June 15, 2014
God in three persons
Each of the four Gospels expresses the change that Jesus brought into the lives of those who came in contact with him. Matthew’s Gospel is the most Jewish, comparing Jesus to Moses (as Moses led Israelites from slavery in Egypt, Jesus saves us from bondage to sin and self; as Moses brought the Ten Commandments, Jesus brings a new way of life, seen most clearly in the Sermon on the Mount [Matthew 5–7]) and quoting often from the Bible Jesus knew, which Christians call the Old Testament.
At the heart of Jewish faith is monotheism, belief in one God. So it seems a bit strange that the last words of Jesus in Matthew’s Gospel refer to “the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit,” the Trinity that has been a source of confusion and questions both to many Christians and to non-Christians. As Jesus sends his followers to “make disciples of all nations,” he reminds them of the different ways God has met them: as a loving Creator of all things; in the flesh as Jesus of Nazareth, one who in life and death gives himself for others; as the Spirit who guides and nurtures those who seek to live as God’s people (and perhaps even those who do not). Surely this rich understanding of God has something for everyone.
Moravian leader Count Zinzendorf spoke of the Holy Spirit as the church’s nurturing Mother. Moravians have generally, especially in our hymns, centered on God as we know God in Jesus. But Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are all part of our experience of God.
May we all find in the Triune God the richness of the one who loves us and wants to make us into the people who reflect that love, in love for our Creator and the creation and in love for one another.
Hermann Weinlick, retired pastor, Minneapolis, Minnesota