One of my favorite Sundays has come and gone – Pentecost – and this Sunday we “celebrate” the Trinity. I love the doctrine of the Trinity, and its significance for Christian identity and community. There is so much lovely and inspiring language to this piece – actually, I’d say, foundation of our faith, even though there’s very little that explicitly says much about the Trinity in the Bible. To me, it is essential, but definitely incomplete without deep roots in a Pentecost – so, I have a very pneumatologically-heavy trinitarian perspective.
Maybe it’s not so Protestant (which seems to emphasize more of Christocentric Trinity – Barth, Calvin, and whatnot, from what I remember from Systematic…don’t quote me on it), but it’s what resonates with my more charismatic leanings. Not that Christ can or is easily contained in so many theological works, but it seems like much of the reading I did in seminary was focused much more on Christ than on the Holy Spirit. Although I suppose one could argue that much of our experience of Christ is through the Holy Spirit, and I think this is actually very in line with Protestant thought. Without the HS there would be no Trinity! And, I’d say no experience of God today. But, for some reason the HS is often relegated to one Sunday a year, particularly in the Presbyterian Church. Going to church this past Sunday, I realized how much I need it to be a part of every Sunday. Maybe it would be more accurate to say I’m a Pente-byterian or a Presby-costal.
Even though I don’t have to prepare sermons anymore, I still like to read various articles on Textweek and follow the Lectionary (and I do plan to make an effort to at least blog if not write full out sermons). I like Nanette Sawyer’s questions on the Christian Century blog this week. It seems that she is exploring a series with her church and talking about very basic trinitarian premises. She, too, highlights the role of the Spirit and asks at the end how the Spirit is manifest in the Commission that Jesus that gives to his disciples.
It got me thinking a little about imago dei and how I again love looking at that in a trinitarian framework. I need the reminder that we are created in the image of God…more specifically, the Triune God. To me, this has always meant that we are created to be in relationship and meaningful community with each other, and even with ourselves. But, as Nanette reminds us – there is the fullness of God in each person. I would take that further: That fullness is inherent in the Trinity, which means fullness is also the root of our identity as individuals and community.
Perhaps this could also be seen as a part of the Commission and what it means to “baptize disciples in the [Trinity].” The act of baptism – the sign and seal of God’s love and naming people as God’s own – is an act of not only redemption, but creation, the fullness of what is new and fresh and beginning…by the Triune God. The Spirit constantly sustains and makes us new. And what is this fullness? I can only come up with incomplete descriptions…just the essence of something ultimate and universal as they end in -ness. Wholeness and completeness. And goodness…Just like God creating and blessing in Genesis…and calling it good. Fullness is what we are meant to be in God.