The Rev. Celal J. Kamran
I speak to you in the name of God: Creator, Redeemer, and Sustainer. Amen.
Happy Trinity Sunday! You know some will say that today, when we celebrate in liturgy the Triune God, Godhead three in one, is the hardest subject to talk about in Church and all of Christianity. Some might say that no one likes to preach a Trinity Sunday sermon… Well, rest assured, I love talking about the Trinity, I love trying to describe God. I love challenges!
And that is the thing. The incomprehensibility, the difficulty is what makes this endeavor to understand God so hard. But it is also what makes us come back over and over again to God and seek knowledge about God. A professor of mine in college once said this about world religions, “the reason people around the world and throughout time have been religious seekers, that is wanting to understand and describe the Divine is exactly because how vast, how mysterious, how unknowable it all is.
If God could be understood completely, our fascination with God might end too. Because the complete understanding of God is just outside of our grasp, we continue to struggle to understand the splendor and majesty of God. Because we can always learn more things, because we can always grow in our relationship with God, we always strive to do that, to be closer to our Creator, Redeemer, and Sustainer.
And because we believe in the Triune God. That means God, three in one. Never separated, and never morphed into one either, a concept we neither understand completely or can adequately describe. And this mystery is Good. Alleluia, thanks be to God that we do not feel like we understand God completely! See we want the mystery of God. We do not want to make God into our own understanding, our limitations, our image. It only works the other way around and nothing good comes out of making God into our own image, into what we imagine the world to be.
God is much bigger than our fears, our mortal divisions, our singular worldviews. And God can never be boxed in…. But that does not stop nor should it stop us from trying to understand God. We can all study, come together for worship, privately, or in our actions seek God, and we all do, in one way or another. We look to theology, our peers, our mentors, and priests to piece together who God is and what God means for each of us individually.
But when we do this, we also need to remember that our understanding is never complete and never over. Therefore, like some have said, we do theology with commas not periods. Commas because it is continues, not having full stops over how we understand God.
And that is true in our language describing God, right? It is often incomplete or a small part of who God actually is. Often you have heard of God talked about as: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. This in particular tells us the part of the quality of each individual and their relationship to each other in the Trinity. One is the paternal figure who takes on that role of nurturer. One is the child, human and Divine, uniting Divine and God’s creation, humanity to God. And one is the Spirit of the Divine in the world acting on behalf of God and through us.
And you know that this is not the only way to describe the Triune God. I often open my sermons and prayers with calling on the Holy Trinity but use the words, Creator, Redeemer, and Sustainer. Creator, Redeemer and Sustainer, not because I think that the older formula is wrong or outdated, but to add another layer of meaning to our understanding of God.
In this language, you hear the role each part of the Trinity takes on. God the creator stood in the world when it was still formless and void, tohu va bohu, it says in Hebrew. And the Creator physically separated it all out. Like a child playing with play-do, rolling it out, stretching it, and creating something unique and new with it by putting a part of Godself, breathing himself, into human clay.
And then there is the Redeemer God. The same God but who entered the world physically, not just beaming down from above but physically becoming flesh, born of the same pain which all humanity is birthed. Not just to come down as one of creation but to elevate creation with God, to remind us that we too are made with the breath of God as Adam and Eve first were. And that Divine indwelling blessed us and created us anew. In the life, death on the cross and resurrection, of God as human, we were mysteriously and wonderfully made new again.
This is the redeemer and his redemption, not just at the cross but through entering the world, through eating, sleeping, touching the world as a human, Christ transformed it, again like clay remolding and shaping it anew. And in his sacraments invited us all into a life in Christ.
And then there is the Sustainer, the Spirit of God who hovered over the deep alongside the Creator, who had her hand in making the universe, the vastness of the billions of galaxies, trillions of stars, all the enormous space in between and you. YOU! The sustainer sustains you as well as holds up the stars. She guides and comforts each and every one of you and as Christ himself said is our advocate with us all the time, so that we are never without access to the Divine. Even as minute as we are, even as insignificant in the enormity of time and space, God the Sustainer is still with us, knows us by name and guides us.
That is a small part of the impossibility in to understand the Trinity, Godhead three in One. I know this is not the full description of the Trinity, I do not know nor can describe it all for you. But I hope this has been a drop in your understanding and relationship with the wonderful, enormous, grand God of the galaxies, universe, all the space in between and you.
Let it be so.