Sunday of the Holy Trinity – Romans 10:8b, 10
Well today is the day! Today is that one Sunday of the Church Year where we confess that really long creed. Today is that one Sunday where we make the sign of the cross in remembrance of our baptism when the name of the Triune God was placed upon us. Today is that one Sunday where the prayers all reflect a three in one and one in three God. Today is that one Sunday of the Church Year where we speak the Gloria Patri, reflecting our faith in Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Today is the one Sunday of the Church Year where the hymns all confess the Trinity. Today is the one Sunday of the Church Year that we hear a sermon that is focused on that ever so complex notion of the Trinity.
Except it’s not.
That is the big secret about today, we call it Trinity Sunday, but really, every Sunday is Trinity Sunday.
Every Sunday, we begin the service in the name of our Triune God. Every Sunday, the collect and the Prayers of the Church are spoken in the name of Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Every Sunday we sing hymns and offer praises that confess a three in one, one in three God. Every Sunday we hear a sermon that points us to God the Father who made us, God the Son who redeemed us, and God the Holy Spirit who keeps us in that one holy Christian Church until the day when Christ returns in glory.
So you see, today is really just like every other Sunday.
Ok, but what about the creed? You have to admit that today, we really are saying a different creed than we do every other Sunday.
But are we?
Sure, the creed is on a different page in the hymnal, but the Athanasian Creed confesses the same thing the Apostle’s Creed and Nicene Creed do. All three confess the unity in Trinity and the Trinity in Unity; all three confess what one must believe in order to be saved. The Athanasian Creed may look different and it may sound different, but it is the same thing we confess each and every Sunday.
But this goes much deeper than that.
This is not just an every Sunday thing; this is an everyday thing.
Every day, Martin Luther reminds us to make the sign of the cross in remembrance of our baptism both when we rise and when we prepare for sleep. Every day we pray in the name of the Triune God. Every day, we confess with the mouth and believe with the heart the words of the Creed which expresses the faith that saves us.
There is no Trinity Sunday per se, because we live a Trinity life. We live a life that begins and ends with Father, Son and Holy Spirit. You don’t have a day where one person of the Trinity is missing, or where one doesn’t play a part; all three are present in your daily life, whether you are at home, work, or play, or gathered together here in the house of the Lord to pray, praise and give thanks.
And yet, as you might expect, Satan tries to convince you of the exact opposite.
For what does it truly mean to live a life in the Trinity?
After all, how many gathered today and sighed upon scanning the bulletin, knowing that today we were going to confess the creed that we are not as familiar with, and that speaks in a way that we often do not?
Is not the Apostle’s or Nicene Creed easier to say and easier to explain, if for no other reason than they do not contain that pesky phrase that this is what one must believe in order to be saved?
But it is not the actual speaking of the creed that concerns Satan, but whether or not you truly believe what you confess in that creed, regardless of which one we confess that particular day.
For what does it matter to confess that God the Father created you and all creatures, when you are already here? The work of creation is complete; you have already been created. And as for the richly and daily providing you all that you need to support this body and life, if that is true, then why do you work so hard? Why does your brow sweat, your back ache, your feet cry out in agony, as you must labor for the money that buys those things you need daily?
And what of this Son who redeemed you? That was a long time ago, are you sure it still works? You have committed a lot of sins over time, how can you possibly be sure that the blood that was shed on the cross is able to cover those sins? If you were truly a child of God, you would not have done all those sins that you commit in thought, word and deed; you surely would have not required the Son of God to come down and suffer in your place.
Which bring us to the Holy Spirit, who makes you holy, and keeps you in the Christian Church until the day that Christ returns; how is that working out for you? If He is to keep you holy, what about all the times when you are not so holy? How are word and water and bread and wine supposed to give you strength against the real world temptations of the devil and his legions?
And that does not even begin to get into the devil questioning your faith, asking you to explain this Trinity that you believe, teach and confess.
Of course, Satan does not need you to deny the whole Trinity, just one member of it. By denying one member, you will have denied the whole thing.
So you may believe that God the Father created the whole world and still cares and provides for it. But when Satan leads you to question the divinity of Jesus, and how the Son of God can die and rise, he has caused you to deny the Trinity.
Or when you fully believe in Jesus as the Savior of the world, but question why the Holy Spirit has not granted you the gift of speaking in tongues or of prophecy, you also have denied the Trinity.
And if you manage to resist these temptations, if you stand firm upon the Trinity, then Satan comes and asks why stop at three? Why not include the God of Judaism and the God of Islam? Why not the Zen of Buddhism or the Nirvana of Hinduism? Why not all these things that the world so freely embraces? Why not a quartet or a quintet, or even an octet?
And in doing so, Satan will have lead you to deny the Trinity.
And that is why living a Trinity life is so important.
For when you make the sign of the cross, when you confess the Creeds, when you sing the hymns and liturgy that confess Father, Son and Holy Spirit, when you believe with the heart and confess with the mouth this triune faith, you are reminding yourself again and again that Satan only seeks to destroy, whereas the Trinity seeks to save.
For what is it to confess the Trinity than to confess that God the Father, created you, formed you, knitted you together in the womb; and not only did He create you, but He provides food, drink, house, home, land, animals, family and community and all that you need to support this body and life in this world.
What is it to confess the Trinity, than to confess that Jesus Christ left the right hand of His Father in heaven and came to earth in human form, lived a perfect life, suffered, died, was buried, rose the third day, and ascended into heaven; and that He did all of this to redeem you once and for all from the death and hell that you rightly deserved, not with gold or silver, but with His holy and precious blood.
What is it to confess the Trinity, than to confess that the Holy Spirit calls, gathers and enlightens you and all believers in this Christian faith, so that you might receive the promise of Paradise, where you will live and reign with the Father and the Son forever.
To live a Trinity life is not to just pick out one or two members, but to see all three members working in concert together.
To live a Trinity life, is to be reminded daily that you, child of God, were created, redeemed, and made holy, not by your own works or desires, but by the Lord of heaven and earth, who loves you and desires that you be with Him for eternity.
To live a Trinity life is not just to gather here one time a year and give a nod of acknowledgment to a creed that is long and cumbersome, but it is to admit that this is the faith that you confess not just today, but every day.