RETRO: The Holy Trinity

(This post is a REPOST from my old MySpace blog, with some revisions, from 2:10 PM, June 24, 2006. Enjoy!)

Something awesome to think about… the Holy Trinity… One God… Three Persons, of one substance… equal in power and glory…. Something so awesome– or SomeOne, really– and yet we so often just take it for granted, in a song we sing or touched on briefly in a sermon or something.

I personally lament that in “protestant” circles, at least in “lower” church/not-so-liturgical models (i.e. where I have always lived), the Trinity is almost never emphasized, worshipped, preached on, or thought about. We nearly always emphasize Jesus Christ, the Son of God (like good evangelicals); and it’s not uncommon, I suppose, to talk about the Father (because we’re supposed to pray to Him, and because we want to be the “children” of God, as indeed we are in Christ); and one of two (main) things tends to happen with the Holy Spirit: either we skip Him most of the time (because we’re too busy focusing on Jesus and maybe the Father) OR because we really don’t WANT the Spirit to REALLY show up and be powerful (that could be inconvenient, too uncomfortable, or down right scary!). Meanwhile, I am longing for more!

So here’s what I think:

1) There is nothing wrong with emphasizing Jesus– He’s supposed to be “pre-emminent” in all things (Colossians 1:18)! And, Jesus is the Savior and everybody needs to hear about it! So, I’m not advocating we shut up or shut down about Jesus the Son.

2)The Father is the Father, and we always need to explore the depths of Who He is, pray to Him, understand and experience more of His Fatherhood and His great love, and be continually more and more like Him, more and more the children of God we were rescued to be! So, I’m NOT saying to minimize the Father, either.

3) I’m also sure as heck not suggesting we minimize the Holy Spirit– if anything, we need to talk, preach, pray, and think about Him MORE, and invite Him and His power MORE and MORE into our lives, families, church “services,” and definitely in the marketplace. We need more of His gifts, His fruit, and His Presence in everything we do!! Yahoo!!

“So what the heck are you saying, Brian?” (I’m glad you asked that…)

What I’m saying is I think we’ve lost (at least in the circles I run in) our appreciation and worship for the Trinity, for the One God in Three!! I want to worship them together, see and remember that they are One, that the Father sent the Son, that the Son sent the Spirit, that the Spirit proceeds from the Father and the Son, that the Spirit brings glory to the Son, that Jesus and the Father are One, and that when you’ve seen Jesus, you’ve seen the Father, etc. etc. etc. Why can’t we dabble in the following:

1. Ritual. Liturgy. Neither of these are four-letter words, and yet we have so often treated them that way! We don’t have to fear these things because the reality is each is a huge part of our lives in all kinds of contexts, we just don’t think about it. (Most of us take a shower at the same time every day, wash our hair the same way, eat at about the same times, watch the same TV shows at the same times every week, etc. All these are “rituals” and help bring order to our lives!) Ritual and liturgy never need be bad or “religious” (in the bad, self-righteous Pharisee-like sense of things) unless our hearts check out and we go through the motions of worship without loving God. I surmise that there are many “liturgical” churches that have people in them who have “checked out” and are not engaged in true worship. But I am also quite sure that there are plenty of “non-liturgical” churches that have people in them that are quite “checked out,” who go through the “religious” motions without using any formal “liturgy.” The problem is not ritual but people’s hearts! So, check out the rich life in liturgy and know that it was designed to enrich, strengthen, and focus our worship and not dry it up into a lifeless “ritualism”!!

2. Use the Creeds (Apostle’s, Nicene, etc.) again in protestant, evangelical circles, even in worship services! It doesn’t have to be any more “ritualistic” than singing X minutes every week, doing announcments, taking the offering, hearing the sermon, a “special” music, and a last song… or brushing your teeth every day….

3. Dare to “cross yourself” when you pray and pray to the Trinity and in the name of the Trinity… understand the symbolism… it worked for everybody for a long time before 1517!

4. Sing old and new songs that worship the Godhead (the Trinity) and lay out some of the doctrine of the Trinity! The classic hymn “Holy, Holy, Holy” is one of my faves!! And let’s write some more of those kinds of songs!!

5. Talk about the Trinity in church at other times besides at baptisms (I baptize you in the name of the….)

6. Teach about the Trinity Teach some sermons, some Bible studies, some classes, etc. on the doctrine of the Trinity and help believers understand what is so fundamental to our faith….

7. Hang out with some Catholic, Anglican/Episcopal, Orthodox, or otherwise liturgical-style believers and ask them what they think about things. Visit their churches, worship with them, pray with them, see what it does in your heart!

8. Incorporate more of the “church year”– besides Christmas and Easter– into our corporate worship times. Celebrate Pentecost Sunday, or Trinity Sunday, for example!

9. Check out “fixed-hour” prayer, also called “the divine hours” or “the divine office.” Lots of these prayers focus on the Trinity or use trinitarian language. The Trinity has always been central to the prayer life of the Church!

10. Just plain WORSHIP the Trinity in your private times with God!! And search out more understanding of Who God is in every aspect as you read the Bible and other resources.

Ok, I’ve rambled long enough for now… what do YOU think about the Holy Trinity?

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Filed under Church, RETRO, Theology, Worship

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