Friday of the Festival of Trinity – Matthew 28:16-20
16Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. 17And when they saw him they worshiped him, but some doubted. 18And Jesus came and said to them, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age."
My father was a bit of a restless person. Even in retirement he could not sit still. He was serving a congregation and preaching throughout his retirement right up until the brief illness which took his life some years ago. He sometimes joked that he was addicted to preaching. He could not stop.
There is something of that same restlessness to this passage which we hear in the week of Trinity. We have it this week because it mentions the three persons of the Trinity and because we recite it at every baptism. I love this passage, however, because it will not let Trinity be static, a box we check off and leave alone. Trinity is all tied up with the disciple-making Church. The very act of making disciples, the baptizing and teaching is intricately associated with Trinity. It is the work of this triune God. God is not just there, present like some piece of furniture standing in the corner of my room; the Triune God does something. We proclaim the Triune God – the sending Father, the obedient, dying, rising Son, the Spirit who makes us holy. We teach these things. When one becomes a Christian one is brought into that name of God.
Right now, it feels like the Church has come to a stop. Perhaps your state has allowed some services to resume, but even so, it is different. We are still asked to distort and change the way we worship. How does one ask a neighbor to join you in worship in the days of pandemic social distancing? “Come to Church with me, I promise not to sit by you.” I hear these words and I know that God is restless, always seeking some way to reach the lost man or woman. I sometimes wonder if this pandemic is not an opportunity for our God to shake up our churches, to get us out of our set ways and to impel us back into the lives of the people around us. He has not stopped caring for the lost. He is still reaching out to them. How does he do that through your life in these days? These are the last words in the Gospel according to Matthew. He put them there because he wants us to remember this. Pray a prayer that this work of God takes shapes in your life.
Rev. Phillip Brandt, MDiv, PhD
Rejoice in the Spirit!