16Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. 17When 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. 19Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:16-20, NRSV)
This is the Gospel passage for Trinity Sunday this year. It is one of the few places in the Bible we get a mention of the Trinity. And by few I mean this and five other places there are trinitarian formulas. So the doctrine fo the Trinity is not developed explicitly in scripture. So that makes it difficult to preach and teach on the Trinity.
Other things that make it difficult to preach on the Trinity is there is nothing else we know as the Trinity. We can say that an egg is like the Trinity, there is a yolk, a white and a shell, 3 parts that make up one thing, but you can have an egg yolk without the white or the shell, and we can not have the Spirit without the Son and the Father. And we could use an apple, there is the skin, the meat, and the seeds, but again I can have one part of an apple and it is still an apple without the other parts.
So this passage is not quite enough to understand the Trinity. and I think that the Trinity is more than 3. One of my favorite icons is Andrey Rublev’s Icon of the Holy Trinity. I have several pictures and renditions of this in my office. It is a beautiful picture of God. It is also a picture of relationship, and that is what the Trinity is about, God is in communion with God and wants to be in communion with us. Communion comes from community. When we partake in communion we are participating in the community of believers that have participated, are participating, and will participate in communion. It is about community and relationship. And the best part of this icon is the bottom. You see the three of them are together over a meal possibly and at the bottom between the seats what do you see? If you look between the feet of the Father and the Spirit you will see an opening. You see the Trinity is not complete as three but needs you to join them. God is perfect as God is, but God wants us to be in community with God. God leaves space for all of us to join in.
And that brings us to the title of the devotion today, on Trinity Sunday when God invites you to join the community God has opened to us, we see that Jesus invited the eleven disciples to Galilee to the mountain He told them about. And Jesus joined them there and when they saw Him, the text says, “they worshipped Him; but some doubted.” How many of us would doubt this? Jesus was dead. We saw Him die. He was on the cross and when He came off He was dead. He was laid in a tomb.
We all doubt and we think that doubt is bad.
I asked my friends on Facebook what they doubt but still have faith in. Some of them were silly like their kids would actually clean their rooms and frozen pizza. Some were serious like America and God. We wonder if the Sun actually shines behind the clouds, what happens after life here ends, that nothing can separate us from the love of Christ, that common sense still exists. We doubt the church, and councils, and humanity. We wonder will this all work the way the Bible promises.
But you see this is the interesting thing about the text above, the word some in verse 17 is not there. Scholars put the some in because of the construction, but this construction isn’t found anywhere else. And another reason the some is there, is because the disciples couldn’t worship and doubt, but I do all the time, and actually, it helps me know I don’t have to have it all together. I don’t have to understand all of this. I can quesiton and wonder and still worship. You see the 11 that were with Jesus and watched Him do ministry for 3 years, saw Him die and met Him on the mountain, looked at Him and worshipped Him but doubted what was happening, all of them doubted what they were seeing and experiencing, yet they went into the world and changed it. To me that is hope, hope in I don’t have to have it all together, and even in my brokenness God still wants me in community.
So doubt and worship and know that God wants you.