Summary: WE remember what each person of the Trinity has done for us, drawing comparisons from Memorial Day.
2 Corinthians 13:11-14: MEMORIAL DAY – REMEMBERING THE TRINITY
Tomorrow is Memorial Day. Why do we have Memorial Day? What is the point? As Americans, it is good for us to have a holiday that reminds us that the freedoms we enjoy as Americans are freedoms that were earned. On Memorial Day, we remember all those people in the past, who wore uniforms representing our country, people who fought against those who were trying to steal our freedom away. On Memorial Day, we remember the people in the present, who still fight for our freedoms today. As an American, you enjoy a certain amount of freedom, and a certain quality of life that many people in the world just don’t have. And that freedom, that quality of life, didn’t just happen out of the blue. It’s something that was earned for you by other people. That’s why we have Memorial Day, to remember and honor those people.
There’s another day that we are celebrating this weekend, and that day is Trinity Sunday, which is today. I guess you could say that Trinity Sunday is similar to Memorial Day. On Trinity Sunday, we remember that God reveals himself to us in three separate ways, as three separate persons – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Now remember, the doctrine of the Trinity does not attempt to completely explain God. It only explains to us in a very simple way what God has revealed to us about himself so far. To describe the tip of the iceberg above the water is not to describe the entire iceberg. So we Christians affirm the Trinity, not as a complete explanation of God, but simply as a way of describing the tip of the iceberg - what we know about Him.
The idea of the Trinity is not emphatically stated as a doctrine in the scriptures. Yet, you can see it many times, in many places. The early Christians soon discovered that they simply could not speak of God without speaking of the three ways in which he had revealed himself to them. This does not mean that there are three Gods. It means that there is one God who has shown himself as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Today, we remember the Trinity – a kind of Memorial Day for the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
The United States didn’t just happen, did it. All the things you see that are American – all the different buildings, all the different freedoms – the American lifestyle – it didn’t just happen. Our country was set up by other people. Wars had to be fought. Blood had to be shed. And just in case you forget that, there are war memorials that remind you of the price that had to be paid so that you can enjoy everything you see. I used to live in Washington DC, and I remember visiting all the different memorials. The one that sticks out in my mind the most is the Vietnam Memorial – the big wall of names. Those memorials are there to keep us from forgetting that our country is here because of what other people did.
The world didn’t just happen either. The sky, the sea, the trees, the animals, the complicated human body – those things didn’t just happen. Wouldn’t it be dumb to say that our country developed accidentally? And yet, that’s what people say when they describe the world. The world happened accidentally – a big explosion – bang- and then there was a puddle of slime, and wouldn’t you know it, millions of years later, there were people.
Not so, God says in the Bible. God the Father, the creator of our world, tells us in our first reading for today that the world did not happen accidentally. There was no pile of slime, and from that slime came creatures and eventually people. No, God says. God the Father, the first person of the Trinity, created our world in only six days. But how could that be, you ask. And the answer, really, is very simple – God is powerful. God is wise. God can do whatever he wants. If God wants to create the world, complete with adult animals, and trees that look hundreds of years old, and rock formations that look millions of years old – if God wants to do that in only six days, then he will, because he is powerful, and he is wise.
Wouldn’t it be nice if God the Father left behind a few memorials, so that we wouldn’t forget just how powerful and wise he was? God has left behind a memorial for you, and that memorial is called nature. Look at the beauty of nature – look at all the beautiful variety of birds that gather around a bird feeder. Go snorkeling, and look at the brilliantly colored fish – all of them beautiful in their own way. Listen to a doctor describe how complicated and how ingeniously the human body is designed. These are God’s memorials, and they remind you of just how wise and powerful your creator is.