Trinity Sunday: June 19, 2011 Matthew 28:16-21
Adam has worked for a company for several years. He started as an intern and moved into a part-time position after he graduated. When he got engaged he moved from a part-time staffer to a full-time position. This was really good since shortly after the wedding his wife told him they were going to have a baby. The first baby is now five and their other is three when Adam was called to the office where he was rewarded for his hard work with a promotion to a support manager. He is now on the third rung from the top. Everyone is excited for him because this promotion came with a substantial raise. Adam accepted the position but wonders why he needed it since he only relays messages from the manager’s office to the floor staff, but he is reminded of the importance of his role.
Our lives are filled with roles they often change over time although sometimes we don’t recognize what just happened. In the short story of Adam, who is fictional so don’t try to figure out who it really is, went through several sole changes. He went from a student to intern, from intern to part-time employee. He moved from a boyfriend to Fiancée to a full-time career man to husband. From a husband to father, to father of two. Now he’s a support manager. Each role is different, demanding something in a unique way; each role has a set of preconceived ideals and real world practices or responsibilities. An intern has less authority than a support manager. A father has a different perspective than an employee.
The passage we read is often called the great commission and rightfully so since that is what is going on. But let’s consider for a moment AUTHORITY. Authority is almost a taboo word, especially among Friends. Authority could also be dominion, power, control or influence. Jesus says His Father has given Him authority over all Heaven and earth. This means Jesus has influence over all the earth. As you consider this just think about it… Jesus has influence over all the earth! He has power over all the earth. I’m sure you mind went directly to the scandalous behaviors of the various people of our culture. Scandals over photos, five year olds that take the lives of babies, and you think no influence there. You are right the influence is subtle but it is there. The congressman caught in an embarrassing moment resigned because of the influence of Christ in the culture. The community is wondering what happened, why, and how a five year old chilled could even consider taking a life. We wonder because somewhere we acknowledge right and wrong, this is the influence of Christ in our culture. Everywhere we turn we can see an influence of Christ, even in the areas we feel are out of God’s hands.
Christ has influence because He lived among us. We often times forget the importance of the life of Christ and focus more intensely on the events of Christmas, the passion, crucifixion, and resurrection. Yet every gospel says more about Jesus than He was born, died and rose. My favorite teacher in school, Dr. Kettler, always said, “we need a fat bible and a fat new testament.” Because we need a bible filled with stories and full of stories of Christ. I like this and agree because it is in His life we learn to live our life. It is in Christ we learn what it means to be human because he was and is the perfect human. There’s more. There are countless teachers, rabbis, prophets, and oracles throughout the world that can provide a good ethic to live by. Many of these really have some good ideas, but all lack something. All religion lacks something. This is why our culture smugly says all religions are the same, because all religion is the same. Religion is a system of behaviors established to benefit society and to provide a way for man to achieve the ultimate goal in the unknown future. Christ turns religion upside down. Religion is a system of checks, sacrifices, rituals, and things to do to gain favor with some deity. Christ came to fulfill all the law. He perfectly lives our human existence and through Him we gain the ultimate goal: reconciliation, peace, salvation, and life everlasting with God. In Christ we have security, hope, and grace. In Christ we can stand before the Father who judges justly and can say, “I know You.” In Jesus we are connected again to God the Father in relationship we can again walk with Him unashamed because Christ lived our life for us.
Which brings us back to authority. Christ was sent, was given authority because of his unique position in God as one person of three. He has authority first because he created all heaven and earth but more importantly he has authority because through Him we can become who we are supposed to be, children of God. Jesus passes part of that authority to us.
Adam has authority in his company; he is third from the top. He doesn’t have full authority only the manager has that, but the manager has passed some of his authority to Adam. When Adam speaks he is speaking as and in the authority given through the manager. This relationship is similar to what Christ is giving his Apostles. “I am sent, so I send you.” He says. We as people influenced by Christ have his authority granted to us. Does this mean we have all authority? No. He is still in control while we are His support. The Holy Spirit directs us, we follow His lead and in His authority, Christ gains influence.
Today, June 19th, churches around the world celebrate the mystery of the Trinity of God. A concept that baffles theologians yet one that can be accepted by a child. Can I explain the Trinity? Not fully. It is like a dance where two people share joy as they move to music. Father, Son and Holy Spirit. The trinity is like a marriage where two people are united in love. The trinity is like many things but isn’t fully explained by any of them. One thing we do know is God is one God. And we should love God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength. God is revealed to us in three ways in three personalities: Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
Today is also Father’s Day in the United States. Which is a day where we celebrate the unique relationship men have on children as fathers, but also on their emotional and spiritual growth. To be a Father we need to live in Christ because we aren’t perfect, we need His authority and influence to shine through us. To be Christians we also need that relational aspect gained through Christ. We have many roles. The most important is to live with Christ in our various roles in our families, community, nation, and world. Immersing others in God’s influence as we teach and show his ways.
As we enter this time of Holy expectancy, let us reflect on the Triune God, the authority of Jesus and how we can influence or share His authority. Also reflect on those who have shown His authority to us.