Trinity Sunday: a celebration of the Triune God

Each year, the first Sunday after Pentecost is called Trinity Sunday. On that day, Christians of many faith traditions celebrate the mystery and majesty of the three-in-one God: Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

In our Moravian Book of Worship Trinity Liturgy, we share, “Triune God, we acknowledge the profound mystery of your being, beyond our comprehension, Three In One, One in Three…We know God as Father, who seeks loving relationships with all whom he has created…We know God as Jesus Christ, the Word who became a human being and lived among us, full of grace and truth…We know God as Holy Spirit, who reveals the truth about God.”

On the weekly bulletin messages shared in many Moravian churches, pastors have reflected on the Trinity and the Bible verses selected through the lectionary. We share those writings here.

Yearning to Learn

Trinity Sunday • May 26, 2024
Angelica Regalado Cieza, pastor,
Estamos Unidos, Winston-Salem, N.C.

In John 3:1–17, the narrative unfolds with Nicodemus, a Pharisee, approaching Jesus under the cloak of night, driven by a curious yearning for understanding. This nocturnal rendezvous sets the stage for a conversation that transcends mere curiosity, diving deep into the profound truths of salvation and spiritual understanding.

One cannot ignore the significance of Nicodemus’ curiosity. His inquiry is not a casual engagement but a probing search for spiritual truth. This story is praising the genuine hunger for understanding that prompts individuals to seek Christ under the cover of darkness. Nicodemus, in his curiosity, represents the earnest seeker, the one who recognizes the need for divine enlightenment.

John 3:16, the crown jewel of this passage, epitomizes salvation’s essence. God’s sovereign love permeates the discourse, which under-scores the depth of divine sacrifice and the exclusivity of salvation through faith in Christ. The verse resonates with the unyielding truth that salvation is not earned; it is graciously given by a sovereign God.

The interplay between curiosity and understanding culminates in the metaphor of being “born again.” Jesus’ words highlight the profound transformation it entails. Jesus’ words stress the Holy Spirit’s role in enlightening the spiritually dead.

We have Matthew 6:33, “But strive first for the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well,” and Philippians 2:13a, “It is God who is at work in you, enabling you both to will and to work.” We don’t know what happened with Nicodemus after this encounter with Jesus. We do know that his curiosity of Jesus led him to act, seek and ask about the profound understanding of the divine truths. May we all have this curiosity to know and learn more about Christ in our daily life.

Born of Water and Spirit

Trinity Sunday,  May 27, 2018
Kurt Liebenow, pastor,
Watertown Moravian Church, Watertown, Wis.

It is convenient to buy an item in a grocery store in which the directions are “mix with water.” Everything that is needed is in the box—except for the water. Eating or drinking the product without water is not recommended and is not appetizing. But when mixed with water, what is intended is realized. With water, the food or beverage is pleasing. In a similar way, this could describe the opportunity of our existence. Our life is what’s in the box. We’re packaged; we’re ready to go. We need water to be complete.

Jesus tells Nicodemus, “No one can see the kingdom of God without being born of water and Spirit.” Nicodemus doesn’t understand. Isn’t our birth a one-time occurrence? Can our lives change again in the magnitude of a birth?

Jesus says in the text that entrance to the kingdom of God requires a birth via water and Spirit. Is Jesus also saying we can see the kingdom of God now? I think so. When someone offers music in worship that becomes more than the performance of notes and connects a person with the glory of God—isn’t that a kingdom sighting? When a Sunday school teacher engages a student with the planned lesson and the student grasps a clearer understanding of God—isn’t that a kingdom sighting? When someone is suffering and another comes to sit alongside and in that visit there is an uplifting assurance of hope and forgiveness is received—isn’t that a kingdom sighting?

Being born of the water and Spirit enhances living today beyond what may be attained in this world, and gives vision into God’s kingdom. It takes our life and living out of the box and makes us heavenly.

The Trinity in the Mirror

Trinity Sunday, June 6, 2004
C. Scott Venable III, associate pastor,
Home Moravian Church Winston Salem, N.C.

Theologian Frederick Buechner gives some helpful insight into the concept of the Trinity in his book Wishful Thinking.  He suggests that to get a better grasp on the mystery of the Trinity, all you need to do is look in the mirror at yourself. There are three important aspects to that one person standing before you.

First of all, you have an interior life. It is known to you and perhaps a few people to whom you choose to communicate it. The interior life is like God the Father/Creator. Second, there is your outward, visible self, which reflects your inner life to a certain extent. This exterior life is like God the Son/Redeemer. Third, you have an invisible power that you can use to communicate your interior life to others. This way, others can catch a glimpse of the real you, if you are willing to share this. This is what God the Holy Spirit/Sustainer does. The mirror still reflects only one person. Yet, the three aspects are there.

The Trinity is a time-tested concept that helps us better understand God’s revelation of God’s self to us. The concept is present throughout Scripture, with John 16:12-15 being just one example.

One of the best ways I have found to think about the Trinity is to imagine a party. God the Creator has invited each of us to an ultimate grand party (also referred to as eternal life). The price of admission has been paid for us by God the Redeemer (Jesus) in his death. God the Holy Spirit is continually at work, calling us into a community and leading us to tell others that the party is being thrown for them as well.

May the grace of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, the love of God the Father, and communion and fellowship of the Holy Spirit, be and abide with you, now and forevermore!

Go Change the World

Trinity Sunday, June 2, 1996
Charles Fishel, pastor,
Bethania Moravian Church, Bethania N.C.

When someone very close to us is dying, we grasp the last word spoken to us as a very important expression of the love that has been shared together.

Jesus died on the cross, was buried, and was raised. His words were important to the disciples who had lived with him. Especially after the resurrection, any verbal contact with Jesus was cherished. The commissioning words of Jesus burned in their whole being: “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you” (Matthew 28:19-20).

The angel came to the tomb on the day of the resurrection and told Mary Magdalene and the other Mary: “Go quickly and tell his disciples, ‘He has been raised from the dead’” (Matthew 28:7). As they ran to tell the others, Jesus met them and said: “Do not be afraid; go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me” (Matthew 28:10).

The disciples, under the authority of Jesus, were to go and change the world.  They were to make disciples and baptize.

Having confessed Jesus as Lord and been baptized into the community of faith, one receives the great commission.  The words form the song, “Go Change the World,” capture the great commission and privilege of every person who takes the name Christian. One may not be considered an evangelist, but everyone in Christ is called to be an inspiration of faith and love by their life.

We are to go, either next door or to another nation, to make disciples, one person at a time. It is not an option, but a command.

Those united in Christ are baptized into submission to Christ and are willing to live his way. “Go and change the world.”