Sunday, June 19, 2011
Holy Trinity Sunday
The Athanasian Creed begins: 1 Whoever desires to be saved must, above all, hold the catholic faith. 2 Whoever does not keep it whole and undefiled will without doubt perish eternally. 3 And the catholic faith is this, 4 that we worship one God in Trinity and Trinity in Unity, neither confusing the Persons nor dividing the substance.
This Creed is the third and last of the great Creeds in the Western Church. The Roman Catholic Church and all the major Protestant Churches affirm it as a true, Scriptural teaching. Every Holy Trinity Sunday, many Lutheran churches confess this Creed in their Divine Service. For all its verbosity, the Athanasian Creed wonderfully and majestically confesses that the God of the Holy Scriptures is a Triune God: Three Distinct Persons comprising One God. Here Christianity distinguishes herself from the world's other two monotheistic religions, namely, Judaism and Islam.
And yet, if George Barna's 2009 poll accurately reflects the state of American Evangelical Protestantism, over 50% of Protestants do not believe in the Trinity or they are so Biblically illiterate that they cannot properly bear witness to what they confess to believe.
American culture does a superb job of muddying Christian beliefs. George Lucas and his Star Wars franchise have been influencing Christians since 1977. Star Wars is a great franchise with exciting story-telling and good battling and defeating evil.
But many people now, when they think and speak about the Holy Spirit, think of Him in terms of "the force", a mystical and universal power that can be tapped into and used either for good or evil. If we dig deep into the Greco-Roman culture that is the foundation of Western Society, we would probably discover the seeds of this "force" philosophy found in the Greek myths and pantheon. VW has a great commercial using this iconic concept that debuted in the 2011 Super Bowl.
Pastor Will Weedon's four-part presentation on Issues, Etc. and his blog (Weedon's Blog) post on Tuesday June 14, 2011 are wonderful resources on the Creed and the Holy Trinity.
The true, Christian Church worships the Trinity: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. We worship this Triune God because this Triune God has worked out our redemption from all sin and brought us eternal life and salvation. God the Father sent His Son Jesus Christ into this fallen world. The Son of God merited the world’s salvation by suffering, dying, and rising again. The Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father and the Son. He speaks through the Prophetic and Apostolic Scriptures and through them reminds us of all that Christ has done and said. We confess and worship Three Persons in One God and One God who is Three Persons. We worship and confess this Biblical Triune God not just on Holy Trinity Sunday, but each week in the Historic Liturgy of the Divine Service we worship and confess the Three Distinct Persons of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit who are One God. Every Sunday, then, is not only a mini-Easter and a mini-Pentecost but also a mini-Trinity Sunday.
Blessed Holy Trinity Sunday to you all.