• Rev. Noah Carter

Trinity Sunday - The Mystery of Communion

We celebrate this weekend Trinity Sunday. The Most Holy Trinity is a great mystery of our faith that is hard for us to wrap our heads around. We believe in one God in three persons. Therefore, the persons are distinct, but all share the same Godhead. And where one acts, they all act. It is hard for us to imagine this distinction of persons because, for humanity, persons are distinguished by their unique characteristics. We speak of a difference in personality, hair color, skin color, shape, build, height, etc. With the Trinity of our One God, the distinction in their persons is not “what” they are, but “who” they are. Their relationship to each other makes them distinct persons. And this, too, is difficult to comprehend. If we think of human fathers and sons, there’s a process of birth and relationship of a subordinate to a superior. So, the image of human father and son relationship falls short. In the end, we are grateful for God revealing himself to us as a community of love and forming us in his image and likeness to be creatures of communion.

I will leave you with a portion of the Athanasian Creed from the 6th Century. This creed developed after the Nicene-Constantinople Councils as a brief way to express the Church’s profession of the faith in trinitarian faith (and Christological faith in the second part of the creed, not included here).

“Whosoever will be saved, before all things it is necessary that he hold the catholic faith. …And the catholic faith is this: that we worship one God in Trinity, and Trinity in Unity; neither confounding the Persons, nor dividing the Essence. For there is one Person of the Father; another [Person] of the Son; and another [Person] of the Holy Ghost. But the Godhead of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, is all one; the Glory equal, the Majesty coeternal. Such as the Father is; such is the Son; and such is the Holy Ghost. The Father uncreated; the Son uncreated; and the Holy Ghost uncreated. The Father unlimited; the Son unlimited; and the Holy Ghost unlimited. The Father eternal; the Son eternal; and the Holy Ghost eternal. And yet they are not three eternals; but one eternal. As also there are not three uncreated; nor three infinites, but one uncreated; and one infinite. So likewise the Father is Almighty; the Son Almighty; and the Holy Ghost Almighty. And yet they are not three Almighties; but one Almighty. So the Father is God; the Son is God; and the Holy Ghost is God. And yet they are not three Gods; but one God. So likewise the Father is Lord; the Son [is] Lord; and the Holy Ghost [is] Lord. And yet not three Lords; but one Lord. For like as we are compelled by the Christian reality, to acknowledge every Person by himself to be God and Lord; So are we forbidden by the catholic religion, to say, There are three Gods, or three Lords. The Father is made of none; neither created, nor begotten. The Son is of the Father alone; not made, nor created; but begotten. The Holy Ghost is of the Father and of the Son; neither made, nor created, nor begotten; but proceeding. So there is one Father, not three Fathers; one Son, not three Sons; one Holy Ghost, not three Holy Ghosts. And in this Trinity none is before, or after another; none is greater, or less than another. But the whole three Persons are coeternal, and coequal. So that in all things, as aforesaid; the Unity in Trinity, and the Trinity in Unity, is to be worshipped. He therefore that will be saved, let him thus think of the Trinity.”

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