Trinity Sunday, the week after Pentecost in the Anglican calendar, merges life and death and life again into God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. This past year we have padded along a pilgrimage path, beginning with Advent and ending with the Trinity season. We followed the birth, life, death, and life again of Our Lord Jesus Christ, as he revealed himself to us, in ways we could better understand God’s threefold nature.
The Holy Trinity, we are told, is all about love, love between the Father and the Son. The Spirit coming at Pentecost, is the Spirit of the Father and the Son, the Spirit of love. He came upon us and continues to come upon us, to dwell within us, to inspire us. He is life itself, and so, from conception to grave, Christians celebrate the life they are given.
The husband of a friend died suddenly last week, and we gathered at St. Peter’s Anglican Church in Oakland yesterday to both mourn and celebrate him with a Requiem Mass. The shock of the sudden death lingers with us, a reminder that every minute, hour, day, is precious. Somehow, the Requiem, with its words of sadness and joy intermingled, helped our grief. For life is like that, both glorious and sober. We live on earth a span of time and then enter the next great adventure, that is, if we have been reborn of Spirit.
The Gospel this morning spoke Our Lord’s words about this rebirthing, this being reborn:
“Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother’s womb, and be born? Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.”
We call this Baptism, being born of water and the spirit.
Are we ready? Have we been reborn of the Spirit in Baptism? Has love entered our hearts to take root and produce good fruit? While we do not know the number of our days, or the time of Christ’s return, we do know that our days are numbered and Christ will return. And so we watch and wait, our lanterns lit.
And as we wait and watch, we are cradled by the Church. We sing, “Holy, Holy, Holy! Lord God Almighty! /Early in the morning our song shall rise to thee: /Holy, Holy, Holy! merciful and mighty,/ God in three Persons, blessed Trinity.” (266, Reginald Heber 1827) This glorious hymn is based on today’s lesson from Revelation, describing St. John’s vision of Heaven and the throne of God (Revelation 4:1+).
And so we are rooted in this life, with this vision of God. The Holy Spirit gives us eyes to see beyond this world, for we will travel to Heaven one day, whether we are warned of our death or whether death comes suddenly. We need not be afraid. We need only embrace and celebrate the good news of life and love eternal.
And like John, we are called to share this hope, to encourage this being born again, this “walk in the Spirit.” We are called to gather at the Holy Table each week, to share the Eucharistic meal of life, the Real Presence of Christ. For in this gathering, we know the Spirit flies among us like a dove, like a rushing wind, like the rainbow light that falls through the clerestory windows high above. We sing together, we pray together, and as we do, we are united in the love of the Holy Trinity, this Spirit weaving among us. As we gather, we celebrate life here and life eternal, bathed in the love of God.