When you hear the “Great Commission” what is the prominent part that resonates with you? “Go” – “make disciples” – “Baptizing” – “teaching” – the declaration of the Holy Trinity: “Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit?”
The Great Commission continues “teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold…” In my experiment of asking people to finish the sentence most replied “I will be with you until the end…” But the ending is different: I am with you always, until the end of the age.” Continue reading
We have all kinds of solemnities, feast days, and other special days in the church year. We commemorate happenings in the life of Christ: Mary’s visit from Gabriel announcing the miraculous child she was to bring into the world. We celebrate the arrival of the Three Kings, the Baptism of our Lord, the Transfiguration when the glory of Christ is revealed, and on Palm Sunday, we celebrate Jesus riding triumphantly into Jerusalem amidst palms and cheers. We celebrate the empty tomb and Resurrection of Easter, the glorious Ascension, the explosive coming of God’s spirit to the church at Pentecost—and then we have Holy Trinity Sunday. And suddenly it is like we have moved from these great events in the life of Christ, and now— tadah!! We are celebrating a…a…a church doctrine. Continue reading
We are a people who profess a faith in a God that has revealed God’s self as a Trinitarian God. In the history of the Church there were many who looked at the same Scriptures and denied that God was one, yet three divine persons. Back in the 4th century, a very large movement called the Arians said Jesus and the Holy Spirit were divine, but kind of a second- and third-tier God, divine but not as divine as the Father. The Sabelliansheld a belief that the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are three characterizations or modes of being one God, rather than three distinct “persons” in one God. They were also a pretty large group. A very small and short-lived group were the Pneumatomachians (“Spirit fighters”) – while accepting the divinity of Jesus Christ they denied that of the Holy Spirit which they saw as a creation of the Son, and a servant of the Father and the Son. These were all people who held the New Testament to be the Word of God. Continue reading
The first movie I saw after my years in mission in Kenya was “Shakespeare in Love.” There is a scene between Philip Henslowe, the theatre owner and producer, and Hugh Fennyman, the investor, which I have always remembered.
Henslowe: Mr. Fennyman, allow me to explain about the theatre business. The natural condition is one of insurmountable obstacles on the road to imminent disaster. Fennyman: So what do we do? Henslowe: Nothing. Strangely enough, it all turns out well. Fennyman: How? Henslowe: I don’t know. It’s a mystery. Continue reading