Lectionary Reflection for Holy Trinity Sunday, Year C
May 22, 2016
Therefore, since we are justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have obtained access to this grace in which we stand; and we boast in our hope of sharing the glory of God. Romans 5:1-2
Notice in this week’s short lesson from Romans (5:1-5) that important three words appear: Peace, Hope, and Love. Justified by faith, we have peace with God through Christ. We boast in our hope of God’s glory, that we are new creations in Christ and that others can be, too. Even in suffering we have this hope that will not disappoint. Finally, the reason we are not disappointed in our hope is because of God’s love “poured into our hearts” through the Holy Spirit. That’s it: Three key words. But that’s not all.
It is, after all, the day we celebrate the Holy Trinity. We honor, lift up, praise, and even boast in the fullness of God, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit. Without even tackling the “how” and the “theology” and the always less than satisfying metaphors for the Trinity, suffice it to say that this mysterious, amazing, and thankfully unmanageable Source of all that was and is and is to come is deeply relational and eternally faithful.
How we need to hear and drink in this reality about the nature and essence of God! Our world is, frankly, failing at being relational. More and more we find ourselves polarized into left and right, for or against, right and wrong, winner or loser; we see and focus on the differences rather than the commonality we all share of being made in the image of God. Yes, it’s a sad state of affairs when legislation focuses on bathroom usage and keeping out immigrants rather than on alleviating poverty and hunger and welcoming the stranger and the marginalized.
This Sunday why not focus on that beautiful, relational, and boundless God of the Trinity and how we are made stronger in this deeply entwined relationship between God and humankind? There is no beginning and no ending, only love given by God, perfected by Christ, and poured into our beings by the presence of the Holy Spirit. When we choose to enter the holy dance of Trinity and refuse to allow ourselves to be pulled at odds with God, creation, and one another, then and only then, we are made whole.
In Paul’s world “boasting” was an important part of the culture of honor and shame. The difference in this lesson is that the boasting is not about personal accomplishment or might or riches; it is rooted in the reality of God and the hope God’s people have. This hope is so amazing that even in the midst of their first century suffering and persecutions at the hand of empire, Christians could even boast in their suffering because of the peace, hope, and love that no one could take from them.
Dear friends, when the world is too much with you, when everything seems to be going to hell in a handbasket, and when everything that makes sense seems to fall apart, remember the triune God who will not disappoint. Celebrate the peace that is found only in God through Christ, the hope that lasts beyond this life, and the love that pours into our hearts through the Spirit. And take comfort in the knowledge that connected to God we will learn a different way, real truth, and abiding love. So yes, go ahead and boast–share that good news, the news that our hope is in God and not in the false illusions and temporal whims of this age. Thanks be to God!
(Photos: Thomas Hawk, Waiting for the Word, and Steve Hodgson, Creative Commons. Thanks!)