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A memorable Trinity Sunday sermon

James Pope
Pastor James Pope, executive editor

My first year as a pastor was coming to an end, and I was working on a sermon for Trinity Sunday. There was just one problem: I had writer’s block. I could not get started. Thankfully, I remembered what one of my professors at the seminary suggested (just a year before!) if we ran into this problem. He encouraged us to offer a bold, Luther-like prayer, “Lord, you brought me into this ministry; please get me out of this jam.”

Perhaps five minutes after adding my amen to a prayer like that, the doorbell at the parsonage rang. Two women stood outside. One was holding a briefcase; the other was standing slightly behind her. They introduced themselves as neighbors who were inquiring about what people believed regarding the Trinity.

I had no time to play games, so I correctly identified them as Jehovah’s Witnesses and myself as a Lutheran pastor who was working on a sermon for Trinity Sunday. “Yes,” I acknowledged, “I know the words triune and Trinity are not in the Bible, but the teaching of the Trinity is.” I passed along a few Bible passages to support my belief.

Before the conversation ended, I wanted to talk to the woman who was not holding the briefcase: the trainee. She revealed that she had been brought up WELS but switched to the Jehovah’s Witnesses because she preferred their explanation of the book of Revelation (even though their explanation limits heaven to 144,000 people).

How sad for a person to abandon the Christian faith by joining a religion that denies the Trinity. There is salvation only through faith in the triune God—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit—the only God who exists.

Trinity Sunday is June 4 on this year’s church year calendar. Trinity Sunday is a day to focus on the nature and work of our triune God. The nature of God is a mystery to us. How can there be one God yet three persons? Christian faith clings to what God says, whether or not that is understandable. And personally, I want a God whose very being goes way beyond my comprehension. If I can understand everything about God, then he is not much of a God; he is too much like you and me.

The work of God is another story, and that story is clear. God gave us life. God gave us a Savior, his Son. God sent the Holy Spirit to connect us to Jesus in saving faith so that we could enjoy all the blessings he won by his holy life and sacrificial death.

And yet God’s work has an element of mystery too, doesn’t it? Why would God do all this for people who are his natural enemies because of sin and unbelief? God unravels that mystery when he explains that the answer is love. The God whose very nature escapes our understanding loves us in a way we can comprehend and appreciate. It is to this God we give our praise and glory on June 4 this year and every day of every year.

Oh, before you go, I should let you know that when the conversation with the two women outside the parsonage ended, I went back and started writing my sermon for Trinity Sunday. This time there was no writer’s block; I had an introduction. “I sat down to write this sermon but could not get started. I said a prayer, and the doorbell rang. Two women stood outside the parsonage . . .” It was another prayer that God answered in a remarkable way.

Author: James Pope
Volume 110, Number 06
Issue: June 2023

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