Trinity Sunday: Romans 5:1-5 and John 16:12-15
Peace be with you!
In college, I studied direct marketing, and the professors did not use textbooks, because as soon as they were printed they would be outdated. Instead of textbooks, marketing professors required us to read articles from eMarketer and The New York Times to learn the latest marketing techniques. The world is constantly changing and evolving, and as lifelong learners, scholars are constantly engaging with new scholarship and debating with each other. Even if you did not get a degree, you learn from on the job how to do a specific trade. Our parents and mentors also continue to teach their adult children how to take care of a home and their own child and how handle different situations. A couple months ago my father help me get a new vehicle by going with me to the dealership to get the best possible deal. I call my dad whenever I have a car related question, because he always takes the time to explain what needs to be done and why it needs to be done. No matter your education background you are always learning.
Reflection Questions: How do you keep up with the ever-changing world? Do you watch or read the news? Do you keep up with the latest technology?
Jesus seems to contradict himself. He says, “I have told you everything God the Father has told me” (see John 15:15), and “I still have many things to tell you, so I am sending you the Holy Spirit to guide you” (see John 16:12-13). It is confusing: one minute the disciples know everything, and the next minute they still have a lot to learn. And why can’t Jesus continue to teach them? He is still there.
Reflection Questions: What emotions do you think the disciples are having? Has a mentor or teacher ever said you got it but still a lot to learn?
This passage comes out of the farewell discourse during the Last Supper. Jesus understands this is the last time he will be physically with all of his disciples prior to his death and resurrection. During the last three years, Jesus has taught and explained everything he possibly could to the disciples, yet they do not know or understand everything they need to. Jesus understands there is no way to completely prepare the disciples for everything that is to come. Even if Jesus could, his disciples will die eventually, and then this knowledge and preparation must be passed on to new generations.
In order to live out its faith, the church must navigate also in a constantly changing world. These two truths are held in tension with one another: we have everything we need (universal truth), and yet there is always more to learn (real-world application of this universal truth).
The bridge between timeless truth and application today is the Holy Spirit. Jesus tells the disciples he will send the Holy Spirit to guide them as he has led them. Just as God the Father told Jesus everything, Jesus will tell the Holy Spirit everything (John 16:13). Because God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit are one, the Holy Spirit will lead the way to Jesus who will in turn lead us to the Father. The Holy Spirit makes the Father and the Son accessible to everyone, regardless of time and space.
Reflection Questions: How have you felt the presence of the Holy Spirit? How has the Holy Spirit made the presence of God the Father and God the Son known to you?
The Holy Spirit connects us to God the Father and God the Son and to an event that took place two thousand years ago. Through the Holy Spirit, we are able to know, understand, and recognize God’s power to forgive through his love, grace, and mercy. As cultures, media, and economic situations change, the Holy Spirit keeps us connected with God the Father and God the Son. The Holy Spirit guides us through our daily lives by deepening our relationship with the Triune God.
Each situation and relationship challenges our relationship with God. Some situations and relationships cause us to feel closer to God. We feel filled with the Holy Spirit and as if God is directly guiding our lives. Other times, situations and relationships seem to hinder our relationship with God. It feels as though God has forgotten us. Our prayers seem to go unanswered. God seems to be taking a break. Sometimes we fool ourselves into thinking that we got it on our own—no need to bother God. However, even when God seems distant or when we try to do it on our own, the Holy Spirit is there leading and guiding us. Even as times, media, and cultures change, Jesus sends us the Holy Spirit to comfort us when we are discouraged, to forgive us when we fall, to guide us throughout time, and to deliver us into God’s love.
The Holy Spirit is here to see us through anything and everything. It is difficult to explain how we know the Holy Spirit is with us today. Some individuals get a sensation from the Holy Spirit when they pray and worship. Others feel the Holy Spirit when they sit quietly and meditate. Some people hear a voice, like an unexpected thought, urging them to take a leap of faith. Some individuals feel the Holy Spirit taking their hand or holding them during a difficult situation. Sometimes the Holy Spirit uses others to give a prophetic word or direction to someone. Other times something will happen that can only be explained by being a miracle. No matter how the Holy Spirit communicates with an individual there is always something that cannot be explain by anything of the world. The Holy Spirit takes you by surprise and gives you a sense of purpose or that you are not alone.
Reflection Questions: How have you grown closer to God? How has the Holy Spirit connected you with God the Father and God the Son?
Just as scholars, professionals, and individuals are constantly learning and debating with each other, we as Christians are constantly working to deepen our relationship with the Triune God and to learn to apply timeless truth to our current contexts. At our baptisms and confirmations, we do not know where God will lead us or what he will require of us. We probably do not understand God’s unconditional love for us. That is okay. God the Father and God the Son understand it is a lot to take in, which is why they sent the Holy Spirit to be in the world to lead and guide us. The Holy Spirit helps us in our faith journeys and helps us understand God’s love, grace, and mercy.
Reflection Questions: What has the Holy Spirit led you to do?
Thanks be to God!
Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for sending the Holy Spirit to lead and guide us. Make the presence of the Holy Spirit known to us. Lead us to do your will in the world. Keep us steadfast in this. Deliver us from our adversities. Lift us up into your presence, where there is endless love and joy. Amen.