Scripture: Genesis 1:1-2:4; Psalm 8; 2 Corinthians 13:11-13; Matthew 28:16-20
The Triune God blessed the world at the creation and invites us to offer that blessing to those who need to know they are blessed by God — Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
This is Trinity Sunday which can seem very abstract for hearers of sermons, and not fertile ground of missional sermons. The New Testament texts name the Trinity — Father, Son, and Holy Spirit — directly; the Old Testament readings don’t seem to do so. In Genesis “a wind form God swept over the waters” (is this Holy Spirit?). God the Creator (God the Father) speaks the word and creation comes into being, it is impossible for the Christian to read Genesis 1 and not think of John 1 “In the beginning was the Word…” The Word” in John is Jesus — does that then hint that the Word the Creator spoke was Jesus and so through Jesus all things came into being?
But how does that fire the missional imagination of the community of faith?
One direction to go is to note the creation references in Genesis and Psalm 8, but also in 2 Corinthians. The Triune God is restoring all things, that is central to God’s work in the world, in that context “Put things in order…live in peace” (2 Cor. 13:11) adds a new dimension. As stewards of creation, humanity is part of putting things including creation in order, and living at peace with and in the creation. Thus the Trinity Sunday texts can become a celebration of God’s creation and humanity’s role in the creation. The missional call to be stewards of the creation can be rooted in the very nature of who God is — for God is by definition Three-in-One and One-in-Three. And human beings have been invited into God’s work of making all things new.
A second direction would be: In Genesis 1 God (the Creator) speaks the creation into being, and as part of the creative act blesses: the fish of the sea and the birds of the air (vs. 22) part of the blessing being to multiply and fill the earth; human beings (vs. 28) the blessing including to multiply and to have dominion (stewardship) over creation; and the Sabbath day (2:4). In Psalm 8, humanity is crowned with glory and honor — another blessing. 2 Corinthians is a blessing — the words of the benediction. And the Baptism formula from Matthew 28 reminds us that Baptism is among other things a blessing in the name of the Trinity. It would be possible to leave these texts celebrating that God has blessed us — and that is good and important — but if that is all we see — we have missed that in Matthew 28 we are to go and baptize. We are to taking the blessing we have received and pass it on to others. We don’t bless in our name or on our authority — we bless in the name of the Triune One and use the authority Jesus has given us — but we carry God’s blessing to others. As stewards of the creation, as those who carry the authority to baptize — we fulfill that calling by telling others of the blessing they can receive from God. We can do more than tell we are invited to offer that blessing in God’s name to a world desperate to hear good news.
On Genesis 1
“The world itself is a vehicle for the blessings God has ordained in it as an abiding characteristic….Creation is itself life-giving in the image of the God who gives all of life….This theology of blessing is not derived from ancient Near Eastern texts. It has emerged out of the faith of Israel. As it was offered as a principle of survival and sanity for the exiles of Babylon, so it may be offered as grounds for sanity and survival in our time. This liturgy affirms and enacts a blessing in this world that the world cannot reject or refute.” – Walter Brueggemann
On Psalm 8
“In the early church, the words of the psalm describing [humanity’s] role of dominion in the world 98:6-70 are given christological significance with respect to the dominion of Jesus Christ in his resurrection and exaltation.” – Peter Craigie
“Because Jesus is Lord, disciples should keep making extensive decisions, be reaching out, be seeking ways to get in touch with people, be asking themselves, “Are we moving out?””
– Frederick Dale Bruner
Lord, you give the great commission
Go make of all disciples
O Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth
All creatures of our God and King
Now thank we all our God
O Lord my God, when I in awesome wonder
Sent forth by God’s blessing
Come, Thou, Almighty King
you sent your Word to bring us truth
and your Spirit to make us holy.
Through them we come to know
the mystery of your life.
Help us to worship you,
one God in three Persons,
by proclaiming and living our faith in you.
We ask you this, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit,
one God, true and living, forever and ever.