of ships soon to be exposed on the beaches, bound for life in the trenches.

The Lord says, “Go!” The Spirit leads. Go. Go where? Go where people need the love of Christ. You don’t need a map. Go to your job, your school, and your retirement activities. Go to the hospital, the nursing home and the lonely dwellings of widows and the depressed. Don’t go with pretense but with sincerity. Go with your offering to support the mission of the church at home and abroad. Go with your prayers, your visits, your texts, your Facebook posts, and your tweets. Invite others to hear God’s word. Honestly tell them that here your life intersects with the Holy Trinity and the community of the faithful. Here is your true identity. Here you receive food for the soul. Here is peace that the world cannot give.

Perhaps your life is not as simple as you’d like it to be. Like me you’re a sinner and your life is surrounded by others like yourself. That complicates things. Things get messy. But Christ isn’t a hands-off coach or a distant consultant. He is with you in the midst of struggle. He says, “I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”3 He says, “I am making everything new!”4There is nothing we lack. We have His promised inheritance. Our place in His kingdom even now isn’t aimless; it serves the greater complexity of His rich design. “May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.”5 Amen.

+ In nomine Jesu +

1 John 11:25
2 Matthew 28:19-20
3 Matthew 28:20
4 Revelation 21:5
5 2 Corinthians 13:14

Holy Trinity
15 June 2014
Reverend Darrin L. Kohrt