The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America


Graceful words: Trinity

Trinity, one God, three persons — Father, Son and Spirit — is not only God's way of relating to us but reveals God's being and heart. There might be nothing more blessed than to contemplate the trinitarian relationships of Father to Son to Spirit to Father and so on — an endless circle of self-giving love.

The universe — and we — are born of this infinitely generous love. It's written upon our hearts. The sign of the cross bids us to live in this love.

Our children are older teens, but each day I still mark them with the sign of the cross. I mark our older son at college in my mind's eye. The sign, the trinitarian baptismal formula of Father, Son and Spirit, makes an audacious claim.

Marking their foreheads, I claim that the Maker of heaven and earth hovers over the detailed muddle of their daily ambiguities and joys. I also claim that this attentive God has already in Christ washed clean whatever sins they will commit this day. Thirdly, I claim that all of this hovering and forgiving is immediately and continually active, now and always, through the Spirit.

Ours is a God who at once creates the heavens and earth, whose purpose is made known in Christ's dying and rising, and who rises through the Spirit's presence in and among us. It takes the Trinity for this to happen. We participate as we trust the Spirit to dismantle our hyper-dependence on ourselves and make us who we already are — a dwelling place for God.

Imagine that! The Creator of heaven and earth enters into the messiness of creation not to shun it but to transform it by a love stronger than death. Our God continues to dwell there as the theater upon which grace is amazingly enacted.


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February issue


Embracing diversity