One to the Power of 3

Trinity Sunday. What does one say?

The sermon on Trinity Sunday, you know, is always the one that the rector makes either the deacon or seminarian preach because you wind up talking in circles anyway.

Wondering what I said in this blog about Trinity Sunday last year, I reached back into our electronic files only to discover and remember that Trinity Sunday was much later into June 2017. Hence, I did not write a Trinity Sunday blog last year.

We all know the images. Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Three in One and One in Three. One God in three divine persons. Three consubstantial persons, as described by Tertullian (c. 155 – c. 240) .

The Fourth Council of Lateran (1215), called by Pope Innocent III, said, “It is the Father who generates, the Son who is begotten, and the Holy Spirit who proceeds.”

In his book A Systematic Study of the Catholic Religion (1903), Charles Coppens, SJ, said, “They are stated to be One in all else, co-equal, co-eternal, and consubstantial, and each is God, whole and entire.”

Round and round we go.

From personal faith experience, I do know that we call upon the three persons of God in various occasions and for various things. I suppose I am Presbyterian enough to like the Creator, Redeemer and Sustainer names for God the Holy Trinity. In my mind, these personages make sense.

God created all. Jesus Christ came to earth to tell us the Good News and save us from our sins, and the Holy Spirit stayed behind to comfort us. Makes good sense to me.

If God is Father, then Jesus is perhaps the wiser big brother, and the Holy Spirit is the pesky little sister or brother that keeps things stirred up. My Pentecostal friends say you have to watch that Holy Spirit who is often unpredictable but is always exciting and comforting.

The wonderful news is that all of the above is true, and we do not have to fully understand or explain it. This is what faith is. God is there, in one or in three, simply for the asking.

Musically, last Sunday - the Day of Pentecost - was great fun. This Sunday, Trinity Sunday, will prove to be the same. If you like big Protestant hymns, this Sunday is your Sunday! We will sing St. Patrick’s Breastplate, the hymn most often associated with ordinations in the Episcopal Church, along with “Holy, holy, holy,” “Let all mortal flesh keep silence,” and “Holy Father, Great Creator” (you will know this hymn as “Angels from the realms of glory” with a different text).

The Parish Choir will sing the Tchaikovsky “Hymn to the Trinity,” with its text The Cherubic Hymn by W. G. Rothery first published in The Musical Times in 1906:

Blessed angel-spirits offer praise undying, ever-crying
Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God of Sabaoth.
Saints and martyrs praise thy name, Trinity lifegiving,
earth-borne sorrow leaving before thy throne, ever-crying
Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God of Sabaoth.
Father omnipotent, mighty in glory,
Christ thy Son, our Savior, who died that we might live,
Holy Spirit, mystic dove, dwelling with us evermore.
We praise thee, Blessed Trinity.|
With the Angels’ sacred hymn, all thy might proclaiming,
with the mystic cherubim in songs of praise we join,
Holy, Holy, Holy, join we all in songs of praise for ever;
Hallelujah, Lord God of Sabaoth.

Stained glass image courtesy of 


Posted by Dr. David Ouzts at 15:50