“and seeking to bear witness to that unity which is both Christ’s gift and will for the Church” from the Basis of Union (1992)
Today it is Trinity Sunday when we celebrate the uniquely Christian understanding of God as a Trinity. I say “understanding” fully in the knowledge that it’s an impossible task to explain it in the space of a few paragraphs. So rather than try and fail, I wanted to concentrate on the model the Trinity gives us. God exists as three persons living in perfect unity together. While the three persons of the Trinity are distinct, their existence together provides us with a pattern for our own existence. We too are meant to live in unity with ourselves, with one another and with God.
Our two readings today explore this. In our gospel reading we are told that as Jesus prepares to leave the disciples, He warns them they will go into a future they could never dream of. So that Christ may speak to future disciples in their time and place, we will have the gift of the Spirit. Christ’s teachings will not be restricted to one time and place in history but will stretch across all of history. As our understanding of the known world expands, Christ will constantly remind us of His will for reconciliation. In Acts we saw how Peter and Paul were converted to engage with gentiles; how Cornelius and Lydia were converted and received the Holy Spirit as validation of God’s plan that all creation be reconciled. Our reading from Romans reminds us that thanks to us being declared righteous by faith, we now have peace with God; we are reconciled to God. We are to show others this reconciliation so they too can be reconciled and have peace.
Life here on earth should reflect life in heaven; people reconciled to each other and living in unity. Yet how will we show unity if we only ever create communities or churches where all are the same? Those first disciples were a pretty diverse bunch; the first churches Paul set up were similarly diverse. The gathering together of different people who are now one in Christ shows this unity to the world. If we all look, speak and think the same, how do we display the unity that is Christ’s gift and will for the world? As refugee week begins, we should pause and reflect on this. We should strive to create churches that are welcoming and accepting to everyone. We should be advocating for societies that accept all of creation, because God loves all of creation. We should be modelling the unity that God models rather than trying to create the world and the church in our image by excluding those who are different.
(Image – Rublev’s Icon “The Trinity”)